CULTURAL DIVERSITY Sandra Booth Intro Sociology/Section VA Photo Essay Dr. Ken Laundra Final Thoughts I learned from this assignment that sociological concepts are all around us, all the time. From taking a photograph, you can study it and find some sort of component of culture. I have learned to be more open-minded since taking this class and to use my “sociological imagination”. The textbook was well-written and interesting, some of the discussions on the boards were pretty lively, and I don’t think I will ever forget what I have learned, all the issues were important but especially Global Stratification—that topic really struck a nerve and left me wondering what can be done about it, and what I can do to help. Redneck Culture Any time two or more people interact culture is created. Culture can exist within a small group of people, even in a trailer park! Subculture This picture was taken at my daughter’s 21 st birthday party. It is common with her group of friends to celebrate their 21 st with an all-nighter at their first bar. Subcultures can form around any interest or activity. Each also has special terms that pinpoint the group’s corner of life and that its members use to communicate with one another. Culture Shock I experienced a disorientation known as Culture Shock at my daughter’s party. Culture shock is experienced when people come in contact with a fundamentally different culture and can no longer depend on their taken for granted assumptions about life. Maybe Ethnocentrism, or the use of your own culture as a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies would be a better description of what I experienced. Perhaps I am just old!! Components of Symbolic Culture Gestures are movements of the body used to communicate with others, ways to convey messages without using words. They can lead to misunderstandings and embarrassment because their meanings differ around the world. A gesture’s meaning may change completely from one culture to another. I asked my daughter’s friend to “give me the finger” so I could photograph it. He was embarrassed to say the least, because in the United States, we pretty much all know what it means. In our society, it violates a folkway to “flip off” your friend’s mother! Material Culture Material Culture refers to the material objects that distinguish a group of people, such as their art, buildings, hairstyles, clothing, and jewelry. Culture touches almost every aspect of who and what we are. I took this photo at the Warped Tour-a group of my daughter’s friends who wear the same name-brand clothing, the same huge sunglasses, and similar hairstyles. They even like the same music. They weren’t born this way- they acquired these things and take them for granted. Sociologists call this the culture within us. Communicating Through Language Language is the primary way people communicate with one another. Language allows shared perspectives and shared, goal-directed behavior. It allows cultures to develop by providing a social or shared past and future. All human groups have language, but the sounds are not universal. Just like gestures, one sound may have a totally different meaning in another culture. Norms, Values, and Beliefs Though I took this picture at my daughter’s college Halloween party, it shows what can happen when you violate norms, society’s standardized sets of behaviors. They were approached at a gas station on Prospect Ave! They quickly learned not to parade around outside in those outfits, violating a folkway and getting non-verbal cues from those around them. Different societies have different sets of values and beliefs.