Lecture on Culture and Geography
Culture has been defined as "a skill; a luxury; an elite's prestige commodity; asimple aesthetic appreciation; (or) solely a folkloric epiphenomenon."
The definition of culture I use includes every aspect of life:"know-how, technical knowledge, customs of food and dress, religion, mentality, values, language, symbols, socio-political and economic behavior, indigenous methods of taking decisions and exercising power, methods of production and economic relations, and so on."(Verhelst, T 1990 No Life Without Roots London: Zed Books p.17)
Culture: a shared set of meanings that are lived through the material and symbolic practices of everyday life.
Cultural Geography: how space, place and the landscape shape culture at the same time that culture shapes space, place and the landscape.
Can culture be mapped?
Religion: belief system and a set of practices that recognize the existence of a power higher than humans.
Diffusion of religions
Diffusion of Buddhism
Diffusion of Christianity
Cultural trait: a single aspect of the complex of routine practices that constitute a particular cultural group.
Diffusion of Hip-Hop
Cultural complex: combination of traits characteristic of a particular group.
Cultural region: the areas within which a particular cultural system prevails.
Cultural system: a collection of interacting elements that taken together shape a group's collective identity.
Cultural landscape: a characteristic and tangible outcome of the complex interactions between a human group and a natural environment.
Ordinary landscapes: the everyday landscapes that people create in the course of their lives.
Landscape as text:
the idea that landscapes can be read and written by groups and individuals.
Three images of Los Angeles on p.242 of your textbook: Which
is the best map of L.A.?
It all depends . . .
Why are the three maps so different?
Humanistic approach: places the individual -- especially individual values, meaning systems, intensions, and conscious acts -- at the center of analysis.
Sense of place: feelings evoked among people as a result of the experiences and memories that they associate with a place, and to the symbolism that they attach to it.
Proxemics: the study of the social the cultural meanings that people give to personal space.