Sociology - Elements of Culture

May 19th, 2015
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Whereas social structure refers to the organization of society, culture refers to the meanings and ways of life that characterize a society. The elements of culture include beliefs, values, norms, sanctions, and symbols.

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ELEMENTS OF CULTURE IN SOCIOLOGY:Elements of Culture:Whereas social structure refers to the organization of society, culture refers to the meanings and ways of life that characterize a society. The elements of culture include beliefs, values, norms, sanctions, and symbols.Beliefs Beliefs refer to definitions and explanations about what is assumed to be true. The belief of an individual or group influence whether that individual or group views a particular social condition as a social problem. Does secondhand smoke harm nonsmokers? Are nuclear power plants safe? Does violence in movies and on television lead to increase aggression in children? Our beliefs regarding these issues influence whether we view the issues as social problems. Beliefs not only influence how a social condition is interpreted, they also influence the existence of the condition itself. For example, men who believe that when a woman says "no," she really means "yes" or "maybe" are more likely to commit rape and sexual assault than men who do not have these beliefs (Frank, 1991).Values Values are social agreements about what is considered good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirable. Frequently, social conditions are viewed as social problems when the conditions are incompatible with or contradict closely held values. For example, poverty and homelessness violates the value of human welfare; crime contradicts the values of honesty, private property, and nonviolence; racism, sexism, a

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