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Material Culture and Nonmaterial

Culture Our cultural tool box is divided into two major parts material culture and nonmaterial culture (Ogburn, 196611922). Material culture consists of the physical or tangible creations that members of a society make. use. and share. Initially, items of material culture begin as raw materials or resources such as ore. trees, und oil. Through technology, these raw materials are transformed into usable items (ranging from books and computers to guns and tanks). Sociologists define technology as the ‘knowledge, techniques. and tools that make it possible for people to transform resources into usable forms. and the knowledge and skills required to use them after they are developed. From this standpoint, technology is both concrete and abstract. For example. technology includes a pair of scissors ur the knowledge and skill necessary to make them from iron. carbon, and chromium (Western-rn !991). At the most basic level, material culture is important because; It is our buffer against the environ.•.. II For example, we create shelter to protect ourselves the w” .thcr and to provide ourselves with priva., . Beyond the survival level, we make, use, and share objects that aJ’9 both interesting and important to us. Why are you wearing the particular clothes that you have on today? Perhaps you’re communicating something about yourself, such as where you attend school, what kind of music you like, or where you went 011 vacation. NO material culture consists of the abstract or intangible human’ creations of society that influence people’s behavior. Language. beliefs, values. rules of behavior, family patterns. and political systems are examples of nonmaterial culture. A central component of nonmaterial culture is beliefs-the mental acceptance or conviction that certain things are true or re rl1.Beliefs may be based on tradition. faith. experience. scientific research. or some combination of these. Faith in II Supreme being and trust in another person are examples . of beliefs. We may also have a belief in items of material culture. When we travel by airplane. for instance, we believe lh:ll it is possible 10 fly lit feel and 10 arrive at our destination even though we know that we could not do this without the airplane itself

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