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Amish Culture vs. Mainstream American Culture

1. List the 5 concepts you are using and give the sociological definition of each and then do the analysis. Please make sure all five terms are correctly defined and identified and described the social occasion. Some concepts you might use:

(A) Norms (Folkways, Mores) (B) Subcultures (C) Argot (D) Ethnocentrism (E) Cultural Relativity (F) Culture Shock (G) Values (H) Beliefs (I) Sanctions

Section 2: http://Amish.net/lifestyle.asp. (The Amish Lifestyle)

(1) Compare the Amish with " mainstream American culture" in terms of:

(a) Norms (b) Values (c) Beliefs (d) Symbols (e) Language

(2) Now think about social construction- What is social construction? Would you have a different sense of reality if you came from this heritage compared to "mainstream American"?. In what ways?

(3) Is one more right than the other? Why or why not?

(4) How does your answer portray either ethnocentrism or cultural relativity?

Section 3:

(1) Is culture an all powerful, inevitable force which makes puppets of people? Are we prisoners of our culture? How or how not?

(2) What functions, positive and negative does a culture perform for a society?

(3) If language is so important in keeping a culture together what are the implications of having more than one language?

(4) How has technology, especially communication technology, contributed to cultural diffusion and cultural retention? Give examples.

Solution Preview

Excellent questions!

Let's take a closer look at these questions from various sources, including links and an article attached, which you can draw on for your final copy.

RESPONSE:

1. List the 5 concepts you are using and give the sociological definition of each and then do the analysis. Please make sure all five terms are correctly defined and identified and describe the social occasion. Some concepts you might use:
(A). Norms (Folkways, Mores) (B). Subcultures (C). Argot (D). Ethnocentrism (E). Cultural Relativity (F). Culture Shock (G). Values (H). Beliefs (I). Sanctions

Let's go with two sociological concepts of ethnocentrism and sanctions.

(1) SANCTIONS

Sanctions are penalties and rewards for conduct concerning a social norm. In other words, a sanction is a penalty or reward directed at a person or group in order to discourage or encourage certain types of behavior. Law enforcement or the average person, such as a parent or a teacher trying to change behavior in a child or another person, can use sanctions. For example, negative sanctions would include a firing squad or a disapproving frown. On the other hand, positive sanctions would include a raise in salary or a big hug and kiss (http://www.webref.org/sociology/s/sanctions.htm).

(2) ETHNOCENTRICISM

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to assume that one's culture and way of life represent the norm or are superior to all others (http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072435569/student_view0/glossary.html). In other words, ethnocentrism is an attitude that one's own culture, society, or group is inherently superior to all others. Judging other cultures by your own cultural standards and since, of course, other cultures are different, they are therefore judged as being inferior. Ethnocentrism means an inability to appreciate others whose culture may include a different racial group, ethnic group, religion, morality, language, political system, economic system, etc. It also means an inability to see a common humanity and human condition facing all women and men in all cultures and societies beneath the surface variations in social and cultural traditions.

For example, as a case in point, let's say you are working in an organization where the employees, including yourself, are of one race and ethnicity e.g. Latino. Then, a new employee is hired who is Caucasian. Ethnocentrism would play out where you would have an attitude about the new employee based on your beliefs of what it means to be a Caucasian and you would treat her or him as if she or he were inferior e.g. Latino employees as a group were superior to the Caucasian. You would treat this employee as an outsider based on one characteristic, being Caucasian. This type of stereotyping based on ethnocentrism often causes misconceptions, misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and often leads to conflict between groups of people.

Section 2: http://Amish.net/lifestyle.asp. (The Amish Lifestyle)

(1). Compare the Amish with " mainstream American culture" in terms of: (a). Norms (b). Values (c). Beliefs (d). Symbols (e). Language

This is fairly straightforward as it is asking you to compare two cultures on several dimensions, which I located two excellent sources with other links included ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides the sociological definition for five concepts and describes the social occasion. It also compares the Amish culture with "mainstream American culture" in terms of: norms, values, beliefs, symbols and language; as well as social construction. It describes the meaning of social construction and if the Amish culture would have a different sense of reality if you came from this heritage compared to "mainstream American" and in what ways. This solution also explains if one culture is more right than the other and then analyzes if the response portrays either ethnocentrism or cultural relativity. Through examples and discussion, several other questions on aspects of culture (e.g. power, functions in society, etc.) are also addressed.

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