Você está na página 1de 5

Chapter 1: Starting Point for the Understanding of Culture, Society, and Politics

Manifestations of Human Variations Through Cultural Diversity, Social Differences, and


Political Identities. The creation of the global society plus humans into one plot where almost
everything is interlinked and where change in one aspect will affect the other. However, despite
the emergence of the idea of “one global society,” there remains visible manifestations of human
variations in society.

Cultural Diversity. Culture plays a major role in our day-to-day living. It refers to “that complex
whole which encompasses beliefs, practices, values, attitudes, laws, norms, artifacts, symbols,
knowledge, and everything that a person learns and shares as a member of society.”

Social Differences. The society has various manifestations of social differences based on unique
social characteristics or qualities like social class, gender, age, educational attainment,
occupation, and the like. In sociology, social differences is usually equated with social
stratification, this describes the relative social position of persons in a given social group,
category, geographical region, or other social unit.

The Major Types of Social Stratification are:


1. Caste. Hereditary endogamous social group on which a person’s rank and his/her rights
and obligations are ascribed or on the basis of his/her birth into a particular group.
2. Class. A person’s position is based upon achievement.
3. Estate. Gives emphasis to birth as well as wealth and possessions.
4. Slavery. Had economic basis wherein the master shows power over slave.

Political Identities. The world is visibly divided into different countries. Each country has its own
political system to run its government. A government is the system by which a state or community
is controlled so as to put order.

Significance of Studying Culture, Society, and Politics. Social Science is a very complex
study. It is divided into different areas according to focus or subject. In this subject, a special focus
on the interplay of Anthropology (culture), Sociology (society), and Political Science (political
identities and government) will be given focus with the use of transdisciplinary perspective to
understand and explain social issues in the human society.

Anthropology. Is the holistic “science of man”, a science of the totality of human existence.

Two broad fields of Anthropology


1. Physical Anthropology. Physical anthropology or sometimes called biological
anthropology mainly concerns about how humans emerged and evolved through time.
This is under the study of human paleontology. The second concern of physical
anthropology is how human beings differ biologically. This is under the study of human
variation.
2. Cultural Anthropology. Cultural anthropology is basically concerned with the differenced
of cultures from time to time.

There are three main branches of cultural anthropology


1. Archeology. Which studies past cultures through tangible or material remains.
Archeologists help reconstruct the life and culture of the humans in the prehistoric
time.
2. Anthropological linguistics. Which is the anthropological study of languages where
experts explain the difference of languages by culture and how it is constructed.
3. Ethnology. Which is the study of recent or present cultures. These disciplines try to
explain the difference of culture before and the recent through vigorous research,
example: concept of beauty, marriage practices, etc.

Sociology. Is the study of relationships among people. It is the study of the society and the
behavior of people in the society.
There are two major approaches to examine human society:
1. Macrolevel perspective
- Macrosociology examined the social structure, the social institutions, social
organizations, and social groups.
- Uses the structural functionalist perspective and the conflict perspective in examining
the larger social structure.

2. Microlevel perspective
- Microsociology places more emphasis on the role of the individuals in society.
- Uses the symbolic interactionist perspective to look into the interactions between or
among individuals in society.

Below is the table that shows the comparison of the major theoretical approaches in sociology
based on the following points: view of society, level of analysis, views on the individual, social
order, and social change.
Comparing Major Theoretical Approaches
Functionalist Conflict Interactionist
View of Stable, well- Characterized by tension Active in influencing and
Society integrated and struggle between affecting everyday social
groups interaction
Level of Macrosociological Macrosociological Microsocial analysis as a
Analysis Analysis of large- Analysis of large-scale way of understanding the
Emphasized scale patterns patterns larger phenomenon
View of the People are People are shaped by People manipulate
individual socialized to power, coercion, and symbols and create their
perform societal authority social worlds through
functions interaction
View of the Maintained Maintained through force Maintained by shared
Social Order through and coercion understanding of everyday
cooperation and behavior
consensus
View of Predictable, Change takes all the time Reflected in people’s
Social reinforcing position and may have
Change positive

Political Science. Deals with systems of government and the analysis of political activity and
political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly
thought of as the determining of the distribution of power and resources.
Subfields of Political Description
Science
Comparative Politics It is a subfield which studies the politics within other nations. This
subfield tries to compare theories on a specific nation to other nations.
International Relation Is a subfield which studies politics among nations. In this subfield
conflict, diplomatic affairs, and international law is being studied.
Political Theory Is a subfield which studies classical and modern politics. This subfield
aims to discover what theory suits the characteristics of good politics.
Public Administration Is a subfield which studies bureaucracies on how it is functional and
how to improve it by certain theories.
Constitutional Law Is a subfield which studies how laws are made and being applied on a
certain nation or state. Its major aims is to study legal systems.
Public Policy Is a subfield which studies the interface of politics and economic. It
aims to create a plan to develop programs that would be sufficient and
adequate to societies.
Chapter 2: Defining Culture and Society from the Perspectives of Anthropology
and Sociology

People rarely distinguish the difference between the terms “culture” and “society”, but for
sociologists, the two terms have different meanings and the distinction is important.

A society describes a group of people who share a common territory and a culture. By “territory”,
sociologists refer to a definable region- as small as a neighborhood (e.g., barangay), a city (e.g.,
Manila), a country (e.g., Philippines), to as large as the global regional context (e.g., Asia). While
“culture” refers to “that complex whole which encompasses beliefs, practices, values, attitudes,
laws, norms, artifacts, symbols, knowledge, and everything that a person learns and shares as a
member of society”.

To clarify, a culture represents the beliefs, practices, and artifacts of a group, while society
represents the social structures and organization of the people who share those beliefs and
practices. Neither society nor culture could exist without the other.

Types of Society. Sociologists have classified the different types of societies into six categories,
each of which possesses its own unique characteristics.

Hunting and These are the earliest forms of society. These are small and generally
gathering societies with less than 50 members and is nomadic. The members survive
primarily by hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering edible plants.
Pastoral societies Rely on products through the domestication and breeding of animals
for transportation and food. These are common in areas where crops
cannot be supported and only have to move when the land in which
animals gaze is no longer usable.
Horticultural societies These societies rely on the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and plants
in order to survive. They are often forced to relocate when the
resources of the land are depleted or when the water supplies
decrease.
Agricultural societies They rely on the use of technology in order to cultivate crops in large
areas, including wheat, rice, and corn. Productivity increases, and as
long as there are plenty of food, people do not have to move.
Industrial societies They use advanced sources of energy to run large machinery which
led to industrialization, Innovations in transportation led people to
travel, work in factories, and live in cities.
Post-industrial Their economy is based on services and technology, not production.
societies The economy is dependent on tangible goods, people must pursue
greater education, and the new communications technology allows
work to be performed from a variety of locations.

Aspects of Culture. Cultures have key features (classification and elements) and characteristics
that are present in all cultures.

Classification of Culture. Cultural components that are visible and tangible are called material
culture which include all material objects or those components or elements of culture with
physical representation such as tools, furniture, buildings, bridges, gadgets, etc.

There are components of culture that are nontangible or without physical representation and these
are called nonmaterial culture which can be categorized into cognitive and normative
nonmaterial culture.

Cognitive culture includes the ideas, concepts, philosophies, designs, etc. that are products of
the mental or intellectual functioning and reasoning of the human mind while the normative
culture includes all the expectations, standards and rules for human behavior.

Elements of Culture. All cultures consist of key elements that are crucial to human existence:
Beliefs are conceptions or ideas people have about what is true in the environment around them
like what is life, how to value it, and how one’s beliefs on the value of life relate with his or her
interaction with others and the world. These may be based on common sense, folk wisdom,
religion, science, or a combination of all of these.

Values describes what is appropriate or inappropriate (good or bad; desirable or undesirable;


worthy or unworthy) in a given society or what ought to be. These are broad, abstract, and shared
to influence and guide the behavior of people.

People live in a culture wherein symbols are used to understand each other. Symbols can be
verbal (words) or nonverbal (acts, gestures, signs, and objects) that communicate meaning that
people recognize and shared.

Language is a shared set of spoken and written symbols. It is basic to communication and
transmission of culture. It is known as the storehouse of culture.

Technology refers to the application of knowledge and equipment to ease the task of living and
maintaining the environment. It includes all artifacts, methods and devices created and used by
people.

Norms are specific rules/standards to guide appropriate behavior. Societal norms are different
types and norms.

Proscriptive Defines and tells us things not to do


Types
Prescriptive Defines and tells us things to do
Also known as customs, these are norms for everyday behavior that
Folkways
people follow for the sake of tradition or convenience.
These are strict norms that control moral and ethical behavior. Mores
Mores
are norms based on definitions of right and wrong.
Forms These are norms that society holds so strongly that violating it results
Taboos in extreme disgust. Often times the violator of the taboo is considered
unit to live in that society.
These are codified ethics, and formally agreed, written down and
Laws
enforced by an official law enforcement agency.

By themselves, norms are guidelines for human behavior. Sanctions encourage conformity to
norms. Sanctions are socially imposed rewards and punishments in society which may be formal
or informal.

Characteristics of Culture

1. Dynamic, Flexible, and Adaptive. This is basically means that culture interact and
change. Most societies interact with other societies, and lead to exchanges of material
(e.g., tools and furniture) and nonmaterial (e.g., ideas and symbols) components of
culture.
2. Shared and may be Challenged (given the reality of social differentiation). As we share
culture with others, we are able to act in appropriate ways as well as predict how others
will act.
3. Learned through socialization and enculturation. It is not biological, we do not inherit
it but learn as we interact in society. Much of learning culture is unconscious. We learn,
absorb, and acquire culture from families, peers, institutions, and the media. The process
of learning culture is known as enculturation.
4. Patterned social interactions. Culture as a normative system has the capacity to define
and control human behaviors. Norms are cultural expectations in terms of how one will
think, feel, or behave as set by one’s culture.
5. Integrated. This is known as holism, or the various parts of a culture being interconnected
or interlinked. All aspects of a culture are related to one another and to truly understand a
culture, one must learn about all of its part, not only a few.
6. Transmitted through socialization/enculturation. As we share our culture with other,
we were able to pass it on to the new members of society or the younger generation in
different ways.
7. Requires language and other forms of communication. In the process of learning and
transmitting culture, we need symbols and language to communicate with others in
society.

Ethnocentrism/Xenocentrism and Cultural Relativism as Orientations in Viewing Other


Cultures

Ethnocentrism is the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything and all
others are scaled and rated with reference to it. Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity,
boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders.

Xenocentrism. People are highly influenced by the culture or many culture outside the realm of
their society. In this globalized society, one’s exposure to cultural practices of others may make
one to give preference to the ideas, lifestyle, and products of other cultures which is termed by
John D. Fullmer as xenocentrism.

Cultural Relativism. Is the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be
understood by others in terms of that individual’s own culture. It also covers ideas of moral
relativism (ethics depend on a social construct), situational relativism (right or wrong is based
on the particular situation), and cognitive relativism (truth itself has no objective standard).