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The Seven Elements of Culture
THE SEVEN ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
· Creates social structure by organizing its members into small units to meet basic needs.
· Family Patterns: family is the most important unit of social organization. Through the family children learn how they are expected to act and what to believe.
· Nuclear family: wife, husband, children. This is a typical family in an industrial society (US).
· Extended family: Several generations living in one household, working and living together: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Respect for elders is strong.
· Social classes: rank people in order of status, depending on what is important to the culture (money, job, education, ancestry, etc.)
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
· Rules of Behavior are enforced ideas of right and wrong. They can be customs, traditions, rules, or written laws.
· Answers basic questions about the meaning of life.
· Supports values that groups of people feel are important.
· Religion is often a source of conflict between cultures.
· Monotheism is a belief in one god.
· Polytheism is a belief in many gods.
· Atheism is a belief in no gods.
· Language is the cornerstone of culture.
· All cultures have a spoken language (even if there are no developed forms of writing).
· People who speak the same language often share the same culture.
· Many societies include a large number of people who speak different languages.
· Each language can have several different dialects.
ARTS AND LITERATURE
· They are the products of the human imagination.
· They help us pass on the culture’s basic beliefs.
· Examples: art, music, literature, and folk tales
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
· People form governments to provide for their common needs, keep order within society, and protect their society from outside threats.
· Definition of government: 1. Person/people who hold power in a society; 2 Society’s
laws and political institutions.
· Democracy: people have supreme power, government acts by and with consent.
· Republic: people choose leaders who represent them.
· Dictatorship: ruler/group holds power by force usually relying on military support for power.
· How people use limited resources to satisfy their wants and needs.
· Answers the basic questions: what to produce, how to produce it, and for whom.
· Traditional Economy: people produce most of what they need to survive (hunting, gathering, farming, herding cattle, make own clothes/tools).
· Market Economy: buying and selling goods and services
· Command Economy: Government controls what/how goods are produced and what they cost. Individuals have little economic power
· Mixed Economy: Individuals make some economic decisions and the government makes others.