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Culture lag and culture shock

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] The term "culture lag" refers to the fact that culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations and this results in social problems. Culture lag is common in society because material culture tends to change rapidly, while non-material culture tends to resist change, and really remains the same for a longer period of time. So due to the opposing nature of these two aspects of culture, adaptation of new technology becomes difficult. So just a reminder, material culture refers to the physical and technological aspects of our daily lives, like our food and our houses and our phones, and non-material culture does not include physical objects. Non-material culture includes things like ideas, beliefs, and values, and these tend to resist change. So material culture evolves faster than non-material culture, and that is why they call it "culture lag" because it's lagging behind. So let's look at an example when technological innovation outpaced cultural adaptation. So when cars were first invented, there was no laws to govern driving. There were no speed limits, there were no guidelines for who had the right of way at intersections, there were no lane markers, no stop signs or stop lights. So you can imagine the chaos that was the result of all these lack of rules. So city streets were very dangerous, but laws were soon written to fix the problem, and this closed the gap between the material culture and the non-material culture at the time. So there are many examples of culture lag. Some that come to mind are computers and email, and the time it took for businesses to use this technology effectively. But I encourage you to think about some examples of culture lag. So next, let's look at culture shock. Culture shock refers to the feelings of disorientation, uncertainty, or even fear, that people experience when they encounter unfamiliar cultural practices. So culture shock can happen when someone moves to a different country, moves social environments, or travels to another type of life. Like when maybe you lived in New York City, and you moved to live on a farm in Kansas. So anyone who has lived, studied, or even traveled extensively in another country, has experienced culture shock. So let's look at this a little further. When you go to a different country, everything is unfamiliar. The weather, the landscape, language, the food. Even the values and customs are different. So everything that you are used to is no longer in place. So in this foreign place, business may be conducted differently, stores may open and close at different times, and the food may be completely different. And all of this you're experiencing is culture shock. So as a result of culture shock, you may feel sad, lonely, confused, homesick, and question your decision to even have moved to this new place. So an example would be when people from Islamic countries like Algeria, visit countries in Western Europe like Spain or Italy. So the individuals from the Islamic countries may experience culture shock when they see the women in Western Europe wearing what they would consider to be revealing clothing. And unmarried couples kissing or holding hands in public, because these behaviors are forbidden or frowned upon in their own cultures.