BASIC CONCEPTS from Sociology and Anthropology - Tools to think with.
SOCIETY: humanly created organization or system of interrelationships that connects individuals in a common culture. All the products of human interaction, the experience of living with others around us. Humans create their interactions, and once created the products of those interactions have the ability or power to act back upon humans to determine or constrain action. Often, we experience society (humanly created organization) as something apart from the individuals and interactions that create it.
PRODUCTS OF HUMAN INTERACTION - COMPONENTS OF SOCIETY
CULTURE: sets of traditions, rules, symbols that shape and are ...view middle of the document...
Norms establish expectations that shape interaction.
“Culture. Those patterns of meaning that any group or society uses to interpret and evaluate itself and its situation.” Bellah et. al. Habits of the Heart 1985:333.
“Culture. A system of durably acquired schemes of perception, thought and action, engendered by objective conditions but tending to persist even after an alteration of those conditions.” Bourdieu, The Inheritors. 1979.
“Habitus. A set of historical relations ‘deposited’ within individual bodies in the form of mental and corporeal schemata of perception, appreciation, and action.” Bourdieu.
“Culture. What it means to act according to one’s culture is, loosely speaking, to follow one’s inclinations as they have been developed by learning from other members of one’s community.” Hannerz, Soulside, 1969:177.
“Culture. Refers to the learned repertoire of thoughts and actions exhibited by members of social groups - repertoires [transmitted] independently of genetic heredity from one generation to the next.” Harris. Cultural Materialism, 1979:47.
“Culture. Symbolic vehicles of meaning, including beliefs, ritual practices, art forms, ceremonies, as well as informal ... practices such as language, gossip, stories and rituals of daily life.” Swidler, “Culture in Action” 1986:273.
“Culture. The cultural is the creative, varied, potentially transformative working out ... of some of the fundamental social/structural relationships of society.” Willis, Learning to Labor. 1977:137.
SOCIAL ORGANIZATION: the arrangement of the parts that constitute society, the organization of social positions and distribution of people within those positions.
STATUS: socially defined niches, positions (student, professor, administrator).
ROLE: every status carries a cluster of expected behaviors, how a person in that status is expected to think, feel, as well as expectations about how they should be treated by others. The cluster of expected duties and behaviors that has become fixed in a consistent and reiterated pattern of conduct.
GROUP: two or more people regularly interacting on the basis of shared expectations of others’ behavior; interrelated statuses and roles.
INSTITUTIONS: patterns of activity reproduced across time and space. Practices that are regularly and continuously repeated. Institutions often concern basic living arrangements that human beings work out in the interactions with one another and by means of which continuity is achieved across generations. The basic building blocks of societies. Social institutions are like buildings that are at every moment constantly being reconstructed by the very bricks that compose them.
SOCIAL STRUCTURE: Structure refers to the pattern within culture and organization through which social action takes place; arrangements of roles, organizations, institutions, and cultural symbols that are stable over time, often unnoticed, and a changing almost invisibly. Structure both enables and constrains what...