The term “culture” refers to the characteristics of people in a given society. It includes their thought patterns, life perspectives, religion, education, entertainment, and language. Culture is not static; it changes when people communicate with people from other cultures (Mitchem & Gray, 2013). Culture has affected us in every aspect of our lives in some way. The use of social media in communication is a clear example. The way we connect has changed as a result of social media. It has also affected language, as social media has its dialect, and abbreviations and emoticons are a recent communication trend. Entertainment has also affected culture. Our style choices have been influenced by entertainment channels such as television and the internet. The clothes worn by celebrities are what we consider fashionable. We have also imitated their lifestyles as hairstyles, grooming, and conduct. Likewise, music has been a great influence on us. It is easy to spot fan of a type of music by their behavior and dressing. For example, a rock music fan will choose skinny jeans, tattoo, piercing and a t-shirt from his favorite rock band.
There are three important cultural elements in a social group. One of the elements is beliefs and values. Beliefs and values are one of the most important aspects of any culture. They are the cornerstone of every social group and are essential in bring cohesion in a society. Beliefs refer to ideologies that people have placed their confidence in and have a wide acceptance within the social group. For example, my social group is totally against capitalist. We believe that capitalism breeds individualism, a man eats man society. Socialism is better as there is consideration of the needs of the people first. The second important element in a social group is norms. Norms refer to the acceptable behavior in a society. They serve as rules and guidelines for individuals in order to uphold moral behaviors within the group (Keirns et al., 2013). Language and symbols are the last important cultural elements. They are important as they help individuals communicate and understand each other. In my social group, the language and symbols we use are different from other people. The advantage to it is that we can communicate sensitive issues without worrying as only us in the group will understand.
Conflict theory is a theory that examines the conflicts in society brought about by limited resources that individuals strive to utilize. As you may note human wants are endless and they require resources to satisfy them (Braham, 2014). These resources are scarce, leading to rising in the competition. Karl Marx, a major contributor to conflict theory argued that the society comprises of different classes. These social classes compete for material, political and social resources. The individuals who achieve by gaining more resources have influence that they apply to the existing systems of governance.
If you look at the society, you will notice that there is inequality in society. If you examine closely using conflict theory, you will notice that there is always a conflict between the rich and the poor. This is due to the gap brought about by resources. The rich have access to better schools, home and even social amenities as security. This is unfair as if you compare to the poor, they have the highest number of uneducated people, high crime rate and unemployment (Keirns et al., 2013). A good example is the Obamacare health bill, the poor benefited as more of them accessed medical cover. This has brought tension in the society, as the rich believe that the bill is inappropriate, as it does not favor them.
Braham, P. (2014). Key concepts in sociology (1st ed.). London: SAGE.
Keirns, N., Strayer, E., Griffiths, H., Cody-Rydzewski, S., Scaramuzzo, G., & Sadler, T. et al. (2013). Introduction to sociology (3rd ed.). OpenStax.
Mitchem, M. & Gray, C. (2015). A New Look at Culture and Its Influence on Individuals and Organizations. Columbia Business School Newsroom. Retrieved 13 February 2017, from https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/newsroom/newsn/3500/a-new-look-at-culture-and-its-influence-on-individuals-and-organizations