Sociology - Culture & Identity

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The languages, beliefs, norms, values, customs, roles, knowledge and skills which combine to make up the way of life of a specific society
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Cultural Diversity
The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society
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Nature = biological argument
Behaviour is fixed due to our genetic instincts that we are born with
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Nurture = sociological argument
Behaviour is learnt from family and other agencies of socialisation
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Social expectations of behaviour in a given situation
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Beliefs & morals typical of that culture, something that is considered important
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Can be explicit or implicit - usually written and often have specified sanctions
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The position or standing of an individual within society, these can be either achieved or ascribed
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Expectations associated with position - these can sometimes clash
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Actions that break a social norm
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Social groups with their own particular values - often culture within a culture, beliefs etc. differ from mainstream culture e.g. rastafarians - unique norms including not drinking alcohol
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Focus on one culture assuming it is normal
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Cultural Imperialism
One culture dominates
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Communication of symbols and images
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Traditional regular norms
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High Culture
Cultural creations with a high status, associated with upper classes, aesthetically superior e.g. da vinci, classical composers, shakespeare
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Popular Culture
Cultural products appreciated by the masses these include working and middle class postmodernists say just as valid as high culture e.g. mainstream music such as 1D, mass market films such as Harry Potter
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Cultural Diversity
The variations of social and cultural identities among people existing together
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Belief that ethnic/cultural groups can peacefully coexist in a society, showing respect for one another's culture
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Consumer Culture
Identity based on preference for particular products especially relating to body as project
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Global Culture
Identities focused on worldwide issues because of development of communictions, transport, global meaning, cultural supermarket, homogeneity
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The sense of self that develops as a child differentiates from parents and family and takes place in society
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Personal Identity
How we think of ourselves
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Social Identity
How others view us
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Modern approach to identity
The argument that identity is fixed and formed from involvement in cultures and subcultures
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Postmodern approach to identity
Argument that identity is complex, changes frequently and is based on choice
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Formal Social Control
Method to ensure people comply with official rules and regulations e.g. police and school
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Informal Social Control
Method to ensure people comply with unwritten rules and regulations e.g. family, peers and work places
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Why is family a form of social control?
Because - discipline/sanctions, they teach what is right or wrong and cultural background - may influence behaviour, they teach language skills, to walk, talk, eat etc.
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Why is education a form of social control?
Because of the hidden curriculum - learn at school how to interact with others and socialise, rewarded when do positive and sanctioned when do negative, discipline etc.
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Why is the mass media a form of social control?
It influences behaviour to make individuals follow trends, it promotes role models and people aspire to be like these for example...
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How does the family socialise us?
Through primary socialisation - teaches norms and values, often through imitation, positive and negative sanctions, teach gender roles
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Studies for family:
Parsons function - primary socialisation of children, Murdock's definitions and Oakley's study on gender roles
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How does the mass media socialise us?
It is a dominant agent for young people, influences us through images and stories, creating 'copy cats', promotes consumer culture
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Studies for mass media:
McRobbie researched popular girls magazine 'Jackie' which encouraged romance. marriage etc.
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How does the education system socialise us?
Interact and socialise with wide numbers and different types of individuals, teaches social order, formal and informal curriculum
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Studies for education
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How do peers socialise us?
Influential on 5-11 year olds, important agents due to school, express individuality, peers usually share similar norms and values
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Studies for peers
Shelton and Francis
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How does religion socialise us?
Encourage different norms and patterns of behaviour, people worship a figure of authority, all affect in different ways
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Studies for religion
Holden in 2006 examined the attitudes towards race, religion etc.
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How does the workplace socialise us?
When changing occupation - go through process of resocialisation, compared with school it has a formal and informal curriculum, dress codes, socialisation through imitation, role models, control and pressure to receive a promotion
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Studies for workplace
Ward and Winstanley 2005 - how workers 'come out'
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Structuralists view on social order
Individuals controlled by society - society directs actions, socialised in terms of culture, kept in line by mechanisms of social control, learn roles, norms and values and act accordingly
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Functionalist view on social order
Structuralist approach, consensus, social order = conforming, social solidarity = unity, society = system/organic structure, competition not conflict, individuals are controlled by society and everyone works together, society = positive
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Interactionist view on social order
Individuals direct own actions and create own social world, give meaning and interpret behaviour of others and take action on basis of meanings, norms and values exist but we choose to follow, roles in family = negotiated
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Marxism & Values
Argue that... society is based upon conflict not consesus, majority = persuaded to accept rules/norms and values from ruling class ideology, influenced through media education and family, workers live in state of false class consciousness
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Criticisms of Marxism's view on social order
Over socialised picture, over emphasis on conflict, what about others e.g. gender and ethnicity
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society


Cultural Diversity

Card 3


Behaviour is fixed due to our genetic instincts that we are born with


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Card 4


Behaviour is learnt from family and other agencies of socialisation


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Card 5


Social expectations of behaviour in a given situation


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