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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 9
CULTURE
Culture is people's way of life. It is their pattern of behavior, which has been created by human beings.
Culture includes: Intangible (non-material) items like values, beliefs, norms, language, and ideas (ideologies:
perception of reality) that govern the way of life. The way we play our roles.
+ Tangible things ­ material objects. Human beings have created this way of life, which includes both
material and non-material objects.  Hence some Anthropologists call it as man- made part of the
environment. Culture is the patterns of behavior and the products of the patterns of behavior
Do non-humans have a culture?
Non-humans guided by instincts. They have a biological programming. Humans guided by culture, which
may be called as social programming. Culture is learned, shared, transmitted, and it is changing.
Some specific features of culture:
Universality: Culture is universal. There is no society without culture. As part of the cultures
there are many aspects that are found in almost all the societies. For example the institutions like
marriage and family, religion, education, polity, economy, and sports are found all over the world.
Societies have developed values, norms, beliefs, and other patterns of behavior that govern the
system of marriage and family. One could find such a pattern all over the world, and the same is
applicable to religion, education, political behavior, economic behavior, and so on.
Variability: There is variability in the universals of culture. By looking at the institution of
marriage and family one could see so much of variation in it within Pakistan, notwithstanding the
differences in other societies.  The arranged marriages, love marriages, exchange marriages,
marriages by purchase, marriages within as well as outside the kin network, are all variations that are
found in Pakistan. Then one could see the differences in wedding ceremonies all over the country.
Joint families and nuclear families, single earner families and dual earner families, patriarchal
families and egalitarian families, patrilocal families and matrilocal families are some other aspects
reflecting the variability of family in Pakistani society. Similarly one comes across variations in
religion all over the world. Kingship, dictatorship, democracy, parliamentary form of democracy or
presidential form, adult franchise or selective voting rights, voter age are all variations in the
political systems followed by different nations. Economic systems also vary from the extremes of
socialism and capitalism to any variation on the scale.
Learned: Culture is learned through the process of interaction with others. It is not inherited
through the biological process. We learn to talk, to walk, and to act as our elders train us. Nature
has given us the potential to talk but we speak variety of languages, which are all created by human
beings and there is so much of variation within as well as outside Pakistan. Also human being have
the capacity to learn a variety of languages. Similarly other ways of life, which is culture, are
learned.
Shared: Culture is not the property of one individual or of a group. It is shared with other
members of society. You are sharing T V transmission with others, sharing a classroom with
others, sharing the road with others, and sharing the knowledge with others. You are sharing
culture with others because you are a social being.
Transmitted: Culture does not end with the death of a person or a group. During its lifetime that
individual or group tries to pass on its culture to the future generation. This is how every new crop
of babies does not start from a scratch rather they build on what they have already received. That
is how culture grows and that is how our culture becomes richer ad richer.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
 Changing: Culture is continuously changing. The patterns of behavior transmitted by one
generation to another are continuously in the process of modification for catering to the changing
needs of time and demands of people. New technologies are developed and are borrowed from
other groups and societies. With the increase in the contact between different societies the cultures
are changing very fast and may be moving toward some kind of global culture.
Three similar terms: Culture, Nation, and Society
Culture: Shared way of life.
Nation: A political entity within designated borders.
Society: The organized interaction of people in a nation or within some other boundary.
Pakistan: nation and society, but may have many cultures.
Multicultural: Includes various ways of life that blend together.
Components of Culture
Symbols: Anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture. Whistle,
flashing light, thumbs up are all symbols.
Human beings have the capacity to create symbols with different meanings associated with each. These
symbols are used as means of communication and thereby become part of our language.
Even the buildings, dress, the flag, and a type of color may be taken as symbols indicating some aspect of
human behavior as well as society's outlook. Red, green, white, blue, pink, each of the colors stands for
something in the society. Blue jeans are quite commonly used in Pakistan. Can you find out that these are
symbol of what?
Language: System of symbols that allows members of a society to communicate with one another.
Symbols may be oral and these could be written words. We have oral cultural traditions. Human beings
have developed different alphabet as part of written language.  Language is the major means of cultural
transmission. Is language uniquely human?
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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