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Hierarchy of Cultures

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Hierarchy of Cultures

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Hierarchy of Cultures

Hierarchy of Cultures

Hierarchy of Cultures

Hierarchy of Cultures

In societies where there are different kinds of people, one group is usually larger or more powerful than the others. Generally, societies consist of a dominant culture, subcultures, and countercultures.

Dominant Culture

The dominant culture in a society is the group whose members are in the majority or who wield more power than other groups. In the United States, the dominant culture is that of white, middle-class, Protestant people of northern European descent. There are more white people here than African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, or Native Americans, and there are more middle-class people than there are rich or poor people.

Subculture

A subculture is a group that lives differently from, but not opposed to, the dominant culture. A subculture is a culture within a culture. For example, Jews form a subculture in the largely Christian United States. Catholics also form a subculture, since the majority of Americans are Protestant. Members of these subcultures do belong to the dominant culture but also have a material and nonmaterial culture specific to their subcultures.

Religion is not the only defining aspect of a subculture. The following elements can also define a subculture:

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