Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity

Read chapter 14 and submit what you believe to be the 5 most important facts.

greatly value products that make efficient use of space because of the cramped
conditions in their urban centers.2
• Social structure—The way people maintain an orderly social life. This includes
the domestic and political groups that dominate the culture (e.g., the nuclear family versus the extended family; representative government versus dictatorship).
• Ideology—The mental characteristics of a people and the way they relate to
their environment and social groups. As we saw in Chapter 12, they share a common worldview that includes ideas about principles of order and fairness. They
also share an ethos or a set of moral and aesthetic principles. We appreciate the
power of these beliefs when they clash with other cultures. For example, when
they go to the beach many Muslim women wear “burkinis” that cover everything—the face, hands, and feet—to conform to Islamic standards of modesty.
In an effort to protect its status as a secular society, France banned women from
wearing garments. The ban was eventually overturned, but the conflict continues and other Western countries are considering similar rules.3
The Yin and Yang of Marketing and Culture
Even though inner-city teens represent only 8 percent of all people in that age group
and have incomes significantly lower than their white suburban counterparts, their
influence on young people’s musical and fashion tastes is much greater than these
numbers suggest. “Urban” fashion now is a mainstay in the heartland, as a major retail
chains pick up on the craze and try to lure legions of young middle-class shoppers.
Macy’s and JC Penney carry Sean John and FUBU (“for us by us”); labels like
Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Enyce, Ecko, Nautica, and Affliction are standard issues
for junior high kids. Websites like and sell other
emblems of hip-hop such as “pimp cups,” gold plated “Grillz,” and Bellagio spoke
Why does this subculture influence the mass market so strongly?
Outsider heroes—whether John Dillinger, James Dean, or Dr. Dre—who achieve
money and fame without being hemmed in by societal constraints have always fascinated Americans. That helps to explain the devotion of many white suburban teens to
the urban music scene. As one executive of a firm that researches urban youth noted,
“People resonate with the strong anti-oppression messages of rap, and the alienation
of blacks.”5
It’s common for mainstream culture to modify symbols from “cutting-edge” subcultures for a larger audience to consume. As this occurs, these cultural
products undergo a process of cooptation in which outsiders transform their original
The spread of hip-hop fashions and music is only one example of what
happens when the marketing system takes a set of subcultural meanings, reinterprets
them, and reproduces them for mass consumption.
Of course, the countercultures that originate these movements don’t just sit still
for this. They develop strategies to reclaim their symbols and practices. For example,
large food manufacturers and retailers today recognize shifting consumer tastes as
they co-opt vegan or organic food cultures and repackage food products for mainstream grocery shoppers. Walmart sells organic food and the huge conglomerate
ConAgra purchased Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. In response, adherents of a locavore
lifestyle that emphasizes the purchase of locally produced meat and vegetables
may find alternative channels of distribution, such as farmers’ markets, to sell their
“authentic” versions to true believers.7
Now let’s look at how our culture creates these meanings—which often reside in
everyday products—and how these meanings move through society. As Figure 14.1
shows, the advertising, and fashion industries play a key role in this process; they link
functional products with symbolic qualities such as sexiness, sophistication, or just. For more information on Cultural Diversity check on this:

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