The Social and Pragmatic Aspects of Culture

1558 Words7 Pages
Although, the term “culture” is in many ways undefinable and constantly changing in meaning, this does not make it any less worthy of study, particularly in the realm of sociology. Culture and the social world are separate fields, yet they rely on each other in order to be understood and observed. As Peterson argues, culture is characterized by the norms, values, beliefs, practices and symbols that individuals express and enact within society (Griswold 2013:3). If this is so, then culture is deeply intertwined with the social world, and by extension, the study of sociology, as people's interactions work to develop, perpetuate and alter the aforementioned collective aspects of culture. This type of interdependence is what makes culture so important in the field of sociology. In addition to being considered a product of socialization, from a functionalist perspective, culture also serves multiple practical functions within society including guiding and bringing people together. This sense of community can work to physically manifest in the social world, such as in the form of cohesion and the development of social institutions, or as a kind of upheaval that can bring about social change. Therefore, culture is both influenced by and consistently informs and affects the social world, which makes it a necessary component of study and observation. To begin, one of the ways in which culture is connected to the social world is the mutual influence each area has on the other. Much like on Griswold's “Cultural Diamond” (Griswold 15), the link between the realms of the cultural object and the social world goes both ways. For instance, according to Durkheim's “Collective Production Theory” (Griswold 2013: 55), culture emerges out of the s... ... middle of paper ... ...usly driving their day-to-day lives, yet it is also at the forefront of social evolution. Without culture, sociologists and almost any field that studies humanity, would lack that aspect of human reasoning that culture influences and is. Culture is one of the many reasons why people live and act a certain way, and to disregard its study because of its fluidity would be a disservice to sociology. Just like society adapts and changes, culture adapts and changes alongside and within society, which is all the more reason to track and observe it. Rather than being a disabling feature of the field of culture, that fluidity and attachment to society and interaction is what makes culture interesting and useful in the first place. Works Cited Griswold, W. (2013). Cultures and societies in a changing world. (4th ed.). United States of America: SAGE publications Inc.
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