Houston Community College Where to Invade Next by Michael Moore Essay

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Houston community college


Writing Assignment about 1400 words- Write a short based on “Where to invade next” by Michael Moore

Where to invade next:


Cultures, sub-cultures and counter-cultures


Culture: Norms, Valuea and Symbols


Your task:

Watch “Where to invade next” and read chapter 3 (Culture). Also review material regarding chapter 3 posted on CANVAS. Your task is to analyze this documentary and write a short essay. Use the concepts presented in chapter 3 to write this paper. Please make sure that the following prompts are addressed in your paper.


1.Michael Moore visits nine countries. In each country he picks up one value to examine difference between American society and the country he was visiting. For example, in Norway, prison system was based on the value of “rehabilitation” (not revenge). This value guides every aspect of incarceration. Your task is to examine TWO countries and explain the underlying value examined in the countries you have picked.

  1. For the two countries you have selected compare discuss how things are done in these countries as compared to America.

3.Give examples of the following concepts (you can use any country visited in the documentary)

  1. Material culture and non-material culture (give definitions and examples of these concepts)
  2. Symbols (give definition and example of this concept)
  3. Formal and informal norms (give definitions and examples of this concepts)
  4. Use any country to illustrate the concept of “Cultural Shock” – explain what surprised you most while watching this documentary and WHY? To answer the “WHY”, you will have to explain your cultural assumptions about how things are done.
  5. Conclude the analysis by using the concept of “cultural relativism” – is it fair for Michael Moore to judge American society by standards of other culture?

Guidelines for a 4-5-page double spaced(Minimum) paper : Rubric for grading

  1. Introduction: Start with the concept of culture and clearly state how you are going to use this documentary to understand cultural differences between US and other countries. Please be focused on the concept of culture (not politics or any other aspect). Please do not copy and paste summary – it will not work because your focus must be on culture.

2.Body of the paper: prompts 2-4

3.Conclusion: prompt 5

Make sure that the short paper is well written. Pay attention to language, spelling and grammar.

Grading Rubric (50 points)



1. Introduction – presents a summary of the documentary based on the concept of culture


2.Prompt 1 and 2 – clearly explain the values (TWO countries) you have picked up. Use examples to explain the values (Prompt 2 – how things are done differently)

5 points each = 10 points

3.Prompt 3 – definitions and examples of the concepts

5 points each =15 points

4. Prompt 4 -Clear explanation of your own cultural assumptions

10 pints

5. Prompt – conclusion focuses on the concept of cultural relativism and presents a critical analysis. It should not be sampling bashing one country but a thoughtful analysis.

10 points

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Culture, Socialization and Social interaction What is culture? • Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. Culture is the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of - generally unspoken and unwritten - rules for working together. Ethnocentrism • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nboEj2Nbrc4 Cultural Imperialism • Imposition of one’s own cultural values on another culture This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA Cultural relativism – Viewing culture from its own standards -- Arranged marriages in India This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND Norms and Values • All societies have ways to encourage and enforce appropriate behavior, and discourage and punish inappropriate behavior • Collective idea of what is good and desirable, and what is not Norms • Norms: established standards of behavior maintained by a society • To be significant, must be widely shared and understood • Example – how to behave in a movie theater (norm of silence) • But, its ok to be noisy in a funny movie. Values • Cultural values: collective conceptions of what is good, desirable, and proper—or bad, undesirable, and improper • Example – Independence. Americans strongly believe in the concept of individualism. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA Values and Norms Value: Conservation Norm: reduce and recycle This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA Norms • Types of Norms • Formal norms: generally written; specify strict punishments • Law: governmental social control • Parking at HCC • Informal norms: generally understood but not precisely recorded • How to dress? What is appropriate dress code? Formal and Informal Norms This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BYNC-ND How children should behave • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nib_jF-PffQ • What are the norms about children’s behavior? • What are the norms about parent’s behavior? • Informal norms are more flexible, yet breaking them leads to uneasiness. Mores and Folkways (Norms) • Mores: norms deemed highly necessary to the welfare of a society • Example – respect for human life, faithfulness • Folkways: norms governing everyday behavior • Example – Greeting someone Norms • Norms and Sanctions • Sanctions: penalties and rewards for conduct concerning social norm • Positive sanctions: pay raises, medals, words of gratitude • Negative sanctions: fines, threats, imprisonment, and stares of contempt How powerful are norms? • Breaching experiments by Harold Garfinkel Breaching experiments • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDJP_B-R2r4 Elements of Culture • Important component of cultural capital • The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. Examples can include education, intellect, style of speech, dress, or physical appearance This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA Role of Language: One of the major elements of culture • Facilitates day-to-day exchanges • Includes both the written and spoken word and nonverbal communication Language: Written and Spoken • Language: abstract system of word meanings and symbols for all aspects of culture Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis • • • • Language precedes thought Language is not a given Language is culturally determined Language may color how we see the world Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf (1930) • In the 1930s, two anthropologists, became intrigued when they noticed that the Hopi Indians of the southwestern United States had no words to distinguish among the past, the present, and the future. • English, in contrast as well as French, Spanish, Swahili, and other languages distinguishes carefully among these three time frames. • Language not only expresses our thoughts and perceptions but also shapes the way we think and perceive. When we learn a language, we learn not only words but also ways of thinking and perceiving How language shapes social reality • Cancer or Loo Doo na’dziihii -a sore that does not go away • Menopause Nonverbal Communication • Nonverbal communication: use of gestures, facial expressions, and other visual images to communicate • Learned • Differs by culture • Symbols: gestures, objects, and words that form basis of human communication Nonverbal Communication and Culture Cultural Variation • Cultures adapt to meet specific circumstances • level of technology and population • Groups within a single nation develop cultural patterns that differ from those of the dominant society Subcultures • Subculture: segment of society that shares distinctive pattern of mores, folkways, and values that differs from larger society • A subculture may develop an argot, a specialized language that distinguishes a subculture from the wider society Sub culture & counter-culture Countercultures • Counterculture: subculture that conspicuously and deliberately opposes certain aspects of the larger culture • Typically thrive among the young • Counterterrorism experts concerned about growth of ultraconservative militia groups Culture Shock • Occurs when someone feels disoriented, uncertain, out of place, or fearful when immersed in an unfamiliar culture • People tend to take for granted cultural practices of their society Theoretical perspectives • Functionalism • Conflict theorist • Symbolic interactionist Sociological Perspectives on Culture • Functionalists maintain that social stability requires a consensus and the support of society’s members; strong central values and common norms provide that support • Conflict theorists argue that common culture serves to maintain the privileges of certain groups Structural functionalist analysis of Culture Structural-functional theory proposes that culture functions as the structure in society that exists to meet human needs. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA • For example, our culture gives our lives meaning and direction, giving us cues for what to do and how to live. It encourages us to work together to find resources to help us survive and to make connections with other people who provide care and comfort. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND Culture – How Norms are generated? This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA What does it have to do with culture? • Cultural hegemony - domination or rule achieved through ideological and cultural means. • The term refers to the ability of a group of people to hold power over social institutions, and thus, to strongly influence the values, norms, ideas, expectations, worldview, and behavior of the rest of society. Culture and Norms and Dominant Ideology • Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving • Change will be fully implemented by _____, royal decree from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud states • Conflict perspective: dominant ideology has major social significance – core values of material sucess What do you have in your closet? • How often do you wear stuff that you buy – shoes? Cloths? • 30% of cloths are worn 7 times! • FB posts – passive pieces? This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC Conflict Theory –Understanding Consumer Culture This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BYNC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND This Photo by Unknown Author is The Cheese Trap -- Neal Bernard • Creating Craving and manipulation • In 1950, per-capita cheese consumption was 7.7 pounds. • In 2012, per-capita consumption of cheese was about 33.5 pounds. A person today, compared to 62 years ago, is eating 25 pounds more cheese per year. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA Role of big corporations and special interest groups • National Dairy Council • National cattlemen’s association • The salt institute • Funding for studies • How to trigger cravings • How to market unhealthy food How Government works • Dairy Management INC (DMI) • Government collects money from dairy producers and gives it to DMI • DMI uses the money to push cheese and other dairy products. • DMI works with fast-food companies to promote cheese Bending truth • Research sponsored by Kraft foods to promote cheese for weight loss - inaccurate advertising. Max Weber on Culture Source: Thought Co. With Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, W.E.B. DuBois, and Harriet Martineau, Max Weber is considered one of the founders of sociology. Living and working between 1864 and 1920, Weber is remembered as a prolific social theorist who focused on economics, culture, religion, politics, and the interplay among them. Three of his biggest contributions to sociology include the way he theorized the relationship between culture and economy, his theory of authority, and his concept of the iron cage of rationality. Weber on the Relationships Between Culture and Economy • Weber's most well-known and widely read work is The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. This book is considered a landmark text of social theory and sociology generally because of how Weber convincingly illustrates the important connections between culture and economy. • Weber argues that Puritan ethics and ideas influenced the development of capitalism. Religion shaped ideas regarding work • Weber also defines the “spirit of capitalism” as a motivation to work hard and save money not in order to survive, but in order to make a profit. • Protestant attitude towards indulgence – lead a simple life. Reinvest the profit • The idea of predestination – God’s “Chosen one” – how would you knoweconomic success was a sign • They felt that they could not rely on anyone but themselves when it came to their salvation. Symbolic Interactionism- Cultural Norms • https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/beyonce-dancer-fuller-figureddance-company-pretty-big-movement/ Cultural change • Innovations • Discoveries • Inventions • Diffusion and globalization
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Explanation & Answer




Where to Invade Next


Where to Invade Next

Culture is a summative term that describes people’s way of life, including their social
codes, art and customs among other variables that differentiate them from other groups (Gil,
2013). Since culture is collective, it is classifiable into such categories as material and nonmaterial culture, representative symbols, and formalized and casual culture among others.
Quantifying the total number of global cultures is nearly impossible due to the numerous ethnic
groups and people’s infinite diversity. Therefore, this diversity creates interest among cultural
sociologists and psychologists to study the cultural characteristics of various ethnic groups – this
comparison helps them to recognize identifiers and influencers of culture. Where to Invade Next
is an informative and educating documentary in which Moore visits a horde of countries across
the world, identifying various desirable cultural elements he intends to bring back to the USA.
Material and Non-Material Culture
Material culture describes tangible resources or wealth that unites or differentiates a
particular group. In the documentary, Moore visits Germany, where he learns that its
manufacturing system is one of the main elements of the country’s cultural identity. Moore
learns that the Germans blend into a manufacturing society working tirelessly for sustenance by
earning monetary remuneration, rewards and surpluses. Moore visits the pencil manufacturer
Faber-Castell, which is one of the largest of pens and pencils manufacturers. He learns how
companies engage their employees to help find solutions and get recommendations on what to
change. The country’s manufacturing system and products are some of the typically fascinating
cultural elements that Moore identifies. It is astonishing to him that none of the employees at the
firm all hold a single job. The documentary identifies ...

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