- Culture is the learned and shared way of life; the values and norms of a society or group.
- Values are the beliefs we regard as important, the most significant standards or principles in our lives.
- Norms are social expectations or rules about how people should or should not behave.
- Norms also vary in their degree of seriousness.
- Kluckhohn (1951) described culture as the distinctive 'way of life' of a group of people.
Types of Culture:
- High Culture:
- Here 'culture' refers to artistic work of agreed quality. It is identified with highly gifted artists such as Mozart, Shakespeare or Van Gogh.
- High culture is an essential feature of society and it enters into the lives of everyone, not just a few. High art is a part of culture but not all of it.
- Popular Culture:
- Often seen as the opposite of high culture and many advocates of high culture look down on it as inferior, escapist and 'mind numbing'.
- Strinati (1995) - the media are largely responsible for the creation of popular culture and that consumption plays a key role in this culture.
- Popular culture refers to the leisure activities of the 'masses' (e.g. pop music, 'Big Brother' and soap operas).
- Some sociologists see popular culture as a positive and creative expression of the culture of ordinary people.
- Others, such as the Marxist Adorno see it as a way of socialising the masses into a passive and unquestioning set of attitudes and values.