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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 11
CULTURE (continued)
Culture by social class
Cultural diversity can involve social class. In everyday life, we usually use the term "culture" to mean art
forms such as classical literature, music, dance, and painting. We describe people who regularly go to the
theater as "cultured," because we think they appreciate the "finer things in life." We speak less generously
of ordinary people, assuming that everyday culture is somehow less worthy. Such judgments imply that
many cultural patterns are readily accessible to only some members of society. This is how particular
cultural patterns are associated with certain classes.  We can further stretch the argument to other
components of culture for finding variations in different classes.
People often divide society in different social classes and find that each class represents differences in their
norms, values, beliefs, attitudes, and thinking.  These norms, values, and attitudes may relate to the
institutions of marriage and family, religion, education, earning a living, or their political behavior, one could
find the differences. In this perspective culture is often divided into as:
High culture: Cultural patterns that distinguish a society's elite.
Popular culture: Cultural patterns those are widespread among a society's population.
Culture of poverty: Cultural patterns shared by the poor.
Sub-Culture
Cultural patterns that set apart some segments of a society's population. Cluster of patterns which both are
related to the general culture of the society yet distinguishable from it. The example could be: student sub-
culture, business sub-culture.
Multiculturalism
A policy followed by some governments whereby they recognize cultural diversity in the society and
promote the equality of all cultural traditions. Canadian government is following such a policy.
Counter-Culture
It is a subculture, which is in active opposition to the dominant culture. Cultural patterns that strongly
oppose widely accepted patterns within a society. Example could be of hippies, and drug users.
Cultural change
Cultural change is the process of alteration of culture over time. Any difference in a particular pattern
between two points in time may be called cultural change. This may be a change in the family pattern,
which is changing from `joint family system' to a `nuclear family system' in Pakistani society.
Cultural Lag
All parts (elements) of culture do not change at the same rate; some of them change faster than the other.
For example material culture may change faster than the non-material culture. We often see it is difficult to
change the habits quickly.
The different rate of change in the two integrated elements of culture can result in one element lagging
behind the other. William F. Ogburn called this gap between the two parts of culture as `cultural lag'. Such
a cultural lag usually disrupts the system. For example we see so many automobiles on the road. There is
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
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an increase in their speed as well. There is a sharp increase in mobility. Let us look at another related
aspect; these automobiles need a similar change in the quality of roads, which has not changed accordingly
or you can say that it has lagged behind. Resultantly there is a lot of disruption leading to traffic jams,
accidents, and pollution. You can also look at the `traffic sense' among the public, be they the drivers, the
passengers, the cyclists, or the pedestrians. This lag between the increase in automobiles and the inculcation
of traffic sense in public also creates disruption in the system.
Causes of cultural change
Three factors bring change in the culture of a society. These are:
Inventions: The process of creating new cultural elements out of the existing elements. Since the modern
man has a comparatively richer reservoir of cultural elements at his disposal, therefore he creates more
inventions than the man in the olden times. The modern man does not have to reinvent the wheel; he has
to use this wheel, improve upon it and bring something new.
Discovery: It is the process of finding that already exists.
Diffusion: It means the spread of cultural traits from one society to another. It is the borrowing of culture
by one group from another. For purposes of diffusion contact between the two groups or societies is
necessary. In the olden times, due to the lack development of means of transportation and communication,
contact between different societies was limited. Therefore the diffusion was also limited. Whatever the
diffusion took place it was more a result of physical contact. But in the modern times there is a revolution
in the means of transportation and communication. Presently people don't have to be in physical contact
with other societies for knowing about each other's culture and for borrowing from each other. With the
help of electronic media people get exposure to other cultures and may like to borrow their cultural traits.
With the facilitation of diffusion process cultural change is quite rapid now days.
Ethnocentrism
The practice of judging other's culture by the standards of one's own culture. People consider their own
culture as superior to others and apply their standards for evaluating the patterns of behavior of others.
The whole judgment is centered on one's own culture.
Xeno-centrism
Considering other's culture as superior to one's own.
Cultural relativism
The practice of judging a culture by its own standards; a particular pattern of behavior is right or wrong as it
is declared by the people who follow it. Since those people are follow a particular practice, supposedly it
might be serving some useful function in that society. Nevertheless, the same practice may be useful for
one group and may be harmful for the other in the same society.
A global culture
Today, more than ever before, we can observe many of the same cultural practices being followed the world
over. We find people wearing jeans, hear the familiar music, and see advertising for many of the same
products in different countries. People learn some international language for purposes of communication.
Are we moving toward the single global culture?
Societies now have more contact with one another than ever before, involving the flow of goods,
information, and people. We are globally connected through:
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
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 The global economy: the flow of goods.
 Global communication: the flow of information.
 Global migration: the flow of people.
These global links make the cultures of the world more similar. But there are three limitations to the global
culture thesis. First, the global flow of goods, information, and people is uneven. Generally speaking,
urban areas have stronger ties to one another, while many rural villages remain isolated. Then the greater
economic and military power of the Western society means that this society influences the rest of the world
more than happens the other way around. Second, the global culture thesis assumes that people everywhere
are able to afford various new goods and services. That is not so as the poor countries cannot afford it.
Third, although many cultural practices are now found throughout the world, people everywhere do not
attach the same meaning to them. People have to interpret the other's cultural practices from their own
perspective.
Culture and Human Freedom
Culture may put all kinds of constraints on the behavior of people and at the same time there is the
freedom, which may be provided by the same culture.
Culture as constraint: Cannot live without culture therefore we have to accept it. We are the prisoners of
culture.
Culture as freedom: Culture provides the opportunity to make and remake our world.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity