Geography 3411A/B Study Guide - Cultural Geography, Working Class Culture, Canadian Human Rights Act

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27 Dec 2013
Cultural Identities, Diversity & Multiculturalism9/9/2013 6:37:00 AM
The challenges of „cultural geography‟
Origin of Term
o 18th Century:
Tending of natural growth
Activity of learning
A process of human training
o Early 19th Century:
General state or habit of the mind
An ideal of human perfection
A condition, an entity in itself
o Mid 19th Century:
General state of intellectual development in society as a whole
o Early 20th Century
A whole way of life
Contemporary Definitions of ‘Culture’
Artistic & intellectual product of an elite
o E.g. Film, dance, theatre
A system of shared beliefs
o E.g. Religion, democracy, capitalism
Capabilities & habits acquired by members of society
o E.g. Knowledge, customs, morals, laws
The totality of shared, learned way of life
o E.g. Speech, spatial behaviour, livelihood, technology, government
“Those deep, common, unstated experiences which members of a given [group]
share, which they communicate without knowing, and which form the backdrop
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against which all other events [and people] are judged” – Edward T. Hall
(like a fish in water)
“The on-going outcome of organized activities, selected from the past, embedded in
the present, anticipating a future Dr. Elaine Bjorklund
Our ‘Course” Conception of Culture
The medium through which meanings & values are expressed and negotiated
(contested and/or sustained)
o Examples: language, art, clothing, food, body, architecture, music
Regularly repeated social practices that are
o Sanctioned & maintained by social norms
o And have a major significance in the social structure of society
‘Social Structures’
Any recurring pattern of social behaviour shared among people
Economic institution Bank
Social institution Marriage
Political institution Parliament
Institutionalized & Systemic Prejudice?
Homophobia in professional sports
Four Components of Culture
Material expressions of shared meanings & values
o E.g. Wedding ring, cars, golf course, bar, tattoo, fence
The production & reproduction of shared meanings & values through social practices
that transpire in specific historical & geographical contexts
o E.g. Weddings, New Year‟s Eve, Divisions of labour (women at home),
Degrees granted exclusively by universities
Characteristics of ‘Culture’
Human Creation:
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o Invented, practiced, changed, maintained by people
Culture if produced and reproduced by individuals and groups
We make our cultures…and our cultures make us
o „Structuration theory‟
Dynamic & Constant
o Change vs. tradition
Video Byte: Tradition & Culture
o Rick Mercer
Scale Varies: Global to local
Not a Vacuum
o Produced & practiced in a larger context of other places & times
Medium of Expression
o Everything humans know, use or invent material or immaterial expresses
or reveals something about humanity, about culture
Relative but Contestable
o Relativity fair interpretations
i.e. similar but different
o Contestable not every „way of doing or thinking‟ is acceptable
i.e. different & unacceptable
o On what grounds?
Need to build a sound argument: critical thought!
o How space is used, organized, arranged & ascribed meaning or identity by
people reveals culture
o Space is a medium or cultural expression
o Many cultures exist within a society
Working class culture
Elite class culture
o Cultures may overlap creating still other sub-cultures
o Cultural attributes may be expressions of differing economic and political
Working class culture semi-skilled jobs
Hip-hop music US „black‟ working class
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