Sociology Chapter 3: Culture

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Elaborate on Rupp and Taylor’s visit to the 801 Cabaret in Key West Why is Key West ideal for this? What are the drag queens doing?
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Key West has a multitude of cultures– artists, dreamers, gay people from the cities, smugglers, islanders– it’s a perfect clash of cultures. The drag queens are taking something that society deems as “abnormal” and making it light. They are taking a stigmatized stereotype and making people question what they knew to show what it might be like if homosexuality and cross-dressing were the norm.
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What was Acrassicauda?
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a heavy metal band in Iraq that played for a while and was accused of being too American so they received death threats; a documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad was made and a PayPal account was set up so that the members could emigrate to America and play there– donations were received from heavy metal fans in America
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the entire way of life of a group of people (including both material and symbolic elements) that acts as a lens through which one views the world and is passed from one generation to the next i.e. how people line up in a grocery store to how people dress
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culture
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Culture is part of why humans have great success. As it develops, what happens?
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it is passed down from generation to generation
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Are cultures innate or learned?
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Learned– slang, the way we act, patriotism, etc.
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How do anthroplogists differ in their study than sociologists?
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anthropologists go out into other regions in the world and look at their cultures while sociologists study both the everyday behavior within their own cultures as well as the deviant few
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What was the purpose of Horace Miner’s examination of the Nacirema?
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The Nacirema were really the average American, written about as if the writer knew nothing about them– the bristles they use to brush their teeth, “holy-mouth men” being doctors and dentists, the “charm box” being a sink, etc. It shows how hard it is to identify a culture you are living within.
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the principle of using one’s own culture as a means or standard by which to evaluate another group or individual, leading to the view that cultures other than one’s own are abnormal or inferior
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ethnocentrism
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the principle of understanding other cultures on their own terms, rather than judging or evaluating according to ones’s own culture i.e. seeing other cultures as “different,” and not necessarily “better” or “worse”
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cultural relativism
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What is an example of a ritual within the culture of religion?
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communion or praying or singing in a designated space
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the objects associated with a cultural group, such as tools, machines, utensils, buildings, and artwork; any physical object to which we give social meaning’ i.e. logo on a woman’s purse might say she follows fashion trends; fast food in America may indicate we travel and have fewer meals at home
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material culture
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the ideas associated with a cultural group, including ways of thinking (beliefs, values, and assumptions) and ways of behaving (norms, interactions, and communication) i.e. driving on the left side in the UK and the right in the US to democracy to marriage
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symbolic culture
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a symbol that stands for or conveys an idea i.e. traffic signal
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sign/symbol
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the ways in which people use their bodies to communicate without words; actions that have symbolic meaning i.e. nodding, raised fist, knowing glance– also referred to as nonverbal communication or body language; vary vastly among different cultures
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gestures
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a system of communication using vocal sounds; gestures, or written symbols; the basis of symbolic culture and the primary means through which we communicate with one another and perpetuate our culture
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language
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the idea that language structures thought and that ways of looking at the world are embedded in language (also called the principle of linguistic relativity) i.e. Hopi in American Southwest have no words for past, present, and future and therefore are believed to not experience time in the same way as those whose language provides such words
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Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
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using language to construct an understanding of heritage through this
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social memory
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ideas about what is desirable or contemptible and right or wrong in a particular group; they articulate the essence of everything that a cultural group cherishes and honors i.e. Americans have an emphasis on equality and individual freedoms of democracy i.e. this can change over time– workers used to feel more “loyalty” to their company but now realize they can be downsized and feel less obligated to employers
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values
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a rule or guideline regarding what kinds of behavior are acceptable and appropriate within a culture, develop right out of the value system of a culture
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norm
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a common type of formally defined norm providing an explicit statement about what is permissible and what is illegal in a given society i.e. illegal to drink before 21 in America
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law
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Different norms have _____ authority and are therefore not always followed. i.e. Ten Commandments across different religions may have different levels of significance
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relative
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type of norms that are implicit and unspoken, hard to recognize until someone violates them i.e. not cutting in line while waiting to purchase movie tickets, when someone cuts it is a violation and you realize it exists
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informal norms
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a loosely enforced norm involving common customs, practices, or procedures that ensure smooth social interaction and acceptance; violation looks peculiar or eccentric, but not dangerous i.e. standards of dress and rules of etiquette (we do not wear tuxedos with flip flops)
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folkway
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a norm that carries great moral significance, is closely related to the core values of a cultural group, and often involves severe repercussions for violators, we are all expected to conform, strict regulation against them as well as public condemnation i.e. theft, rape, murder
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more
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a norm ingrained so deeply that even thinking about violating it evokes strong feelings of disgust, horror, or revulsion, forbidden i.e. incest, cannibalism
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taboo
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What are exemptions to norms?
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in America, we can suspend norms in places like Las Vegas (“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas), and in strip clubs and on certain occasions like Mardi Gras and spring break, social norm violations are tolerated to some degree; murder on the streets might be valor in war
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positive or negative reactions to the ways that people follow or disobey norms, including rewards for conformity and punishments for violations
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sanctions
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express approval and come in the form of a handshake or a smile, praise, or award
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positive sanctions
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express disapproval and may come in the form of a frown, harsh words, or perhaps a fine or incarceration
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negative sanctions
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the formal and informal mechanisms used to elicit conformity to values and norms and thus increase social cohesion i.e. government and police, school administrators, work supervisors, parents– prescribe and deliver sanctions
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social control
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What is process of socialization in which we internalize norms?
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The slogan “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” was a way to change how we think about our personal responsibility to others, such internalized norms prevent sanctions from being necessary to make us do the right thing
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belief in which we do what is best for ourselves, a way that there are differences within a culture
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individualism
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belief in which we do what is best for others, a way that there are differences within a culture
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humanitarianism
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a policy that values diverse racial, ethnic, national, and linguistic backgrounds and so encourages the retention of cultural differences within society rather than assimilation
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multiculturalism
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the values, norms, and practices of the group within the society that is the most powerful (in terms of wealth, prestige, status, influence, etc.) and all others may be referred to as “alternative” or “minority” views
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dominant culture
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term developed by Antonio Gramsci to describe the cultural aspects of social control, whereby the ideas of the dominant social group are accepted by all of society i.e. mainstream radio companies dictate what is played on radios and pirating music or finding it individually online may never allow your favorite artists to be as big as those introduced by the “dominant” culture of the big radio stations, etc.
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hegemony
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a group within society that is differentiated by its distinctive values, norms, and lifestyle; a culture within a culture i.e. nondominant groups can be described as this; Korean Americans, senior citizens, snowboarders, White Sox fans, greyhound owners, firefighters, etc.
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subculture
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a group within society that openly rejects and/or actively opposes society’s values and norms; a type of subgroup as well i.e. political groups trying to bring about social change, those who live outside of society (hippies, feminists, political left)
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counterculture
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What was the result of the perpetrator of the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred R. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahama City being tied to “militia” or “patriot” groups?
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the countercultures of the far right gained prominence
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What did the countercultures of the far right believe in response to the ties of the perpetrator?
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gun control, environmental protection laws, and and other legislation violates individual and states’ rights; believe American society needs drastic revision
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What to extreme members of militia groups believe about their role in American society? i.e. These are the people who do not carry driver’s licenses or SS cards or pay taxes or observe government restrictions on their property
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they are not citizens of the illegitimate government and that they are sovereign citizens or freemen or common-law citizens
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clashes within mainstream society over the values and norms that should be upheld i.e. arguments over solutions to social problems (i.e. vs. liberals and conservatives), gay rights, gender roles changing, bioethics, violence in media, and school prayer
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culture wars
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What is the formal term for when the university acts “in place of your parents?” i.e. university-provided health care may limit access to birth control or contraception or limit your roommate options to same-sex or even to a specific person
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loco parentis
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devoted fans of manga, anime, or video games; can earn a special certification in Japan by taking an exam, displaying belongings is an important part of this, validate their fascinations by interacting with others– oftentimes via sharing photos on social media
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otaku
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citizenship matters less than shared interests, nationality less than knowledge, and location less than expertise; identity is defined by what you’re into and where your passions lie
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post-national
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the norms, values, and patterns of behavior that members of society believe should be observed in principle i.e. ideally, raises and promotions should be given to employees who demonstrate exemplary performance or productivity
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ideal culture
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the norms, values, and patterns of behavior that actually exist within a society (which may or may not correspond to the society’s ideals) i.e. corporate awards given to less-deserving employees who may be appreciated for other qualities like obedience or a special relationship with their boss
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real culture
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For those who claim to value creativity as employers, what does Robert Sutton suggest for hiring new employees, in the interest of promoting ideal culture?
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hire those that ignore rules, enjoy a good fight and defy authority rather than familiar types of people who know the rules and submit without argument to authority
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material artifacts and the knowledge and techniques required to use them; a form of material culture that can often invoke change i.e anything from a hammer to a space shuttle
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technology
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What age are we currently living in, spurred by the invention of the microchip, and characterized in part by the spread of mass media? i.e. watching TV daily, internet usage
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Information Age
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the notion that developments in technology provide the primary driving force behind social change i.e. computers, cell phones, etc. define who are and become
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technological determinism
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What is the meaning of “the medium is the message,” proposed by Marshall McLuhan?
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the content is not of concern as much as the medium itself through which the content is delivered (has greater power to change our cultural framework)
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the dissemination of material and symbolic culture (tools and technology, beliefs and behavior) from one group to another; usually occurs in the direction from more developed to less developed nations i.e. when McDonald’s became more popular as well as similar styled restaurants, aspects of fast-food culture influenced other places and their eating habits (i.e. Japan)
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cultural diffusion
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the process by which cultures that were once unique and distinct become increasingly similar i.e. Walmart have driven independent mom-and-pop stores out of business across the United States; Japan pairing up with Disney to sell movies to a mainstream American audience
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cultural leveling
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the impositions of one culture’s beliefs and practices on another culture through mass media and consumer products rather than by military force i.e. people listening to Rihanna or watching Jackass in other countries and allowing it to affect their portrayal of America; we see large multinational corporations incorporating brands and products from America, all over the world
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cultural imperialism
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How does the spread of American culture through shows like Friends and Greys Anatomy sometimes negatively reflect on our culture to other societies?
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in societies where importance is placed higher on living with the family until they are married and on familial relations, viewing our society in which it is deemed acceptable to sleep with random people and where young people live on their own may seem distasteful
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What were some observations about social media usage in places facing persecution like Tinisia, Iran, and Egypt?
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increases in volume of tweets normally spiked right before activity on the ground and 30% of the tweets with hash tags were from females, suggesting that it allows females to have a more prominent voice in politics
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Part of Freud’s three-part personality that wants instant gratification for our wants and needs. If these needs or wants are not met, a person becomes tense or anxious
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id
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Part of Freud’s three-part personality that deals with reality, trying to meet the desires of the id in a way that is socially acceptable in the world. This may mean delaying gratification, and helping to get rid of the tension the id feels if a desire is not met right away. Recognizes that other people have needs and wants too. Decisions based on what others will think or consequences of an action.
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ego
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Part of Freud’s three-part personality that develops last, based on morals and judgments about right and wrong.
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superego
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someone about whom we have some degree of specific knowledge and we therefore pay attention to what we perceive to be his or her personal thoughts, feelings, or expectations i.e. you know the grocery store clerk likes children or does not like when people ask to use the bathroom
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significant other
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type of person that you experience primarily as an abstract social status and the role that goes with it i.e. when you have no idea who your grocer is
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generalized other

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