The diversity of human behaviour

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  • Created on: 08-05-18 15:36


  • In modern industrial societies, there are distinct class groupings such as working, middle and upper class in which each of them has their own cultural characteristics.
    • The working class has manual jobs such as plumber or road sweeper whereas the middle class has non-manual professional jobs such as dentist or accountant.
    • Depending on the class, there are typically different levels of educational achievement.
      • Middle class children are more likely to attend university than their working class peers.
      • Middle class children enjoy leisure activities such as opera, theatre and fine dining.
  • Lifestyles are related to income differences that come from higher levels of education and work.
    • The middle class occupy more middle and senior managerial positions.
  • Lifestyles are also based on cultural tastes.
    • High culture refers to the idea that some cultural practices and products are superior to others.
      • Classical music, opera and Shakespeare are high culture forms whereas pop music, cinema and the works of J.K Rowling are not.
    • Gans (1974) states that high culture relates to the art, music and literature that were (and are) preferred by the well-educated elite.
    • Katz-Gerro et al. (2007) suggest that societies are seen as culturally stratified by this view of high culture as it indicates a basic division between a small, elite class at the top and a mass of people at the bottom who embrace popular culture.
    • Giddens (2006) defines popular culture as something created for large audiences such as popular films, shows, music, videos and TV programmes. This is the culture of the shallow, worthless and disposable form of culture.
    • In the past the elite could separate itself from the masses physically and culturally.
    • However, in many countries today, it is difficult to distinguish someone's class by looking at the way they speak, behave or dress.
    • Despite that, it might still be possible to identify differences based on a person's cultural products and ideas.
    • The cultural elite claims that taste is bred over several generations.


  • Age expresses cultural diversity firstly, in the notion of different biological age groups (child, youth, adult, elderly) and, secondly, in the cultural characteristics associated with age such as different assumptions about how different people from different age groups should behave.
    • Childhood:
      • Involves a range of different cultural differences that relate to issues such as permissions in which children are allowed to exhibit behaviours such as play, that are discouraged in adults and denials in which children are not allowed to do such as engage in sexual activities that adults are allowed to do.
    • Youth:
      • Involves a range of cultural categories, such as pre-teens, teens and young adults, that reflect in things such as consumption.
      • Different categories of youth have different cultural tastes from both adults and children in areas such as music, fashion, food and language.
      • Youth lifestyles are generally more played in the outside such as in the street or pubs and clubs, whereas elderly lifestyles are played out in private such as inside the home.
    • Adulthood:
      • Involves cultural differences constructed around rights


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