Cultural studies chapter 5


Published on

Published in: Technology, Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Cultural studies chapter 5

  1. 1. Topographies ofCulture:Geography,Meaning andPower
  2. 2. Geography - the study of the systemsand processes involved in the worldsweather, mountains, seas, lakes, etc.and of the ways in which countriesand people organize life within anarea.Topography - the physical appearanceof the natural features of an area ofland, especially the shape of its surface
  3. 3. One increasing important aspectof cultural studies can be calledthe geographies (or, indeed,topographies) of culture: theways in which matters ofmeaning are bound up withspaces, places and landscapes.
  4. 4. This chapter aims to use avariety of examples, bothhistorical and contemporary,to show the ways in whichissues of culture andmeaning are geographical.
  6. 6. Cultural geography is the study of the manycultural aspects found throughout the worldand how they relate to the spaces and placeswhere they originate and then travel aspeople continually move across variousareas. Some of the main culturalphenomena studied in cultural geographyinclude language, religion, differenteconomic and governmental structures, art,music, and other cultural aspects thatexplain how and/or why people function asthey do in areas where they live.
  7. 7. • contemporary as well as historical• concerned with space as well aslandscape• urban as well as rural• concerned with relations ofdomination and resistance• assertive of the centrality of cultureto human life• concerned with ―representation‖ asmuch as ―reality‖
  8. 8. Cultural geography shouldnot be ―rural andantiquarian‖, and itshouldn‘t be concerned with―physical artifacts‖ or―cultural areas‖.
  9. 9. Placenames:Interaction,Power andRepresentation
  10. 10. The first position set out above thatculture is the meanings that aremade by people through socialinteractions and relations suggestthat the naming of places is amatter of people giving meaning tothem by naming them in wayswhich are shaped by theirinteractions.
  11. 11. Placenames had certaincharacteristics: they werelocal, based around theeveryday activities of thecity‘s working people, andthey were often part of arude, earthy popular culture
  12. 12. Yet there is more to this thanjust ―social interaction‖. The2nd position of the new culturalgeography states that theprocesses of making culturalmeanings of space, place, andlandscapes are matters orpower and resistance…
  13. 13. Giving a place a name is anact of claiming ownership,defining what a place is,who it belongs to, and whatit means.
  14. 14. • patriotic and historical names• nordic mythology• famous places near the city• the southern provinces• the northern provinces• famous swedish authors• prominent men withintechnology and engineering
  15. 15. The 3rd position is thatmeanings are made throughprocesses of representation.Each placename representsa place in particular way,emphasizing certain thingsand obscuring others.
  16. 16. There was a recognition of themeanings of placenames beingmade through social interaction inplace, the politics involved in thestruggle for their continuedexistence, and in the power of thesenames as representations of placesthat could unite as well as dividethe people in it.
  17. 17. LandscapeRepresentation
  18. 18. The original meaning of the wordlandscape is a picture representingan area of countryside. So whentalking about landscape, whatcomes into mind is a visualdepiction of a certain sort: alandscape painting createdaccording to the principles of the―picturesque‖.
  19. 19. A central characteristic of theoften ambiguous term―landscape‖ is that it is first aschema, a representation, away of seeing the externalworld, and, based on onespoint of view, such schematavary significantly.
  20. 20. Therefore, this mode oflandscape representationpresented the life of thelandowners and theirpower in 18th centuryEngland.
  21. 21. However, this argument is alittle to simple for 4 reasons.First, it is important to situatepaintings such as Mr. & Mrs.Andrews within the range offorms of landscape depiction in18th century England and asthey changed over time.
  22. 22. Other examples are thepoetry of John Clare,which sought to give thepoor and dispossessed aplace in the landscape.
  23. 23. Second, there was acontinual and increasingchallenge to the politicalideology of land and landownership from thegrowing towns and cities.
  24. 24. This means that thelandowners arerepresented not in termsof independence andobjectivity, but corruptionand selfishness.
  25. 25. Third, this isn‘t just aboutclass. While Mr. & Mrs.Andrews can be divided intotwo halves (the possessorand the possessed), there isa debate where the lineshould be drawn.
  26. 26. Finally, the history of thisform of landscaperepresentation isn‘tsimply confined toEngland.
  27. 27. It is, however, importantto remember that theprocess of representationand interpretationcontinues as differentpositions are taken incontest to make meaning.
  28. 28. Here, the couple aredisconnected from theirlandscape. They areheadless and properlylessaristocrats after therevolution.
  29. 29. NationalIdentity
  30. 30. National identity is thepersons identity and senseof belonging to one state orto one nation, a feeling oneshares with a group ofpeople, regardless of onescitizenship status.
  31. 31. Often, peoples‘ identitiesare constructed inrelation to places. Theysay that they are LosAngelenos, Parisians, orPaulistanos.
  32. 32. They also constructtheir identities at thelevel of neighborhoodswithin cities, or evenparticular streets.
  33. 33. According to BenedictAnderson, a nation isdefined as a politicaleconomy that is “imaginedas both inherently limitedand sovereign.”
  34. 34. First, ―It is imagined becausethe members of even thesmallest nation will neverknow most of their fellowmembers, meet them, or evenhear of them, yet in the mindsof each lives the image oftheir communion.
  35. 35. Second, it is imagined aslimited because not even thelargest nation imagines thatit could include all humankind. They exist in a worldof nations, all similar butdifferent.
  36. 36. Finally, the nation isimagined as sovereign. It‘sthe central principle ofnationalism that the nationshould determine its owndestiny. To do so, each nationshould have its own state.
  37. 37. Nations use publicmonuments and memorials togive meaning to space. This isoften done in opposition tocolonial rule. For example,the construction of landscapesin Dublin, and its subsequentdestruction.
  38. 38. DiscoursesofOrientalism
  39. 39. It means that there is noultimate truth, but onlysystems of knowledge whichis produced by people toexplain what is out there inthe world.
  40. 40. ESSENTIALISMis the view that, for anyspecific group of people,there is a set of incidentalattributes all of which arenecessary to its identity andfunction
  41. 41. Orientalism is a term used by arthistorians and literary andcultural studies scholars for theimitation or depiction of aspectsof Middle Eastern, and EastAsian cultures (Eastern cultures)by American and Europeanwriters, designers and artists.
  42. 42. Since the publication of EdwardSaids Orientalism in 1978, muchacademic discourse has begun touse the term "Orientalism" torefer to a general patronizingWestern attitude towards MiddleEastern, Asian and NorthAfrican societies.
  43. 43. In Saids analysis, the Westessentializes these societies as staticand undeveloped—therebyfabricating a view of Orientalculture that can be studied, depicted,and reproduced. Implicit in thisfabrication, writes Said, is the ideathat Western society is developed,rational, flexible, and superior.
  44. 44. In the process, thesegeographical essentialismsseverely limit what those oneither side of the divisionscan be, and what sorts ofrelationship can be formedbetween them.
  45. 45. Mobility,HybridityandHeterogeneity
  46. 46. Mobile – able to move freelyor able to be easily moved.Hybrid - anything that is amixture of two very differentthings.
  47. 47. HeterogeneousConsisting of parts or thingsthat are very different fromeach other
  48. 48. This part is a broaderdevelopment of a notion of―cultures of travel‖ or―traveling cultures‖ thattries to understandmovement itself as thesubject of cultural studies.
  49. 49. James Clifford has arguedthat anthropology has been farmore concerned with―dwelling‖ (being in one place)than ―traveling‖. There hasbeen a tendency to see whatstays put as normal, and whatmoves as peculiar.
  50. 50. Mary Louise Pratt has arguedthat mobility takes the travelerinto a contact zone: ‗socialspace where disparate culturesmeet, clash, and grapple witheach other, often in highlyasymmetrical relations ofdomination and subordination.
  51. 51. The meeting of culturalmeanings leaves both sideschanged as something new isproduced. Pratt avoids ideas of‗acculturation‘ or‗deculturation‘ and uses theterm ‗transculturation‘ tocapture this two-way process.
  52. 52. Others have talked about‗hybridization‘: the productionof something that is both madeup of the elements that meet,yet different from them too.This means that they can attimes work to subvert or disruptcolonial power in various ways
  53. 53. We also have to think where the contactzone is. The process of imperialismmeant that British culture was madehybrid in fundamental ways. A simpleexample is the humble cup of tea. Thiscame to be a sign of Britishness in the18th century, but was made of leaves fromChina, India, or Sri Lanka, sweetenedwith sugar from Caribbean plantationsworked by African slave labor.
  54. 54. Extending the example of tea to thinkfurther about food and drink revealsdifferent ways in which this increaseof hybrid, mobilities and flows can beconceptualized. It is familiar sight inEuropean and Americansupermarkets to see papaya fromJamaica, green beans from Kenya,and bananas from Ecuador.
  55. 55. The meanings that are madefor food are made by a wholerange of people. There arethose who want to encouragethe consumption of particularfoods by making them trendy,healthy, and exotic.
  56. 56. There are those who want tostop consumption of otherfood by giving themmeanings that stress howthey are unethical, unhealthyor associated with the wrongpeople, places or taste.
  57. 57. Whatever is eaten, whereverit is eaten, and whoever it iseaten with says somethingabout the diners. Eatingalways involves makinginterpretation of meaningsand choices about identity.
  58. 58. One concern is that people‘sdiets and tastes arebecoming globallyhomogenized (and thatmeans ‗Americanized‘)because of the dominanceof global foods.
  59. 59. However, looking more closely at theways in which people make theiridentities in relation to such globalfoods reveals that they do so indifferent ways. On the one hand, theyhave had very positive connotationsin certain contexts. Elsewhere, thesame food and drink have verynegative implications.
  60. 60. For example, when the firstMcDonalds was opened in Moscowafter the fall of Soviet Union,people queued for hours to samplewhat they saw the taste ofdemocracy and freedom. Amongyoung British-Asian in fast foodcarried with it meanings ofprogress, modernity, and freedom.
  61. 61. For the negative view, there arecampaigns of environmentalist and anti-fast food and anti-globalizationprotestors. The Indian Parliamentbanned Coca-Cola from its cafeterias in2004 because of reports of its damagingenvironmental effects, and a charity-business selling drink called Mecca-Colahas been set up to encourage Muslims toreject the materialist capitalism of Coke.
  62. 62. Consumers make their identitiesin relation to local food, whichlead to the creation of ‗Italianfood‘, ‗Thai food‘, ‗Chinesefood‘, ‗Indian food‘, etc. Thesefoods become separate, fixed, andsealed off cultural entities whichare to be preserved as authentic.
  63. 63. However, the ideas of mobility andhybridity soon make it clear that thiscannot be true. Think about potatoes– a staple of the Northern Europeandiet – originally coming from theAmericas. Thinking about chilies – afundamental part of cuisines ofThailand, India, Lebanon, and Italy –again coming from the U.S.
  64. 64. Avtar Brah (1996) has argued thatinstead of making a distinctionbetween those who have moved(diasporians) and those who havestayed put (natives), we shouldrecognize that everyone inhabits‗diaspora space‘ and has to face thecultural issues that are involved in it.
  65. 65. PerformingIdentities
  66. 66. It is evident that people‘sidentities are produced throughcontinuous and activerelationships to other people andplaces. It can be said that peoplemake choices of how to ‗perform‘their identities depending onwhere they are and who they arewith.
  67. 67. In part people are in controlof these performances, andactively construct theiridentities through theseperformances and props(clothes, hair, make-up, etc)that support them.
  68. 68. However, it is also the case thatthese performances are alsoshaped (consciously &unconsciously) by the expectationof other people and by the settingsin which these performances takeplace.
  69. 69. These are individual: peopleare expected to maintain somecontinuity of personality. Theseperformances are also socialand cultural: there areexpectations in terms of roles –son, employee, or a friend; interms of gender, class, race;
  70. 70. Some discussions ofperformance treat it verydirectly as ‗theater‘.Performers artfully use a seriesof masks, costumes, andscripts, and the different spacesare the stages on which theseperformances take place.
  71. 71. All in all, identities are notsomething that pre-existwhat people do. They arewhat they do. Identities aremade in action. There are,however, quite differentways of understanding this.
  72. 72. Living in aMaterialWorld
  73. 73. In cultural studies, what is ofinterest are the meaningfulrelationships between peopleand objects. This is a matterof what objects mean topeople, but also what peopledo with those objects.
  74. 74. Nicholas Thomas demonstrateshow the islanders of the Pacificappropriated European objects.So European guns become partof local politics and gift giving,and were changed in the processthrough local techniques ofwoodworking and inlaying.
  75. 75. But he also demonstrates howislanders‘ objects, such asweapons, cloth, and tools wereappropriated by Europeans. Thisalso changed their meaning byincorporating into cultures ofcollecting and the practices ofgift giving of Europeans.
  76. 76. The cultural appropriations ofobjects are made in specificcontexts and involve themaking of the meaning ofplaces and with it the makingof identities. One clear exampleis home decoration and DIY.
  77. 77. Overall, therefore, nature andculture are inseparable in boththe making of social andcultural formations throughtechnological and natural―objects‖ and the ordering ofnature through science.