Read this chapter for a review of culture. As you read each section, consider the following topics:

  • Write down the differences between culture and society.
  • Focus on the bold terms, paying close attention to the differences between ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. Then, write down some ideas as to why these two concepts would be central to studying societies.
  • Take note of the bold terms in this section, focusing on the different kinds of norms as well as the significance of symbols.
  • Take note of the different types of cultures as well as the effect of globalization on those cultures.
  • Read this section while making connections to the three theoretical perspectives you studied in subunit 1.1.

Key Terms

tenets or convictions that people hold to be true

groups that reject and oppose society's widely accepted cultural patterns

cultural imperialism
the deliberate imposition of one's own cultural values on another culture

cultural relativism

the practice of assessing a culture by its own standards, and not in comparison to another culture

cultural universals
patterns or traits that are globally common to all societies

shared beliefs, values, and practices

culture lag
the gap of time between the introduction of material culture and nonmaterial culture's acceptance of it

culture shock
an experience of personal disorientation when confronted with an unfamiliar way of life

the spread of material and nonmaterial culture from one culture to another

things and ideas found from what already exists


the practice of evaluating another culture according to the standards of one's own culture

direct, appropriate behavior in the day-to-day practices and expressions of a culture

formal norms
established, written rules

the integration of international trade and finance markets

high culture
the cultural patterns of a society's elite

ideal culture
the standards a society would like to embrace and live up to

informal norms
casual behaviors that are generally and widely conformed to

new objects or ideas introduced to culture for the first time

a combination of pieces of existing reality into new forms

a symbolic system of communication

material culture
the objects or belongings of a group of people

the moral views and principles of a group

nonmaterial culture
the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of a society

the visible and invisible rules of conduct through which societies are structured

popular culture
mainstream, widespread patterns among a society's population

real culture
the way society really is based on what actually occurs and exists

a way to authorize or formally disapprove of certain behaviors

Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
the way that people understand the world based on their form of language

social control
a way to encourage conformity to cultural norms

people who live in a definable community and who share a culture

groups that share a specific identification, apart from a society's majority, even as the members exist within a larger society

gestures or objects that have meanings associated with them that are recognized by people who share a culture

a culture's standard for discerning what is good and just in society

a belief that another culture is superior to one's own