ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 4 : The name of this chapter is Local Culture, Popular Culture, and Cultural Landscapes. We’ll find answer some of important key questions including-
- What are local and popular cultures?
- How are local cultures sustained?
- How is popular culture diffused?
- How can local and popular cultures be seen in the cultural landscape?
ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 4
A culture is a group of belief systems, norms, and values practiced by a people. Although this definition of culture sounds simple, the concept of culture is actually quite complex.
A group of people who share common beliefs can be recognized as a culture in one of two ways:
- The people call themselves a culture. Or,
- Other people (including academics) can label a certain group of people as a culture.
Traditionally, academics label cultural groups as folk cultures or as part of popular culture. The idea is that the folk culture is small, incorporates a homogeneous population, is typically rural, and is cohesive in cultural traits, whereas popular culture is large, incorporates heterogeneous populations, is typically urban, and experiences quickly changing cultural traits.
Instead of using this polarity of folk and popular cultures, some academics now see folk and popular cultures as ends of a continuum, defining most cultures as fitting somewhere between folk and popular.
We find folk culture to be a limiting concept because it requires us to create a list of characteristics and look for cultures that meet the list. This methodology of defining
folk cultures leaves much to be desired.
And it is in this very process that we get frustrated with the concept of folk culture. It is not how we academics define a culture that matters, it is how the people define themselves that countries.
How are local cultures sustained?
During the 1800s and into d1e 1900s, the U.S. government had an official policy of assimilation. It wanted to assimilate indigenous peoples into the dominant culture in order to make American Indians into “Americans” rather than “Indians.” Canadians, Australians, Russians, and other colonial powers adopted similar policies toward indigenous peoples, using schools, churches, and government agents to discourage native practices.
The United States, the federal government forced tribal members to settle in one place and to farm rather than hunt or fish. Public and missionary school teachers punished tribal members for using their native language.
Government agents rewarded the Indians they deemed most “American” with citizenship and paid jobs. T he federal government even employed East Coast women from 1888 until1938 to live on reservations and show the native women how to be “good housewives” by teaching them Victorian ways of cooking, cleaning, and sewing.
Today, several churches and governments have apologized for assimilation policies. In 2008, the governments of Australia and Canada each officially apologized to tl1eir indigenous populations: Aboriginals in Australia and First Nations and Inuit in Canada.
The Australian Parliament unanimously passed a motion stating, “We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized specifically for the government’s policy of taking Aboriginal children from their homes and placing them in residential schools-a policy that lasted from the 1800s until the late 1960s.
How is popular culture diffused?
Extraordinary changes have occurred since 1900 in the time it takes for people, innovations, and ideas to diffuse around the globe. The innovation of agriculture took nearly 10,000 years to diffuse around the world. In much more recent times, the diffusion of developments such as the printing press or the Industrial Revolution was measured over the course of 100 years or more.
During the twentieth century, however, the pace of diffusion shrank to months, weeks, days, and in some cases even hours. Simultaneously, the spatial extent of diffusion has expanded, so that more and more parts of the Earth’s surface are affected by ideas and innovations from faraway places.
For example, the social networking site Facebook, which Mark Zuckerberg launched in 2004, passed 500 million subscribers worldwide in 2010 and adds many new members each day. Canada grew from 2 million to 7 million Facebook subscribers in 2007, and by 2010, had over 15 million subscribers, accounting for 45.48 percent of the
With enough subscribers to be the third most populated country in the world, and with instant communication, news travels quickly through the Face book network.
In 2005 and 2006, Chinese entrepreneur Wang Xing launched the Chinese social network Xiaonei (“on campus”), which copied Facebook down to the color scheme. Wang sold Xiaonei in 2006 for $4 million.
Oak Pacific interactive got a steal, as the company is estimated to be worth several billion dollars today. T hey renamed the site Renren, which means “everybody” (Fig. 4.14). Renren is not merely a copy of Facebook, however. Renren is credited with innovating social gaming and advertising.
In fact, the popular Facebook game FarmVille launched a year after HappyFanner launched on Renren. Advertisers, including Lay’s, pay to place their products in Renren’s games. In HappyFarmer, a player can plant Lay’s potatoes and take them to a Lay’s potato chip factory.
How can local and popular cultures be seen in the cultural landscape?
The tension between globalized popular culture and local culture can be seen in the cultural landscape, the visible imprint of human activity on the landscape. Human imprint includes everything from how people have changed and shaped the environment to the buildings, signs, fences, and statues people erect.
Cultural landscapes reflect the values, norms, and aesthetics of a culture. On major roadways in North American towns and suburbs, the landscape is a series of big box stores, gas stations, and restaurants that reflect popular culture (Fig. 4.22). As you drive down one of these roadways, one place looks like the next.
You drive past TGIFridays, Applebees, Wai-Mart, Target, and McDonald ‘s. T hen, several miles down the road, you pass another conglomeration (clustering) of the same stores. Geographer Edward Relph coined the word placelessness to describe the loss of uniqueness of place in the cultural landscape to the point that one place looks like the next.
Cultural landscapes begin to blend together, converging cultural landscapes in 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- flung places; and
- The wholesale borrowing of idealized landscape images, though not necessarily fostering convergence, promotes a blurring of place distinctiveness.
The global diffusion of the skyscraper provides a clear illustration of the first point-particular architectural forms and planning ideas have diffused around the world (Fig. 4.23). In the second half of the 1800s, with advancements in steel production and improved costs and efficiencies of steel use, architects and engineers created the first skyscrapers. The Home Insurance Building of Chicago is typically pointed to as the first skyscraper.
The fundamental difference between a skyscraper and another building is that the outside walls of the skyscraper do not bear the major load or weight of the building; rather, the internal steel structure or skeleton of the building bears most of the load.
From Singapore to Johannesburg and from Caracas to Toronto, the commercial centers of major cities are dominated by tall buildings, many of which have been designed by the same architects and engineering firms.
With the diffusion of the skyscraper around the world, the cultural landscape of cities has been profoundly impacted. Skyscrapers require substantial land clearing in the vicinity of individual buildings, the construction of wide, straight streets to promote access, and the reworking of transportation systems around a highly centralized model.
Skyscrapers are only one example of the globalization of a particular landscape form. T he proliferation of skyscrapers in Taiwan, Malaysia, and China in the 1990s marked the integration of these economies into the major players in the world economy (Fig. 4.24). Today, the growth of skyscrapers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, signals the world city status of the place.
Advances in transportation and communications technology help popular culture diffuse at record speeds around the world today. Popular culture changes quickly, offering new music, foods, fashions, and sports. Popular culture envelopes and infiltrates local cultures, presenting constant challenges to members of local cultures. Some members of local cultures have accepted popular culture, others have rejected it, and still others have forged a balance between the two.
Customs from local cultures are often commodified, propelling them into popular culture. The search for an “authentic” local culture custom generally ends up promoting a stereotyped local culture or glorifying a single aspect of that local culture. Local culture, like popular culture, is dynamic, and the pursuit of authenticity disregards the complexity and fluidity of cultures.
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