Defining culture:

  • Culture - term used to describe way of life of a group of people. How they are expected to behave, what they bleieve, how they think.
  • All indivduals are part of a culture, may belong to more than 1 e.g. Asian heritage people born in Britain (part of a British culture but may have traditions, religions and beliefs that belong to their Asian background). 
  • Culture differs from society. Culture - beliefs, traditions and ideas people in a culture share the same (IBS). People who share ideas form a society. Culture - broader than society.
  • Modern sociologists more interested in culture than society, feel that culture creates society. 
  • Material culture - physical things that people create an emotional attachment to. e.g. clothing, housing, cars and food may mean a lot to people, items that are not just objects but symbols of something important. Wearing of certain items of clothing to a football match means more to some fans than protecting their body from the cold. 
  • Non-material culture - ideas that people share, e.g. rules, traditions, languages, history. Important - helps people understand social world and gives guidelines for behaviour.

Social construction of culture: 

  • Any idea created and given special meaning by people. 
  • Motherhood means a lot more than the ability to give birth and raise a child - distinct set of social rules for being a good mother in Western culture - may vary from other cultures. Korean mothers are expected to be self-sacrificing to an extraordinary degree, British mothers may also want a private and personal life. Motherhood therefore is a social construction. 
  • Culture - social construction - varies between social groups. It exists, but only in our minds. Cultures can vary quite significantly in what they see as normal and what they believe to be the correct way to act. 
  • Collectivist cultures - cultures that tend to emphasise belonging to the group as more important than personal freedom. China & Japan. 
  • Individualistic cultures - cultures which tend to emphasise indivudal freedom and personal gain, sometimes at the expense of others. European and Northern American cultures. 
  • People learn culture from others around them. Children deliberately taught how to behave, adults have to learn what to do in each new situation involved in. 

Aspects of culture:

  • Anything created by people - ideas, beliefs - part of culture. Food traditions, clothing, government, education, language, religion, beliefs, art, shared history and laws. 
  • Cultures can be very diverse, differ great deal. Things that seem normal in one culture would be unacceptable in another. E.g. many Muslims refuse to drink alcohol or eat pork, the consumption of alcohol is illegal in some Islamic countries. Many non-Muslim British people enjoy alcohol and pork. This idea is cultural diversity. 
  • Not everyone in a culture will follow all of the cultural rules. If people break rules individually, they will be known as a deviant. When entire social groups behave different from most - subculture. E.g. some youth groups such as goths, or drug users and criminals…


No comments have yet been made