FINAL PROJECT ‘A SOCIOLOGICAL SCAVENGER HUNT’
What is meant by high culture and low culture? Photograph an example of each.
How did you know which is high culture and which is low culture? What
differences and similarities exist between the two?
The social behaviors and norms within our societies are what add up to make culture. Human societies have various forms of culture such as religion, art, music etc. High culture encircles cultural products that are considered of high value and seen within the society as exemplary art. Moreover, high culture also encompasses intellectual work of people viewed as great in philosophy or history and the knowledge surrounding such intellectual work. High culture illustrates upper class culture such as high art, music, and film.
Low culture refers to a depreciative form of culture which contains mass appeal. Herbert (2008), presents ways to identify and create low culture. In his book, he states that, “Aesthetic standards of low culture stress substance, form and being totally subservient; there is no explicit concern with abstract ideas or even with fictional forms of contemporary social problems and issues. … Low culture emphasizes morality but limits itself to familial and individual problems and [the] values, which apply to such problems. Low culture is content to depict traditional working class values winning out over the temptation to give into conflicting impulses and behavior patterns.” (Herbert, 115). In this regard, low culture can be defined as popular culture such as TV shows that appeal to masses.
Differences exist between low and high culture. For example, high culture is held by an esteem body of people in the society and attributed to intelligence/ education. On the other hand, low culture, can be attributed with popularity to a large group of people. For example, an exaggerated popular TV show represents this culture. Notably, high culture is usually associated with the elites while low culture concentrates around the non-elites/ masses. Some similarities exist between high and low culture. In both cultures, they can represent different forms of art, film, music, fashion, restaurants etc.
The Capital Grille can be used as an example to represent high culture. Located in Boston, the restaurant represents one of the high end hotels in the region. It represents high culture since it’s associated with wealthy upper class guests. The food and drinks offered at Capital Grille are expensive making it accessible to a class of people in the high culture. It has been identified as high culture since its customers are mainly high class people within the society. Moreover, most of the common class people cannot be able to incur the high costs of foods and services such as accommodation at the hotel.
An example of low culture selected for this paper is the Boston Pizza and Restaurant. Located in Boston, it is a fast food chain restraint with access to the common class of people. To this end, it represents the low culture since it’s accessible to the masses. It has been identified as a low culture since it does not represent the elite people in the society. Most of the customers are ordinary people within the region who do not represent the high class society and occasionally enter the restaurant to purchase Pizza. The food and drinks served are cheap and popular to many people. Notably, the services offered by the two restaurants distinctively represent the high culture and low culture classes of people within the region.
Research 5 “Blue Laws” from your home state. What are the laws? Who are they
directed at? How will they be enforced? What does this say about sexual
behavior in your state?
Blue laws are laws laid out in different states across the united states, Canada, and Europe to ban or to restrict some activities on Sundays due to religious reasons so as to observe Sunday as a day of worship. In the United states, Sunday is regarded as a day of worship that is observed by many citizens and people take the day to worship in churches or engage in religious activities. The laws may restrict various activities with regard to different regions.
In Massachusetts, the first law prohibits alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. Moreover the sale of retail alcohol remains banned on various days such as Christmas day and thanksgiving day. The second law requires all workers to be given one rest day in a week. Thirdly, all retail employees have to be paid time and a half when working on Sundays. The fourth blue laws enforce voluntary employment where retail workers cannot be forced to work on Sundays. Finally, giving alcohol to patients in hospitals is prohibited by law (The General Laws of Massachusetts).
The laws are directed to the general public and employers, all people within the state are required to uphold the blue laws. Failure to comply with the laws could lead to charges in a court of law. The laws are enforced by the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division (The General Laws of Massachusetts). Any violation to the laws can be reported for the appropriate action to be taken. Sexual behavior has been included in the laws governing the state. Sexual harassment at the workplace has been prohibited with laws suits being undertaken for people violating the laws. Notably, Massachusetts Civil Rights Act protects workers from harassment based on gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
On sexual behavior, the laws protect citizens from harassment such as rape and sexual abuse. Children are protected from sexual harassment by adults. Moreover, prostitution has been banned and individuals engaging in such activities are liable to prosecution. Some of the blue laws have been ruled unconstitutional and are no longer enforced. For example, kissing in public was once enforced whereby individuals were not allowed to be seen kissing in public. The blue laws are destined to shape culture within the society. The laws are both for the protection of the citizens as well as to streamline culture in the society. In sociology, some of the laws are used for religious reasons as a way of protecting the culture and interests of religious parties.
The restriction and ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays works to ensure observation of the Sabbath day. The restriction ensures that retail alcohol does not get sold to people on specific time frames to ensure people adhere to laid out cultural practices. To this end, the culture guides people on the nature of activities to be conducted. Notably, culture determines the ways of lives undertaken in various regions. It is worth noting that the cultural practices prohibited in one state may differ across different states based on the laid out laws.
Find and photograph an example of ethnic food. How do you know it’s ethnic?
Who eats ethnic food? Is there cross-over consumption? Why or why not? Was
the item easy to find? Why or why not?
Maafe as shown in the above image is a stew dish originating from the Mandinka people of Mali in West Africa. Made from lamb or beef, Maafe is a stew prepared with groundnut sauce primarily consisting of peanut butter. The dish is ethnic as it originated from west Africa and it’s a favorite dish for Gambia and Senegal ethnic groups. The food is eaten by many people across different regions such as France and Cameroon. During the colonial period, there was expansion of ground nut cultivation which led to the dish being popular across Western and central African countries (McCann, 2009)
Maafe has cross-over consumption with people from different cultures consuming it despite having originated from Mali. The cross over consumption arises due to its delicacy nature and the various ingredients used in its preparation such as chicken, tomatoes, beef, and vegetables. The dish was easy to find at the Teranga restaurant in Boston. The region has become populated with people from different cultures thus the availability of ethnic dishes from different parts of the world. Notably, Boston’s diversity can be attributed to the immigration of students who come to study at prestigious universities such as Harvard.
With immigrants receiving pressure to adapt to the American way of life, many people have felt the need to continue their cultural practices in America. Moreover, more American has undertaken the different ethnic dishes as a way of experiencing different cultures. Food has become one of the most flourishing cultural experiences due to continuously growing immigrant communities in dishes. At Tanga restraint, the dish is prepared by chefs originating from West Africa. Most of the consumers originate from the African region as depicted by their cultural attire and language.
Maafe dish can be found in many West African restaurants in Boston city. The dish has become popular for indigenous Boston inhabitants such as Irish and Italians. In terms of ethnic dishes, the city has seen various cultures grow rapidly with the establishment of restraint by people from various parts of the world. For example, China town has blocks of restaurants for Chinese and Japanese. Cultural diversity has seen the spread of ethnic dishes in the city of Boston. The food has cross over consumption as people appreciate the different foods and cultures. The ethnic restaurants have increased and many Americans have praised the delicious foods served.
People are able to link their culture with food patterns. Notably, ethnic foods can be used as a means to retain cultural identity. Moreover, food practices circulate around the world as people from different cultures move to different regions in the world. In the society, food can also be attributed to religious beliefs. For example, many people who practice Buddhism and Hinduism are known to be vegetarians.
Find an ad for the treatment of a mental illness/disability. How is the ‘patient’
being portrayed? What is the treatment? Who is the audience for the ad? Was it
difficult to find? Why or why not?
Mental disorder is an illness that causes distress and improper personal functioning. The illness has different signs and symptoms based on the type and can be treated by a mental health professional. The selected advertisement displays a man ailing in silence from a mental disorder. The person is portrayed as helpless and deeply distressed by his condition. His face has been facing down to illustrate the pain the man feels alone and does not want to associate with other people. It’s evident from the image that the person is filled with agitation, anxiety, and paranoia. Furthermore, the patient does not have any shoes illustrating that the condition renders him helpless and unaware of his wellbeing.
When diagnosing or treating mental health illness, social norms, culture, and religious beliefs should be considered. Psychiatrists should asses a patient’s condition in order to take the best treatment approach. Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness. For depressed patients, both stigma and discrimination of mentally disabled people increase their suffering (Derek, 2008). Environmental and psychological factors contribute to the occurrence of mental illness. Drugs such as cannabis cause anxiety that can progressively cause the illness. Moreover, environmental factors such as trauma, hostility, child abuse, and rejection have resulted in cases of mental disorder. Social influences such as employment, social stress, and lack of social cohesion have been attributed to pose potential risks.
Treatment can be conducted with the assessment of signs and symptoms by professional mental health practitioners. Routine diagnosis processes can be used to treat mental illness through the application of mental status examination. After the examination, appropriate evaluation can be conducted with the prescription of antidepressant drugs where applicable (Derek, 2008).
As illustrated in the advertisement post, 2 out of 3 people, living with mental illness suffer in silence. The audiences for the post are people living with mental illness conditions in the society. The advertisement call for the affected people to reach out and receive treatment. Most of the people living with mental illness exclude themselves from others in society. Social stigma poses problems in identifying and diagnosing mental illness. As reported by the US Surgeon General, “Powerful and pervasive, stigma prevents people from acknowledging their mental health problems, much less disclosing them to others.” (Office of the Surgeon General, 1999)
The advertisement was found near the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, and it was not easy to find. This can be attributed to the fact that mental health awareness has not been widely conducted in the United States. Most of the people living with the disability are unwilling to come out and suffer in silence.
Moreover, the media coverage of mental disorder portrays negative perceptions such as violence and criminal activities rather than the rights of the affected people to receive treatment. The society fails to acknowledge the trouble people affected by mental health issues undergo. The patients are excluded in the society and discriminated since they are viewed as violent and dangerous. Mentally ill people in society should be encouraged to take up the necessary treatment. They should be helped to regain mental wellness and not be discriminated. With an appropriate diagnosis, mental illness can be treated, and the patients should be helped to reach out and get treated.
Bolton, Derek (2008). What is Mental Disorder?: An Essay in Philosophy, Science, and Values. OUP Oxford. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-856592-5.
Gans, Herbert. Popular culture and high culture: An analysis and evaluation of taste. Basic Books, 2008.
James McCann. Stirring the pot: a history of African cuisine, p132. Ohio University Press, 2009ISBN 0-89680-272-8
Office of the Surgeon General; Center for Mental Health Services; National Institute of Mental Health (1999). “A Vision for the Future” (PDF). Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. National Institute of Mental Health. pp. 451–58. ISBN 978-0-16-050300-9.
The General Laws of Massachusetts. Mass.gov. Retrieved January 28, 2019.