Theimportance of culture is one of the most Important concepts in sociology.Culture can’t be talked about without being linked with identity. Culture playsa significant role with inflicting the values and norms of a society. Culturalvalues adapt over time and form changes.
In current society we have more powerover creating our own identities and making ourselves hold our own importancewithin society. We hold the best knowledge in defining who we are and where wehave come from and where we are going within society. Our everyday choices helpshape us to become the people we are today. We are constantly creating andmaking changes to our identities. Draw conclusions aboutculture and identity in a changing social world A researchcarried out relating to culture and identity would be the work done by asociologist named Stan Cohen who considers the story behind the disturbancesbetween two large sub culture groups know as the Mods and Rockers in the early1960’s. His research involved studying newspaper articles and interviews. StanCohen used the labelling theory of deviance from the sociological theory ofsymbolic interactionism to understand what was going on. The key question forStan Cohen was who decided to apply the deviant label.
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When an individual’sbehaviour is defined as deviant they may be costumed to adopt that label andreinforce the deviant label. The deviance is amplified through the mass mediain 3 main processes, exaggeration and distortion of who did or said what,prediction, the consequences of failure to act, symbolisation, the mods androckers signify threat. The media creates the two subculture groups as folk’sdevils. The cause is not a conspiracy amongst journalists but normal newsmaking. The media focus most on those events and people disrupting our socialorder. This then makes general society sensitive to these issues including thepolice and the law and public opinion. The consequences of a moral panic arenormally changes in the law.
In the case of Mods and Rockers one law aboutdrugs already being passed was strengthened, with another on criminal damageintroduced as direct response. Cohen argued these measures were moreritualistic than effective. Cohen believed moral panics happen because they fulfila function of reaffirming society’s moral values/ boundaries. Britain as a richsociety in the 1960’s disliked young people who were seen to be rejecting adultideals: Cohen suggests that moral panics are natural because society willcontinue to produce the deviants which it then condemns. Cohen shows howsocieties maintain their boundaries and how labelling can work to create socialcontrol.
Labelling is considered an interactive process. If this is the case,then the mods and rockers would have seen themselves as folk devils. This wasnot the case. So, Cohens theoretical approach may be flawed.
Explain sociologicalresearch relating to a selected aspect of culture and identity Karl Marx aconflict structuralist believes that society is based on production andconsumption. People who own the means of production (properties, factories,etc) have the power in society. Marx believed that there are two classes insociety that create conflict and Marx believes that there is always conflictingforces and he viewed this with modern society and capitalism. Your class wasdetermined by your status within the means of production. The ruling class ownand control the means of production in society. The working class simply selltheir labour in the market place. Whilst the working class co-operate toproduce goods for the market place it is the ruling class who gain in profits.
The working class are quickly paid but pay back their wage through theirefforts what is left is called surplus value and is taken by the ruling class.Marx said that class conflict comes from the two classes who pursue theirdifferent interests in society. Marx believed the means of production had to bemaintained by the ruling class. Since they exploited the working class they hadto find ways to continue exploiting themselves. To explain why workers falsely believedin their exploitation Marx came up with the idea of superstructure,superstructure is the structure in society such as religion, media, law,education, work, the family, etc. each of these structures reflect the rulingclass. Marx’s alienation refers to the way in which the working class aresocialised into accepting their inequalities of the social class division thatthey become estranged from their labour because they aren’t involved with whatthey produced, and the ruling class are the ones who are gaining in profit.
Marxbelieved that through alienation the working class would eventually unite andadopt the true class consciousness and over throw the false consciousness whichis when the working believe that their world is fair and through the superstructure,the higher class can pass on their ideas to maintain capitalism making anunfair society seem fair. Although Consensus structuralist Emile Durkheimbelieves that division of labour is important, he believes everyone must havedifferent jobs for society to survive. This meant that to fill all roles insociety there must be a meritocracy. Durkheim believes that the division inlabour goes further than economic interests, it also forms social and moralorder within a society.
There are two types of social solidarity: mechanicaland organic. Mechanical solidarity connects an individual to society andsociety is formed collectively and everyone in the group share the samebeliefs. The bond that connects the individual to society is the shared beliefsystem which is referred to as the collective conscious. Organic solidarityexplains how society is functioned differently. Every individual has their ownjob, action or personality that is his or her own. Individuality grows as partsof society grow.
Society becomes more in sync even though each part of it hasmovements that is its own. Use two sociologicaltheories to explain a selected aspect of culture and identity Culturerefers to the life of a society such as; language, dress, traditions, beliefs,relationships, customs, norms, and roles. Culture varies according to time(history) and place (geography).
Within society their may be a variety of subcultures that differ from dominant culture in terms of dress, norms, values andlanguage. Youth subcultures have their own style of dress and music that makethem different from others. A sub culture is a smaller group of individualswithin the main culture of society. A lot of sub culture groups are based onfrustration and failure. For example, youths exposed to deprived communitieswhere they feel that it is too difficult to achieve success through educationor wealth, turn to deviant alternative values which helps provide them with status.sub cultures can be an important way of identity. Dominant culture can often have the power todefine the sub culture group by labelling them which can create prejudice anddiscrimination. Sub cultures are often groups who struggle to achieve successin the more dominant society and try build their own power to define thesuccess that the sub culture holds.
The dominant culture can also have thepower to take a sub culture and turn it into a more mainstream culture. Forexample, in the 70’s ‘punk ‘was a youth subculture where they expressedthemselves through the clothes they wore, the hair and make up and type ofmusic. Mainstream culture has drained the group of its counter cultural meaningfor example, today things such as coloured hair and piercings are sociablyacceptable and hold no separate meaning towards a sub culture group.
Explain the concepts ofculture and/ or sub cultures in terms of power and status Socialisationis the way in which we learn the appropriate behaviour of our society. Thesocialisation process continues throughout all our lives from birth to deathand influences the way we think and behave. We learn the social norms andvalues and roles in our culture for the society in which we live in. The firsttype of socialisation in which we are exposed to in the early years of ourchildhood is known as the primary socialisation process, this is where we learnbasic behaviour patterns, language and skills that we will require for later inlife. The agents for this socialisation process is normally the family andfriends, they make sure that when we were children we adopted the appropriatebehaviour for society and gender.
As we grow up we start to become influencedby other agents such as peer groups, media, religion and the workplace this is calledthe secondary socialisation process which considers the socialisationinfluences that occur in later childhood and adulthood that progress outside ofthe family. This process teaches individuals society’s norms and values. Someof our behaviour is learned in set ways for example in school we learn skillssuch as reading and writing and counting. These skills are important in oursociety because they teach us how to communicate and benefit us for going intothe working industry. This process is known as formal socialisation. Although alot of the things that we learn are created from observing other people andlistening to things we are told by our peer groups or the mass media. This typeof socialisation continues all the time through our lives and is known asinformal socialisation.
Other ways inwhich sociologists have created understandings for our social behaviour isthrough a debate called the nature versus nurture. This debate is important tothe study of sociology and socialisation. When sociologists discuss nature, they are referring to what anindividual inherits through their genes. This is known as the geneticinheritance of a person. Everyone inherits half their genes from their motherand the other half from their father. Genes determine things such as what sexyou will be and the colour of your eyes.
Although biologists argue that geneticinfluence can also explain social behaviour and characteristics. Some arguethat things such as aggression, personality and intelligence are all inherited.The term instinct means that behaviour is programmed into our genes.
Sociologists talk about nurture which they are referring to all the behaviourswe learn through the socialisation process. Things we do are a result to whatwe have learned. This means our experiences and environment influence theshaping in our behaviour. Our social behaviours come from our expectations andguidelines which we acknowledge and learn within each society and culture. Weoften believe things we do come naturally to us because we have done them forsuch a long time without thinking however, what we consider as natural may alsojust be the behaviour that we have learned but because we are socialised froman early age it seems natural. Gender also plays a key role in thesocialisation process because we expect females and male’s behaviour to differ.Nature’s understanding of female and male behaviour is that they do havegenetic differences that influence both physical and behaviouralcharacteristics. These biological differences mean that males and females aresuited to dissimilar roles for example some people believe that biologicaldifferences have made females more suited to raise children.
Although nurtureemphasises that there is a range of social institutions such as; work, family,religion, mass media and education teach individuals their gender roles. Malesand females are treated differently as soon as their born, boys are dressed inblue and females are dressed in pink. Another example of socialisation isachievement in school. Nature’s view is that your genes determine your IQ. YourIQ determines what you can achieve to your ability and if you have a high IQyou are seen to be more successful than someone with a low IQ this is inheritedfrom your parents. Although nurture argues that a person’s IQ shows how goodthey are at tests but nothing about their intelligence. A person with a low IQmay have been at a disadvantage with the environment they have been exposed to.Some pupils are not as successful due to social factors such as poverty,expectations from teachers and discrimination.
The socialisation process meanswe learn the behaviour that society accepts as normal or desirable but thereare differences. Different societies have diverse ways of behaving for examplein the UK we are taught to greet people with a handshake but in Japan itsnormal to bow. Most British people eat with knives and forks, but Japanesepeople are more likely to use chopsticks. Within large scale societies there isvariations in the way that individuals are socialised due to agents such asreligion or gender, for example males and females may be socialised in separateways to prepare them for roles later in life. Explain the impact ofsocialisation on the formation of identity.