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Culture

Monday, September 19, 2011

McIntyres Denition of Culture


Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected) ideas [beliefs] and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditioning elements of further action.
(from Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952)
Monday, September 19, 2011

Whats important in the denition?


Patterns of behavior? Symbols? Ideas, beliefs, values? Yes, these are all important, but most of all remember: culture is not only a product of human action, but also conditions human action
Monday, September 19, 2011

So what is included in culture?


Unfortunately, almost everything: What we say, write, do, act, make, destroy, believe, ... Thats why were like sh in water when it comes to culture. But sometimes we get a grasp on it when we see how it differs across societies For example, what happened in 1492?
Monday, September 19, 2011

What is culture again?


At a formal dinner party, begin eating with the fork that is furthest from the plate. Do not pick your nose in public. Eat jello with a spoon, not your ngers. Do not sneeze on someone elses hamburger. The highest position in the Hells Angels National Organization is President. =3.1416 An opera is a drama set to music in which the words are sung Ring around the Rosie, pocket full of posies, Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down!
Monday, September 19, 2011

Culture as way of life


The culture of a group or class, is the peculiar or distinctive way of life of the group or class, the meanings, values and ideas embodied in institutions, in social relations, in systems of belief, in mores and customs, in the uses of objects and material life. Culture is the distinctive shapes in which this material and social organization of life expresses itself. A culture includes the maps of meaning which make things intelligible to its members. These maps of meaning are not simply carried around in the head: they are objectivated in the patters of social organization and relationship through which the individual becomes a social individual. Culture is the way the social relations of a group are structured and shaped; but it is also the way those shapes are experienced, understood, and integrated.
from J. Clark, S. Hall, T. Jefferson and B. Roberts. 1976. Subcultures, Cultures and Class, in S. Hall and T. Jefferson (eds.), Resistance through Rituals.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Material and Nonmaterial Culture


Material culture = hardware Artifacts embedded in which are expressions of non material culture (e.g., what we value, our beliefs, who we are); which object are you? Nonmaterial culture = software language, symbols, language, norms, values and beliefs that shape the way we interact with the world around us, including our material culture
Monday, September 19, 2011

Some denitions
Symbolanything that stands in for something else; especially something that holds a shared, arbitrarily assigned meaning Normsrules for behavior (folkways, mores, taboos) Sanctions (positive/negative, informal/formal) Beliefsideas or statements about what is real Valuesgoals for behavior expressed by ranking types of behavior in terms of their relative desirability (ideas about what is good and desirable)
Monday, September 19, 2011

Language
Language is based on the use of symbols and is an important part of culture for the following reasons: it organizes the way we think and how we conceive of events and things in our environment; it allows human experience to be cumulative, thus freeing us from the present; it allows shared perspectives and understandings; it allows complex, shared, goal-directed behavior; it helps to identify who people are and where they are positioned in society.

Monday, September 19, 2011

More denitions
social institutiona set of ideas, that becomes embedded through practice, about the way a particular social need should be met (or how something should be done) Cultural diffusionthe movement of cultural elements from one society to another Cultural levelingthe homogenization of culture across multiple societies

Monday, September 19, 2011

Culture as product and shaper of action


The paradox is that man is capable of producing a world that he then experiences as something other than a human product.
from P. Berger and T. Luckmann. 1967. The Social Construction of Reality.

It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. ~Karl Marx

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Culture Quandary...
If specic elements of culture evolved over time to help solve problems societies face in creating structure and maintaining order, then what problem does Lady Gaga help solve? What is pop culture and why does it exist?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Intro to Pop Culture


High and low culture are distinguished on the basis of preferences that are associated with differences in social class, education, and other variables within the community. Cultural capital helps recreate the social class structure a process called social reproduction as seen in this clip from The Wire.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Intro to Pop Culture (cont.)


Pop culture alludes to a form of culture that makes little, if any, such categorical distinctions between high and low. Pop culture grew out of several overlapping trends: industrial revolution, mass produced goods, more leisure time, more expendable income. Where does Capitalism t into this?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pop Culture stands apart from other culture because it...


is by the people and for the people rejects the supremacy of tradition, past cultural practices, and pretensions of intellectualist tendencies inherent in contemporary traditional culture is populist, popular and public

Monday, September 19, 2011