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  • 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

Values and beliefs

The first, and perhaps most crucial, elements of culture we will discuss are its values and beliefs. Values are a culture’s standard for discerning what is good and just in society. Values are deeply embedded and critical for transmitting and teaching a culture’s beliefs. Beliefs are the tenets or convictions that people hold to be true. Individuals in a society have specific beliefs, but they also share collective values. To illustrate the difference, Americans commonly believe in the American Dream—that anyone who works hard enough will be successful and wealthy. Underlying this belief is the American value that wealth is good and important.

Values help shape a society by suggesting what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, sought or avoided. Consider the value that the United States places upon youth. Children represent innocence and purity, while a youthful adult appearance signifies sexuality. Shaped by this value, individuals spend millions of dollars each year on cosmetic products and surgeries to look young and beautiful. The United States also has an individualistic culture, meaning people place a high value on individuality and independence. In contrast, many other cultures are collectivist, meaning the welfare of the group and group relationships are a primary value.

Living up to a culture’s values can be difficult. It’s easy to value good health, but it’s hard to quit smoking. Marital monogamy is valued, but many spouses engage in infidelity. Cultural diversity and equal opportunities for all people are valued in the United States, yet the country’s highest political offices have been dominated by white men.

Values often suggest how people should behave, but they don’t accurately reflect how people do behave. Values portray an ideal culture    , the standards society would like to embrace and live up to. But ideal culture differs from real culture    , the way society actually is, based on what occurs and exists. In an ideal culture, there would be no traffic accidents, murders, poverty, or racial tension. But in real culture, police officers, lawmakers, educators, and social workers constantly strive to prevent or repair those accidents, crimes, and injustices. American teenagers are encouraged to value celibacy. However, the number of unplanned pregnancies among teens reveals that not only is the ideal hard to live up to, but the value alone is not enough to spare teenagers the potential consequences of having sex.

One way societies strive to put values into action is through rewards, sanctions, and punishments. When people observe the norms of society and uphold its values, they are often rewarded. A boy who helps an elderly woman board a bus may receive a smile and a “thank you.” A business manager who raises profit margins may receive a quarterly bonus. People sanction certain behaviors by giving their support, approval, or permission, or by instilling formal actions of disapproval and nonsupport. Sanctions are a form of social control    , a way to encourage conformity to cultural norms. Sometimes people conform to norms in anticipation or expectation of positive sanctions: good grades, for instance, may mean praise from parents and teachers. From a criminal justice perspective, properly used social control is also inexpensive crime control. Utilizing social control approaches pushes most people to conform to societal rules, regardless of whether authority figures (such as law enforcement) are present.

Questions & Answers

how l explane in easy method of socialogy
deep Reply
The development of applied anthropology and social impact assessment are working for the
Mame Reply
sociology definition
Gunjan Reply
scientific and systematic study of society comprising of social Institutions, norms, values, structures and individuals.
SHIVAM
scientific and systematic all means the same. So one can serve
Imrana
what is society
rascal Reply
society is a group of people who live in a particular territory, are subject to a common system of political authority & share a common culture.
Godson
simply society is a group of who share terrirory and common culture
Mohamed
society is aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered communities.
Khuzaifa
society is a group of people with common territory,interaction and culture.
Khuzaifa
What is motion
Fiko Reply
imagining sociologically, describe the current global pandemic?
Yasir Reply
I really want to know about what is " राज्य- राष्ट्र" ...please don't take it as nation state ।t is state- nation... could anyone explain this
Ritu Reply
imagining sociologically describe the current global pandemic
Yasir
what is state- nation not nation- state ... I have learned about nation state and I know very well but about "state-nation" I have learned a name only and there is no definition or clearfication about this in Google or other websites
Ritu
oh sorry I ask a question to you that imagining sociologically describe the current global pandemic?
Yasir
yet I've no enough idea about your question in which I can explain ....
Ritu
who coined the term sociology?
Chano Reply
discuss about the Marxian approaches of development.
Chano
how sociology bring development?
Mwita
i need the answers please
Mwita
auguste com't he who coined the term sociology
AMINU
Development sociology is the study of the causes and consequences of economic change in society. ... Economic sociology consistently turns to economic development as the natural setting for tests of its theories. Development Sociology investigates the practices and processes of social change.
AMINU
The emergence of sociology traces back to the eighteenth century up to present day. Johnson (1998) suggests that in summary, the rise and development of sociology is based on political, economic, demographic, social and scientific changes
AMINU
theories of development in sociology The main objective of this document is to synthesize the main aspects of the four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried
AMINU
theories of development in sociology The main objective of this document is to synthesize the main aspects of the four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried
AMINU
basic tenants of islam
Raksha Reply
what are forms of governments
Nyiko Reply
if you kill someone in self defense is it a crime
Clara Reply
no its a self defence if u kill someone in self defense by mistake its a self defense but if you kill someone in self defense and you defense your self then if u kill him its a murdered ..... and murder is a crime... 😊
Hassan
4. Explain in detail the various factors those may affect rural development under local cultural settings. any buddy know this answer plz sent mein
Hassan Reply
hi, is this to get help with exam questions?
Bri Reply
Yap
Mustafa
what is basic structure of culture
Yasir Reply
(1) group of people (2) similar historical experiences (3) consensus on values, rewards and punishments (4) identification of their group as distinct from others
Sourabh
1
Nyiko
The structure of culture follows that of human life in its evolution, activities, and interests. ... It would seem that the forms of communication dictate the structure of culture, language being naturally the most privileged but not exclusive means by which the communication process can work.
Ritu
the social sciences, social structure  is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent  from and determinant of the actions of society .Likewise, society is believed to be grouped into structurally-related groups or sets of role, with different function, meaning and purpose.
Sonam
Through which sociological perspective we can analyze the pakistani society
Salman Reply
It is used within a paper to clarify or expand on a point made, or to give credit to the sources used to support that point. A. Notes B. Thesis C. Article D. None of these what is the answer.?
Sikandar
Article
sayan

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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