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5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 35. had never felt heat like this before This was blond 6 foot plus person around and the only one. I northern Africa and I wondered what it must be wearing jeans and a pullover shirt in a world of white. robed short people I stood out like a creature from an. like closer to the equator Sweat poured off me as the. temperature climbed soaring past 110 Fahrenheit other planet Everyone stared No matter where I went. As we were herded into the checkpoint which had they stared Wherever I looked I found brown eyes. no air conditioning hundreds of watching me intently Even star. people lunged toward the counter ing back at those many dark. at the rear of the structure With,I pushed my way brown eyes had no effect It was. body crushed against body we forward forcing my so different from home where if. waited as the uniformed officials frame into every square you caught someone staring at. behind the windows leisurely ex you that person would immedi. inch of vacant space that ately look embarrassed and. amined each passport At times, like this I wondered what I was I could create At the glance away. doing in Africa counter I shouted And lines The concept ap. When I first arrived in parently didn t even exist. in English, Morocco I found the sights that Buying a ticket for a bus or train. greeted me exotic not far re meant pushing and shoving to. moved from my memories of Casablanca Raiders of the ward the ticket man always a man no women were. Lost Ark and other movies that over the years had be. come part of my collective memory The men the,women and even the children really did wear those. white robes that reached down to their feet What was. especially striking was that the women were almost to. tally covered Despite the heat they wore not only,full length gowns but also head coverings that.
reached down over their foreheads and veils that cov. ered their faces from the nose down,All you could see were their eyes all the same. shade of brown And how short everyone was The Arab. women looked to be on average 5 feet and the men, only three or four inches taller As the only blue eyed. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 36. visible in any public position who took the money unruly Another fight had broken out And once again. from whichever outstretched hand he decided on the little man in uniform appeared shouting and knock. And germs That notion didn t seem to exist here ing people aside as he forced his way to a little wooden. either Flies swarmed over the food in the restaurants box nailed to the floor Climbing onto this makeshift. and over the unwrapped loaves of bread in the stores platform he shouted at the crowd his arms flailing. Shopkeepers would considerately shoo the flies away about him The people fell silent But just as soon as. before handing me a loaf They also offered home deliv the man left the shoving and shouting began again. ery I still remember watching a bread vendor deliver a amidst the clamor to get passports stamped. loaf to a woman who stood on a second floor balcony The situation had become unbearable His body. She first threw her money to the bread vendor and he pressed against mine the man behind me decided that. then threw the unwrapped bread up to her Only his this was a good time to take a nap Determining that I. throw was off The bread bounced off the wrought iron made a good support he placed his arm against my back. balcony railing and landed in the street which was and leaned his head against his arm Sweat streamed. filled with people wandering dogs and the ever down my back at the point where his arm and head. present defecating burros The vendor simply picked up touched me. the unwrapped loaf and threw it again This certainly Finally I realized that I had to abandon U S cus. wasn t his day for he missed again But he made it on toms I pushed my way forward forcing my frame into. his third attempt The woman smiled as she turned back every square inch of vacant space that I could create. into her apartment apparently to prepare the noon At the counter I shouted in English The official looked. meal for her family up at the sound of this strange tongue and I thrust my. Now standing in the oppressive heat on the long arms over the heads of three people shoving my. Moroccan Algerian border the crowd once again became passport into his hand. What Is Culture heard The material culture such things as jewelry art. buildings weapons machines and even eating utensils. What is culture The concept is some hairstyles and clothing provided a sharp contrast to. times easier to grasp by description than by definition For what I was used to seeing There is nothing inherently. example suppose you meet a young woman from India natural about material culture That is it is no more nat. who has just arrived in the United States That her culture ural or unnatural to wear gowns on the street than it is. is different from yours is immediately evident You first see to wear jeans. it in her clothing jewelry makeup and hairstyle Next you I also found myself immersed in a contrasting non. hear it in her speech It then becomes apparent by her ges material culture that is a group s ways of thinking its. tures Later you might hear her express unfamiliar beliefs beliefs values and other assumptions about the world. about the world or about what is valuable in life All of and doing its common patterns of behavior including. these characteristics are indicative of culture the lan language gestures and other forms of interaction North. guage beliefs values norms behaviors and even mate African assumptions about pushing others aside to buy a. rial objects that are passed from one generation to the next ticket and staring in public are examples of nonmaterial. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, In northern Africa I was surrounded by a culture quite culture So are U S assumptions about not doing either.
alien to my own It was evident in everything I saw and of these things Like material culture neither custom is. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 37. W H AT I S C U LT U R E 37, right People simply become comfortable with the cus on people to stare only surreptitiously to take precautions. toms they learn during childhood and as in the case of against invisible microbes or to stand in line in an orderly. my visit to northern Africa uncomfortable when their fashion one behind the other. basic assumptions about life are challenged As you can tell from the opening vignette I personally. found these different assumptions upsetting for they vi. olated my basic expectations of the way people ought to. Culture and Taken for Granted be although I did not even realize how firmly I held. Orientations to Life these expectations until they were so abruptly challenged. When my nonmaterial culture failed me when it no, To develop a sociological perspective it is essential to un. longer enabled me to make sense out of the world I ex. derstand how culture affects people s lives If we meet. perienced a disorientation known as culture shock In the. someone from a different culture the encounter may make. case of buying tickets the fact that I was several inches. us aware of culture s pervasive influence Attaining the. taller than most Moroccans and thus able to outreach al. same level of awareness regarding our own culture how. most everyone helped me adjust partially to their differ. ever is quite another matter Our speech our gestures our. ent ways of doing things But I never did get used to the. beliefs and our customs are usually taken for granted We. idea that pushing ahead of others was right and I al. assume that they are normal or natural and we almost. ways felt guilty when I used my size to receive preferen. always accept them without question As anthropologist. tial treatment,Ralph Linton 1936 remarked The last thing a fish. An important consequence of culture within us is eth. would ever notice would be water So also with people. nocentrism a tendency to use our own group s ways of. Except in unusual circumstances the effects of our own. doing things as the yardstick for judging others All of us. culture remain imperceptible to us, learn that the ways of our own group are good right.
Yet culture s significance is profound it touches almost. proper and even superior to other ways of life As sociol. every aspect of who and what we are We came into this. ogist William Sumner 1906 who developed this con, life without a language without values and morality. cept said One s own group is the center of everything. with no ideas about religion war money love use of. and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it. public space personal boundaries and so on We pos, Ethnocentrism has both positive and negative conse. sessed none of these fundamental orientations that we. quences On the positive side it creates in group loyalties. take for granted and that are so essential in determining. On the negative side ethnocentrism can lead to discrim. the type of people we become Yet by this point in our. ination against people whose ways differ from ours. lives we all have acquired them Sociologists call this. The many ways in which culture affects our lives fasci. culture within us These learned and shared ways of be. nate sociologists In this chapter we ll examine how pro. lieving and of doing another definition of culture pen. foundly culture affects everything we are This will serve. etrate our being at an early age and quickly become part. as a basis from which you can start to analyze your own. of our taken for granted assumptions about what normal. assumptions of reality I should give you a warning at this. behavior is Culture becomes the lens through which we per. point This can result in your gaining a different perspec. ceive and evaluate what is going on around us Seldom do. tive on social life and your role in it If so life will never. we question these assumptions for like water to a fish. look the same, the lens through which we view life remains largely be. yond our perception, The rare instances in which these assumptions are chal. IN SUM To avoid losing track of the ideas under dis. lenged however can be upsetting Although as a sociolo. cussion let s pause for a moment to summarize and in. gist I should be able to look at my own culture from the. some instances clarify the principles we have covered. outside my trip to Africa quickly revealed how fully I had. internalized my culture My upbringing in Western soci 1 There is nothing natural about material culture. ety had given me strong assumptions about aspects of so Arabs wear gowns on the street and feel that it is nat. cial life that had become deeply rooted in my being eye ural to do so Americans do the same with jeans. contact with strangers hygiene and the use of space But 2 There is nothing natural about nonmaterial cul. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, in this part of Africa these assumptions were useless in ture it is just as arbitrary to stand in line as to push.
helping me navigate everyday life No longer could I count and shove. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 38. 38 C H A P T E R 2 CULTURE, 3 Culture becomes a lens through which we see the cock fighting dog fighting bear dog fighting and so on. world and obtain our perception of reality have been gradually eliminated. 4 Culture provides implicit instructions that tell us what None of us can be entirely successful at practicing cul. we ought to do and how we ought to think it pro tural relativism Look at the Cultural Diversity box on the. vides a fundamental basis for our decision making next page My best guess is that you will evaluate these. 5 Culture also provides a moral imperative that is strange foods through the lens of your own culture. the culture that we internalize becomes the right Practicing cultural relativism however is an attempt to re. way of doing things I for example believed deeply focus that lens so we can appreciate other ways of life rather. that it was wrong to push and shove to get ahead of than simply asserting Our way is right As you view the. others photos on page 40 try to appreciate the cultural differ. 6 Coming into contact with a radically different cul ences in standards of beauty. ture challenges our basic assumptions about life I Although cultural relativism helps us to avoid cultural. experienced culture shock when I discovered that smugness this view has come under attack In a provoca. my deeply ingrained cultural ideas about hygiene tive book Sick Societies 1992 anthropologist Robert. and the use of personal space no longer applied Edgerton suggests that we develop a scale for evaluating. 7 Although the particulars of culture differ from one cultures based on their quality of life much as we do for. group of people to another culture itself is univer U S cities He also asks why we should consider cultures. sal That is all people have culture for a society can that practice female circumcision gang rape or wife beat. not exist without developing shared learned ways ing or cultures that sell little girls into prostitution as. of dealing with the challenges of life morally equivalent to those that do not Cultural values. 8 All people are ethnocentric which has both positive that result in exploitation he says are inferior to those that. and negative consequences enhance people s lives, Edgerton s sharp questions and incisive examples bring. us to a topic that comes up repeatedly in this text the dis. Practicing Cultural Relativism agreements that arise among scholars as they confront con. To counter our tendency to use our own culture as the trasting views of reality It is such questioning of assumptions. standard by which we judge other cultures we can prac that keeps sociology interesting. tice cultural relativism that is we can try to understand. a culture on its own terms Cultural relativism involves Many Americans perceive bullfighting which is illegal in the. United States as a cruel activity that should be abolished. looking at how the elements of a culture fit together with. everywhere To Spaniards and those who have inherited. out judging those elements as superior or inferior to one s Spanish culture however bullfighting is a beautiful artistic. own way of life sport in which matador and bull blend into a unifying image of. Because we tend to use our own culture as a standard power courage and glory Cultural relativism requires that we. for judging others cultural relativism presents a challenge suspend our own perspectives in order to grasp the. to ordinary thinking For example most U S citizens perspectives of others something that is much easier. appear to have strong feelings against raising bulls for described than attained. the purpose of stabbing them to death in front of,crowds that shout Ol According to cultural. relativism however bullfighting must be viewed,from the perspective of the culture in which it.
takes place its history its folklore its ideas of,bravery and its ideas of sex roles. You still may regard bullfighting as wrong of,course because U S culture so deeply ingrained. in us has no history of bullfighting We all,possess culturally specific ideas about cru. elty to animals convictions that have,ISBN 0 558 13856 X. evolved slowly and match other ele,ments of our culture Consequently.
practices that once were common, Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 39. COMPONENTS OF SYMBOLIC CULTURE 39,Cultural Diversity around the World. HERE IS A CHANCE to test your You Are What You Eat Maxine Kingston 1975 an. ethnocentrism and ability to prac English professor whose parents. tice cultural relativity You proba,An Exploration in grew up in China wrote. bly know that the French like to Cultural Relativity Do you know what people in the. eat snails and that in some Asian Nantou region of China eat when. cultures chubby dogs and cats are considered a they have the money my mother began They buy. delicacy Ah lightly browned with a little doggy into a monkey feast The eaters sit around a thick. sauce But did you know about this wood table with a hole in the middle Boys bring in. Marston Bates 1967 a zoologist reports the monkey at the end of a pole Its neck is in a col. lar at the end of the pole and it is screaming Its. I remember once in the llanos of Colombia shar hands are tied behind it They clamp the monkey. ing a dish of toasted ants at a re into the table the whole table fits like. mote farmhouse My host and I another collar around its neck Using a. fell into conversation about the gen surgeon s saw the cooks cut a clean. eral question of what people eat or line in a circle at the top of its head. do not eat and I remarked that in To loosen the bone they tap with a. my country people eat the legs of tiny hammer and wedge here and there. frogs with a silver pick Then an old woman, The very thought of this filled my reaches out her hand to the monkey s.
ant eating friends with horror it was face and up to its scalp where she. as though I had mentioned some re tufts some hairs and lifts off the lid of. pulsive sex habit the skull The eaters spoon out the. And then there is the experience,of the production coordinator of this. text Dusty Friedman who told me for your Consideration. Nothing like a little snake blood to get you, When traveling in Sudan I ate some started in the morning Food preferences an 1 What is your opinion about eating. interesting things that I wouldn t essential part of culture vary around the toasted ants About eating fried. likely eat now that I m back in our world as this photo from Taipei Taiwan frog legs About eating puppies. society Raw baby camel s liver with illustrates and kittens About eating raw. chopped herbs was a delicacy So monkey brains, was camel s milk cheese patties that had been cured in dry. 2 If you were reared in U S society more than likely you. camel s dung, think that eating frog legs is okay eating ants is dis. You might be able to see yourself eating frog legs gusting and eating dogs cats and monkey brains is. toasted ants perhaps raw camel s liver or even dogs and downright repugnant How would you apply the concepts. cats but this custom may provide a better test of your eth of ethnocentrism and cultural relativism to your percep. nocentrism and cultural relativity Monkey Rescued 2004 tion of these customs. Components of, Symbolic Culture something to which people attach meaning and that they.
then use to communicate with one another Symbols in. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Sociologists sometimes refer to non clude gestures language values norms sanctions folk. material culture as symbolic culture because its central ways and mores Let s look at each of these components. component is the symbols that people use A symbol is of symbolic culture. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 40. 40 C H A P T E R 2 CULTURE,Standards of Beauty, Standards of beauty vary so greatly from one culture to. another that what one group finds attractive another may. not Yet in its ethnocentrism each group thinks that its. standards are the best that their appearance reflects what. beauty really is, As indicated by these photos around the world men and. women aspire to their group s norms of physical attractive. ness To make themselves appealing to others they make. certain that their appearance reflects those standards. Tibet Thailand,New Guinea Japan,India Gypsy Peru United States.
Gestures a succinct message by raising the middle finger in a short. Gestures using one s body to communicate with others upward stabbing motion I stress North Americans for. are shorthand ways to convey messages without using that gesture does not convey the same message in most. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, words Although people in every culture of the world use parts of the world. gestures a gesture s meaning may change from one culture I once was surprised to find that this particular gesture. to another North Americans for example communicate was not universal having internalized it to such an extent. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 41. COMPONENTS OF SYMBOLIC CULTURE 41, that I thought everyone knew what it meant When I was To get along in another culture then it is important. comparing gestures with friends in Mexico however this to learn the gestures used by people of that culture If you. gesture drew a blank look from them After I explained its don t not only will you fail to achieve the simplicity of. intended meaning they laughed and showed me their rud communication that gestures allow but also you may over. est gesture placing the hand under the armpit and mov look or misunderstand much of what is happening run. ing the upper arm up and down To me they simply the risk of appearing foolish and possibly offend people. looked as if they were imitating monkeys but to them the In some cultures for example you would provoke deep. gesture meant Your mother is a whore the worst possi offense if you were to offer food or a gift with your left. ble insult in that culture hand because the left hand is reserved for dirty tasks such. With the current political military and cultural dom as wiping after going to the toilet Left handed Americans. inance of the United States giving the finger is becom visiting Arabs please note. ing well known in other cultures Following 9 11 the Suppose for a moment that you are visiting southern. United States began to photograph and fingerprint foreign Italy After eating one of the best meals of your life you. travelers Feeling insulted Brazil retaliated by doing the are so pleased that when you catch the waiter s eye you. same to U S visitors Angry at this a U S pilot raised his smile broadly and use the standard U S A OK gesture. middle finger while being photographed Having become of putting your thumb and forefinger together and mak. aware of the meaning of this gesture Brazilian police ar ing a large O The waiter looks horrified and you are. rested him To gain his release the pilot had to pay a fine struck speechless when the manager asks you to leave. of 13 000 Brazil Arrests 2004 What have you done Nothing on purpose of course but. Gestures not only facilitate communication but also in that culture this gesture refers to a part of the human. because their meanings differ around the world they can body that is not mentioned in polite company Ekman et. lead to misunderstanding embarrassment or worse One al 1984. time in Mexico for example I raised my hand to a cer Some gestures are so associated with emotional mes. tain height to indicate how tall a child was My hosts be sages that the gesture itself even when demonstrated out. gan to laugh It turns out that Mexicans use three hand of context summons up emotions For example my in. gestures to indicate height one for people a second for troduction to Mexican gestures took place at a dinner. animals and yet another for plants They were amused be table It was evident that my husband and wife hosts. cause I had ignorantly used the plant gesture to indicate were trying to hide their embarrassment at using their. the child s height See Figure 2 1 culture s obscene gesture at their dinner table And I felt. Figure 2 1 Gestures to Indicate Height Southern Mexico. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 42.
42 C H A P T E R 2 CULTURE, sound may mean something entirely different or it may. have no meaning at all In German for example gift means. poison and if you give chocolate to a non English speak. ing German and say Gift, Because language allows culture to exist its signifi. cance for human life is difficult to overstate Consider. the following,Language Allows Human Experience to Be. Cumulative By means of language we pass on ideas, knowledge and even attitudes to the next generation This. allows others to build on experiences in which they might. never directly participate Because of this humans are able. to modify their behavior in light of what previous gener. ations have learned Hence the central sociological signif. icance of language Language allows culture to develop by. freeing people to move beyond their immediate experiences. Although most gestures are learned and therefore vary from Without language human culture would be little more. culture to culture some gestures that represent fundamental. advanced than that of the lower primates If we commu. emotions such as sadness anger and fear appear to be inborn. This crying child whom I photographed in India differs little from. nicated by grunts and gestures we would be limited to a. a crying child in China or the United States or anywhere else on short time span to events now taking place those that. the globe In a few years however this child will demonstrate a have just taken place or those that will take place imme. variety of gestures highly specific to his Hindu culture diately a sort of slightly extended present You can grunt. and gesture for example that you want a drink of water. but in the absence of language how could you share ideas. concerning past or future events There would be little or. the same way not about their gesture of course which no way to communicate to others what event you had in. meant nothing to me but about the one I was teaching mind much less the greater complexities that humans. them communicate ideas and feelings about events, Language Language Provides a Social or Shared Past.
Gestures and words go hand in hand as is evident when Without language our memories would be extremely lim. you watch people talking We use gestures to supplement ited for we associate experiences with words and then use. our words to provide emphasis and a deeper under words to recall the experience and words to reflect on that. standing of what we are communicating Written lan experience Such memories as would exist in the absence. guage lacks the subtle cues that gestures provide and with of language would be highly individualized for only rarely. online communications so common we miss these cues and incompletely could we communicate them to others. To help supply them people use written gestures that much less discuss them and agree on something By at. help to convey the feelings that go with their words These taching words to an event however and then using those. emoticons are the topic of the Down to Earth Sociology words to recall it we are able to discuss the event As we. box on the next page talk about past events we develop shared understandings. The primary way in which people communicate with about what those events mean In short through talk peo. one another is through language symbols that can be ple develop a shared past. strung together in an infinite number of ways for the pur Language Provides a Social or Shared Future. pose of communicating abstract thought Each word is ac Language also extends our time horizons forward. tually a symbol a sound to which we have attached a Because language enables us to agree on times dates and. particular meaning This allows us to use it to communi places it allows us to plan activities with one another. cate with one another Language itself is universal in the Think about it for a moment Without language how. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, sense that all human groups have language but there is could you ever plan future events How could you pos. nothing universal about the meanings given to particular sibly communicate goals times and plans Whatever. sounds Thus like gestures in different cultures the same planning could exist would be limited to rudimentary. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 27 AM Page 43. COMPONENTS OF SYMBOLIC CULTURE 43,Down to Earth Sociology. X My lips are sealed or a Kiss,Emoticons Written,Wink wink know what I mean. Gestures for Expressing Tongue in cheek,Yourself Online P Sticking out your tongue.
Put your money where your mouth is, TALKING ONLINE HAS BECOME A FAVORITE activity of mil. lions of people Teenagers rehash the day s events with D Has a big mouth. friends grandparents keep in touch with grandchildren 0 WOW Shocked. businesspeople seal their deals with the click of a send Oh what a night. button All of them love the speed of online communica. Some correspondents prefer more aesthetically pleasing. tions They send an e mail or an instant message or post a. emoticons They use the profile version, note in a chat room and in an instant people across the. Correspondents also use abbreviations to indicate their. country or in distant lands can read or respond to it. There is something nagging about online talk though It. leaves a dissatisfying taste because it is so one dimensional IAB I Am Bored. People miss the nuances of emotion and overlays of mean ILY I Love You. ing that we transmit during face to face conversations JK Just Kidding. Lacking are the gestures and tones of voice that give color. LOL Laughing Out Loud, and life to our communications the subtleties by which we. monitor and communicate submessages OTF On The Floor laughing. To help fill this gap computer users have developed ROTF Rolling On The Floor. symbols to convey their humor disappointment sarcasm ROFLWTIME Rolling On Floor Laughing With Tears. and other moods and attitudes Although these symbols are In My Eyes. not as varied or spontaneous as the nonverbal cues of face. Another form of emoticons are the many smilies Each. to face interaction they are useful Here are some of them. of the symbols below is meant to indicate a particular. If you tilt your head to the left as you view them the sym. emotion from happiness and greed to shock and,bols will be clearer. embarrassment, Smile With advancing technology such shorthand might be.
Laugh come unnecessary Now that we can include video in our. e mail recipients can see our image and hear our voice. Frowning or Sad, Eventually messages that include verbal and facial cues. Very sad may replace much written e mail As long as written e mail. Crying exists however some system of symbols to substitute for. Angry annoyed gestures will remain, communications perhaps to an agreement to meet at a Language Allows Shared Perspectives Our abil. certain place when the sun is in a certain position But ity to speak then provides a social past and future. think of the difficulty perhaps impossibility of convey These two vital aspects of our humanity represent a wa. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, ing just a slight change in this simple arrangement such tershed that distinguishes us from animals But speech. as I can t make it tomorrow but my neighbor can take does much more than this When humans talk with one. my place if that s all right with you another they are exchanging ideas about events that is. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 28 AM Page 44. 44 C H A P T E R 2 CULTURE, they are sharing perspectives Their words are the em Language Allows Complex Shared Goal Directed.
bodiment of their experiences distilled into a readily ex Behavior Common understandings also enable people. changeable form one that is mutually intelligible for to establish a purpose for getting together Let s suppose you. people who have learned that language Talking about want to go on a picnic You use speech not only to plan. events allows people to arrive at the shared understand the picnic but also to decide on reasons for the picnic. ings that form the basis of social life Not sharing a lan which may be anything from because it s a nice day and. guage while residing alongside one another however it shouldn t be wasted studying to because it s my birth. invites miscommunication and suspicion This risk day Language permits you to blend individual activities. which comes with living in a diverse society is discussed into an integrated sequence In other words through dis. in the Cultural Diversity box below cussion you decide where you will go who will drive who. Cultural Diversity in the United States, SINCE CASTRO SEIZED POWER IN Miami Language at the Coral Gables Board of. CUBA in 1959 the city of Miami has Realtors lost her job for speaking. been transformed from a quiet, in a Changing City Spanish at the office And protest. southern city to a Latin American Florida,ers swarmed a Publix supermarket. mecca Nothing reflects Miami s essential charac after a cashier was fired for chatting with a. ter today as much as its long simmering feud friend in Spanish. over language English versus Spanish Half of What s happening in Miami says University. the city s 360 000 residents have trouble speak of Chicago sociologist Douglas Massey is what. ing English Only one fourth of Miami residents happened in cities such as Chicago a hundred. speak English at home, Florida years ago Then as now the rate of immigration. As this chapter stresses language is a primary exceeded the speed with which new residents. means by which people learn and communicate learned English creating a pile up effect in the. their social worlds Consequently lan proportion of non English speakers. guage differences in Miami reflect not Becoming comfortable with English. only cultural diversity but also the is a slow process he points out. separate social worlds of the city s in whereas immigration is fast. habitants Massey expects Miami s percentage, Although its ethnic stew makes of non English speakers to grow But.
Miami culturally one of the richest he says that this doesn t mean that. cities in the United States the lan Miami is going to end up being a. guage gap sometimes creates mis Spanish speaking city Instead. understanding and anger The Massey believes that bilingualism will. aggravation felt by Anglos which prevail He says The people who get. often seems tinged with hostility is Mural from Miami ahead are not monolingual English. seen in the bumper stickers that used speakers or monolingual Spanish. to read Will the Last American Out Please Bring the Flag speakers They re people who speak both languages. Latinos now a majority in Miami are similarly frustrated In the meantime Miami officials have tried to resolve. Many think that Anglos should be able to speak at least the controversy over language by declaring English to be the. some Spanish Nicaraguan immigrant Pedro Falcon for ex official language of Miami In at least one small way they. ample is studying English and wonders why more people have succeeded When we tried to get a photograph of. don t try to learn his language Miami is the capital of Bienvenidos a Miami for this box we discovered that such. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Latin America he says The population speaks Spanish a sign would be illegal. Language and cultural flare ups sometimes make head. lines in the city Latinos were outraged when an employee Source Based on Sharp 1992 Usdansky 1992. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 28 AM Page 45. COMPONENTS OF SYMBOLIC CULTURE 45, will bring the hamburgers chips and soda where you will no words to distinguish among the past the present and. meet and so on Only because of language can you partici the future English in contrast as well as French. pate in such a picnic or build bridges and roads or attend Spanish Swahili and other languages distinguishes care. college classes fully among these three time frames From this observa. tion Sapir and Whorf concluded that the commonsense. idea that words are merely labels that people attach to. IN SUM The sociological significance of language is that things is wrong Language they concluded has embedded. it takes us beyond the world of apes and allows culture to within it ways of looking at the world Language they said. develop Language frees us from the present actually giv not only expresses our thoughts but also shapes the way. ing us a social past and a social future That is language gives we think Words not only express what we perceive but. us the capacity to share understandings about the past and also help to determine what we perceive When we learn. to develop shared perceptions about the future Language a language we learn not only words but also ways of think. also allows us to establish underlying purposes for our ing and perceiving Sapir 1949 Whorf 1956. activities In short language is the basis of culture The Sapir Whorf hypothesis reverses common sense. It indicates that rather than objects and events forcing. themselves onto our consciousness it is our language that. Language and Perception determines our consciousness and hence our perception. The Sapir Whorf Hypothesis of objects and events The racial ethnic terms provided by. In the 1930s two anthropologists Edward Sapir and our culture for example influence how we see both our. Benjamin Whorf became intrigued when they noted that selves and others a point that is discussed in the Cultural. the Hopi Indians of the southwestern United States had Diversity box below. Cultural Diversity in the United States, THE GROUPS THAT DOMINATE SOCI Race and Language term colored people some found in it. ETY often determine the names that a sense of respect and claimed it for. are used to refer to racial ethnic,Searching for themselves The acronym NAACP for.
groups If those names become asso Self Labels example stands for the National. ciated with oppression they take on Association for the Advancement of. negative meanings For example the terms Negro Colored People The new term people of color. United States, and colored people came to be associated with arouses similar feelings Some individuals whom. submissiveness and low status To overcome these this term would include claim that it is inappro. meanings those referred to by these terms began priate They point out that this new label still. to identify themselves as black or African makes color the primary identifier of people They. American They infused these new terms with United States stress that humans transcend race ethnicity that. respect a basic source of self esteem that they what we have in common as human beings goes. felt the old terms denied them much deeper than what you see on the surface. In a twist African Americans and to a lesser They stress that we should avoid terms that focus. extent Latinos Asian Americans and Native Americans on differences in the pigmentation of our skin. have changed the rejected term colored people to people of The language of self reference in a society that is so con. color Those who embrace this modified term are imbuing it scious of skin color is an ongoing issue As long as our soci. with meanings that offer an identity of respect The term ety continues to emphasize such superficial differences the. also has political meanings It indicates bonds that cross search for adequate terms is not likely to ever be finished. racial ethnic lines a growing sense of mutual ties and iden In this quest for terms that strike the right chord the term. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, tity rooted in historical oppression people of color may become a historical footnote If it does. There is always disagreement about racial ethnic terms it will be replaced by another term that indicates a changing. and this one is no exception Although most rejected the self identification in a changing historical context. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 28 AM Page 46. 46 C H A P T E R 2 CULTURE, Sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel 1991 gives a good ex or raised fists Getting a raise at work is a positive sanc. ample Hebrew his native language does not have sepa tion indicating that you have followed the norms clus. rate words for jam and jelly Both go by the same term tering around work values Getting fired however is a. and only when Zerubavel learned English could he see negative sanction indicating that you have violated. this difference which is obvious to native English speak those norms The North American finger gesture dis. ers Similarly if you learn to classify students as Jocks cussed earlier is of course a negative sanction. Goths Stoners Skaters and Preps you will perceive stu Because people can find norms stifling some cultures. dents in an entirely different way from someone who does relieve the pressure through moral holidays specified times. not know these classifications when people are allowed to break norms Moral holidays. Although Sapir and Whorf s observation that the such as Mardi Gras often center on getting drunk and be. Hopi do not have tenses was wrong Edgerton 1992 27 ing rowdy Some activities for which people would other. they stumbled onto a major truth about social life wise be arrested are permitted and expected including. Learning a language means not only learning words but public drunkenness and some nudity The norms are never. also acquiring the perceptions embedded in that lan completely dropped however just loosened a bit Go too. guage In other words language both reflects and shapes far and the police step in. cultural experiences,Folkways and Mores, Values Norms and Sanctions Norms that are not strictly enforced are called folkways.
To learn a culture is to learn people s values their ideas We expect people to comply with folkways but we are. of what is desirable in life When we uncover people s likely to shrug our shoulders and not make a big deal about. values we learn a great deal about them for values are it if they don t If someone insists on passing you on the. the standards by which people define what is good and right side of the sidewalk for example you are unlikely to. bad beautiful and ugly Values underlie our preferences take corrective action although if the sidewalk is. guide our choices and indicate what we hold worth crowded and you must move out of the way you might. while in life give the person a dirty look, Every group develops expectations concerning the Other norms however are taken much more seriously. right ways to reflect its values Sociologists use the term We think of them as essential to our core values and we. norms to describe those expectations or rules of be insist on conformity These are called mores MORE. havior that develop out of a group s values They use the rays A person who steals rapes or kills has violated some. term sanctions to refer to the reactions people get for of society s most important mores As sociologist Ian. following or breaking norms A positive sanction ex Robertson 1987 62 put it. presses approval for following a norm while a,negative sanction reflects disapproval for. breaking a norm Positive sanctions can be ma,terial such as a prize a trophy or money but. in everyday life they usually consist of hugs,smiles a pat on the back encouraging words. or even handshakes or high fives Negative,sanctions can also be material being given a.
fine in court is one example but they too,are more likely to be symbolic harsh words or. gestures such as frowns stares clenched jaws, The violation of mores is a serious matter In this case. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, it is serious enough that the police at this rugby. match in Dublin Ireland have swung into action to, protect the public from seeing a disgraceful sight at. least one so designated by this group, Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin.
Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 28 AM Page 47. MANY CULTURAL WORLDS 47, A man who walks down a street wearing nothing on the up ways of looking at life or some aspect of it Even if we can. per half of his body is violating a folkway a man who walks not understand the preceding quote it makes us aware. down the street wearing nothing on the lower half of his that the physician s view of life is not quite the same as. body is violating one of our most important mores the re ours. quirement that people cover their genitals and buttocks in U S society contains tens of thousands of subcultures. public Some are as broad as the way of life we associate with. teenagers others as narrow as those we associate with body. It should also be noted that one group s folkways may builders or with physicians Some U S ethnic groups. be another group s mores Although a man walking down also form subcultures their values norms and foods set. the street with the upper half of his body uncovered is de them apart So might their religion language and cloth. viating from a folkway a woman doing the same thing is ing Occupational groups also form subcultures as any. violating the culture s mores In addition the folkways and one who has hung out with artists McCall 1980. mores of a subculture discussed in the next section may construction workers Haas 1972 or undertakers. be the opposite of those of mainstream culture For ex Thompson 2005 can attest Even sociologists form a sub. ample to walk down the sidewalk in a nudist camp with culture As you are learning they use a unique language. the entire body uncovered would conform to that sub to make sense of the world. culture s folkways For a visual depiction of subcultures see the photo. A taboo refers to a norm so strongly ingrained that even montage on the next two pages. the thought of its violation is greeted with revulsion. Eating human flesh and having sex with one s parents are Countercultures. examples of such behaviors When someone breaks a Consider this quote from another subculture. taboo the individual is usually judged unfit to live in the. same society as others The sanctions are severe and may If everyone applying for welfare had to supply a doctor s cer. include prison banishment or death tificate of sterilization if everyone who had committed a. felony were sterilized if anyone who had mental illness to. any degree were sterilized then our economy could easily. Many Cultural Worlds take care of these people for the rest of their lives giving. them a decent living standard but getting them out of the. way That way there would be no children abused no sur. Subcultures plus population and after a while no pollution. What common condition do you think this doctor is de Now let s talk about stupidity The level of intellect in. scribing Here is what he said this country is going down generation after generation. The average IQ is always 100 because that is the accepted. It accompanies diaphragmatic pleurisy pneumonia ure average However the kid with a 100 IQ today would have. mia or alcoholism Abdominal causes include disorders tested out at 70 when I was a lad You get the concept. of the stomach and esophagus bowel diseases pancreati marching morons. tis pregnancy bladder irritation hepatic metastases or When the world system collapses it ll be good people. hepatitis Thoracic and mediastinal lesions or surgery may like you who will be shooting people in the streets to feed. be responsible Posterior fossa tumors or infarcts may stim their families Zellner 1995 58 65. ulate centers in the medulla oblongata Chambliss, 2003 443 Welcome to the world of the survivalists where the. message is much clearer than that of the physicians and. My best guess is that you don t have the slightest idea much more disturbing. what this doctor is talking about For most of us he might The values and norms of most subcultures blend in. as well be speaking Greek Physicians who are lecturing with mainstream society In some cases however such as. students in medical school however talk like this This these survivalists some of the group s values and norms. doctor is describing hiccups place it at odds with the dominant culture Sociologists use. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Physicians form a subculture a world within the larger the term counterculture to refer to such groups Another. world of the dominant culture Subcultures consist of peo example would be Satanists To better see this distinction. ple whose experiences have led them to have distinctive consider motorcycle enthusiasts and motorcycle gangs. Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin. Published by Allyn and Bacon a Pearson company, 5421 Henslin Ch02 p034 057 8 23 06 8 28 AM Page 48.
Looking at Subcultures, ubcultures can form around any interest or activity mainstream culture They represent specialized inter. Each subculture has its own values and norms that its ests around which its members have chosen to build. members share giving them a common identity Each tiny worlds Some subcultures however conflict with. also has special terms that pinpoint the group s cor the mainstream culture Sociologists give the name. ner of life and that its members use to communicate counterculture to subcultures whose values such as. with one another Some of us belong to several sub those of outlaw motorcyclists or activities and goals. cultures simultaneously such as those of terrorists are opposed to the main. As you can see from these photos most subcultures stream culture Countercultures however are excep. are compatible with the values of the dominant or tional and few of us belong to them. Membership in this subculture is not easily,awarded Not only must high steel iron. workers prove that they are able to work,at great heights but also that they fit into. the group socially Newcomers are tested,by members of the group and they must. demonstrate that they can take joking,without offense.
This Native American also represents a,subculture within this subculture for many. Mohawk Native Americans specialize in,this occupation. ISBN 0 558 13856 X, Essentials of Sociology A Down to Earth Approach Seventh Edition by James M Henslin Copyright James M Henslin.


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