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Folk and Popular Culture

Folk and Popular Culture. Chapter 4. Key Questions. What are local and popular cultures? How are local customs sustained? How is popular culture diffused? How can local and popular cultures be seen in the cultural landscape?. Balancing Two Worlds.

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Folk and Popular Culture

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  1. Folk and Popular Culture Chapter 4

  2. Key Questions • What are local and popular cultures? • How are local customs sustained? • How is popular culture diffused? • How can local and popular cultures be seen in the cultural landscape?

  3. Balancing Two Worlds • Many different cultural groups living in U.S. • South Dakota • Group similar to Amish called Hutterites • One of 50 Anabaptist groups in U.S.

  4. Hutterites – from Southern Germany & Switzerland • During Protestant Reformation – broke from Catholic Church • Followers called Anabaptist meaning Baptized again • Moved around Europe and parts of Asia • Stressed pacifism • Hutterites named for leader Jacob Hutter

  5. Migrated to U.S. in last half 1800s • Anabaptist groups shown in stereotypical ways • Major differences do exist • Old Order Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, and Brethren

  6. Hutterites live communally • Colony of approximately 100 • 425 colonies in U.S. • Minnesota, South Dakota, N. Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, and Alberta • Main difference with Amish – accept technology in agriculture

  7. Do not accept TVs, cameras, cell phones • Specialize in diversified agriculture • Raise feed, food, and livestock • Barter with neighbors • Little outside communication • Strike a balance between tradition and innovations

  8. Rest of the world – globalization • They fight to keep their customs • Also a balance between the two

  9. What are Local and Popular Cultures? • Folk cultures – largely self-sufficient somewhat isolated groups long standing traditions slowly changing

  10. Popular culture – refers to rapidly changeable nontraditional heterogeneous ideas and practices of urban societies Fashion trends – hierarchical diffusion Key cities are the hearth

  11. Nonmaterial culture – intangible part artifacts and sociofacts expressed in oral tradition, and folk song Customs – repeated characteristic acts

  12. Culture – shared set of meanings that are lived through the material and symbolic practices of everyday life dynamic concept that revolves around and intersects with complex, social, political, economic, and even historic factors

  13. Cultural geography – focuses on the way in which space, place, and landscape shape the culture • Material culture – made up of physical, visible things

  14. Nonmaterial and material traits • Social customs • Language • Religion • Food habits • Tools • structures

  15. Culture is learned • Characterizes a group • Distinguishes it from all others • Ethnicity --- • The summary term of identification assigned to a large group of people recognized as sharing the traits of a distinctive common culture

  16. Always based on firm understanding by members of a group that they are in some fundamental ways different from others who do not share distinguishing characteristics or cultural heritage

  17. Spatial concept • Groups associated with recognized territories • Territory and ethnicity • Inseparable concepts • Important concern in cultural patterning • Often identified with language or religious practices

  18. How are Local Cultures Sustained? • Assimilation • Native Americans • Local cultures sustained through customs • Local culture can create barriers to prevent other cultures from coming in • Can work to avoid cultural appropriation • Adopting customs to use with your own

  19. Rural Local Cultures • Easier to maintain customs in rural areas • Economic activity – focus of daily life • When local culture disconnects from economic activity – face challenges of maintaining customs

  20. Makah American Indians • Located in Washington • Late 1990s – reinstated whale hunting • Reasoning – traditional culture • Understand ancestors • Recreate and solidify local culture • Sought refuge in their past

  21. Hunted whales using the International Whaling Commission • Protests by groups such as Green Peace • Sued in federal court by Bush Administration • Wanted to use traditional canoes & harpoons

  22. Not so easy today • 1999 killed a gray whale using a rifle • Directed to do so by IWC • More humane manner than ancestors

  23. Little Sweden, USA • Lindsborg, KS • Population 3300 • Transformed town – infused culture • Some people believe reason is economic • Sell Swedish items, foods, festivals • People benefit from having shared history

  24. Began celebrating their heritage in the 1950s • Geographer Steven Schnell studied their culture • Describes it as neolocalism • Seeking out regional culture & reinvigorating it in response to uncertainty of modern world.

  25. Urban Local Cultures • Ethnic neighborhoods • Hasidic Jews • Italian Americans • Mexican Americans • Differences between cultures • Enables them to set themselves apart and practice their customs

  26. Local Cultures & Cultural Appropriation • Rural or urban – trying to preserve culture • Prevent others from appropriating it for themselves • Commodification – • Process through which something is given monetary value • Can be traded at market place

  27. Commodification • Occurs when a good or idea that previously was not regarded as an object to be bought and sold is turned into something that has a particular price and that can be traded in a market economy

  28. How is popular culture diffused? • Transportation & communication technologies have altered distance decay • Geographer David Harvey – calls it time-space compression • How innovations diffuse & refers to how interlinked two places are with technology

  29. Authenticity of Places • Colonization period – savage or mystic • “Authentic” tourist destinations • Branson, MO • Capitalizes on authentic in Ozarks

  30. Guinness and the Irish Pub Company • Guinness Brewing Co – Dublin • Business plan 20 years ago • Capitalize on “authentic Irish Pub” • Decided to go global • Partnership with Irish Pub Company

  31. Commodification • Affects local cultures in numerous ways • Material culture – can be commodified by them or others • Nonmaterial culture – language, religion, etc can also be commodified • Nonmembers selling local spiritual & herbal cures

  32. Hearths of Popular Culture • Popular culture diffuses hierarchically in the context of time-space compression • All aspects of popular culture have a hearth • Place of origin • Hearth – typically begins with contagious diffusion

  33. Manufacturing a Hearth • Example group – Phish • Started as a college band in Vermont • Diffused relocationally • Fans followed them • Viacom – parent company of MTV • Generates and produces popular culture through communications infrastructure

  34. PBS documentary – The Merchants of Cool • Examines roll of corporations & marketing agencies in popular culture • Reterritorialization – when people within a place start to produce an aspect of popular culture themselves – making local culture their own

  35. Reterritorialization of Hip Hop • Began in inner cities in 1980s & 1990s • Compton (LA) Bronx, Harlem • Hearths of hip hop • Diffused abroad • Results seen in ways artists around the world use the texts & music from their own local cultures

  36. Replacing Old Hearths with New Beating out the Big Three in Popular Sports

  37. Baseball, football, basketball • Big three in US • Benefited from advances in transportation, communication, and institutionalization • Railroad interconnected cities • Allowed teams to compete and sport to diffuse • First baseball

  38. Telegraph – allowed newspapers to report the baseball scores • Late 1880s electric lighting made it a nighttime spectator sport • NFL – 1920 • Institutionalized the sport • 20th century – see the advertisements & corporate sponsorship

  39. Skateboarding – originally known as sidewalk surfing • Diffused from So. California • Snowboarding another example • Organization of ESPN’s X Games • Video games • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

  40. 2001 – sales relating to video games higher than the movie industry’s box office receipts • Also that year – baseball lost out to skateboarding • More children involved under the age of 18 in skateboarding – not baseball

  41. Popular media – music, TV, and film from US and UK diffuses quickly • Reruns of old TV shows can be seen all around the world

  42. How Can Local & Popular Cultures Be Seen in the Cultural Landscape • Cultural landscape – visual imprint of human activity on the landscape • Everything we have done • How we have changed and shaped landscape • Reflect values, norms, & aesthetics of a culture

  43. Geographer – Edward Relph • Placelessness – describes the loss of uniqueness of place in the cultural landscape • Everywhere you go --- McD’s, etc • Everything looks the same

  44. Convergence of Cultural Landscape • Three dimensions • particular architectural forms and planning ideas have diffused around the world • individual businesses and products have become so widespread that they now leave a distinctive landscape stamp on far away places

  45. The wholesale borrowing of idealized landscape, images, promotes blurring of place distinctiveness • Singapore – good example • Skyscrapers, restaurants, signs • Global-local continuum concept – what happens at one scale is not independent of what happens at other scales

  46. Housing Styles • Great variety around the world • People migrate – take ideas of home with them • Environment may mean changes to homes

  47. Shelter • Ranks high on list of needs • House reveals a lot about a region and culture • Layout and function varies • Materials • Interested in character and pattern of villages

  48. Dispersed settlement pattern • Lower density of population • Wide spacing of individual homes • Nucleated settlement • Also called agglomerated settlement • Compact • Closely packed • Sharply demarcated from adjoining farmlands

  49. Housing and Landscape • Functional differentiation • Mode of distinguishing things or arrangements • Based on purposes or activities • Environmental influences • Domestic architecture

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