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GEOG 100 Chapter Notes -Subsistence Agriculture, Trans-Cultural Diffusion, Taxonomic Rank

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GEOG 100
John Irwin

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GEOG 100
Lecture 3
Cultural Geogrpahy
Inportant terms:
Culture: can be thought of as a bundle of charactristics of shared behavior or belief. These may
include anything and everything about the way people live.
cultural landscape: a landscape that reveals and reflects the many ways people their local
Numan cultures are certainly never static or fixed in nature; they are constantly changing
The forces that cause these cultural chagne divided into 2 categories:
-evolutionism – the most inportant sources of cultural change are rooted in cultures and chang occurs
within a culture
-Diffusionism- empahsize how varioud aspects of cultures spread out from the places they orginate and
are therefore adopted by other people. The process is known as cultural diffusion and the process of
adopting some aspect of another culture i called acculturation – assiminlation to integrtion.
Cultural diffusion can be actively imposed, as when an outside power conquers a region and imopses
its way of life
Cultural diffusion can be freely chosen, as when one group discovers and adopts some aspect of a
different culture that it considers superior to its own
:Theories of Cultural Evolution
1. theory of human stages
-argues that all cultures evolve through certain stages of development, and it definesthese stages by the
ay in which the culture exploits the earth's environment
-humankind originally derived its food from things that pepople hunted, gathered, and harvested
naturally. Humans in this sstage of evolution are known as hunter gtherers
-humans then domesticated animals and moved into the evolutionary stage of pastoral nomadism – no
fixed residence
-settled agriculture. Agriculture was at first subsistence agriculture which means that people raised food
only for themselves. Subsistence agro evolved into commercial agro which is the raising of crops for
-urbanization and industrialization
-there are still human groups living in each of these categories of cultural evolution
2. Theory of historical materialsim
-cultural evolution is based in the idea that humas technology has increased our control over the
environment – founded by karl marx
-all social evolution is rooted in technological evolution or innovation. This is because technology is a
determinant of any society's economic system and the economic system in turen determines any
society's political and social life
-thus as technology advances, technological change triggers changes in all aspects of society
-Marx said that technology would eventually produce material abundance for all people. Goods would
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be created and distributed “from each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs”
- many scholars do not agree that all aspects of a society are rooted in its technology nd economic
system. Also can technology keep uo withthe pace of risig human populations
Societys values and beliefs
Society's political structure
Society's production (economics)
Society's means of production (technology)
Environment – where humankind extracts material welfare
Cultural Geography: Cultures and Environments
-somewhat simplistic belief that human events can be explaines entirely by the effects of the physical
environment is called environmental determinism
-the study of the ways societite adapt to environments is called cultural ecology
-it is important to note however that human affairs are not simple, and any gradn theory proves
insufficient in fully explaining relationships between humans and the environment
Cultural ecology
-”the study o fthe processes by which
-This method is based on the examination of the interaction of societies and social instituttions with
each other and with ecological systems within a geographically bounded area
-recognises both competition and
-genereal categories of data:
ecological data: resources, flora, fauna, climate, local diseases, and many other ecological
-cultural data:
`societies' exploitative and adaptive technologies
'the social arrangemtsns required in land emplotation
'poppulation density, distribution, and nucleation
'permanence and composition of population aggragates
'territoriality of societies
'intersocietal relationships
'cultural values
-an empirical analysis of each society
-the empirical problem is whether the adaptation or exploitation is so rogod as to allow only one pattern
or various patterns to be developed or borrowed
-conceptual distinctions about the nature of culture:
1. vaious components of a culture (technology, languge. Society, and stylistic features)
respond very differenty to adaptive processes
2. different levels of social and cultural integrtion profoundly affect the interaction of
ciological, cultural, and environmetal factors
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