Features: A way of life (Williams). Includes language, values, norms, customs, dress, diets and roles. Culture help us relate to others and enables us to carry out every day activities. Forms the connection between the individual and sociaty, telling the individual how to operate within the social institutions that make up society (family, education, workplace).
Example 1: Traveller culture. Live in trailers or chalets. Men gain prestige from gold dollar rings and women from gold earrings. Honor means a lot to them, especially when it comes to 'no sex before marriage'. Young girls have a very strict upbringing, never left alone with males.
Example 2: Upper class/High culture. Very into classical music, hunting, theatre, Shakespeare, public school education and good etiquette. Scott argues that upper class people will only marry upper class people.
Features: General principles or beliefs about what a culture views as desirable and worthwhile. Moral values refer to beliefs about what is right and wrong. Shared by members of a group or society and are learned through socialisation. They can change over time and vary between societies and subcultures. Functionalists believe shared values are essential to the smooth running of society. Marxists argue that our values have been defined by the ruling class.
Example 1: Materialism. Brits place a high value on on it - it's an important value in consumer society and shapes norms of shopping for leisure and conspicuous consumption.
Example 2: Privacy. Brits place a high value on privacy, believe that walking into a persons' room without knocking or reading their diary without permission is seen as intruding on their privacy, and is considered rude or deviant.
Features: Expected forms of behaviour that often come from values. Norms are specific to social situations. Going against the norm is considered deviant. Norms can change. Chapman argues that the upper class are socialised into norms of hug cultural activities (classical music, hunting etc).
Example 1: Laughing and dancing in a club is seen as a norm, but if you were to do the same thing at a funeral, it would be seen as deviant, and you might be viewed as just a little bit weird.
Example 2: Wearing a seatbelt when you're in a car is seen as a norm, but this only became a norm with the arrival of cars.
customs are norms that have lasted over many years that have become traditions.
Features: refers to the social position of people in society and the respect or prestige that is attached to that position. Status is about hierarchy - you can have hug or low status. There are two types of status:
- Ascribed - this is a status that you are born into and that is very difficult to change, e.g., a Prince.
- Achieved - this is a status that you earn or work your way up to, e.g., gaining a promotion at work.
Example 1: doctors have a high status because their behaviour is directly concerned with saving lives (the human life is an important value in UK culture)
Example 2: Criminals have a low status because their behaviour is generally seen as deviant, although amongst their peer group they may have a hug status.
Features: Patterns of norms or behaviours that are expected of a person or group in different positions in society. We all play different roles in our lifetimes, and all bring certain expectations. Roles carry different statuses and can be ascribed or achieved.
Example 1: Doctors are expected to act out their professional roles, which is to be polite, impartial and scientific.
Example 2: The role of a student involves being in class on time, doing their homework, listening in class.
As an individual takes on many roles, this may lead to role conflict, where successful performance of two or more roles at the same times leads to stress and conflict, e.g., the role of a student may conflict with the role of and employee.