6GEO4 Unit 4 The World of Cultural Diversity - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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6GEO4 Unit 4 The World of Cultural Diversity


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Title: 6GEO4 Unit 4 The World of Cultural Diversity

6GEO4 Unit 4 The World of Cultural Diversity
What is this option about?
  • The Cultural Diversity option focuses on people
    and their cultures
  • This includes the landscapes, both urban and
    rural, that humans produce and which reflect
    their culture
  • The impact of a globalising world on culture is a
    key question to investigate
  • Peoples attitude and relationship to the wider
    environment is also considered

  • Defining culture and identifying its value
  • How and why does culture vary spatially?
  • The impact of globalisation on cultural diversity
  • Cultural attitudes to the environment

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1. Defining culture and identifying its value
  • Culture means a set of values, traditions and
    beliefs that are shared by a group of people
  • People from the same culture are likely to share
    a set of norms or ways of behaving
  • These norms may seem different, strange, amusing
    or even alien to people from other cultures.

The meaning of culture
  • The word culture has Latin roots, meaning to
    cultivate (cultura)
  • In the past, culture was often used in the
    sense of improvement and progress.
  • The word can also be used to mean high art such
    as ballet, opera or sculpture (implying that
    there is low art).
  • In geography the word is used to refer to groups
    of people who share similar values
  • These groups often have interesting and distinct
  • The Guggenheim art gallery in New York. A visit
    here might define you as cultured. The gallery
    itself displays works from many different
    cultures around the world

Cultural landscapes
  • Much of culture is in the mind i.e. beliefs
  • Cultural beliefs also produce symbols which
    posses meaning, as well as objects (artefacts)
  • Entire landscapes are the product of cultures
    both urban and rural.
  • People from a culture can read symbols, objects
    and landscapes in ways in which others cannot.

Contrasting cultural landscapes
A traditional rural landscape in the UK. It has evolved over 1000s of years, and is now protected as a National Park. An modern urban technoscape of skyscrapers and money in New York almost a machine for conducting business.

An ethnoscape. Is this Asia or New York? Immigrant groups have produced a hybrid urban landscape mixing Asia and North America (plus many tourists) An iconic natural landscape (The Grand Canyon), with meaning to both modern and native Americans.

Vulnerable cultures and landscapes
  • A range of threats, some subtle others more
    immediate, affect cultures and their landscapes
  • Tourism has been blamed for gradually undermining
  • Technological change, especially in farming, has
    radically altered traditional rural landscapes
  • Conflict and warfare frequently destroy cultural
    sites and may even deliberately seek to destroy

Tourism Socio-economic change Political pressures
Cultural dilution and westernisation loss on own language Loss of traditional farming skills as machines take over Forced conversion of indigenous peoples to colonists way of life
Loss of traditional skills, crafts and traditions Industrialisation of the landscape for modern farming methods Destruction of key cultural monuments are part of colonisation
Putting on shows for visitors dilutes traditional music and dance Rural urban migration to towns undermines the demographic stability of rural areas Imposition of alien language and education e.g. in Tibet
Landscape damage (erosion, damage to heritage sites) and landuse changes (new hotels, villas, roads). Invasion of areas by counter-urbanisers leading to social changes Genocide of one cultural or ethnic group as part of conquest
Valuing culture and cultures
  • Wupatki Pueblo in Arizona
  • To the Hopi Indians, Wupatki Pueblo is a
    spiritual place, still home to the spirits of
    their ancestors.
  • To the tourist, the Peublo is an interesting
    self-guided tour around an historic site.
  • To scientists and archaeologists the Peublos
    remains are a window on the past.
  • This example shows how different players have
    different concepts of value in relation to a
    cultural site.
  • At a broader scale, cultural diversity is valued
    by some but not by others.
  • Cultural mixing and diversity might be perceived
    as a threat to ones own culture, or an
    opportunity to learn from and experience other

2. How and why does culture vary spatially?
  • Some countries and regions are culturally
    homogenous, such as Japan (see pie chart)
  • Others are much more mixed
  • Physical isolation may help explain this, but
    policies and traditions are important
  • Culturally mixed places often have a history of
    trade (Netherlands, Singapore) and contact with
    other groups.
  • Migration explains Canadas cultural mixing many
    European countries (Netherlands) have received
    people from former colonies in recent decades.

The Irish diaspora
  • People of Irish descent are spread worldwide.
  • Mass emigration to escape poverty and conflict
    began in the 19th Century
  • By some definitions there are over 80 million
    people with Irish ancestry outside Ireland
    (population 7 million in 2009).
  • Most of the worlds major cities have an Irish
    Pub including Bangkok, Shanghai and Rio.

Cities cultural mixing pots
  • The most culturally diverse places tend to be
  • Cities have numerous pull factors which attract
    migrants such as variety of jobs, low cost
    housing and good transport links.
  • Migrants are most likely to meet people from
    their own culture in big cities
  • Often they form cultural enclaves (or ghettoes)
    with a concentration of a particular ethnic,
    religious or national group.
  • Cities may be very diverse, but often different
    cultural groups live and work in distinct
    locations within cities

http//www.londonprofiler.org/ For some
interesting maps of multicultural London.
  • Ellis Island was the arrival point for 1000s of
    migrants to the USA.

Attitudes to diversity
  • Diversity, and other cultures, are not
    universally valued
  • Often cultures different to ones own are viewed
    as a threat, especially when linked to
    immigration and the arrival of new people.

Positive aspects of diversity Negative aspects of diversity
The host society gains access to new types of food, art and entertainment Immigration of other cultures may increase population and pressure on services
Immigrant cultural groups are often young, which may boost population and entrepreneurship Cultural enclaves may be viewed with suspicion, as they seem separate and unknown
Global links may increase, which may increase trade and exchange New cultures might be seen as eroding or changing traditional cultural values
The host society is viewed as tolerant and open to new ideas and change Certain cultures become linked to cultural stereotypes e.g. Islamic extremism, even when there is no evidence to support this
Greater understanding of a range of cultures reduces tension and the potential for conflict There may be real barriers to mutual understanding such as language and ways of behaving
Attitudes to diversity
  • Globally, the UN has adopted the Universal
    Declaration of Cultural Diversity
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites recognise the
    importance of cultural landscapes
  • In the UK, cultural diversity is part of the
    National Curriculum
  • The rights of cultures are not respected
    everywhere however
  • In Tibet, Tibetans claim their culture is
    subject to Chinese colonisation
  • Even today, many conflicts have a cultural side,
    with people of difficult religions, traditions
    and ethnicities at war.
  • This peaceful Buddha in Viharamahadevi Park,
    Colombo, Sri Lanka is in sharp contrast to the
    civil war which raged there between the Hindu
    Tamils and the majority Buddist Sinhalese between
    1976 and 2009

Cultural groups
  • There are often complex relationships between
    cultural groups
  • Some cultural groups remain deliberately separate
    from wider society e.g. the Amish in the USA
  • Other groups gradually merge and mingle with the
    dominant culture this may produce hybrid
  • Cultural groups who are recent migrants may,
    initially, make tentative links with the host
    society as they strive to overcome language and
    other barriers
  • Counter-cultures emerge due to dissatisfaction
    with the dominant culture e.g. Punk culture in
    the 70s
  • In some cases the dominant culture may force
    another culture to conform by assimilation,
    sometimes forced (cultural imperialism).

3. Impact of globalisation on cultural diversity
  • Globalisation is the process creating increasing
    connectedness and shrinking the world through
    trade, travel and communication.
  • Some people identify a trend towards cultural
    globalisation i.e. an increasingly homogenous
    global culture.
  • Concern has been expressed over the rise of a
    global culture at the expense of local
    cultures, but there are differing views

Taking over the world, 24 hours a day?
Hyperglobalisers Transformationalists Sceptics
Globalisation is unstoppable, nations and cultures are much less powerful than it is, and cannot resist it. Globalisation is a powerful, but changing, force which creates multiculturalism rather than destroying cultures. Globalisation is over-rated regional identify more important than global.
Cultural imperialism?
  • Is the spread of global trade, its brands (Nike,
    Coke, Disney, Ford) and western culture simply a
    side-effect of globalisation or is it more
  • Anti-globalisation movements often portray the
    spread of western culture as a deliberate
    attempt to impose this culture on the rest of the
  • It is important to consider to what extent
    cultural imperialism exists and is a threat.
  • Westernisation
  • McDonaldisation
  • Cocacolonisation
  • Cultural imperialism
  • Americanisation
  • Disneyfication
  • Cultural hegemony

The global media
  • Global media corporations occupy a uniquely
    powerful position
  • They can spread their message globally,
    instantly, to millions of people.
  • Only in the last 60 years have the technologies
    shown (right) become commonplace.
  • There are concerns that the global media is
    dominated by western companies

Disney (USA) News Corporation (USA) Viacom (USA) Time Warner (USA) Bertelsmann (Germany)
47 billion revenue 2008 32 billion revenue 2009 14 billion revenue 2008 47 billion revenue 2008 16 billion revenue 2009
ABC ESPN Disney Resorts Pixar HarperCollins The Sun The Times Fox BSkyB Paramount MTV Nickelodeon Comedy Central AOL Warner Bros CNN Cartoon Network RTL Group Random House GrunerJahr
Globalised cultures
  • Cultural globalisation might be expected to
    affect a range of different aspect of local
    cultures such as
  • Diet a higher fat, higher protein, higher sugar
    i.e. a more western die
  • Language erosion of highly localised languages
    in favour of national or even global ones i.e.
    English (see map)
  • Religion and community traditions being
    replaced by globalised media as a source of news,
    information and entertainment
  • Costume traditional forms replaced by jeans,
    trainers and t-shirt

Cultural hybridisation
  • On a more positive note, there is evidence that
    cultural globalisation is not one way traffic
  • Bollywood films, made in Mumbai (Bombay), have
    transferred into western cultural
  • Even McDonalds, one of the princes of corporate
    global capitalism, adapts its products to local
    markets (often referred to as glocalisation).
  • Asian and Chinese immigrants do not loose their
    identity, they blend it with their new
    surroundings to produce new hybrid cultures.

Chinatown in San Francisco, a hybrid culture
Changing cultural landscapes
  • There are question marks over how far cultural
    change will damage traditional ways of life and
  • In Dubai, traditional buildings have been swept
    away in favour of westernised, modern
  • Religion remains relatively untouched, but for
    how long?

4. Cultural attitudes to the environment
Culture and society Most people live Attitudes to environment
Pre-industrial On the land, as farmers and hunter gatherers Resource use for personal consumption close relationship with living things natural world ascribed a religious significance.
Industrial In cities, working in factories and offices Resources used to make profits exploitative relationship with environment may be viewed as a pollution sink.
Post-industrial In cities, but counter-urbanisation increase rural population Wealth and leisure time, and a tertiary economy, lead to increased conservation to aid use of environment for pleasure, leisure and recreation.
  • Concern for the natural environment, and the
    landscapes it contains, varies around the world
  • Traditional cultures hunter gatherers, farmers
    tend to have a close and sometimes reverential
    relationship to the environment
  • Modernisation and industrialisation tend to
    divorce cultures from direct contact with the

Exploiting or protecting?
  • There is a complex relationship between human
    exploitation and conservation, and the question
    of whether humans are acting sustainability can
    be difficult to answer.

In Pompeii, tourists are in awe of the ancient
Roman ruins, but may be contributing to their
long-term degradation
Quarrying is a scar on the landscape of Majorca,
but stone could be viewed as much more
ecologically sound than concrete.
Yosemite is a protected National Park, but it is
open to visitors Some 3.5 million visit every
In Kielder Forest, felled trees are replanted
and therefore sustainable, but most trees in this
man-made forest are not native to the UK and the
forest has low biodiversity.
What do we mean by sustainable?
  • Peoples understanding of sustainability varies.
  • Originally the term was linked closely to the
    idea of development (see quote)
  • Today the term tends to be more linked with the
    idea of environmental sustainability often
    focussing on the green agenda.
  • Different players may have quite different
    understandings of sustainability.

Major TNCs Environmentalists Householders in the UK Farmers in LDCs
Green as good for business. Being seen to recycle, reduce packaging and sell green and fair trade products. Not radically altering the existing business model. Radical changes to consumption patterns to dramatically alter pollution levels, waste and environmental damage. Global agreements. Individual, small-scale and incremental actions to reduce carbon footprints. Changing lightbulbs, buying a more efficient car, using bags for life Survival producing enough to live and saving enough to do it again next year. Using resources in a sustainable way if possible.
Our consumer culture
  • Many environmentalists and scientists argue that
    western levels of consumption cannot be
  • Modern humans see themselves as at the top of
    the food chain due to their ability to exploit
    the environment for products and pleasure.
  • This humans first or anthropocentric view of
    the planet is what has led to global
    environmental problems such as global warming,
    deforestation, soil degradation and water

Squaring the circle
  • There is a conflict between the desire to develop
    and the desire to respect and protect cultures,
    their landscapes and the wider environment.
  • Can this be resolved?
  • Beginning in the 1970s the Green Movement
    (initially a counter-culture, but now
    mainstream) formulated an alternative model
    (see diagram) for politics and economics
  • Green movement ideas have gradually been adopted
    worldwide, but many green politicians argue much
    more needs to be done.
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