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II) Cultural Geography & Regional Identities


Cultural Geography is the study of cultural products and norms and their variations across and
relations to spaces and places.

focuses on describing and analysing the ways language, religion, economy, government and
other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant, from one place to another and on explaining
how humans function spatially

creative experience & expressions

Cultural artefacts: architecture, art, texts

Lived cultures: political system, language, social value, lifestyle trend, music, fashion

Cultural Region (formal/abstract, functional/nodes; vernacular/identity)

Cultural Landscape - fashioned from a natural landscape by a culture group.

‘Culture is the agent; the natural area is the medium. The cultural landscape the result’
(Carl O. Sauer, 1963, The Morphology of Landscape)


express and contest in relation to specific locales.environment sets certain constraints or limitations. Cultural Hegemony o Placeless landscapes o McDonalisation of culture via globalisation . natural area as medium.− material/ visual/pictorial (physical manifestation of culture – Culture as agent.  “Public symbols”: visual prominence & distinctive symbolism create place attachment & identification  “Fields of care”: intimate & meaningful interaction in an ordinary landscape Culture and Globalisation - Cultural Diffusion. cultural landscape the result’) − Symbolic/ intangible/ representation of meanings (what is ‘seen’ is not a ‘given’) − Landscape as Text (signifying system – social values & ideologies are communicated and fixed in concrete spaces) − Ways of seeing reflecting different value systems and power relations (multiple meanings) − Environmental determinism versus Possibilism o Envi determinism means that man ultimately cannot shape nature (fatalistic viewpoint) – nature sets limits on human environment o Whereas envi Possibilism is the opposite view . − Links between Cultural Geography and Humanistic Geography (sense of place) o The sentiments of attachment (or detachment) that human beings experience. but culture is otherwise determined by social conditions.

social media (b) media corporations eg. English McWorld VS Jihad • Globalism versus tribalism (regional identity) • McWorld inhabited by western icons . ideas. lifestyles.g. and practices are transmitted from one location to another”. global Agents of cultural spread: (a) communication technology eg.  Geographical traditions in diffusion studies: Carl Sauer and the Berkeley  School of cultural geography. Television. regional. Hagerstrand and the Lund School of time-space geography • Spatial-temporal dimensions • Agents and Barriers to spatial diffusion (i) Originator: place of origin (ii) Carrier: spatial pathways (agents) (iii) Adopter: place of adoption/destination (iv) Barrier: spatial & social hindrance (v) Scales: micro. diseases  Geographical perspectives on cultural diffusion:  “Diffusion is a spatial and temporal process through which information. practices  Spatial diffusion is not a new phenomenon: spread of religion. language. practices and information from one locale to another  The world as a single “cultural community”? -Cultural homogenization argument -> shared cultural codes.o CULTURAL HEGEMONY o McDonaldisation of culture  Cultural diffusion: transmission of ideas. ideologies. MTV. diet. BBC World Service (c) language e. value systems. local.

Pakistan…Singapore (c) Translating Global Products to Suit the Local • selective adoption of global trends/influences to suit local needs creation of hybrid cultural products: (localization. no distinct identity) • Jihad as assertion of self/local identity eg. • “When cultures receive outside influences. glocalization. but in customized cottages globally produced and locally distributed”. they ignore some & adopt others. Asian values debate in Southeast Asia • Notice that Islamisation of cultures is also a form of cultural hegemony in itself Cultural globalisation does not spell the end of local cultures. Hence. or BBC World News reports your regional news during select hours) . glocalization) • Manuel Castells (1996: 341): “We are not living in a global village. geography matters (b) Resisting global cultures • Installing barriers to diffusion • Jihad forces: self-determination. 1996) • E. China. transculturation (a) Not all Global Cultural Artefacts Are Interpreted Similarly • Global icons take on local meanings: no universal meaning! • Geographical specificities: Different places & societies ‘view’ things differently • Locality matters. insiderization. vegetarian burgers in India where the Hindu populace does not eat beef • Regional programmes (MTV broadcasts exclusively Asian programmes. global-local dialectics determine if there is • Resistance by local cultures. Myanmar. control of foreign culture. for promotions in France. as much as McDonalds is illustrative of globalisation. Bangalore (outposts of Western culture. local cultures could possibly benefit. lamb. the restaurant chain recently replace its familiar Ronald McDonald mascot with Asterix the Gaul. or adaptation of traditions • Or application of concepts in cultural adaptation: hybridization.• Coca-colonisation of the world by the west • Eg Dubai. &immediately start to transform them” (Zwingle. In fact. tourist & internet access in North Korea. a popular French cartoon character • McDonalds selling chicken. censorship & control (Barber. with the infusion of three cultures. 1999) • For instance.g.