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What is culture?

What is culture?

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What is culture?

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  1. What is culture?

  2. culture is… • Learned, not biological • Transmitted within a society to next generations by imitation, tradition, instruction

  3. culture provides… • a “general framework” • each individual learns & adheres to general rules • also to specific sub-groups: • age, sex, status, occupation, nationality

  4. culture provides…. • Subcultures co-exist • Masculine / feminine • Rural / urban • Different ethnicities • Joined by common traditions, behaviors, loyalties, beliefs • Christmas • Church attendance on Sunday

  5. cultural variables.. micro vs. macro • Micro • Cultural traits – most elementary • Expression of culture, the smallest distinctions • Behavior • Object • Beliefs • Attitudes • Macro • these “building blocks” = a culture complex

  6. culture complex Macro-cultural complex-Individual cultural traits that are functionally interrelated • Masai of Kenya – cultural traits centered on cattle • Soccer, futbol – sports culture

  7. culture region • Portion of the Earth’s surface occupied by populations sharing recognizable distinctive cultural characteristics • Political organizations/boundaries • Religions • Economy type

  8. Types of Cultural Regions • Core Area (nucleus) • Domain (dominant extension) • Sphere (zone of outer influence for a culture region) • Subnational (cultural area that is part of a larger culture – The Mormons) • National Cultures (The French Culture)

  9. cultural realm • A set of cultural regions showing related cultural complexes and landscapes • Large region that has assumed fundamental uniformity in its cultural characteristics and showing significant differences from surrounding realms

  10. culture realms

  11. Cultural Sphere • zone of outer influence for a culture region

  12. Folk Culture • Folk Culture– traditionally practiced by a small, homogeneous, rural group living in relative isolation.

  13. Folk Culture – rapidly changing and/or disappearing throughout much of the world. Almost nonexistent in the developed world. Guatemalan Market Portuguese Fishing Boat Turkish Camel Market

  14. Folk Culture • Stable and close knit • Homogeneous in customs, ethnicity • Usually a rural community and cohesive • Subsistence economies; Goods are made by hand according to tradition • Tradition controls; Resistance to change • Buildings erected without architect or blueprint using locally available building materials • anonymous origins, diffuses slowly through migration. Develops over time. • Clustered distributions:isolation/lack of interaction breed uniqueness and ties to physical environment. • Some folk traits utilize: astrology, songs, dances, and food

  15. FOLK FOOD How did such differences develop?

  16. FOLK ARCHITECTURE • Effects on Landscape:usually of limited scale and scope. Agricultural: fields, terraces, grain storage Dwellings: historically created from local materials: wood, brick, stone, skins; often uniquely and traditionally arranged; always functionally tied to physical environment.


  18. Folk Culture and the Land Terraced Rice Fields, Thailand Hogan, Monument Valley, AZ Cohokia Mounds, Illinois

  19. North American Folk Culture Regions

  20. Hog Production and Food Cultures Fig. 4-6: Annual hog production is influenced by religious taboos against pork consumption in Islam and other religions. The highest production is in China, which is largely Buddhist.

  21. Taboo – a restriction on behavior imposed by social custom.Food Taboos: Jews – must have cloven hooves and chews its cud; can’t mix meat and milk, or eat fish lacking fins or scales; pigs, camel, rabbits are not “kosher” Muslims – no pork; Hindus – no cows (used for oxen during monsoon) Washing Cow in Ganges

  22. What are Local and Popular Cultures?

  23. Local Culture: A group of people in a particular place who see themselves as a collective or a community, who share experiences, customs, and traits, and who work to preserve those traits and customs in order to claim uniqueness and to distinguish themselves from others.

  24. Hutterite Colonies in North America Are the Hutterites an example of a local culture?

  25. Why are Hutterite colonies located where they are?

  26. Popular Culture: A wide-ranging group of heterogeneous people, who stretch across identities and across the world, and who embrace cultural traits such as music, dance, clothing, and food preference that change frequently and are ubiquitous on the cultural landscape.

  27. Popular Culture=“placelessness” Wide Distribution: differences from place to place uncommon, more likely differences at one place over time. Housing:only small regional variations, more generally there are trends over time Food: franchises, cargo planes, superhighways and freezer trucks have eliminated much local variation. Limited variations in choice regionally, esp. with alcohol and snacks. Substantial variations by ethnicity.

  28. Popular Culture Clothing: Jeans have become valuable status symbols in many regions including Asia and Russia despite longstanding folk traditions.

  29. How do cultural traits from local cultures become part of popular culture?

  30. Diffusion of TV, 1954–1999 Fig. 4-14: Television has diffused widely since the 1950s, but some areas still have low numbers of TVs per population.

  31. A Mental Map of Hip Hop Fig. 4-3: This mental map places major hip hop performers near other similar performers and in the portion of the country where they performed.

  32. Popular Culture Effects on Landscape: breeds homogenous, “placeless” (Relph, 1976), landscape • Complex network of roads and highways • Commercial Structures tend towards ‘boxes’ • Dwellings may be aesthetically suggestive of older folk traditions • Planned and Gated Communities more and more common Disconnect with landscape:indoor swimming pools, desert surfing.

  33. Surfing in Tempe, Arizona Are places still tied to local landscapes?

  34. McDonald’s, Tokyo, Japan Swimming Pool, West Edmonton Mall, Canada McDonald’s, Jerusalem

  35. What is Culture? Part II

  36. Problems with the Globalization of Culture Often Destroys Folk Culture – or preserves traditions as museum pieces or tourism gimmicks. • Mexican Mariachis; Polynesian Navigators; Cruise Line Simulations • Change in Traditional Roles and Values; Polynesian weight problems Satellite Television, Baja California

  37. Problems with the Globalization of Popular Culture Western Media Imperialism? • U.S., Britain, and Japan dominate worldwide media. • Glorified consumerism, violence, sexuality, and militarism? • U.S. (Networks, FoxNews, CNN) and British (BBC) news media provide/control the dissemination of information worldwide. • These networks are unlikely to focus or provide third world perspective on issues important in the LDCs.

  38. Environmental Problems with Cultural Globalization Accelerated Resource Use through Accelerated Consumption • Furs: minx, lynx, jaguar, kangaroo, whale, sea otters (18th Century Russians) fed early fashion trends • Inefficient over-consumption of Meats (10:1), Poultry (3:1), even Fish (fed other fish and chicken) by meat-eating pop cultures • Mineral Extraction for Machines, Plastics and Fuel • New Housing and associated energy and water use. • Golf courses use valuable water and destroy habitat worldwide. Pollution: waste from fuel generation and discarded products, plastics, marketing and packaging materials

  39. “They’re growing houses in the fields between the towns.” - John Gorka, Folk Singer

  40. Beijing, China Palm Springs, CA

  41. Fiji

  42. Marlboro Man in Egypt

  43. How do cultural traits diffuse? Hearth: the point of origin of a cultural trait. Contagious diffusion Hierarchical diffusion

  44. How are Local Cultures Sustained?

  45. Local cultures are sustained by maintaining customs. Custom: a practice that a group of people routinely follows.

  46. Material Culture The things a group of people construct, such as art, houses, clothing, sports, dance, and food. Nonmaterial Culture The beliefs, practices, aesthetics, and values of a group of people. Material and Nonmaterial Culture

  47. Little Sweden, USA (Lindsborg, Kansas): Is the Swedish Dala horse part of material or nonmaterial culture?

  48. What do local cultures do to maintain their customs in a globalized world?