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No Society Has A Culture That Is Shared By All Its Members. Discuss.

1395 words - 6 pages

What is culture? According to Clarke et al "the culture of a group or class is the distinctive way of life of the group or class, the meanings, values and ideas embodied in institutions, in social relations, in systems of beliefs, in mores and customs, in uses of objects and material life."The anthropologist Sir Edward B Taylor defines culture as, "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habit acquired by man as a member of society." And we all know that society is usually a large group of people who interact with each other within a defined geographic space.In Marxian sociology culture is conceptualized as a part of the superstructure, and is therefore seen as an outgrowth or up growth of the economic infrastructure. Similarly to the functionalists, Marx argued that human culture has a social origin and therefore it cannot be seen as deriving directly from nature or from innate instincts in human beings.According to Haralambos and Holborn a further interpretation of Marx emphasizes class difference between cultures. From this point of view, different classes will always tend to have different cultures. This is due to the fact that their conditions of material existence are different.They (H&H) go further on to say that according to Marx, "the different experiences of living as members of the ruling class or the working class will produce a different view of the world and hence a different culture." This point is supportive of the argument that no society has a culture that is shared by all of its members.Culture is made up of a number of components, which are very important in the formation of any culture. These components are language, music, dress, food and dance. There are other components which can be seen as extremely important when shaping a society's culture. These important components are values, norms, beliefs, laws, customs and symbols.Vales are culturally defined standards by which people assess desirability and goodness and it serves as a broad guideline for social living. So therefore, values are ideas about what is socially defined as good or desirable.Norms are social rules that attach sanctions to the behaviour or appearance of members of society. There are two types of norms prescriptive and proscriptive norms, which are basically norms which tell us what to do and what not to do in society.Beliefs can be defined as specific statements about what is real or that which people hold true.Another important component of culture which I will briefly define is law. And as mentioned before, these play an integral role in the shaping of a society's culture. Laws are very important according to Hess et al because they are the norms that govern the behaviour of a society and are considered to be very essential to human survival. Basically without laws a society would not function efficiently as there would be constant confusion.Customs are routine activities in daily...

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