- 1 Society, Culture, and Social Institutions
- 2 Contribute!
- 3 Individual & Society
- 4 Careers
- 5 The Focus Areas
- 6 Learning: A Process of Enculturation
- 7 Synonyms
- 8 Theoretical Background
- 9 References
- 10 Copyright information
- 11 Authors and Affiliations
Society, Culture, and Social Institutions
- Demonstrate your understanding of the link between culture, society, and social institutions. • Recognize and define the various social institutions
Earlier modules taught you that culture describes a community’s collectively agreed-upon norms (or acceptable behaviors) and values, and that an association is a group of individuals who reside in a specific geographical region and interact with one another while sharing the same culture. For example, the United States is a society that is comprised of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Human social institutions are processes or patterns of social order that are dedicated to serving societal needs.
The study of social institutions across time, as well as comparisons with social institutions in other regions of the globe, are some of the main goals of several sociological methodologies.
This particular set of social structures will be the focus of much of our attention for the remainder of this semester.
The majority of the time, we do not take the time to analyze all of the complexities of such normative principles.
In our culture, we seldom physically hug or even touch the individual, and this is frequently because we believe that this is the norm, or the level of social behavior that is acceptable in our society.
In some cultures, not kissing and/or hugging someone might be considered disrespectful, but in the United States, we have rather strict norms regarding personal space that must be followed.
As seen in Figure 1, mobile applications are analogous to the cultural components of a community. A phone’s properties may be used to think about the link between society and culture, as can be shown in the following example: The phone itself can be compared to society, and the applications on the phone may be compared to culture:
- Society and social institutions are represented by the physical phone and protective phone cover, respectively.
- Just as society is composed of distinct structures and organizations, so too is the phone composed of a concrete structure. As with the hardware of a phone, social institutions serve a similar function.
- Apps and software provide intangible instructions on a phone, much as intangible culture offers the norms and input that allow society to work
- Both are important.
The software and applications on a phone might be compared to a person’s cultural background. These are the elements that give the phone an identifiable “personality,” much as a group’s culture explains the ideas, customs, and norms for life that are followed by that organization. Furthermore, much as phone applications undergo upgrades or modifications over time, culture may also evolve with time. When social institutions fail, it is often the most obvious sign that something has gone wrong.
- After 30,000 teachers walked out of their jobs, demanding reduced class sizes, more teachers and support staff, and a 6.5 percent pay raise, the Los Angeles school system (the second-largest in the US) scrambled to recruit substitute teachers and personnel to stay with children.
- What is the impact on individuals of the disintegration of social institutions such as this one (public education)?
- When it comes to other school personnel, such as cafeteria workers and custodial staff, how will the strike effect them?
- Let’s take a look at one of the most difficult social institutions there is: the family.
- It is the family that serves a number of societal demands, including legal (right to make medical decisions), economic (right to inherit property), and social/emotional needs, among others.
In many jurisdictions, the legalization of same-sex marriage was a divisive subject, and it offers as an instructive sociological illustration of the interaction between society and culture.
View this movie to observe particular instances of social institutions in action.
Shared ideas, values, and behaviors are referred to as culture. Social institutions are processes or patterns of societal order that are primarily concerned with addressing social needs, such as the government, the economy, education, the family, healthcare, and religion, amongst other things. People who live in a defined, typically physically delimited group and who share a common culture are referred to as society.
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Individual & Society
We begin to learn about our culture—the customs and traditions of our society—as soon as we are born. That process is referred to as socialization, and it entails much more than simply attending school. When it comes to work and leisure, our culture influences how we behave, and it also influences how we perceive ourselves and others. It has an impact on our values, on what we regard to be good and bad. This is an example of how the culture in which we live impacts our decisions. However, our decisions can have an impact on others and, in the long run, serve to shape our society.
- What words would you use to characterize the individual?
- Even though we are aware that every individual is unique in a variety of ways, we frequently use generalizations to characterize people when we come into contact with them in real life.
- Various ideas about race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, and other factors are used to categorize people.
- These ideas can also cause us to have feelings of distrust, fear, or hatred against certain individuals of our society at times.
- The tales in this chapter highlight some of the challenges that people encounter as they establish themselves as individuals and as members of a group, as they identify themselves and as they are defined by others, and as they define themselves and as they are defined by other people.
Readings that reflect the aims of the lesson as well as the interests and needs of the students are encouraged to be chosen by the teachers.
While there are some parallels between anthropology and sociology, they are not precisely the same. On the one side, anthropology is the study of humans and their predecessors through the lens of their physical attributes, environmental context, and cultural heritage on the other. Sociocultural anthropology is divided into four subfields: linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeological anthropology. For its part, sociology investigates the growth and structure of human society as well as the social interactions and behaviors that take place throughout a certain period of time.
It also looks at social stratification and how society categorizes people based on their age, gender, race and ethnicity, and social status, among other things.
“Where can I work with a degree in anthropology or sociology?” you might wonder after learning more about these fields of study. In summary, anthropologists and sociologists nowadays have a wide range of options for their professional lives. For example, anthropologists can find employment in a variety of settings including commercial corporations, government agencies, non-profit groups, and many more. In the words of ThoughtCo, “their work may include forming research collaborations, analyzing economic needs, reviewing policies, designing innovative educational programs, documenting little-known community histories, providing health services, and participating in other socially important activities.” An undergraduate degree in sociology opens the door to a plethora of opportunities in the field.
Among the work opportunities available in this field are positions in the business, education, politics, and health care sectors, among others.
Sociology degrees may lead to careers in a variety of fields, including those as an educator, social service provider, public health professional (public health worker), journalist, and counselor, to name a few.
Graduate school is also a common path for those pursuing a degree in anthropology or sociology.
The Focus Areas
Anthropology is divided into four basic subfields, each of which employs a particular research methodology and teaches a different set of skills. Archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology are some of the subfields of anthropology.
North Central College professor of anthropology Dr. Matthew Krystal explains that “these subfields, however different in their own right [are] linked by a comparative viewpoint and a holistic approach.” Continue reading to discover more about the distinct interests and ambitions of the subfields.
Archaeologists across the world investigate communities and cultures by excavating and examining the artifacts and remains that have been left behind by previous generations. They painstakingly excavate pottery, artifacts, human bones, and teeth from the earth in order to understand more about people’s everyday activities during that time period. Archaeologists are also on the lookout for the remnants of plants and animals in order to gain a better understanding of the formerly inhabited environment.
Biology anthropologists are interested in understanding more about how people have evolved over time to become what they are now in this concentration area. They learn how biology has had a part in molding their lives since that time, and how their lives compare to those of others throughout the world, as they go from being animals to adapting to varied settings.
A sociocultural anthropologist investigates the ways in which various civilizations live and perceive the world in which they live. They hope to gain a better understanding of what these civilizations tolerate or see as the standard when it comes to speaking, eating, clothing, traveling, and other activities. In order to do this, anthropologists collect perspectives and, in some cases, even live among diverse tribes and cultures in order to better understand them.
Finally, linguistic anthropology is concerned with the manner in which communities interact with one another and with others. Linguistic anthropologists study how a society’s language affects how its individuals see and relate to the world around them through time, and they are interested in how language changes over time. They go to great lengths to uncover not just the role of language and speech, but also the social structure of the time period. As previously stated, sociology has several focus areas, including social change, social institutions such as economic life, education, family, politics, and religion, as well as social stratification by age, gender, race and ethnicity, and social class.
The study of these places will help sociologists gain a better understanding of the persons and communities that existed before us.
Kara Kots works as a social media consultant at North Central College, where she lends her expertise in content creation, writing, and public speaking to the institution.
Learning: A Process of Enculturation
- Reference work entryDOI: id=”book-metrics”>
Generally speaking, “culture” is described as the common practices that have been developed and collected through generations by a group of people in their endeavour to create a better physical and social living environment for themselves and their children. They include things like the common language, religion, methods of thinking and behaving, material and cognitive tools, as well as social institutions and organizational structures, to name a few examples. In the process of learning about their group’s culture via experience, observation, and education, individuals are said to be enculturated.
Meanwhile, cultures are continually developing, bringing with them new cultural practices and new instruments to better their interaction with the physical and social contexts, as well as new technologies.
It is critical to recognize learning as a process of enculturation while considering learning.
- Bruner, J., et al (1990). Acts of significance Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Google Scholar
- M. Cole, M. Cole et al (1996). Cultural psychology is a discipline that has existed and will continue to exist. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Donald, M. (Google Scholar)
- Donald, M. (1991). The origins of the contemporary mind may be traced back to three periods in the evolution of culture and cognitive abilities. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Google Scholar
- Y. Engeström, Y. Engeström, Y. (1999). Individual and societal transformation in the context of activity theory Perspectives on activity theory, edited by Y. Engestrom, R. Miettinen, and R.-L. Punamaki, is available online. Cambridge University Press is based in New York. Google Scholar
- B. Rogoff’s website (2003). Human growth is characterized by its cultural aspect. Oxford University Press is based in New York. M. Tomasello’s Google Scholar page
- Tomasello, M. (1999). The roots of human intellect may be traced back to their cultural context. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Search Google Scholar for L. S. Vygotsky (1978). The role of the mind in society Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Google Scholar is an excellent resource.
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Authors and Affiliations
In certain nations, women are obliged to cover themselves from head to toe, even their hair. In other places, bikini bottoms are more than sufficient attire. Baskets are carried in the arms of certain people in some regions. Others have them placed on the top of their heads. Cultural norms are the criteria by which we conduct our lives. Individuals within social groups are guided by the common expectations and rules that they have established with one another. As a child grows up in a culture, cultural standards are taught to him or her and reinforced by his or her parents, friends, teachers, and others.
- A large number of research have confirmed these discrepancies.
- Recent research by Michele Gelfand and a large team of cross-cultural psychologists took a step back from the cataloging process and addressed a more fundamental issue.
- Is it true that norms are more important in certain locations than others?
- They are a manifestation of “cultural tightness.” Others are willing to put up with a great deal of deviation from the norms.
- Their findings were presented in a Science paper titled “Differences between tight and loose civilizations.” There, Gelfand’s team presents evidence supporting each of the four levels of evidence described below:
- Threats to the environment and human history The presence of hostile neighbors, sickness, and dense populations increases the requirement for the people to respond in a coordinated and disciplined manner. More variables like these contribute to the tightening of cultural norms. As dangers lessen, cultures become more relaxed, as do socio-political institutions. Generally speaking, cultures that are tight tend to have more authoritarian regimes, censored media, harsher suppression of opposition, and more severe punishments for crime
- Everyday Social Situations
- And In countries where cultural standards are strictly enforced, all contacts with other members of the culture are conducted in a formal manner. These circumstances can occur at home, in the job, at school, at places of worship, in parks, and in other places. Individual choice is afforded greater latitude in loose cultures under such circumstances. “Appropriate” conduct encompasses a broader variety of behaviors.
- Adaptations in terms of psychology People’s minds develop used to the demands of living in varied cultural environments, whether they be strict or lax in their cultural standards. Individual psychology therefore contributes to the degree to which a culture is tight or loose in its embrace. People who live in close-knit communities become more concerned with avoiding errors. They are more careful in their own behavior, and they are more vigilant in their monitoring of themselves and others for infractions of social norms.
When seen from the opposing side, cultures that are either culturally tight or free appear to be entirely broken. The cultural tightness-looseness framework might assist you in taking a step back and looking at things from a fresh perspective. It can assist you in developing a cross-cultural viewpoint. When you observe or hear about events taking place throughout the world, consider if the participants are from tightly or loosely organized civilizations. Consider how they came to be in that position, as well as all of the elements involved in keeping the system in place.
Returning to the first level, being involved in a dispute might result in an increase in the tightness of cultural norms across the board.
M. Gelfand and colleagues, J. Raver and colleagues, L. Nishii, L. Leslie and colleagues, J. Lun and colleagues, B. Lim and colleagues, A. Ang, S. Arnadottir and colleagues, J. Chan and colleagues, J. Chhokar and colleagues, D. Chan and colleagues, J. Chhokar and colleagues, J. Chhokar and colleagues, J. Chan and colleagues, J. Chhokar and colleagues, J.
(2011). Studies of Tight and Loose Cultural Systems: A 33-Nation Study Science 332(6033), 1100-1104 DOI:10.1126/science.1197754 M. Gelfand’s book (2018). Rule Makers and Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World is a book on how tight and loose cultures wire our world. Scribner.