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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

FACILITATING INSTRUCTOR GUIDE

36

Culture Is a Body of “Truth”

A culture is, first of all, a set of ideas concerning what is true or real.

Almost all of us like to think that our ideas about the world are true. Some of them are, but most of them we have come to accept not because of careful evidence, but because of our interaction.

Culture Is a Set of Values and Goals

Culture is also made up of ideas about what is worth working for (ends). These ends are of two kinds: values and goals. Sometimes, the distinction between values and goals is difficult to make because both consist of ideas about what we should pursue, what purpose our action should have.

Values: A value is a long-range commitment of the organization or individual. It is a strong preference, an organizing principle around which goals are established and action takes place.

Goal: A goal is a short-range objective in a specific situation by an individual or social organization.

Culture Is a Set of Norms

Norms are the expectations we have for each other—how we are supposed to act—the rules, the laws, the right way.

Norms are associated with one’s position and are thus part of structure (remember, they make up a role), but they are also associated with membership in the group, irrespective of position (they make up the culture).

Copyright © 2005 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Adult and Graduate Studies

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