Instructions: Please read the instructions carefully and contact me if you have any questions prior to submitting your work.

After reading the chapter and reviewing the PowerPoint and supplemental readings on the course site, you should complete the following tasks: 

Answer the questions below. Your responses should be about one, 5 to 7 sentence, paragraph per question set (meaning numbers 1,2,3, etc should be about one paragraph in length.) Your responses should demonstrate a clear engagement and understanding of the course material, critical application of the sociological concepts/theory and should include clear grammar and sentence structure. Please review the assignment rubric under ‘Course Resources’ for clearer indication of grading distribution and let  me know if you have any questions/concerns. 


  1. This chapter discusses tensions between ideal culture and real culture in attitudes and practices in society. Things like conventional attractiveness and honesty are often at odds with each other. Can you think of other cases where ideal and real cultures collide in your culture? (Give 5 examples)
  2. What is cultural capital? What, according to Bourdieu, is its significance in society? How does one acquire cultural capital and how is it linked to the reproduction of social class? How have you accumulated cultural capital in your life and how have you exchanged it for other forms of capital? 
  3. Think of a subculture to which you belong. Remember that subcultures include things like hobbies, religious groups, online groups, ethnic groups, etc. What are the norms, values, and material artifacts that distinguish members of your subculture from those who do not belong to it? Now apply the sapir-whorf hypothesis to your subculture; that is, what language is used in your subculture that is unique to this subculture and how does it shape the way you view/perceive the world. For example, I am part of the vinyl collecting subculture (I started collecting before it was the ‘cool’ thing to do =)) and language is a major part of this subculture in shaping my perceptions of the record itself. We use terminology such as Mint, Near Mint, VG+, dead-wax, ’45’s’, needle, etc. to describe different aspects of records, from the quality to the size and shape. 
  4. For this question you are to watch the following video of the practice of ‘Takanakuy’ in Peru.  LinkAfter watch the video, you should identify the following cultural elements apparent in this practice and the people of Peru: norms, values/beliefs, language, material culture and symbols. You should identify as many as possible for each (organizing your information in a table would be nice, but not mandatory). After identifying these elements, apply one of the three major sociological paradigms (Functionalism, Symbolic Interaction, Conflict) to this practice; that is, what would one of these theories say about this social phenomenon and it’s purpose and significance? 

Please use this link to upload your work. 

Assignment is due on Sunday Feb 27 by 11:59 pm. 

Worth 20 points. 

Late assignment will be accepted, but deducted 2 points for every 24 hours they are late. 

Note: Please only submit word docs or pdf files     


video link:

Chapter Learning Objectives:

To read these particular portions of the chapter, please click on the links below and you will be taken to that section of the book. 

3.1 What Is Culture?

  • Differentiate between culture and society
  • Explain material versus nonmaterial culture
  • Discuss the concept of cultural universalism as it relates to society
  • Compare and contrast ethnocentrism and xenocentrism

3.2 Elements of Culture

  • Understand how values and beliefs differ from norms
  • Explain the significance of symbols and language to a culture
  • Explain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
  • Discuss the role of social control within culture

3.3 Pop Culture, Subculture, and Cultural Change

  • Discuss the roles of both high culture and pop culture within society
  • Differentiate between subculture and counterculture
  • Explain the role of innovation, invention, and discovery in culture
  • Understand the role of cultural lag and globalization in cultural change

3.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Culture

  • Discuss the major theoretical approaches to cultural interpretation


For this week, you should review each section in the chapter reading and complete your chapter recap assignment and/or discussion board. You should also review all supplemental readings and/or videos that are provided for you in the module. Please remember that your responses for the chapter recap assignment should be approximately 5 to 7 sentences in length per question set (not individual questions). You should only upload word or pdf files (please DO NOT upload .pages files). Additionally, your discussion board responses are due on Friday (initial response to the discussion prompt) and Sunday (respond to at least TWO of your classmates posts). Your posts should also be approximately 5 to 7 sentences in length per question set (not individual questions). Please let me know if you have any questions concerns about the assignments. 


Please find the assignments rubric under the ‘Course Resources’ module here: Link

You and also find book resources for your textbook here: Link (Links to an external site.)

I am always here to help so don’t hesitate to contact me with any concerns you may have. Happy learning!!! 


Chapter 3: CULTURE

College Physics

Chapter # Chapter Title

PowerPoint Image Slideshow

The United States as a Pluralistic Society

The U.S. is a relatively strong dominant culture which includes strong elements of nationalism, sporting culture, artistic culture, etc.

In a pluralist culture, unique groups not only co-exist side by side, but also consider qualities of other groups as traits worth having in the dominant culture. Think of how people participate and interact with the following:

St. Patrick’s Day

Cinco de Mayo

Chinese New Year

Little Italy/Chinatown/Little Saigon/Little Havana, etc.


Societies are composed of structures:

Positions we hold

Groups we belong to

Institutions we participate in

Society: The Hardware

Culture encompasses the ideas, values, norms, practices, and objects that allow a group of people, or even an entire society, to carry out their collective lives with a minimum of friction. Values are the general, abstract standards defining what a group or society considers good, desirable, right, or important. Norms are the rules that guide what people do and how they live. Culture also has material and symbolic elements. Material culture encompasses all the objects and technologies that are reflections or manifestations of a culture. Symbolic culture, the nonmaterial side of culture, is best represented by language.

We are immersed in a diversity of cultures. Subcultures include people who may accept much of the dominant culture but are set apart from it by one or more culturally significant characteristics. Countercultures are groups of people who differ in certain ways from the dominant culture and whose norms and values may be incompatible with it. Culture wars pit one subculture or counterculture against another or against the dominant culture. Many cultures tend to be ethnocentric—i.e., those enmeshed in them believe that their own culture’s norms, values, traditions, and the like are better than those of other cultures. Many times newcomers are expected to assimilate, or to replace elements of their own culture with elements of the dominant culture. A society that values multiculturalism accepts and even embraces the cultures of many different groups and encourages the retention of cultural differences. Some scholars argue that globalization has increasingly led to a global culture; others attribute the growing cultural similarity around the world to cultural imperialism. In consumer culture, all core ideas and material objects relate to consumption. An increasingly important cyber-culture thrives on the Internet.


What is culture? The Software

“Culture is the knowledge, language, values, customs, and material objects that are passed from one person and from one generation to the next in a human group or society; provide guidelines for action and interaction”

Culture includes:

Material Culture Non-material culture
Cell Phones
Weapons of war
Values, Beliefs
Human Rights
Deferring to Elders

Our respective societies teach us how to behave, what to believe, and how we’ll be punished if we don’t follow the laws or customs in place.It is a lens through which one views the world and acts of the world, which is passed from one generation to the next. Language, styles of dress, values, standards of beauty, food, music.

Sociologists study the way people learn about their own society’s cultures and how they discover their place within those cultures. They also examine the ways in which people from differing cultures interact and sometimes clash—and how mutual understanding and respect might be reached. The aspects that make up the boundaries and characteristics of cultures are the:

Material Culture: all the things that have a symbolic meaning to them, concrete, visible parts of a culture.

Non Material Culture: the non-physical aspects of culture, intangibles that define an individuals’ relationship to themselves, to others in their culture. The microwave example:

Ideal culture: the values, norms, and behaviors that people in a given society profess to embrace, even though the actions of society may contradict them.

Beauty is only skin deep.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

All that glitters is not gold.

Real culture: the values, norms, and behaviors that people in a given society actually embrace and exhibit.

Conventional attractiveness linked to advantages.

Beauty connected to morality and goodness, unattractiveness connected to malice, jealousy, and other negative traits.

Television: Physical beauty and social status are powerfully linked where overweight characters are associated with the lower class, svelte and stylish associated with upper

A Cultural inconsistency: (a contradiction between the goals of ideal culture and the practices of real culture clearly exists in U.S. society treatment of attractiveness.

Conventionally attractive job applicants have advantage in securing jobs.

Earnings penalty for those considered unattractive or short.

Pay penalty for obesity or relatively overweight.

Defendants who do not meet conventional standards of attractiveness are disadvantaged.

College students and attractive people are more likely to be perceived as intelligent and given higher scores.

Social media routinely used to shame public and private figures not meeting conventional body acceptability.


Cultural Universals

Are patterns or traits that are globally common to all societies.

Cultural Universals
Family units
Units of Time
Systems of Planning
Personal names
Division of Labor
Rights of Passage

Five Components of Culture

Although there are a few cultural universals, the number of cultural differences outweighs what he have in common.

Applying theory! Functionalists see cultural universals as proof of universal human needs for order and meaning, while conflict theorists view them in light of colonialism and the imposition of a certain culture’s beliefs onto others.

The 5 components of culture are:





Material Culture


Component #1: Norms

Define how people behave in accordance with what society has defined as good, right and important.


Formal Norms: these are established, written rules.

Mores: are norms that embody the moral views and principles of a group. Usually bring on negative sanctions

Informal Norms: casual behaviors that are generally and widely conformed to.

Folkways: are norms without any moral underpinnings.


Norms are defined as the informal rules that guide what people do and how they live. Oftentimes referred to as the “blueprint” for human behavior, norms are based on values and tell us what we should and should not do given a social situation.

Every society has expectations about how its members should and should not behave. A norm is a guideline or an expectation for behavior. Each society makes up its own rules for behavior and decides when those rules have been violated and what to do about it. Norms change constantly. Norms differ widely among societies, and they can even differ from group to group within the same society.

Different settings: Wherever we go, expectations are placed on our behavior. Even within the same society, these norms change from setting to setting.

Example: The way we are expected to behave in church differs from the way we are expected to behave at a party, which also differs from the way we should behave in a classroom.

Different countries: Norms are place-specific, and what is considered appropriate in one country may be considered highly inappropriate in another.

Example: In some African countries, it’s acceptable for people in movie theaters to yell frequently and make loud comments about the film. In the United States, people are expected to sit quietly during a movie, and shouting would be unacceptable.

Different time periods: Appropriate and inappropriate behavior often changes dramatically from one generation to the next. Norms can and do shift over time.

Example: In the United States in the 1950s, a woman almost never asked a man out on a date, nor did she pay for the date. While some traditional norms for dating prevail, most women today feel comfortable asking men out on dates and paying for some or even all of the expenses.

Norm Categories

Sociologists have separated norms into four categories: folkways, mores, laws, and taboos.


Mores: carry greater more significance, are more closely related to the core values, ethics and sometimes religious influences of a group and, if violated, often involve severe repercussions.

It is not considered acceptable to abuse drugs, particularly those such as heroine and cocaine; being married to more than one person; driving the speed limit, murder, stealing,

Taboo: is a norm that is so engrained in our value system that even thinking of violating it evokes strong feelings of disgust, horror, or revulsion for most people. (cannibalism, beastiality, incest, pedophilia)

Folkways: loosely enforced norm that involves common customs, practices and procedures that ensure smooth social interaction and acceptance. A folkway is a norm for everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of convenience or tradition. People practice folkways simply because they have done things that way for a long time. Violating a folkway does not usually have serious consequences

Not picking your nose, holding the door open for someone else, chewing with your mouth closed, belching really loudly,

Social control: the formal and informal mechanisms used to increase conformity to values and norms and thus increase social cohesion: Sanctions: are positive or negative reactions to the ways that people follow or disobey norms, including rewards for conformity and punishments for norm violators.

Types of Norms

Informal norms are not written down or codified; they tend to govern everyday forms of behavior and are particularly focused on “properness” in behavior.

Formal norms are written and codified. Formal norms are also referred to as laws written down and formally enforced through institutions such as the state.

People do not follow norms in all situations. Weak norms will often be ignored.

Example: Not shaking someone’s hand upon first meeting or underage drinking.

Norms may be violated due to norm conflict.

Example: Reporting domestic violence after hearing screams at your neighbor’s house.

Adherence to norms is contingent on changes in political, economic, and social conditions of a culture.

Example: Views on interracial marriage.

Consequences for Not Following Norms

Norms are reinforced using sanctions, which refer to the application or rewards and punishments.

Positive sanctions are rewards.

Negative sanctions are punishments.

Folkways are defined as norms that are relatively unimportant and carry few sanctions.

Mores are defined as important norms whose violation is likely to be met with severe negative sanctions.


Component #1: Norms

Taboo: Prohibition of particular actions or discussions based on the belief that such behavior is forbidden, scared or associated with particular person, place or thing.

Each culture determines what is and what isn’t taboo:








Component #2 – Values

Values are collective ideas about what we believe is good or bad, desirable and undesirable in life

Values are the broadest elements of culture and express society’s ideals

Individualism Achievement & Success
Activity and Work Materialism
Progress & Comfort Efficiency & Practicality
Equality Morality & humanitarianism
Freedom Physical Attractiveness

Component #2: Beliefs

Beliefs are ideas we hold about life, how society works, and where we fit into it.

Adults should be free to do what pleases them without interference from others

‘If we work hard and get a college degree, we will ‘make it’ in society. (American Dream)

It’s a woman’s job to have and raise children, while men work.

Free Speech


Component #3 – Symbols

Not universal-specific to a culture!

Can be logos, images, gestures, and tangible things


Power of Symbols

What do you think this person’s intent is?

How does it make you feel?

Component #4 – Language

Sociologists study both official rules of language, various types of registers, and the connotations of words/phrases.

Language (non-material culture)

Language is the use of symbols to convey meaning, objects, or ideas

The foundation of every culture

Slang/colloquialisms unite a group and divide others

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis- language shapes the view of reality of its speakers. If people are able to think only through language, then language must precede thought.

Click here for video for on this hypothesis:


New Words

Does slang exclude certain groups of people?

New words Added to the Oxford Dictionary:

2013: Friend zone, tweetable, appletini, cake pops, guac, slow jam

2014: death stare, amazeballs, YOLO, hot mess, neckbeard, duck-face, emoji, meme

2015: bae, selfie stick, cyber warrior, binge-watch, cray, vape

2016: basic, broflake, bigender, lifehack

2017: bitchface, hangry, superfood, mic-drop

2018: adorbs, rando, Latinx, zuke

Component #5 – Material Culture

Any tangible thing a society produces

Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism

Ethnocentrism: evaluating and judging another culture based on how it compares to one’s own cultural norms. (belief that one’s own culture is better than all others).

Xenocentrism: is the opposite of ethnocentrism, and refers to the belief that another culture is superior to one’s own.

Bizarre Foods click for video

Cultural relativism is the practice of assessing a culture by its own standards rather than viewing it through the lens of one’s own culture.

Open mindedness

Maybe difficult to do

Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism:

Ethnocentrism in our daily choices of food, our terminology for other groups, the ways we compare religions, styles of dress, body odor, etc.

Exported Ethnocentrism; missionary work.

Culture shock at home: encountering an unfamiliar subculture in one’s own country, spending time with the very rich or the very poor, groups with differing political or religious views.


In many parts of Africa and the Middle East, it is considered normal for men to hold hands in friendship. How would Americans react to these two soldiers?

Cultural Change

Innovation: refers to an object or concept’s initial appearance in society

Discoveries: make known previously unknown but existing aspects of reality.

Finding Vivian Maier (click for video)

Inventions: result when something new is formed from existing objects or concepts—when things are put together in an entirely new manner.

Cultural lag: technology and material culture change more rapidly than nonmaterial culture

Rapid change is often opposed by people who believe it threatens their culture

Cultural Transmission

Cultural Imperialism: the deliberate imposition of one’s own cultural values on another culture.

Culture shock: feeling of disorientation and frustration when confronted with all the differences of a new culture.

Foreign Exchange Students

Americans in London (click for video)

International Students in the US (click for video)

Cultural Exchange

Assimilation and Acculturation

Please listen/view zoom recording for further explanation on Assimilation and Acculturation. Link on Canvas


Mainstream Culture

Those values, beliefs, languages and/or material objects that are considered the norm.


Groups within society that is differentiated by their particular values, norms and lifestyle.

Cultural Diffusion

Types of Culture:

A subculture is a group that lives differently from, but not opposed to, the dominant culture. A subculture is a culture within a culture. For example, Jews form a subculture in the largely Christian United States. Catholics also form a subculture, since the majority of Americans are Protestant. Members of these subcultures do belong to the dominant culture but also have a material and nonmaterial culture specific to their subcultures.

Religion is not the only defining aspect of a subculture. The following elements can also define a subculture:


Financial status

Political ideals

Sexual orientation


Geographical location



A counterculture is a subculture that opposes the dominant culture. For example, the hippies of the 1960s were a counterculture, as they opposed the core values held by most citizens of the United States. Hippies eschewed material possessions and the accumulation of wealth, rejected the traditional marriage norm, and espoused what they called free love, which was basically the freedom to have sex outside of marriage. Though hippies were generally peaceful, they opposed almost everything the dominant culture stood for.

Not all countercultures are nonviolent. In 1995, the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was blown up, killing 168 people and injuring many others. That horrific crime brought to light the existence of another counterculture in the United States: rural militias. While such groups go by several names, their members tend to be people who despise the U.S. government for what they see as its interference in the lives of citizens.



Cultural Change

Cultures usually change slowly and incrementally, though change can also happen in rapid and dramatic ways. One of the key ways that material culture can change is through technology. Those who believe technology is the most important influence on cultural change are called technological determinists.

Cultural change can also occur through cultural diffusion, which is when different groups share their material and nonmaterial culture with each other. Cultural leveling occurs when cultures that were once distinct become increasingly similar to one another. Brought on by globalization: increased through travel and technology. Japan, for example, has adopted not only capitalism, but also Western forms of dress and music, transforming it into a blend of Western and Eastern cultures. Cultural imperialism is the imposition of one culture’s beliefs, practices, and artifacts on another culture through mass media and consumer product

Cultural lag: refers to the tendency for changes in material and non-material culture to occur at different rates. In general changes in nonmaterial culture tend to lag behind changes in material culture. Technological advances and our feelings and beliefs about them.


Bourdieu: Cultural Capital

Non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means.

Education, intellect, style of speech, dress or physical appearance.

Cultural Capital: For Bourdieu, capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange, and the term is extended ‘to all the goods material and symbolic, without distinction, that present themselves as rare and worthy of being sought after in a particular social formation and cultural capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange that includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers power and status.


In The Forms of Capital (1986), Bourdieu distinguishes between three types of capital:

Economic capital: command over economic resources (cash, assets).

Social capital: resources based on group membership, relationships, networks of influence and support. Bourdieu described social capital as “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.“ (More simply, “its not what you know, but who you know’)

Cultural capital: forms of knowledge, skills, education, and advantages that a person has, which give them a higher status in society. Parents provide their children with cultural capital by transmitting the attitudes and knowledge needed to succeed in the current educational system.

The subtypes of cultural capital and examples

Embodied: consists of both the consciously acquired and the passively “inherited” properties of one’s self. (this refers to things like language, styles of speech, dress, and forms of knowledge that reside within ourselves).

Objectified: consists of the physical objects that are owned (these may be material things that indicate your position in society such as social class, race, ethnicity, etc. Think jewels, cars, clothing, etc.)

Institutionalized: institutional recognition, most often in the form of academic credentials or qualifications, of the cultural capital held by an individual. (these would be your degrees, certificates, diplomas, credentials, etc. that are measured and recognized by society and social institutions as important and relevant)

The main argument made by Bourdieu is that EVERYTHING HAS VALUE and if it has value in society, then it has the ability to create social, political and cultural hierarchies of power which feel to forms of inequality.

Click here for video on cultural capital:


Cultural Appropriation

Is the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group.

Largely viewed as a negative phenomenon.

Specifically, the use by cultural outsiders of a minority group, oppressed culture’s symbols or other cultural elements.

Click here for video on cultural appropriation:


Cultural Appropriation

Power struggle: Cultural elements taken from minority cultures by members of dominant culture, and then using these elements outside of their original cultural context.

Forms of dress, Personal adornment, Music, Art, Religion, Language, etc.

Intellectual and trendy, today’s hipsters define themselves through cultural irony.

Are you a Hipster?(click for video)

Click here to watch video on ‘Hipster’ culture and the problems with it from a sociological perspective


Theoretical Perspectives on Culture


Cultural norms, values and beliefs function to support the fluid operation of society

guide people in making choices.

culture exists to meet its members’ basic needs

Theoretical Perspectives on Culture


Culture is seen as reinforcing and perpetuating inequalities and differences between people.

However, dominant groups may manipulate institutions, so others learn beliefs & values that justify their power, thus reducing conflict and securing their status

Dependence on technology in rich nations versus a lack of technology and education in poor nations (example of inequality

Theoretical Perspectives on Culture

Symbolic Interactionism:

as being created and maintained by the ways people interact and in how individuals interpret each other’s actions.

a continuous process of deriving meaning from both objects in the environment and the actions of others.

Recap Questions Assignments Rubric 10/15 points Total

0-3 -5




Content and development

Does not respond to any of the questions; shows no participation

Very little framework to the response; support is lacking or is inaccurate. Unclear if writer understands their purpose or the assignment.

There is an appropriate framework to the paper that is consistently supported. Content is minimally inconsistent with regard to purpose.

Major points are clearly stated and supported by well-thought out arguments. Content and purpose are clear.

Grammar, punctuation, spelling

Utilizes poor spelling and grammar in most posts; posts appear “hasty”

Errors in spelling and grammar evidenced throughout the response making it difficult to follow train of thought.

Few grammatical or spelling errors are noted in response, but not enough to impede on understanding of responses.

Consistently uses grammatically correct responses with rare misspellings and confusion.

Structure of Response

There is very little to no structure to the response. Sentences are often unclear

Structure of the paper is not easy to follow. Paragraphs may be somewhat disjointed. Sentences are occasionally unclear.

Structure of the paper is generally easy to follow. Paragraph transitions may need some improvement. Sentences are generally clear.

Structure of paper is easy to follow; paragraphs are well-developed and transitions are clear. Sentences are clear and writing is at an advanced level.

Integration of Thought and reasoning

Paper presents little to no creativity, thought, or attention to detail.

Paper presents standard information with a minimal level of creativity, thought and attention to detail.

Paper shows a moderate level of creativity, thought and attention to detail.

Paper shows a high level of creativity, thought and attention to detail.


Includes few of the required components, as specified in the assignment, and does not meet the length requirements.

Includes some of the required components, as specified in the assignment.

Includes most of the required components, as specified in the assignment. Some components may be slighted or done in haste.

Includes all of the required components, as specified in the assignment, and meets the length requirements.

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