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Prayer

Let’s bow our heads and feel the presence of God


CHAPTER III
Defining Society and Culture from the perspective
of Sociology and Anthropology
CONTENTS:

SECTION I: Doing Sociology and Anthropology


1. Society as a group of people sharing a Common Culture

SECTION II: The Dynamics of Culture


2. What is Culture?
3. Culture Universals and Particulars
4. Material and Non-Material Culture
5. Cultural Diversity
6. Subculture and Counterculture
7. Culture Shock
8. Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism

SECTION III: Culture as a Complex Whole


9. Elements of Culture: beliefs, symbols, language, values, norms, and law
10. Aspects of Culture
11. Society and Culture
12. Culture and Individual Freedom
13. Globalization
OBJECTIVES”

The learners:

Explain anthropological and sociological perspectives on culture and


society;
Describe society and culture as a complex whole;
Identity aspects of culture and society;
Raise question toward a holistic appreciation of cultures and societies;
Become aware of why and how cultural relativism mitigates
ethnocentrism; and
Identify forms of tangible and intangible heritage and the threats to
these.
SECTION I:
Doing Sociology and
Anthropology
We have discussed in the previous chapters about how sociologists
see and study human societies. From the primordial state of the
hominids to the advanced species of the Homos, cultural evolution
can be traced. The ancestors of man traversed the stone-age which
lasted for several million years. After the Neolithic period, agriculture
and domestication of food has been discovered. This becomes a
major driving force for man to build civilization is which rested on
societies. The society has been developed because of domestication
of food. People abandoned their nomadic way of life in exchange for a
communal way of life which the society is the ultimate end. Being
social is a characteristic of many animals.
ANTHROPOLOGY
Sociology and Anthropology involve the systematic study of social
life and culture in order to understand the causes and consequences
of human action. Sociologists and anthropologists study the
structure and processes of traditional cultures and modern, industrial
societies in both Western and non-Western cultures.

Sociology and Anthropology are social science disciplines that


focus on studying the behavior of humans within their societies. ...
The key difference between the two social sciences is
that sociology concentrates on society while anthropology focuses
on culture.
They utilize the efficiency of being in a group in order to survive.
Being inside a group of animals that have same techniques and
goals for survival provides many advantages.

There is however one animal that can fully utilize a social life. That
animal is called MAN.
Man is naturally a social animal. This is probably because of his
great intellect. Logic will tell us that the surest way to stay alive in a
harsh environment is to be inside a group of other men who share
the same goal that is to live a good life and continue surviving.

Understanding the society should not be limited to people who


are professionally practicing sociology and anthropology. Doing
sociology and anthropology is a task of all individuals living under the
protection of the society. No one is exempted from doing these two
fields.
Society as a Group of People Sharing a Common Culture

At this juncture it would be he helpful to once again define the


society; the society is a group or community of people usually living in
one geographical location and this group of people practice social life
which includes culture. The society is a place where human beings
live together and share their lives with each other through intricate
social interconnections. People living inside the society practice
social life through sharing a kind of culture peculiar to it. However,
this does not necessary mea that there is uniformity of culture inside
the society. It has to be noted that the framework of the society is
composed not merely of one culture but also of mixture of cultures as
well.
SECTION II:

The Dynamics of Culture


Culture can be basically characterized as the people’s way of life
which is shared by other people living in a certain cultural region.

Multiculturalism is a kind of cultural environment where many


different cultures are interacting inside a particular social sphere.

Culture can be defined as the values, behavior and material objects


that together form a people’s way of life (Macionis 2007). Culture
encompasses a broad spectrum of an individual’s social and
personal life.
Cultural Universals and Particulars

Cultural way of life has been practiced by all people in all parts of the world.
There could be differences and similarities among the various cultures of the
world. It was the anthropologist George Murdock in 1945 who distinguished
between cultural universals and cultural particulars. Cultural universals are
the things that all cultures have such as the need for interaction, utilization
of resources and leadership.

A certain aspect of culture could be particular to a specific cultural


community. This kind of culture is called cultural particulars these are the
specific practices that distinguished cultures from one another (Ferrante
2014). Cultural Universals are the things that are shared by all men however
the way of expressing these generic cultures have many variations called
cultural particulars.
Material and Non-Material Culture

Culture can be classified into material and non-material culture.

Material cultures are those physical or materials things that people


create which reflects their different cultural orientations. Material culture
also plays a significant role in the study of cultural past because
material things are the only physical remains which can be studied by
sociologist and anthropologists.

Non-material culture is intangible human creations which does not


exist in the material world but can be transcended through the human
intellect and human actions.
Cultural diversity

According to the sociologist Joan Ferrante in her book “ Seeing


Sociology, an Introduction” , “sociologist use the term cultural diversity
to capture the cultural variety that exists among people who share
some physical or virtual space. That space may be as large as the
planet or as small as a household” (2014).

Diversity can be found from varying cultures located at different


geographical setting however cultural diversity exist even in a particular
place among people who shares the same virtual space.

Cultural capital generally includes all the material and non-material


culture that a person has access to which could be useful or not in a
certain social environment.
3 Types of Cultural Capital
Objectified Cultural Capital – This refers to all material and non-
material culture that a person has or has a direct access to.
Objectified cultural culture also has a pecuniary value and as well as
symbolic meaning that people impute to them.

Embodied Cultural Capital – Refers to all kinds of material and non-


material object that have been internalized by the people in a
conscious or unconscious manner. Embodied cultural capital is
learned by man through the process of socialization.

Institutionalized Cultural Capital – This cultural capital consists of


all material and non-material culture that everyone considers as
desirable in a given social setting which is important to one’s
success.
Subculture and Counterculture

Not everyone could be influenced by the mainstream culture which


influences the society in general. Some people will be under the
influence of mainstream culture and some will be under a subculture
that resides inside the mainstream culture. Subculture shares some
parts of the mainstream cultural tradition but differs in it at some points.
Subculture has its own cultural anchors such as values, norms traditions
and symbols.

Since there are subcultures inside the mainstream culture, these


subcultures can be developing into a kind of resentment towards the
mainstream culture. This resentment or contradiction is called
COUNTER CULTURE. Counterculture refers to the kind of subculture
that goes against the mainstream culture.
Culture Shock

Culture shock is that feeling of unusual uneasiness and mental


stress because of an experience of another culture which is
contrary to one’s home culture.

People can also experience culture shock when they return to


their home culture. This s called reentry shock. It happens when
people lived a great deal of time in a foreign culture.
Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism

People tend to be prejudiced regarding their point of view of other


cultures. This form of unconscious bias was shaped by the home
culture of individuals. Thus the concept of ethnocentrism was born.
ETHNOCENTRISM is a point of view in which people use their home
culture as the standard for judging the worth of another culture
(Ferrante 2014).

Some people who see other culture as superior to their own is called
REVERSE ETHNOCENTRISM.
ETHNOCENTRISM

is the act of judging another culture based on preconceptions that


are found in values and standards of one's own culture.
Ethnocentric behavior involves judging other groups relative to the
preconceptions of one's own ethnic group or culture, especially
regarding language, behavior, customs, and religion. These
aspects or categories are distinctions that define each ethnicity's
unique cultural identity.

CULTURAL RELATIVISM

Cultural relativism is the idea that a person's beliefs, values, and


practices should be understood based on that person's
own culture, rather than be judged against the criteria of another.
Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are similar in that they
are both practices that try to understand and explain the beliefs
and behaviors of other cultures.

...Ethnocentrism on the other hand involves the subjective


analysis of another culture based on the standards of one's
own culture.
Ethnocentrism or reverse ethnocentrism is considered as a taboo n
the field of anthropology and sociology. Cultural relativism is a point
of view that sees all cultures to be equal with each other.

There is no such thing as superior or interior culture. A culture must


always be evaluated using its own context and not the context of
other cultures.
SECTION III:

Culture as Complex Whole


Culture as what was discussed in the above discussions should
be thought of as a complex whole that encompasses many
aspects in social life. In this section we will try to examine the
complexities of cultural through the discussion of the elements of
culture and the aspects of culture.

Elements of Culture
Culture may vary from different social environments. However
culture has elements or components that are non-material in
nature which are the same for all cultures. These are beliefs,
symbols, language, values, norms and law.
Beliefs
guided by a particular perspective
the conceptions and ideas of man regarding his environment
which was shaped by religions, traditions, folkways, law and even
science and technology.
Symbols
can be defined as anything that has meaning and represents something
else

Letters are symbols used for sounds that when used altogether form
words.
Words are also symbols which represents an object or a meaning.
A flag represents a country and can stimulate a feeling of patriotism.
Symbols in different culture may also tend to vary depending on the
cultural context of a particular social environment
Language

refers to a set of symbols that expresses ideas and concepts which


enables people to formulate thoughts and communicate with one
another (Kendall2013). Manifestation of the use of symbols also a
form of symbolismcan be verbal or non-verbal

Verbal language refers to spoken language.

Non-verbal language refers to a means of communication which


does not use a spoken language.
Norms

 serve as a more concrete set of rules and standards to be


observed by man in his cultural setting.
 could be in the form of folkways, mores and laws.

Folkways and mores are considered to be informal norms while


laws are considered to be formal norms.

Informal norms- rules and standard that people observe but will
little punitive consequence once violated.

Formal norms- rules or standards that warrant strict compliance


because interactions will be dealt with a punitive consequence.
Folkways are considered to be lighter than mores.

Folkways are informal norms which people do not seriously comply


with because it is not vital for the survival of the society.

Mores on the other hand has more serious consequences compared


to folkways because it concerns ethical standards.

Law is considered to be rules of conduct or action which is binding to


man and if transgressed is punishable has a compelling force
because of its punitive nature.
Law

can be define as rule or policy that governs the conduct of men


which is mostly enacted by a sovereign power of authorized
legislature.
1. Enumerate the Filipino
values that you know?

2. Which of these values can


you still see today?
ASPECT OF CULTURES
Culture has characteristics which can be generally seen in all
cultures of the world.

Culture is Learned

Culture can be learned by everyone who will be under the influence


of such culture. An example of this characteristic would be a child
born in the Philippines and reared in the Philippine culture context.
That child is expected to grow up according to the customs and
traditions of the Filipino nation.
Culture is Shared
One should take note that culture cannot be acquired automatically.
There must be someone who will teach or share his knowledge of culture
to other individuals so that others can learn it. An example of this would
be when a parent shows by example how a decent man should act is
learned by his son.

Culture is Cumulative
Human experiences and the knowledge and understanding gained from
such experiences shape how people will think and act in a social
environment. In effect, experiences which accumulated from the past to
the present the base for cultural behavior. A very good example of this
can be illustrated in the history of the Filipino people.
Culture is Dynamic
Culture is always on the move. It is never stagnant. It constantly
changes as new social experiences accumulate and shape how
people will respond to a social life. An example would be, before
courtships always take place inside the house of a lady with her
parents around but today courtships takes many forms through the
use of cell phones and social media.

Culture is Diverse
The world is composed of many different cultures. It is apparently
observable that a particular culture has many differences compared to
other cultures. An example of these can be seen from the difference
between western and eastern traditions.
Culture is Integrated
There could be many different cultures. Despite this countless
variations, a particular culture could be integrated to another culture.
One culture could be fused to another culture creating a hybrid
culture.

An example of this will be the many cultural traditions in the


Philippines such as the Ilocano, Tagalog, Visayan, etc. These
different cultures could be somehow harmonized into one Filipino
culture.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT...
The Concept of Sociological Imagination
C. Wright Mills (1963) stated that Sociological Imagination is a
kind of perspective that allows individuals to see their lives as a
product of the various social forces.

A biography consists of all the life experiences of an individual


from birth till his death. Sociological imagination us a kind of way of
thinking that sees one's life as a life that is related to everything that
happens in space in time including the context of one's historical
background.

Troubles are defined as individual problems that plague the


individual himself.
Society and Culture

We have also learned that culture is also inherent to man because it


is a natural consequences of human intelligence. Since human beings
live inside the society, culture also becomes an inescapable variable
that needs to be considered in assessing human societies.

An example of how culture affects the direction of the society is the


religiosity of the Filipino people.
Culture and Individual Freedom

According to Dewey, human nature is the result of many forces, many


of which are culturally determined. Attempts have been made to
explain human behavior as being primarily motivated by love
of freedom, or by pursuit of self-interest, or by the pursuit of power, or
being primarily determined by economic conditions.
What does CULTURAL FREEDOM means?

Cultural Freedom Prize.


As defined by the foundation, cultural freedom is the right of
individuals and communities to define and protect valued and
diverse ways of life currently threatened by globalization.
Culture
is an entity. It is created by humans who share a common
ethnicity (sometimes), land, language, ideas, etc.

Individual Freedom
is a term or idea, depending on how you look at it, relating to the
ability of the individual to do what it wants.
Globalization

It describes the way countries and people of the world interact and
integrate. Many things have become globalized as people come into
contact. Economic globalization is how countries are coming
together as one big global economy, making international trade easier.

Concept of Globalization

Globalization refers to the process of the intensification of economic,


political, social and cultural relations across international boundaries.
It is principally aimed at the transcendental homogenization of political
and socio-economic theory across the globe. globalization concept,
causes, and consequences.
Top 7 major types of Globalization:

• Financial globalization.
• Economic Globalization.
• Technological Globalization.
• Political Globalization.
• Cultural Globalization.
• Ecological Globalization.
• Sociological Globalization.
Financial globalization

Interconnection of the world’s financial systems e.g. stock markets


More of a connection between large cities than of nations
Example: What happens in Asian markets affects the North American
markets.

Economic Globalization

A worldwide economic system that permits easy movement of goods,


production, capital, and resources (free trade facilitates this)
Example: NAFTA, EU, Multinational corporations
Technological Globalization

Connection between nations through technology such as television,


radio, telephones, internet, etc.
Was traditionally available only to the rich but is now far more
available to the poor. Much less infrastructure is needed now.

Political Globalization
countries are attempting to adopt similar political policies and styles
of government in order to facilitate other forms of globalization
e.g. move to secular governments, free trade agreements, etc
Cultural Globalization

Merging or “watering down” of the world’s cultures e.g. food,


entertainment, language, etc.
Heavily criticized as destructive of local culture
e.g. The Simpsons is shown in over 200 countries in the world.

Ecological Globalization

seeing the Earth as a single ecosystem rather than a collection


of separate ecological systems because so many problems are
global in nature
e.g. International treaties to deal with environmental issues like
biodiversity, climate change or the ozone layer, wildlife reserves
that span several countries
Sociological Globalization

A growing belief that we are all global citizens and should all
be held to the same standards – and have the same rights
e.g. the growing international ideas that capital punishment is
immoral and that women should have all the same rights as
men.
CULTURE- can be defined as the values, behavior and material objects that together
form a people’s way of life.

MULTICULTURALISM- kind of cultural environment where many different cultures


are interacting inside a particular social sphere.

CULTURAL UNIVERSALS- are the things that all cultures have such as the need for
interaction, utilization of resources and leadership.

CULTURAL PARTICULARS- are the specific practices that distinguished cultures


from one another.

MATERIAL CULTURES- are those physical or materials things that people create
which reflects their different cultural orientations.

NON-MATERIAL CULTURES- is intangible human creations which does not exist in


the material world but can be transcended through the human intellect and human
actions.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY- refers to the capture of the cultural variety that
exists among people who share some physical or virtual space.

CULTURAL CAPITAL- generally includes all the material and non-


material culture that a person has access to which could be useful or
not in a certain social environment.

OBJECTIFIED CULTURAL CAPITAL- refers to all material and non-


material culture that a person has or has a direct access to.

EMBODIED CULTURAL CAPITAL- refers to all kinds of material and


non-material object that have been internalized by the people in a
conscious or unconscious manner.
INSTITUTIONALIZED CULTURAL CAPITAL- consists of all
material and non-material culture that everyone considers as
desirable in a given social setting which is important to one’s
success.

MAINSTREAM CULTURE- is the culture which influences the


society in general.

SUBCULTURE- shares some parts of the mainstream cultural


tradition but differs in it at some points. Subculture has its own
cultural anchors such as values, norms traditions and symbols.

COUNTERCULTURE- refers to the kind of subculture that goes


against the mainstream culture.
ETHNOCENTRISM- is a point of view in which people use their home
culture as the standard for judging the worth of another culture.

REVERSE ETHNOCENTRISM- sees other culture as superior to their


own.

CULTURAL RELATIVISM- is a point of view that sees all cultures to


be equal with each other. There is no such thing as superior or interior
culture.

CULTURE SHOCK- is that feeling of unusual uneasiness and mental


stress because of an experience of another culture which is contrary to
one’s home culture.

REENTRY SHOCK- happens when people experience culture shock


when he returns to his home culture.
BELIEFS- guided by a particular perspective

SYMBOL- can be defined as anything that has meaning and represents something else

LANGUAGE- refers to a set of symbols that expresses ideas and concepts which enables
people to formulate thoughts and communicate with one another

VERBAL LANGUAGE-refers to spoken language.

NON-VERBAL LANGUAGE- refers to a means of communication which does not use a


spoken language.

VALUES- a sum of all ideas and concepts that is considered by a particular culture to be
good, desirable and correct conduct in day-to-day lives.

NORMS- serve as a more concrete set of rules and standards to be observed by man in his
cultural setting.

INFORMAL NORMS-rules and standard that people observe but will little punitive
consequence once violated.
FORMAL NORMS- rules or standards that warrant strict compliance because
interactions will be dealt with a punitive consequence.

FOLKWAYS-are informal norms which people do not seriously comply with


because it is not vital for the survival of the society.

MORES-on the other hand has more serious consequences compared to folkways
because it concerns ethical standards.

LAW- can be define as rule or policy that governs the conduct of men which is
mostly enacted by a sovereign power of authorized legislature.

FREEWILL- can be roughly defined as man’s capacity to determine his own


choices based from his the autonomy of his will.

GLOBALIZATION- refers to the ever-increasing flow of goods, services, money,


people, technology, information and other cultural items across political borders.