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In this example of commuting, culture consists of thoughts (expectations about personal space, for example) and tangible things (bus stops, trains, and seating capacity). Material culture refers to the objects or belongings of a group of people. Metro passes and bus tokens are part of material culture, as are automobiles, stores, and the physical structures where people worship. Nonmaterial culture , in contrast, consists of the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of a society. Material and nonmaterial aspects of culture are linked, and physical objects often symbolize cultural ideas. A metro pass is a material object, but it represents a form of nonmaterial culture, namely, capitalism, and the acceptance of paying for transportation. Clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry are part of material culture, but the appropriateness of wearing certain clothing for specific events reflects nonmaterial culture. A school building belongs to material culture, but the teaching methods and educational standards are part of education’s nonmaterial culture. These material and nonmaterial aspects of culture can vary subtly from region to region. As people travel farther afield, moving from different regions to entirely different parts of the world, certain material and nonmaterial aspects of culture become dramatically unfamiliar. What happens when we encounter different cultures? As we interact with cultures other than our own, we become more aware of the differences and commonalities between others’ worlds and our own.

Cultural universals

Often, a comparison of one culture to another will reveal obvious differences. But all cultures also share common elements. Cultural universals are patterns or traits that are globally common to all societies. One example of a cultural universal is the family unit: every human society recognizes a family structure that regulates sexual reproduction and the care of children. Even so, how that family unit is defined and how it functions vary. In many Asian cultures, for example, family members from all generations commonly live together in one household. In these cultures, young adults continue to live in the extended household family structure until they marry and join their spouse’s household, or they may remain and raise their nuclear family within the extended family’s homestead. In the United States, by contrast, individuals are expected to leave home and live independently for a period before forming a family unit that consists of parents and their offspring. Other cultural universals include customs like funeral rites, weddings, and celebrations of births. However, each culture may view the ceremonies quite differently.

Anthropologist George Murdock first recognized the existence of cultural universals while studying systems of kinship around the world. Murdock found that cultural universals often revolve around basic human survival, such as finding food, clothing, and shelter, or around shared human experiences, such as birth and death or illness and healing. Through his research, Murdock identified other universals including language, the concept of personal names, and, interestingly, jokes. Humor seems to be a universal way to release tensions and create a sense of unity among people (Murdock 1949). Sociologists consider humor necessary to human interaction because it helps individuals navigate otherwise tense situations.

Questions & Answers

how to acceptance a new cultural?
Suha Reply
What is the difference between illness and disease
Wondaboy Reply
The disease is a virus either the patient is a person infected with the virus
Suha
is sociology a science
BRANDFORD Reply
please if someone.haz a notes of sociology please help via email
aditya
which class
manisha
sociology notes are available on Mrunal site.
manisha
and also every sociology questions answer are available on 'yourarticlelibrary site
manisha
please someone should help me out three negative effects of ethnocentric sentiments
Vitus Reply
Is patriotism a form of mind control?
Leonard Reply
yes it is..it creates a feeling to protect one's country in war.
manisha
Good answer Manisha. Thanks for your honesty.
Leonard
Patriotism is what they propagate and preach the ideology of specific intetests.
Sadiq
Thank you Sadiq. Another good answer.
Leonard
how many types of families are their ?
aditya
Most of the time patriotism towards own country leads to enemy of other country. These border creates patriotism. these nations create patriotism.. patriotism is being taught to soldiers so tht thy can fight against enemy. bt wht if there would be no nation n earth is calld as 1 land without borders
manisha
Thank you Manisha. I see you really study Sociology.
Leonard
Aditya Jain, idk exactly, but I'd like to learn of them.
Leonard
its a logic outside of sociology subject.. o answered from my thinking..that there should not be any borders it creates much troubles of war.
manisha
types of family answer is given in detail on yourarticlelibrary
manisha
k thanks
aditya
at present , if there is no borders then it also leds to war , war for foods war for shelter, I mean for basic needs. because today society is not well managed by its own citizen everyone is suffering from greedness, crime rate will be also high...
mohit
it is difficult to make that one nation as international land I agree. societies doesn't changed like magic...only individual changes..n this leads to society changes..law changes and this leads to society changes
manisha
so much of capital and money is invested for war bombs rifles and if this created to make agriculture land..we can make earth beautiful rather than creating a havoc by wars.
manisha
I am absolutely agree with you Manisha
mohit
three factors accounting for cultural differences
Vitus Reply
(1) Contact (2) Technology Evolution (3) The geographical and ecological factor.
AGARTHA
please what are d approaches ro deviance
Achi
please I don't understand Mr Achi
Vitus
negative effects of ethnocentric sentiments
Vitus
what is sociological imagination
Gh
sociological imagination is to see other's perspective or view on problems or idea or practice.
manisha
Use wider lenses to consider the relationship between your personal experience and society as a whole. This will help you change perspectives on your story and your connections to society, to institutions, to history. Now you’re using the sociological imagination.
manisha
yeah, but just don't deceive yourself in the process.
Leonard
ok but it can be helpful in perceiving own problems in other way but at the end what we think is only matters. sometimes it changes our attitude n thinking n perspective.
manisha
difference between custom and culture
Gh Reply
costumes are made by people and every individual is having customes in there cultures.
Adil
What is conflict perspective
Najib
with conflict perspective,sociologist see the world in constant struggle and there is competition due to limited resources.
Fridaws
What is culture؟
Suha Reply
totally wey of life
TauceepH
Can anyone help me with Max Weber's theory on sociology?
NEETHU Reply
it's not Marx actually it's Weber..if u do have notes 4 dat culd me send it to me
NEETHU
wat is sociological imagination
Peter Reply
what are the important of sociology
Fatima Reply
what's meaning of sacred in sociology?
Annas Reply
Define Sociology in the light of its Subject Matter.? I need a comprehensive answer if somebody could help Please?
Sakhawat Reply
sociology is the science that studies human beings in the society
Tambi
sociology group of origanazition
Suha
difference between culture and custom
Gh
importance of sociology
Maqsood Reply
6.sociology has made broaden the outlook of man. 7 Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems. 
manisha
1 sociology detects and Solve Social Problems 2Sociology Helps in Planning and Development 3. Sociology makes a scientific study of Sociology 4 studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals. 5 Helps in Preservation and Growth of Culture 6.sociology has made broaden the outl
manisha
sociology makes humans versatile
Emeka
what is sociology of education?
Ndifon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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