Culture lag and culture shock | Society and Culture | MCAT | Khan Academy

Culture lag and culture shock | Society and Culture | MCAT | Khan Academy


– [Voiceover] The term
“culture lag” refers to the fact that culture
takes time to catch up with technological innovations and this results in social problems. Culture lag is common in society because material culture tends to change rapidly, while non-material culture tends to resist change, and really remains the same
for a longer period of time. So due to the opposing nature of these two aspects of culture, adaptation of new technology
becomes difficult. So just a reminder, material culture refers to
the physical and technological aspects of our daily lives, like our food and our
houses and our phones, and non-material culture does
not include physical objects. Non-material culture includes things like ideas, beliefs, and values, and these tend to resist change. So material culture evolves faster than non-material culture, and that is why they call it “culture lag” because it’s lagging behind. So let’s look at an example
when technological innovation outpaced cultural adaptation. So when cars were first invented, there was no laws to govern driving. There were no speed limits,
there were no guidelines for who had the right
of way at intersections, there were no lane markers, no stop signs or stop lights. So you can imagine the
chaos that was the result of all these lack of rules. So city streets were very dangerous, but laws were soon written
to fix the problem, and this closed the gap
between the material culture and the non-material culture at the time. So there are many examples of culture lag. Some that come to mind
are computers and email, and the time it took for businesses to use this technology effectively. But I encourage you to think about some examples of culture lag. So next, let’s look at culture shock. Culture shock refers to the feelings of disorientation, uncertainty, or even fear, that people experience when they encounter unfamiliar cultural practices. So culture shock can happen when someone moves to a different country, moves social environments, or travels to another type of life. Like when maybe you
lived in New York City, and you moved to live on a farm in Kansas. So anyone who has lived, studied, or even traveled extensively
in another country, has experienced culture shock. So let’s look at this a little further. When you go to a different country, everything is unfamiliar. The weather, the landscape,
language, the food. Even the values and customs are different. So everything that you are
used to is no longer in place. So in this foreign place, business may be conducted differently, stores may open and
close at different times, and the food may be completely different. And all of this you’re
experiencing is culture shock. So as a result of culture shock, you may feel sad, lonely,
confused, homesick, and question your decision
to even have moved to this new place. So an example would be when people from Islamic countries like Algeria, visit countries in Western
Europe like Spain or Italy. So the individuals from
the Islamic countries may experience culture shock when they see the women in Western Europe wearing what they would consider
to be revealing clothing. And unmarried couples kissing
or holding hands in public, because these behaviors are forbidden or frowned upon in their own cultures.

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