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Lecture 7

Lecture 7

7 Pages

Course Code
GEOG 210
Jon Unruh

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Lecture 7: Culture, Landscape and Identity Reading: Fouberg et al, Chapter 5, pp. 149-162 Quiz: Opens today at 5 pm until Friday at 5 Cultural Identity Cultural identity: the feeling of belonging to a group or culture (good definition for the exam) Is this an exclusively human idea?! Another definition: identity of an individual, influenced by belonging to a group or culture What Goes on in an Identity? • Common habits, characteristics and ideas may be clear markers of a shared cultural identity, but it is also determined by difference: o We feel we belong to a group and a group defines itself by noticing and highlighting differences with other groups and cultures o We notice that we speak a different language when we come across those who speak a different language o Your identity vs. another’s identity o Identity and culture clashes are what define identity • Markers: clothes, language, food…etc Constructing Cultural Identity People who feel they belong to the same culture rely on a common set of norms • But the awareness of such common codes is possible only by confrontation with their absence, namely, confrontation with other cultures • Common Markers and the Absences In other words: if you think you’re the only existing culture (e.g. living on an island in the ocean) do you see yourself as a culture? • Thus cultural self-definition implies a continuous contact between cultures o Ex. Fortified city of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan state, India à Founded in 1156, used in confrontations between the Bhattis and Muslims Such contact is not relations of equality, since they never exist in an isolated form • Equality in technology ? • Perception of inequality between different cultural groups • Who is better than the other? • The notion is that cultures are rarely equal in all things • One culture better at something than the other o Colonization o Conflict o Invasions The complex web of relationships created by the interactions of -- political, economic, scientific, cultural relations, etc… -- turns any relations between two cultures into what can seem to be an unequal one. • This can change at anytime though. • There is frequently a dominate cultural practice. Culture A may be dominant in architecture and B in technology. (comparative advantage) Within a culture or cultural practice, there is an awareness of common identity. • This means that o There has also been a striving toward preservation of this identity o Toward self-preservation of the culture o Ex. Constructing monuments are part of this ‘striving’ – monument to Portuguese discoveries in Lisbon, Portugal; Sports The shared conventions on which identity is based, are often assumed and unnoticed. • The basic rules and meaning underlying the production of identity are taken for granted by participants. • This structured set of presuppositions are what we call ‘doxa’. (know this term!) • Such as clothing, behaviour, and position in society Responses of Cultural Identity to the ‘Other’ Every culture is continually forced to determine its position toward ‘other’ cultural elements, in order to preserve or redefine its identity. • Repositioning Nomadic pastoralism is one of the most heavily influences cultures by outside elements. One approach to examining this difference, is to look at responses to cultural elements. • In one framework, there are four basic reactions to ‘other’ outside cultural elements. o Imperialist: A reaction in which otherness is denied and transformed o Trans-cultural: a reaction that neither radically opposes itself to other culture (or cultural features) nor refuses their intrusion o Defensive: a reaction in which ‘otherness’ is acknowledged bu
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