Ch7 cultural geography


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Ch7 cultural geography

  1. 1. Lehman College GEH 101/GEH 501Spring 2011Keith MiyakeCultural GeographyIntroduction to GeographyWeek 10
  2. 2. Definitions of CultureCultivated behavior; learned and accumulatedexperience that is socially transmittedSystems of knowledge shared by group of peopleCommunicated behaviors, beliefs, values, symbolsProducts of action, conditioning for future action
  3. 3. Cultural DeterminismCulture determines human naturePeople are what they have been conditioned to be,over which they have no controlCulture of poverty: Moynihan Report“at the heart of the deterioration of thefabric of Negro society is the deteriorationof the Negro family. It is the fundamentalsource of the weakness of the Negro communityat the present time.”
  4. 4. Cultural RelativismDifferent cultural groups think, act, feel, and knowdifferentlyPeople’s beliefs and activities should be understoodby others in terms of the people’s specific cultureCulture is situated within historical contextRejects superiority and inferiority in favor ofdifference
  5. 5. Cultural EthnocentrismBelief that one’s own culture (or group identity based oncultural characteristics) is superior to othersView other cultures in terms of one’s ownNationalism/xenophobiaColonialismWhite supremacy
  6. 6. BreakSign inTerm paper questions?Term paper due date...Outlines
  7. 7. Themes in CulturalGeographyCulture as...Distribution of thingsWay of lifeMeaningDoingPower
  8. 8. Cultural ArtifactsThe material things that express cultureAll people produce cultural artifactsEveryday items: furniture, clothesLarge structures: buildings, citiesHow to understand relationship between theseartifacts and the values, livelihoods, beliefs, andidentities of cultures that produce them?What can the pattern of material artifacts tell usabout the social, economic and political dynamicsof cultures?
  9. 9. Cultural Geographies are as much about the graffiti themselvesas they are about the locations of the graffiti-marked buildings;as much about the idea of home as they are about thedistribution of housing; and as much about the diversity withinculture as they are about cultures per se. These geographies askwhy and how, as much as where and when.Source:
  10. 10. Culture as a Way of LifeThe values, beliefs, languages, meanings and practicesthat make up people’s ‘ways of life’Rural/Urban, Relaxed/Fast-pacedReligious beliefs and traditionsExpressions of identityethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, ability, occupation, etc.Different ways of life structure the daily practices andindividuals in different places
  11. 11. Source:
  12. 12. Culture as MeaningHow and why landscapes become embedded withindividual and cultural meaning and in turn create newmeaningsMeaning:individual emotions, experiences and memoriesgroup values, attachments and idealsWhose meanings are given precedence in theseinterpretations?Cultural hegemony and assimilationMeaning is connected to place; value ascribed to places
  13. 13. Interpreting ‘Ordinary’ landscapes – places that we oftentake for granted in our everyday life, like our homes andtowns – requires in-depth, often intimate, knowledge oflocal history, cultural values and economic structures.Source:
  14. 14. Symbolic landscapes – places that are imbued with specialmeaning beyond the everydaycivic pride, national identity and global circulationurban and national political agendas, constructions oflocal and national identity, and the global market of imagecirculationSource:
  15. 15. Culture as DoingLiving of everyday lifePerforming, learning, resisting, movingCulture affects actions and actions affect culturePlaces shape cultures and cultures shape placesWhat does this mean geographically?
  16. 16. Culture as PowerHow artifacts get made, how they get from one placeto another, and who benefits from all this trading andplacingPower to do thingsPower relations organized around politics, gender,lifestyle, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, etc.Sites of oppression and resistance, the different scalesthrough which power relations operate and howspace is manipulated by the powerful and the weak
  17. 17. Components of CultureCulture trait - Single distinguishing feature of a cultureCulture complex - Group of culture traits that arefunctionally interrelatedCulture system - Shared, identifying traits uniting twoor more culture complexesCulture region - Portion of the earth’s surface in whichcommon cultural characteristics prevailCulture realm - Collective of culture regions sharingrelated culture systems
  18. 18. Human-EnvironmentInteractionsCultural ecology: Study of the relationshipbetween a culture group and the naturalenvironment it occupiesHuman ImpactsCultural landscape: The earth’s surface as modifiedby human actionRelationship between technological advancement andimpact on the environment
  19. 19. Human-EnvironmentInteractions and IdeologyHistorical Materialism (Marx): technologicalchange drives historical progresstechnology increases human control over theenvironmenttechnology drives society’s economic systemeconomic system determines political and social lifetechnology has the potential to be revolutionary if itcan undo uneven economic and social systems byimproving material conditions (overall wealth)
  20. 20. Human-EnvironmentInteractions and IdeologyEnvironmental Determinism: belief that thephysical environment explains human cultures andbehaviorsPossibilism: physical environment neither suggestsnor determines what people will attempt, but it maylimit what people can profitably achieveChoices and constraints are as much cultural,economic, political, and social as they aretechnological; e.g. growing crops in a greenhouseversus importing them
  21. 21. Cultural ChangeTechnological, Sociological, Ideological SubsystemsChange through InnovationChange through Spatial diffusionChange through Acculturation
  22. 22. Structure of FeelingHow are places structured through cultural practices?Role of LanguageRole of ReligionRole of EthnicityRole of GenderIn terms of...Distribution of thingsWay of lifeMeaningDoingPower