Material Culture, Culture Lag and Culture Shock – Culture (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 You can have things like Material Culture.

    00:04 These are things that involve the physical objects that are particular value to that culture.

    00:09 This can be simple things like in certain cultures the horns off of a cow are made into a necklace and or a piece that you keep it in the family and it’s a huge tradition.

    00:23 That’s a culture where as another part of the world that cow horn means absolutely nothing.

    00:28 It could be certain types of jewelry, it could be objects like a house, a different types of clothing these are thing are of value.

    00:38 If you know culture, a diamond means something extremely valuable.

    00:43 And most of the world especially in North American culture jewelry, watches, diamonds mean that’s the top of the pile in terms of personal wealth and acquisition. And you look at other countries where nobody knows Any about diamonds and they don’t want them, they don’t have them, they don’t care about them, they mean nothing, they would much rather have that cow horn that means something much more to that specific culture.

    01:05 Now, let’s take a look at culture and the Cultural Lag.

    01:10 So over for referring to here is a discrepancy between a change and shifts in material versus non-material items.

    01:17 So cultural lag describes a lag of non-material culture behind changes in material culture.

    01:22 So material culture changes first and that’s followed by the non-material culture.

    01:27 So ideas, beliefs and values.

    01:28 So let’s gives this ourselves an example.

    01:30 there might be a material cultural change in that a certain object becomes extremely valuable.

    01:37 So let’s say we’ve discovered a new type of diamond that’s, I don’t know blue in color and glows in the dark.

    01:46 this thing might be extremely valuable and all of a sudden in our culture it’s of the highest worth and everybody wants it.

    01:54 And there's a rapid pace to get it and it’s not until there sometime that the rest of society or that culture believes that this is something we need to shift towards. That time before we see that non-material belief in value shift towards the actual acquisition of that object we call cultural lag.

    02:14 And by the time those two kind of coincide together that’s when we get ultimate cultural change.

    02:20 Culture shock refers to the impact dramatic changes have to the social norms and values.

    02:28 and this happens when an individual enters perhaps a new culture.

    02:33 And again as living in a global village people are moving around all the time.

    02:36 And when you travel and say you to move to a completely foreign new culture on the other side of the globe compare to where you currently live.

    02:43 That new culture is going to have its own set of rules, norms, values, beliefs and practices.

    02:49 And now you’re thrown into the mix. And you need to deal with that.

    02:52 and this isn’t the new term you’ve heard that before and you said, “Oh it was such a culture shock when I went to Asia and I live in North America. I’m coming from Chicago and I’m going to all the way to Shanghai, it was such a culture shock”.

    03:05 And they are reffering to that complete different set of values, norms and beliefs that culture has versus the one that you’re coming from.

    03:12 Now, this can have an effect on you. And so we say it can lead to an acute or short-lived change in mood, identity and outlook.

    03:21 It will work through some of the four phases that are associated with culture shock.

    03:24 The first phase is the Honeymoon phase.

    03:26 So you arrive in Shanghai you’re saying, “Wow, this is so cool.

    03:30 Look at all this different things, look at this temples, look at this food.” and you’re thrown by that difference in culture and value.

    03:36 But then that might be fairly short-lived because eventually especially if you’re there for a longer period of time that might turn into frustrations or distress.

    03:43 I can't communicate with anybody. I don’t understand what anybody is doing.

    03:46 Everybody is looking at me funny, I don’t know the rules, I don’t get it.

    03:49 Well if you’re there long enough you slowly start to adjust.

    03:52 and you will start to yeah pick up a few things and realize that, okay, that symbol actually means men’s bathroom or this words means turn left.

    04:03 Right now, I know where a place where I can go buy the specific groceries that I need. You’ve overcome the initial barriers to understanding that culture and you’ve adjusted, Adjustment phase.

    04:14 And then finally there's a Mastery phase.

    04:16 You have people who have lived in certain countries for a long period of time.

    04:20 And they basically act and understand like a local.

    04:24 Somebody’s who’s born into that culture.

    04:26 This person who initially was experiencing culture shock has mastered the rules, values and norms of this new culture.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Material Culture, Culture Lag and Culture Shock – Culture (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Understanding Social Structure.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Cultural lag
    2. Cultural shock
    3. Cultural disorientation
    4. Culture diffusion
    5. Cultural leveling
    1. Cultural shock
    2. Cultural lag
    3. Cultural gap
    4. Cultural delay
    5. Culture disorientation

    Author of lecture Material Culture, Culture Lag and Culture Shock – Culture (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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