2019_FlipBook_Croteau_Experience Sociology_4e

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C r i t i c a l T h i n k i n g : Q u e s t i o n s a n d A c t i v i t i e s 1. Why is "culture" a core concept in sociology? How can the concept of culture help us understand social life? 2. Why do changes in today's world make it especially important to understand the concept of culture? 3. Imagine that, because of your sociological training, you have been chosen to select the items to be included in a time cap- sule for your community that will be opened 100 years from now. Assuming the time capsule is about the size of a large suitcase, what cultural artifacts would you choose to represent your "way of life"? Explain why you believe these items are the most important. 4. Suppose you live in a foreign country and know little about the United States. Watch an hour of prime-time television and take careful notes about what you have learned about U.S. society. Were the media images you saw an accurate represen- tation of U.S. society? Why or why not? What lessons about the United States might the export of such cultural products be teaching people in other societies? Ke y Te r m s behaviors (p. 61) the actions associated with a group that help reproduce a distinct way of life. beliefs (p. 55) the specific convictions or opinions that people generally accept as being true. counterculture (p. 64) a subculture that champions values and lifestyles distinctly opposed to those of the dominant culture. cultural lag (p. 57) the ways that new technological developments often outpace the norms that govern our collective experiences with these new technologies. cultural object (p. 61) a physical item that is created by and associ- ated with people who share a culture. cultural relativism (p. 69) the practice of understanding a culture by its own standards. culture (p. 52) the collection of values, beliefs, knowledge, norms, language, behaviors, and material objects shared by a people and socially transmitted from generation to generation. culture shock (p. 56) the experience of being disoriented because of a lack of knowledge about an unfamiliar social situation. culture war (p. 55) an intense disagreement about core values and moral positions. dialect (p. 59) a variant of a language with its own distinctive accent, vocabulary, and in some cases grammatical characteristics. dominant culture (p. 63) a culture that permeates a society and that represents the ideas and practices of those in positions of power. dominant ideology (p. 62) a widely held and regularly reinforced set of assumptions that generally support the current social system and serve the interests of authorities. ethnocentrism (p. 69) the judging of other cultures by the standards of one's own on the assumption that one's own is superior. folkways (p. 58) group habits or customs that are common in a given culture. high culture (p. 65) cultural forms associated with—and especially valued by—elites. ideal culture (p. 61) what the members of a culture report to be their values, beliefs, and norms. ideology (p. 62) a system of meaning that helps define and explain the world and that makes value judgments about that world. knowledge (cultural) (p. 56) the range of information, awareness, and understanding that helps us navigate our world. language (p. 59) an elaborate system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another in complex ways. material culture (p. 52) the physical objects produced by people in a particular culture, including tools, clothing, toys, works of art, and housing. mores (p. 58) norms that are strictly enforced, with potentially severe penalties for violating them. multiculturalism (p. 66) the recognition, valuing, and protection of the distinct cultures that make up a society. nonmaterial culture (p. 52) the ideas of a culture, including values and beliefs, accumulated knowledge about how to understand and navigate the world, and standards or "norms" about appro- priate behavior. norms (p. 56) a culture's rules and expectations for "appropriate" behavior. popular culture (p. 65) cultural forms that are widespread and commonly embraced within a society. real culture (p. 61) what members of a culture actually do, which may or may not reflect the ideal. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (p. 59) the idea that because of their differ- ent cultural content and structure, languages affect how their speakers think and behave. society (p. 52) a group of people who live together in a specific territory and share a culture. subculture (p. 63) a culture associated with a smaller group in soci- ety that has distinct norms, values, and lifestyles setting it apart from the dominant culture. symbol (p. 58) anything—a sound, a gesture, an image, an object— that represents something else. taboos (p. 58) norms with the most severe prohibition or restriction. value (p. 53) a deeply held principle or standard that people use to make judgments about the world, especially in deciding what is desirable or worthwhile. xenophobia (p. 69) an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or people from other cultures. 75 Review, Reflect, and Apply

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