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because it ignores the importance of change.

The social-conflict paradigm believes that culture is established in order to oppress members of a society. When you have a set of rules, someone does not want to follow those rules, and therefore becomes oppressed. This is modeled after the ideas of Karl Marx. Critics find fault in this theory because it fails to recognize the areas in society where integration is promoted.

The sociobiology paradigm asserts that culture is influenced by genetics. Just like species evolve, so does culture. Charles Darwin is the author of this idea, believing that there are four principles to evolution. First, reproduction has to occur. Second, the blueprint of life is located in the genes. Third, genes vary within the species, and fourth, survival of the fittest. Culture is simple a way of adapting to an environment. Critics find fault in this theory because there is not sufficient information to support the theory, and this theory can easily be used to defend the superiority of a particular group.

Components of Culture

Looking at the world it can be easily seen that different cultures vary greatly. Nevertheless, all cultures share four basic components: symbols, language, values, and norms.

Symbols are the foundation that all the other components are built upon. Symbols are anything (such as a behavior, gesture, or item) that is assigned a particular meaning that is recognized by everyone that shares in that particular culture. This can and does cause confusion when different cultures meet. For example, in Canada the "OK" hand gesture means I agree or a job well done. However, to our friend in France it is an insult meaning you are worth nothing. Also, to our friend in Germany and those that are deaf, this same symbol is an impudent word for rectum.

Language is a complex system of symbols used so that people can communicate with one another. It can be both spoken as well as written, and is the method that is used to pass culture down to the next generation (also know as cultural transmission). Language does, however, have its limitations. Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf developed a hypothesis (coincidentally called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) that clams that the way people perceive their world is limited to their language. For example, the Inuit have over a hundred different words for snow. The reason is because snow affects so much of their lives.

Values are basic guidelines for good and desirable behavior. Values are vague principles that beliefs are based upon. Beliefs are particular ideas that people hold to be true.

Just as values are the basic guidelines, norms or the rules to ensure that they are observed in society. Norms establishes what is considered rude in each culture. William Graham Sumnera advanced this idea and coined the term mores. Mores are taboos, or norms that have an ethical importance. Sumner also developed the idea of folkways, or norms that allow people to have diversity. For example, in clothing style, musical taste, and polite behavior.

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