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Flashcards in Definitions A-C Deck (23)
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The process of contacts between different cultures and also the outcome of such contacts. Acculturation occurs when members of one culture group adopt the beliefs and behaviours of another group.
It may involve direct social interaction or exposure to other cultures through mass media.


Agent of socialisation

A person or institution that shapes an individual’s social development.



Linked to power and the right to make decisions and to determine, adjudicate or settle issues and disputes in society. Authority is best understood as the legitimate use of power. The use of authority is important in the process of decision-making and in initiating change and maintaining continuity.


Belief System

A system in which members of the group share a commitment to a set
of beliefs and values that systematically defines a way of perceiving the social, cultural, physical and psychological world. Belief systems can
be categorised as religious and non-religious. Both have rituals, symbols, stories, traditions and customs.



A set of opinions or convictions; ideas we believe in as the truth. Beliefs can come from one’s own experience and reflection, or from what one is told by others.


Case Study

The case study method involves the collection of data related to an individual or small group through one or more research methods – for example, observation, interviews and the collection of documentary evidence. Because case study can, and often does, include different methods to collect data, which are then combined with the purpose of illuminating the case from different angles, case study is considered as a methodology by many social researchers.



The alteration or modification of cultural elements in a society. Change
to society can occur at the micro, meso and macro levels. It can be brought about by modernisation processes, including technological innovation.
This force results in an alteration to culture.



The process of adding value to an idea, product or commodity with the aim of selling it and making a profit. Commercialisation is about preparing the item for sale and making money from it. The success of commercialisation often relies on marketing and advertising.



A social process by which an item is turned into a commodity in readiness to be traded. The process relies on marketing strategies with the aim of producing a perceived value in the item.



A marketable item or consumer object that can be supplied because there is a demand and that can be purchased through economic exchange.


Communication Technologies

Technologies used in transmitting information and entertainment between senders and receivers across various media, including newspapers, magazines, movies, broadcast, cable, satellite, radio and the internet.



A (usually local) social system with an implied sense of relationship and mutual identity among its members. As well as being locational,
a community can be a group that shares a strong common interest and whose members communicate over space and through time using communication technologies



A perceived incompatibility of goals or actions. Conflict can occur at all levels in society and its resolution can involve modification to what was previously in place.



When individuals behave in certain ways as a result of group pressure, whether real or imagined.



The process of selecting and using a product. Consumption involves a conscious decision to engage with a commodity.


Content Analysis

Used to investigate and interpret the content of the mass media and historical documents in order to discover how particular issues are
(or were) presented. At its most basic, content analysis is a statistical exercise that involves counting, categorising and interpreting words
and images from documents, film, art, music and other cultural products and media in relation to an aspect or quality of social life. When used as a qualitative method, content analysis helps the researcher to understand social life through analysis and interpretation of words
and images from documents, film, art, music and other cultural artefacts and media.



The persistence or consistent existence of cultural elements in a society across time. Continuity can also be referred to as the maintenance of the traditions and social structures that bring stability to a society.



The ability of individual members of a group to work together to achieve a common goal that is in the group’s interests and that contributes to the continued existence of the group.


Cultural Diversity

Appears as a society becomes larger and more complex, immigrant groups join the dominant culture, and subcultures form within the society. The more complex the society, the more likely it is that its culture will become internally varied and diverse. Cultural diversity implies a two-way sharing of ideas, customs and values among the various cultural groups that comprise the society.


Cultural Heritage

The practices, traditions, customs and knowledge that define who we are socially and personally. Cultural heritage is an expression of the values that help us to understand our past, make sense of the present, and express a continuity of culture for the future. Cultural heritage can be analysed at the micro, meso and macro levels in society.


Cultural Relativism

The idea that concepts are socially constructed and vary across cultures. Therefore, individuals and groups must always view other cultures objectively and not judge them using the values and norms of their
own culture as a measure of right or wrong.


Cultural Transmission

The transmission of culture – such as traditions, values, language, symbols, cultural traits, beliefs and normative behaviour – across and between generations in society.



Established ways of acting or cultural practices that are unique to groups in society. Customs have important links to the heritage, values and traditions of people.