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  • 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

Humans are social creatures. Since the dawn of Homo sapiens nearly 250,000 years ago, people have grouped together into communities in order to survive. Living together, people form common habits and behaviors—from specific methods of childrearing to preferred techniques for obtaining food. In modern-day Paris, many people shop daily at outdoor markets to pick up what they need for their evening meal, buying cheese, meat, and vegetables from different specialty stalls. In the United States, the majority of people shop once a week at supermarkets, filling large carts to the brim. How would a Parisian perceive U.S. shopping behaviors that Americans take for granted?

Almost every human behavior, from shopping to marriage to expressions of feelings, is learned. In the United States, people tend to view marriage as a choice between two people, based on mutual feelings of love. In other nations and in other times, marriages have been arranged through an intricate process of interviews and negotiations between entire families, or in other cases, through a direct system such as a “mail order bride.” To someone raised in New York City, the marriage customs of a family from Nigeria may seem strange, or even wrong. Conversely, someone from a traditional Kolkata family might be perplexed with the idea of romantic love as the foundation for marriage lifelong commitment. In other words, the way in which people view marriage depends largely on what they have been taught.

Behavior based on learned customs is not a bad thing. Being familiar with unwritten rules helps people feel secure and “normal.” Most people want to live their daily lives confident that their behaviors will not be challenged or disrupted. But even an action as seemingly simple as commuting to work evidences a great deal of cultural propriety.

A crowd of people behind closed subway car doors is shown.
How would a visitor from suburban America act and feel on this crowded Tokyo train? (Photo courtesy of simonglucas/flickr)

Take the case of going to work on public transportation. Whether commuting in Dublin, Cairo, Mumbai, or San Francisco, many behaviors will be the same in all locations, but significant differences also arise between cultures. Typically, a passenger would find a marked bus stop or station, wait for his bus or train, pay an agent before or after boarding, and quietly take a seat if one is available. But when boarding a bus in Cairo, passengers might have to run, because buses there often do not come to a full stop to take on patrons. Dublin bus riders would be expected to extend an arm to indicate that they want the bus to stop for them. And when boarding a commuter train in Mumbai, passengers must squeeze into overstuffed cars amid a lot of pushing and shoving on the crowded platforms. That kind of behavior would be considered the height of rudeness in United States, but in Mumbai it reflects the daily challenges of getting around on a train system that is taxed to capacity.

Questions & Answers

explain scarcity
Richard Reply
scarcity occurs when there are not enough resources to satisfy human's needs and wants therefore we need to allocate our resources using the price mechanism.
scarcity is when there is inadequate resources to catch the unlimited wants which would compel individual to make choice.
joint or complementary demand
Ryt Reply
what is demand
Qudus Reply
it maybe define as the amount or quantity of goods and services which a consumer is willing to buy with the ability to pay at a given price at a particular time
yesoo thanks dear
why is economics a science
Isaac Reply
Because science is all about thinking by making models whether a computational or Mathematical. Economics is a social sciences because it effects society but to understand Economics we use maths so it is a Science
I hope.......Economic is social science because it makes new new currency of money,it is decided the country’s depend system and the system be repeated others benefits in our ...
so what is the disadvantages of mix economic system
Economics is regarded as a social science because it uses scientific methods to build theories that can help explain the behaviour of individuals, groups and organisations.
The question is: why is Economic a "science" and not why is economics a "social science?" Alright folks?
In my own understanding of why economics is a science it bcz it deals mainly on human resources just like biology that deals in the human body why economics is science it also deals on the management of human resources all over the world bcz without economics there will be no human resources
what is technology
my response to the earlier question is, economics is a science but not a pure science like biology, chemistry and physics. The reason is that those pure science study inanimate object while economics study human being, their experiment are predictable.
Economics is a social science subject that shows the relationship between ends and scarce means with their alternative uses
what is Equilibrium?
Fatima Reply
it means equal price and equal quality
thank u Arthur!
Equilibrium is a state of balance in an economy. In as far as market forces are reasonably concerned, equilibrium means the state at which the quantity of goods supplied is equal to the quantity of goods demanded.
what is labour
labor can be define as a both physical and mental effort of man put forward towards production
name the types of demand and explain any two
Joint demand Composite demand Competitive demand
Labourcan be defined as man mental and physical exertion
what is elasticity
Motseoa Reply
difference between demand and supply
Adeyemi Reply
Demand- It is the desire of a buyer and his ability to pay for a particular commodity at a specific price. Supply- It is quantity of a commodity which is made available by the producers to its consumers at certain price.
yes OK thank you dear
Demand can be defined as the ability a buyer is willing and able to pay at a specific price and in agiven period of time Supply can be defined as the ability the producer is willing to supply with a specific price
what is labor force
restriction on international trade
Ayim Reply
formula for price elasticity of demand
Lognyuu Reply
what is average cost advantage and absolute cost advantage
Tamo Reply
what is demand
Home Reply
demand can be defined as the quantity of a commodity which people are willing to buy at particular times and at a given price .
you are talking about campaney in my self ihave campaney why don't you calculated my business
Adow Reply
formula for price elasticity of demand
Emilia Reply
Suppose that a soft drink company calculates that the demand for a bottle of its soda increases from 100 to 110 after the price is cut from $2 to $1.50.
The price elasticity of demand is calculated as the percentage change in quantity demanded (110 - 100 / 100 = 10%) divided by a percentage change in price ($2 - $1.50 / $2).
what does unit price mean
Lognyuu Reply
unit price is the price for a single unit of measure of a product sold in more or less than the single unit.
How do we find unit price?
divide total cost by total units
I don't understand the unit Price
which one how find or what
sorry how to find it or what
please how do we find the unit price
unit price or cost is the price per item when you purchase in a bulk
example assuming you bought a pack of matches is 1gh but the pack contains 10 boxes so the price per the box is called the unit price ie divide 1gh by the number of matches boxes in the pack to get unit price/cost. NB unit here means one so price per 1
you will divide total cost by total unit
yes please
yes, in the matches scenario it's 1gh/10boxes which is equal to 0.10ps so the unit price of the one box of the matches is ten Ghana pesewas
Thank you I now understand
Given that the price of a product has rose, the demand of the the product will decrease. Thus leads to a downward-sloping demand curve
M_geshnee Reply
The demand of consumers
No demand curves have différent shapes. For examole guven that price of a product increase, the demand of that product will decrease thus It will lead to a downward sloping curve conversely there can be also a rightward shift in the demand curve when price a the good decrease demand will increase
Difference between extinct and extici spicies
Amanpreet Reply
What is called research problem and how we narrow down a research question and why it is needed
Karamat Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology. OpenStax CNX. Jun 12, 2012 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11407/1.7
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