Cultural Diversity

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               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!
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.

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