Answer the following question. Your answer should be at least three paragraphs (300-500 words) in length and should be presented in your own words. Any use of quoted material must be properly cited.Goths are visible as a subculture, in part because of their taste in music and fashion. Using these criteria, identify another subculture in which ways might this group’s values oppose the dominant culture?Please read the provided materials and the textbook “You May Ask Yourself An Introduction to Thinking like a Sociologist 5th Edition” Chapter 3 before answering.

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SOC 1100 Sociology
Week 3 Lecture
What is Culture?
• Refers to:

Material Objects
• Together, these form a person’s way of life
• Shared way of life
What Is Culture?
• Culture can be loosely defined as a set of
beliefs, traditions, and practices.
What Is Culture?
• The concept of culture has evolved and expanded
throughout history.
• The oldest understandings of culture focus on the
distinction between two things:
– The natural environment
– What is modified or created by humans
What Is Culture?
• As Europeans came into contact with nonWesterners, culture evolved in terms of differences
between peoples, which could be viewed either
positively or negatively.
• In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a new
dimension was added to the concept of culture—the
idea that culture involved the pursuit of intellectual
• 2 Basic Components
– Nonmaterial
– Material
• Humans unique in their dependence on culture to ensure
• Culture is very recent and took quite a long time to make
• Intelligence sets primates apart
• Different than nation or society
NonMaterial Culture
• Intangible
• Thoughts, ideas
• Created by members of society
• Help describe a way of life
Material Culture
• Tangible items
• Created by members of society
• Help describe a way of life
Culture Shock
• Disorientation due to an unfamiliar setting
– Unable to make sense of things in an unfamiliar setting
• Can be a result of travel or relocation
– Regional
– International
Elements of Culture
• 5 Common Components

Values & Beliefs
Material Culture
• Including Technology
• Humans Find Reality in the Meaning of Symbols
• Meanings Vary From One Culture to the Next
• Meanings Can Vary Greatly Within the Same Group of
• New Symbols Created All The Time
– Unable to make sense of things in an unfamiliar setting
• Carries a Recognizable Meaning to Members of a Shared
– Regional
– International
• System of Symbols that Allows People to Communicate
with One Another
• Cultural Transmission
– Oral Histories
– Passed Down Generation to Generation
• Sapir Whorf Thesis
– People Perceive the World Through the Cultural Lens of
Examples of Language
Values & Beliefs
• Values
– Broad Guidelines for Social Living
– Support Beliefs
– Culturally Defined Standards
• Beliefs
– Specific Statements Held To Be True
– Matters Considered True or False by Individuals
– May Change Over Time
Image Courtesy Of Pearson Education
Values and Norms
• Values are moral beliefs.
• Norms are the ways in which values tell us to act.
• Socialization is the process by which a person
internalizes the values, beliefs, and norms of society
and learns to function as a member of that society.
• Mores & Folkways
– Mores (pronounced “more-rays”)
• Widely Observed
• Great Moral Significance
– Folkways
• Norms for Routine & Casual Interaction
Methods of Social Control
• Guilt
– Self-Imposed Negative Judgment
• Shame
– Painful Feeling that Others Disapprove of Us or Our Actions
Ideal vs Real Culture
• Ideal Culture
– How Things Should Be
– Social Patterns Mandated by:
• Values
• Norms
• Real Culture
– What Actually Occurs in Daily Life
– Approximates Cultural Expectations or Ideals
Material Culture & Technology
• Physical Human Creations or Artifacts
– Reflect Underlying Cultural Values
– Included as Part of One’s Culture
• Technology or Knowledge Used by People
– In Their Way of Life & Surroundings
– Reflection Material Culture
Material versus Nonmaterial Culture
• Material culture is
everything that is a part of
our constructed
environment, such as books,
fashion, and monuments.
• Nonmaterial culture
encompasses values, beliefs,
behaviors, and social norms.
Material versus Nonmaterial Culture
• Cultural lag is the time gap between the appearance
of a new technology and the words and practices that
give it meaning.
Cultural Diversity
• High Culture
– Patterns that Distinguish a Society’s Elite Group
• Popular Culture
– Widespread Cultural Patterns Accepted by Majority of Society
• Sub-Culture
– Cultural Patterns that Distinguish a Sub-Set of a Society’s
• Counter-Culture
– Opposed to Those Widely Accepted in a Society
• A subculture is a group united by sets of concepts,
values, traits, and/or behavioral patterns that
distinguish it from others within the same culture or
• Cultural Diversity of the US
– Promoting Equality of ALL Cultural Traditions
• Eurocentrism
– Dominance of European Cultural Patterns
• Afrocentrism
– Dominance of African Cultural Patterns
Living in a Multicultural World
• Culture shock is the doubt, confusion, or anxiety
arising from immersion in an unfamiliar culture.
• Code switching is the ability to flip fluidly between
two or more languages or sets of cultural norms to fit
different cultural contexts.
Cultural Relativism
• A term coined by Ruth Benedict in the 1930s, cultural
relativism is the idea that we should recognize
differences across cultures without passing judgment
on them or assigning value to them.
Cultural Scripts
• Cultural scripts are modes of behavior and
understanding that are not universal or natural, but
that may strongly shape beliefs or concepts held by a
3 Methods of Cultural Change
• Invention
– Creation of New Cultural Elements
• Airplane, Telephone, Computers
• Discovery
– Identifying, Recognizing, Increasing Understanding
Something Already in Existence
• Human Genome; DNA
• Diffusion
– Spread of Cultural Traits
• Music, Language
Inequality & Culture
• Social Conflict
– Traits benefit some at the expense of others
• Grounded in Marxian Theory & Materialism
• System of Material Production Has Powerful
Influence on the Rest of a Culture
• Critical Evaluation
– Understates How Cultural Patterns Integrate Society’s
Image Courtesy of Pearson Education
Evolution & Culture
• Sociobiology
– Theoretical Paradigm
• How Biology Impacts the Creation of Culture
– Rooted in Darwinian Theory & Evolution
– Living Organisms Change Over Long Periods of Time
Through Natural Selection
• Critical Evaluation
– Might be Used to Support Sexism or Racism
– Little Evidence to Support the Theory
• Behavior is Learned Within a Cultural System
• Do mass media create social
norms or merely reflect
them? Culture is like two
mirrors facing each other: It
simultaneously reflects and
creates the world we live in.
Reflection Theory
• Reflection theory states that culture is a projection of
social structures and relationships into the public
• A Marxist version of reflection theory argues that
cultural objects reflect the material labor and
production relationships that went into making them.
What Are Media?
• Media are any formats or vehicles that carry, present,
or communicate information—including books,
posters, web pages, clay tablets, and radio.
• The term mass media refers to any form of media that
reaches the mass of the people.
• Hegemony refers to the impact of media on culture
and how people and societies shape, and are shaped
by, the dominant culture.
The Media Life Cycle
• Media studies open paths of investigation,
including the following:
– Textual analysis and audience studies
– How people create media and the biases involved in that
– How media reflect the culture in which they exist
– How individuals and groups use the media to change
Media Effects
• Media effects can be placed into four categories
according to their duration and intention:

Short-term and deliberate
Long-term and deliberate
Short-term and unintentional
Long-term and unintentional
Where Do Stereotypes Come
• Intentionally or unintentionally, and subtly or
overtly, the media can create or reinforce ethnic,
racial, gender, religious, and other stereotypes.
Political Economy of the Media
• Media ownership in the United States is in the
hands of six companies.
• Those companies affect the information and
messages communicated to the public.
Political Economy of the Media
• The media, especially advertisements, play a large
role in the maintenance of consumerism: the
belief that happiness and fulfillment can be
achieved through the acquisition of material
Political Economy of the Media
• The globalization of the media has spread
American culture around the world. This “soft
power” has effects on culture, values, and ideas
about the behavior of others, and it has
experienced a drop in popularity recently because
of some American foreign policies.
Political Economy of the Media
• Culture jamming is
one example of ways
to subvert the power
of media.

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