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Sociology and Culture: Analysis of France and Canada

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Culture is all around us. From the food we eat to the things we do to the things we believe, culture is a part of our everyday lives. A sociologist would agree with this. Essentially, sociology is the study of human society. Therefore, sociologists are interested mainly on how society and individuals influence one another. A lot of this is derived from culture itself. Every individual has their own culture whether they realize this or not, and different societies also have the bigger, generally shared culture. The way the individuals and societies connect often come from their behaviours and beliefs and that is why being able to connect sociology with culture is a huge importance.

Have you ever stopped to think about how individuals, societies, and different countries beliefs, behaviors, and material objects are different and like one another? What about how specific cultures connect to your own culture? Or how the relations between societies and cultures are all around the world. France is one of the many astonishing cultures shared among individuals. The recorded history of the great nation of France begins in the millennium before the Christian era. Celtic descendants gradually populated what is now France. Founding settlements gradually grew into the famous cities known as Paris, Bordeaux, and Toulouse. Life in France during the Middle ages was characterized by weak monarchies and powerful local lords, who ruled over a peasantry tied to the land as serfs. The idea of France as special as a light to other nations, thus started in the early Christian era as part of Christian universalism. This foundational moment presented the birth of France and lies within the origins of the idea of the universal nation. Within this culture, there are aspects known as non-material culture and material culture. Each with their own unique set of values.

Ideas that have been originated from members in a society are known as non-material culture. There are 2 predominant religions in French society which lead back to a very large debate. Religious war between Catholic and Protestants date back from the sixteenth-century. In this war the wealthy (Catholics) played a key role, as they were distinguished from Commoners (Protestants), and enjoyed legal and customary privileges, including tax exemption. Until this very day, they are still similar divides within Europe. Changes within today’s society account for 7. 5 percent France’s population, which follows the religion of Islam consisting of the highest concentration of Muslims than any other country within Europe. Focusing on the orthodox view within the French republic. In the eighteenth century, French republicanism produced a form of government and society, where each individual enjoyed full equality in the eyes of a democratic state, interested in its citizens particularistic distinction such as ethnicity, gender, religions and social class. Citizens in the French republic are sometimes treated unequally, favoring employers over workers, whites over non-whites etc. , Catholics over Jews, men over women. Problems in society would have rarely occurred, if leaders had consistently followed the republic ideals. Despite the vast majority of integrated Muslims in today’s society, the French and republican government turn a blind eye, in terms of religious, ethnic and racial particularities. They avoid discussion in these political issues on a daily basis. Rituals are a huge factor in French society. The Catholic Church calendar is one tradition that many people never seem to forget. After the French revolution in 1789, the modern secular holidays were established and over the last 30 years, it paved the way in the development of a wide variety of cultural rituals. In the Middle Ages and the eighteenth century, French society were intimate connected to the liturgical calendar of the Catholic church. Over the course of centuries, Rome had consecrated a huge influence in the number of holy days such as the life of Christ, All saint’s day, the New Year and many more. Thus, in an age where many French citizens fear the homogenizing effects of globalization, these rituals seem to express that French identity, which continues to thrive within Catholicism.

The principles within France’s society seem to embody both justice and fraternity. The republic of France has the main responsibility, to guarantee that their citizens have liberty of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom to write and to publish. French society has principles in place, which do not discriminate against others, legal fairness and a good justice system. The fundamental goal within this republic, guarantees the security of each person through protection. But non-material culture is not the only aspect, material culture is as well. Physical attributions that come from members in a society are known as material culture. In France, there is a lot of material culture which consists of fashion, food, music, and law material culture takes over. Fashion has always been a huge part of France. In fact, France is known as the “fashion capital of the world”. Looking at the history, it appears that fashion can be traced back as far as the17th century. Ever since then, this industry has increased over the years. This is all due to King Louis XIV and his proper taste in appearance. One of the biggest known fashion companies across the world is ‘Chanel. ’ This brand was originated in France and became an epidemic in the fashion industry. Fashion is not the only material culture in France, but also food. The food itself is gastronomically renowned in France, and the culture behind it. When a dish is prepared, the food is known to be sacred. From the quality of the ingredients to the preparation, every aspect of the food is taken into consideration. An example of this could be the well-known pastries such as the croissant. France is also famous for music which dates back as far as the 10th century. France was also known as the country that produced Ars Nova and Ars Subtilior in the 14th century. From there on, music in France grew and the country as a whole became very musically based. Aside from what is shared and enjoyed every day, a more concise element of material culture within France is the law.

The law developed in France is another huge part of not only their legal system, but pertains to other countries around the world. It all dates back to 1804 and the Napoleon Code or the Civil Code. This code laid out the rights and responsibilities of citizens and is the cornerstone to law in France. The code also helped develop law in other countries, such as Egypt and Canada. Today, there are two main branches of law; public and private. Thus, without the introduction of French law, Canadian law may have never been established. All of the elements presented in material and non-material culture play an important role in French society, and without these cultural elements there would not be much of a culture to live by.

Canadian and France culture connect in so many ways. From law to religion, the connections are endless. Law plays a huge role within Canada and France. Canadian law is a mainly influenced from the English law. Both systems have public and private law. Public law includes administrative, criminal, and constitutional law for the general public. But private law is specifically for the government versus a citizen. This includes family, tort, contract, property, and corporate law. Canada was a part of the British law before 1982 when the constitution act was put into place allowing Canada to pass their own laws without permission from the British. A connection between Canadian and French culture is a non-material status and religion plays a key role in both countries. Aside from predominance of Catholicism, the integration of Islam is highly influenced. As a result both countries have welcomed 13. 4 million immigrants over the past century. A dilemma both nations faced over the years was the banning of niqabs and burkas, as a result bill 94 was put into effect within Quebec. A similar bill in France was also implemented into effect, in 2010.

To conclude, culture is a huge part of our lives. In France, for example, the development of culture dates back for centuries. The same applies to other countries, such as Canada. Material culture and non-material culture is all around us. It connects to all societies and individuals which link to the study of human society, sociology. The study of sociology and culture is necessary, as it is a basis to understanding ourselves and others, in the way that we analyze today.

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