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Culture and society

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Culture's a way of life shared by a group of people and it generally refers to the knowledge, beliefs and values that bind a society togheter. So culture is very diverse and it may include things like artwork, language and literature. These ways of thinking and feeling and behaving, they're connected to a shared knowledge of a society and they allow the members of that society to gain meaning from the objects and ideas around them. When we talk about society we're referring to the way people organize themself. Society is talking about a bunch of people who live together usually in a specific geographic area, and these people interact more with each other than they do with outsiders. So society shares a common culture over time. To have an understanding of one of these concepts you really should have an understanding of them both. Culture can be thought of as the rules that guide the way people live. And society can be thought of as the structure that provides organization for people. To understand this relationship a little better let's look at a phone. Phones are pretty much just computers that we bring around everywhere and we use them for so many different things now. There's a phone right here. Society includes key parts called institutions. Examples include family, education and politics. These all meet basic human needs so we can think of this as the hardware. We can think of society as the hardware. Hardware is anything physical that you can touch. It's any physical device. This would be the actual phone, maybe even your protective phone case. These are the things you can hold in your hand. Culture is a little bit different in a lot of respects. As we said, culture provides guidelines for living. We can compare culture to the software of our phone. Software is just a collection of instructions and code that are installed on your phone and they cannot physically be touched. We can think of these apps here as culture. I'll just draw an arrow to one of these apps. We can think of all of these apps as culture. These apps. Just as a reminder the physical phone is analogous to a society and the apps are like culture here. When we think about apps from when they were first being made to what they are capable of now, we know that they are constantly being improved and oftentimes we get app updates where we get some new features or bug fixes. This is similar to culture in sociology because culture is learned, and it's transmitted and it's reshaped from generation to generation. We can think of culture as constantly being updated. Most things you do on your phone require you to use apps so without the apps you would just have your physical phone, you would have no way to use it for anything, you would just be staring at a blank screen. Apps allow the phone to be useful just as human ideas from culture allow society to work. Human ideas are big in culture. And they are what allow society to work. The physical phone represents society because it provides structure. And software and apps represent culture because they provide the rules and input that make the societies run, the apps are what make the phone run. The big takeaway is that society is just organized groups of people, and culture is their way of life. These two are not the same thing, but they cannot exist without each other. Just as a phone cannot function without apps, society cannot function without its culture.