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Themes in Cultural Geography

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Culture includes forms of social control and oppression that are resisted and ... Sociofacts linked to the use of the corset. Endured in modified form into the 1950s ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Themes in Cultural Geography


1
Themes in Cultural Geography
  • Different lenses on the world

2
  • There is no conversation more boring than the
    one where everybody agrees.
  • Michel de Montaigne

3
Five Themes
  • Culture Region
  • Cultural Diffusion
  • Cultural Interaction
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Landscape Studies

4
KEY GEOGRAPHICAL CONCEPTS and TERMS
5
  • Culture
  • Culture trait
  • Culture region
  • Formal
  • Functional
  • Vernacular
  • Cultural diffusion
  • Expansion diffusion
  • contagious expansion diffusion
  • hierarchical expansion diffusion
  • Relocation diffusion

6
What is culture?
  • Pervasive
  • Difficult to perceive from inside
  • Learned
  • Transmitted through socialization
  • Shared
  • What makes us different from them
  • Contested
  • Culture includes forms of social control and
    oppression that are resisted and negotiated by
    those in the subordinate position
  • Contestation may lead to occasional shifts in
    cultural norms

7
What is Culture?
  • Culture is the set of learned behaviors and
    symbolic systems transmitted through
    socialization, as well as the set of material
    artifacts and systems used by a social group.
  • You are to your culture as a fish is to water
    normally it is so thoroughly ubiquitous that you
    have no way of recognizing it you can only know
    of its existence by temporarily leaping out
    (through thought or intercultural encounters)
  • It's frightening to think that you mark your
    children merely by being yourself. It seems
    unfair. You can't assume the responsibility for
    everything you do -or don't do.
  • Simone De Beauvoir

8
CULTURE TRAITS
9
Three types of culture traits
  • Traits are the essential elements of culture
  • artifacts (material)
  • mentifacts (symbolic)
  • sociofacts (organizational)
  • These three types of culture traits are
    interrelated a trait like the can opener implies
    the can (artifact), which implies a market-based
    economy (sociofact), which implies the idea of
    money (mentifact), etc…
  • Remember hidden geographies ?

10
  • ARTIFACTS
  • What sociofacts and mentifacts might go along
    with them?

11
  • Feet like this were considered pretty for over
    1000 years in China

12
Part of Culture Complex
  • Sociofacts
  • Confucianism
  • Children are expected to be subservient to adults
  • Women are expected to be subservient to men
  • Status
  • Human presence in a place is always embodied
  • Embodied performance in place always reflects
    power relations
  • Mentifacts
  • Tolerance for odd-smelling feet
  • Physical impairment understood collectively as a
    sign of a familys prestige
  • In the best families women are obviously
    dependent and helpless
  • In other words, a family shows that it is good
    (powerful) by displaying the prettiness
    (powerlessness) of its women

13
New Chinese Fad
  • Leg stretching (leg-lengthening.jpg)
  • Why?
  • For economic success
  • Short people cannot succeed
  • The bodys size conveys its power to succeed in
    business, law, etc.
  • Capitalism is diffusing into China so this new
    value system guides a reworking of the body
  • What ethical and moral values prevent this bodily
    deformation from diffusing into the US?
  • What body-deforming practices do our values
    permit, and why?

14
Does Western culture include deformation of the
body?
15
  • A body-deforming artifact found as early as 3000
    BC (Crete)
  • Later used by aristocratic and aspiring American
    European women
  • Popularized in 19th c.
  • Narrowed waist to 15 inches or less causing
    health problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Back problems
  • Inability to participate in strenuous activities
    (including work, but also play)

16
Sociofacts linked to the use of the corset
  • Endured in modified form into the 1950s
  • Women of the upper classes needed help (out of
    seats, up stairs, etc.)
  • Families showed their class by preventing girls
    from engaging in strenuous activities like sports
    and manual labor
  • Good women were delicate and dependent
  • Girls from working-class families were not
    embodied in this way

17
From an 1883 diary
  • While we were waiting for mother we witnessed
    another teen being most harshly laced by two
    other corseteriers, while she grasped an overhead
    bar they leveraged her laces almost brutally
    despite her painful groans... after brief pauses
    this process was repeated three times until her
    mother granted approval.. although her waist was
    wonderfully narrowed she clearly was in pain
    having to be assisted to a seat...

http//corsethome.eu.org/diary2.html
18
Yes, but we dont deform the body to make it look
thin any more!
19
Actually we do, but the technology is chemical
rather than physical
  • 63 of American girls in their teens have dieted
  • Only 14 are happy with their body size and shape
  • In other words, these are the body-deforming
    artifacts that match our sociofacts and
    mentifacts
  • Is feminine fragility still a sign of social
    status, or is some other mentifact involved in
    todays social pressure for women to be thin?

20
What other body-deforming artifacts in American
culture can you identify?
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25
A rite of passage?
  • "Many kids will get them on when they're 10 or
    11, and they'll be getting them off when they're
    starting to hit 13," Dr. Baarsvik said. "It's a
    real rite of passage. It kind of prepares them
    for the teen years." http//www.s-t.com/daily/10
    -99/10-12-99/c01he206.htmcut

26
What are the social benefits of a perfect smile?
27
CULTURE REGION
28
Types of Culture Regions
  • Formal Region
  • Area where one or more traits can be found
    (region where people employ leg-lengthening
    surgery)
  • Area where one or more traits are dominant
    (Anglophone region of North America)
  • Functional Region
  • Area tied together by a coordinating system (law,
    monetary system, roads, etc.)
  • Vernacular Region
  • Area that ordinary people (non-geographers)
    recognize as a region (e.g. New England)

29
What level of occurrence constitutes presence
of a trait in a particular formal culture region?
  • People in the region
  • engage in certain activities
  • all of them? most of them? some of them?
  • belong to a particular group
  • Is New Braunfels part of Texas Hispanic culture
    region?
  • possess certain artifacts
  • If we call this a region where people have access
    to state-of-the-art health care, are we leaving
    part of the population out?

30
From the New Braunfels c.o.c. website …
31
Culture complexes
  • a culture complex is a closely related set of
    culture traits
  • Some links are historical
  • Germanic language ?? Protestant religion
  • Romance language ?? Catholic religion
  • Some links are causal
  • urban culture ? tolerance of lifestyle diversity

32
Multiple traits define overlapping culture
regions (formal)
33
Edges of culture regions
  • exceptions to general pattern of culture
    complexes
  • transition zones
  • areas of conflict
  • areas of diffusion

34
CULTURAL DIFFUSION
35
  • An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not
    an idea whose time has come.
  • Victor Hugo, 'Histoire d'un crime,' 1852

36
Cultural Diffusion Defined
  • An increase in the spatial extent of a particular
    culture trait or culture complex either through
    movement of people through space (migration) or
    through the adoption of a culture trait by other
    groups.

37
PIZZA
  • What was required before frozen pizza could
    become popular in the US?
  • saturation of market with electrical
    refrigeration
  • dependence on the car for shopping trips
  • demand for fast food
  • women in the workforce
  • changing attitudes about gender roles
  • small families
  • etc.

38
Map example diffusion of religion
39
Types of Diffusion
40
Factors affecting diffusion
  • barriers to diffusion
  • different culture
  • different language
  • different religion
  • etc.
  • lack of necessary infrastructure
  • where are computers least likely to diffuse?
  • where are large grocery stores least likely to
    diffuse?

41
Factors affecting diffusion
  • cultural receptivity to diffusion
  • Factors that cause diffusion to occur or
    accelerate diffusion
  • same culture
  • same language
  • same religion
  • etc.
  • necessary infrastructure
  • affluence
  • what else?

42
Cultural Ecology
  • Human-environment relationships
  • To what extent does the environment affect
    culture?
  • environment culture
  • To what extent does culture rework the
    environment?
  • culture environment

43
General Trend
  • Environmental determinism has been rejected
  • Current approaches are based on ecology and
    possibilism
  • Much greater focus on human impacts on the
    environment than on the environments
    culture-shaping force

44
Antiquated language of Environmental Determinism
mixed with Racism
  • None of these tropical peoples … has a native
    civilisation, or is fitted to play any part in
    history, either as a conquering or as a thinking
    force, or in any way, save as producers by
    physical labour of material wealth. None is
    likely to develop towards any higher condition
    than that in which it now stands, save under the
    tutelage, and by adopting so much as it can of
    the culture, of the five or six European peoples
    which have practically appropriated the torrid
    zone, and are dividing its resources among them.
    Yet the vast numbers to which, under the conjoint
    stimuli of science and peace, these inferior
    black and yellow races may grow, coupled with the
    capacity some of them evince for assimilating the
    material side of European civilisation, may
    enable them to play a larger part in the future
    of the world than they have played in the past.
  • James Bryce, British Ambassador to the US, 1892

45
Cultural Ecology
  • Organism-environment relationship is reciprocal
    and mutually constitutive, that is, it is a
    two-way street. The same is true of
    human-environment relations.
  • Animals adapt to their environments over eons,
    genetically
  • People adapt through culture
  • Culture is an adaptive strategy mainly (but not
    entirely) limited to humans, involving learned,
    cooperative behavior and major environmental
    modifications

46
Possibilism
  • Scientific philosophy that the environment does
    not determine elements of culture, but it does
    set bounds on the possible or probable forms that
    culture will take
  • Natural environments offer opportunities and
    constraints from which culture groups must
    choose, based on their knowledge and internal
    power relations

47
Cultural Landscape Studies
  • start with what you see

48
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49
Case Study Orrtana PA
50
Houses
  • How old do they appear to be?
  • Are there particular styles from a certain
    period?
  • Do the styles change over time?

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54
Other Buildings
  • What are they for?
  • What do they tell you about the way people lived
    in the past and present?

55
Pennsylvania Barn
Why do you think it has a forebay?
56
Springhouse
What is it for?
Why here?
57
Vegetation
  • What appears to be the natural vegetation of this
    area?
  • What kinds of plants are people cultivating here?
  • How has the possibility of growing these
    cultivars shaped life in this place?
  • How have people reworked their natural
    environment to favor their cultivars?

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Commerce
  • What is being sold?
  • Who is selling to whom?
  • How is this activity reflected in the visible
    landscape?

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62
Good landscape-based geography
  • Get a feel for the place
  • Try to partially escape the outsiders
    perspective
  • Discover elements of an insiders sense of place
  • Rather than analyzing the place in abstract terms
    or simply describing features, try to understand
    how it feels to live here
  • Ask What are the meanings people attach to
    places and things in this landscape?

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65
Family ties of landscape geography
  • Travel writing evolved out of the early landscape
    geography (see Reclus quote), and it continues
    the tradition of evocative language and appeal to
    the emotions
  • 20th c. Geography reacted against the
    impressionist, poetic nature of early
    geographical writings by adopting a more
    analytical approach and more prosaic language
  • National Geographic is somewhere in between

66
Review
  • Culture
  • Difficulty perceiving from inside
  • Complicated
  • Culture trait
  • Culture region
  • Can be defined by
  • A culture trait (formal region)
  • A combination (complex) of culture traits (formal
    region)
  • An organizing structure or system (functional
    region)
  • Popular culture (vernacular region)
  • Formal
  • Functional
  • Vernacular
  • Cultural diffusion
  • The expansion of a culture trait through space
    due to
  • Expansion diffusion
  • contagious expansion diffusion
  • The neighborhood effect
  • hierarchical expansion diffusion
  • Communications and commerce
  • Relocation diffusion
  • Immigration
  • Adaptation and significant reinterpretation
    (stimulus diffusion)
  • Barriers and Receptivity to Diffusion
  • Cultural interaction
  • Cultures are integrated systems in which each
    part (trait) is linked to all of the others
  • This situation makes it most appropriate to
    identify culture regions defined not by single
    traits but by complexes of traits
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