SOCS 350N Week 2 Discussion Question 1 & 2 → Spring 2017
Culture is in the Air
I mentioned in the week's introduction that culture was a lot like air. It is all around us, but we really don't pay attention to it unless it is absent or smells odd. The same is true about our culture. We don't think much about it, and we go through our lives feeling that things are the way they are because that's the way they ought to be. This week, start sniFng the cultural air around you. What do you learn about our culture? Identify some things that are distinctively "American." Don't just use material culture (objects and physical symbols), but include non-material culture such as language, values, ideology, ethics, behaviors, and the like. What is it that makes us distinctive in the world?
A cellphone company recently ran a television ad touting its call reliability, in which a young man is talking to his future father-in-law, who is telling him to address him by his Frst name and consider him a friend. The young man launches into a series of variations of the Frst name. Unknown to either party, the call is dropped and the young man does not hear any response from the father. He becomes very nervous and disconcertedly reverts to "Mr." and "Sir." The ad's message is clear: Use our service and this sort of thing won't happen. Why do you think the ad agency chose this power relationship for its commercial, and is it one to which you can relate? Have you had any kind of similar experience (not necessarily on a cellphone)?