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Geography 1400F/G Study Guide - Final Guide: Financial Services, Neocolonialism, Gerrymandering

Course Code
GEOG 1400F/G
Godwin Arku
Study Guide

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Geo Final Study Notes
Lecture 6 – Culture and Landscapes
Culture – a complex term that typically refers to the way of life of members of a society;
also usefully understood as referring to our ability first to analyze and then to change the
physical environments that we encounter
Summary of important introductory argument to a world divided:
1. Our world is divided, especially because of spatial variations in culture
2. By culture, we mean the human ability to develop ideas from
experiences and subsequently act on the basis of those ideas
3. Once cultural activities and behaviours are in place, ad inevitable
tendency is for them to become the frame of reference – however inappropriate –
within which all new developments in culture are placed and evaluated
4. One task humans may choose to tackle today is to create new sets of
values – in effect to re-engineer ourselves
oCulture acts as a barrier between people at the world scale
What is Culture?
oVarious Definitions:
Artistic and intellectual product of elites
System of shared beliefs
Capabilities and habits acquired by members of a society
oCodes – a set of rules or guidelines; formal or informal
Example of ‘cultural code’:
Bodies (Positioning & gestures)  Body language and beauty
Manners or etiquette
oAnother definition of culture: Totality of a shared, learned “way of life”; doing
and thinking
oGoal of studying culture:
To describe and explain the processes creating culture and cultural
Characteristics of Culture:
oHuman Creation: invented, practiced, changed, maintained by people
oDynamic & Constant: change vs. tradition
Eg. Fewer Canadians bothering to marry
oScale Varies: global to local
oPlurality: Many cultures within & across societies
oOverlap: Sub-cultures overlap creating still other sub-cultures
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oMedium of Expression: everything humans know, use or invent – material or
immaterial – expresses or reveals something about humanity, about culture
oSpatial: How space is usead, organizaed, arranged & ascribe meaning or identity
by people reveals culture
Space is a medium of cultural expression
oPolitical: Cultural expression are ‘sites of struggle’: who’s culture is acceptable?
Where? When? By whom?
Structure of Culture
oCulture can be divided into two categories:
1. Non-material:
Mentifacts – key attitudinal elements or values, such as language
and religion; those mental or non-physical elements of culture; the
values held by members of a group
Sociofacts – the norms involved in group formation, such as rules
about family structure; those elements of culture most directly
concerned with interpersonal relations; the norms that people are
expected to observe
2. Material:
Artifacts – all the human-made physical objects and elements
related to people’s lives and livelihood, and thus includes the human
landscape; the physical objects created by a culture for pleasure (art,
toys), work (tools), living (vessels for cooking), or worship (crucifix)
oSociety – the interrelationships that connect individuals as members of a culture;
a cluster of institutionalized ways of doing things
Cultural Landscapes
oWe know:
Plurality of cultures
Built or human environments (land) & ways of seeing (scapes) are
cultural creations
Given those premises, we know:
Plurality of cultural landscapes
oPlurality of …..
Cultural groups
Sites, areas, places, regions
People and activities
Artifacts, mentifacts, and sociofacts
oPlurality of ‘ways of seeing’
Each cultural group has a landscape
Cultural landscapes may:
oBe separate in space
oOverlap in space
oConflict in space
“Environment sustains us as creatures, landscapes reveal us as cultures” -
(D. Meinig)
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Dominant Theme of ‘New’ Cultural Geography
oCultural Politics:
Which ‘identities’ of culture to study?
Primary identities of culture as expressed through, in, and over
oSpatial Element:
Space is a medium of cultural expression
Cultural Regions: areas in which there is a degree of homogeneity in cultural
characteristics; areas with similar landscapes
oDetermining the boundaries of formal cultural regions requires decisions on at
least four basic points:
1. Criteria for inclusion, that is, the defining characteristic(s)
2. Date or time period (since these regions change over time)
3. Spatial Scale
4. Boundary lines
oFirst effective statement: a concept based on the likely importance of the initial
occupancy of an area in determining later landscapes
The Making of Cultural Landscapes
oCultural Adaptation: changes in technology, organization, and ideology that
permit sound relationships to develop between humans and their environment
Three ideas to explain what cultural adaptations is and how it works:
1. Cultures are particular beliefs, psychological mindsets, that result
in a culturally habituated predisposition towards a specific activity
hence a specific cultural landscape
2. Cultural group moving into a new area may be pre-adapted for
that area: conditions in the source area are such that any necessary
adjustments have already been made prior to the move or are relatively
easy to make thereafter
3. A cultural region or landscape can be divided into three areas –
core (the hearth area of the culture), domain (the area where the culture
is dominant), and sphere (the outer fringe) – and cultural identity
decreases with increasing distance from the core
oCultural Diffusion: many landscapes changes are related to the diffusion of new
ideas and practices from elsewhere
Three approaches in particular for cultural diffusion:
1. Cultural Geography
2. Spatial Analysis
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