Culture and Identity- Revision Notes/Key Sociologists (Whole Topic)

Culture and Identity 

Types of Culture

  • Culture Definition: Language, beliefs, values and morals in society 
  • Subculture: Identifiable group within a culture, shares norms and values different from mainstream norms 
  • Folk: Created by local communities, rooted in customs 
  • Mass: Socialisation through media and consumption 
  • High: Educated Elite, theatre/opera lifestyle 
  • Low: Working Class, enjoyed by the masses, e.g. reality TV and Soap Operas 
  • Global: Technological advancements/Globalisation 

Culture Theories 

  • Frankfurt School: Mass culture causes a reduced sense of community 
  • Strinati: Culture is affected by structural issues such as social class (postmodernism)
  • Durkheim/Parsons: Culture allows for consensus, family is a ‘personality factory’ socialises culture (Functionalism)
  • Marx: Commodity Fetishism; Mass culture creates false needs leading to desires towards consumer goods, fuelling capitalism (Marxism)
  • Hall: Cultural Globalisation; construction of identity from a range of different cultures (Postmodernism)
  • Goffman: Cultural Norms; If people change how they interact with each other, culture will also change (Interactionsim)
  • Paglia: Popular culture; Representation of women can be empowering (Feminism)
  • Criticisms: Single mass culture is too simplistic; capitalism creates some opposition to create illusion of a fair system (Gramsci/Neo-Marxist), Functionalism is outdated; culture is increasingly diverse rather than shared (Postmodernism)


  • Parsons: ‘Personality Factory’; Nuclear family is key to primary socialisation (Functionalism)
  • Marx: Socialises working class into accepting their own exploitation in capitalist society (Marxism)
  • Oakley: Parents socialise children to conform to patriarchal ideas by praising in gender appropriate ways (Feminism)
  • Mead: ‘Looking Glass Self’; Socialisation process develops a sense of self and learning to understand others and how they see us (interactionism)
  • Lyotard: Socialisation allows control over the knowledge we are exposed to


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