Culture - Davis School District

Looking at its patterns and processes
Agree with Karl Popper – “The more we learn about
the world, and the deeper our learning, the more
conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge
of what we do not know.”
Culture Introduction
Culture is everywhere!
Cultural Geography: study of people’s
lifestyles, their creations and their
relationships to the earth and the
Involves both tangible and non-tangible
areas of study
– Example: architecture and religion
Culture is gigantic and difficult to study!
Culture Basics
Culture defined: a people’s way of life, their
behaviors, and their shared understanding of life
Culture is a learned system of meaning
– Material components of culture: tangible artifacts that can
be physically left behind like clothing and architecture
– Nonmaterial components of culture: thoughts and ideas of
a people like religions or morals
Carl Sauer: developed idea of cultural landscape
(a.k.a. built environment)
– The cultural landscape comprises the physical implications
of human culture-where human culture exists, it leaves a
cultural landscape as their unique imprint on the earth
Cultural Basics, cont.
Culture changes all the time and leaves
historical remnants all over
Sequent occupance defined: the succession
of different cultures
– Example: La Plaza de las Tres Culturas
Cultural ecology defined: the systematic
study of human-environment interaction
The Layers of Culture
Culture trait: simplest component, a single attribute
of a culture
– Example: food, clothing, shaking of hands
Culture complex: combination of all cultural traits to
create a unique set of traits
– Example: American culture or Japanese culture
Culture systems: when culture complexes share
particular traits and they merge together
– Example: people in the South speak with different accent
that people in the North but still share a the larger
American culture
Nature of Culture
Conclusions Anthropologists and Historians
have come to about the nature of culture:
Learned, shared behavior
Necessary for cooperation – establishes
predictability and trust
Culture is irrational – not internally consistent, nor
does it consistently recommend the “right”
Defines what is “real” – the nature of reality
Every society, and therefore individual, is
influenced by multiple layers of culture.
One thought that answers question “Does the earth
make humans take the actions they do.”
Developed by Greeks and says human behavior is
controlled by physical environment
“Ideal” climates lead to productive civilizations
– Example: ancient Egypt along the Nile or Florida
Harsher climates do not create productive cultural
– Example: Siberia or countries in the Sahara desert
Provides a counterargument to environmental
Argues that natural environment places no
restrictions on humans whatsoever!
Believes that restrictions humans face are placed on
– Example: Phoenix, Arizona
Political ecology takes it one step further and
argues the government of a region affects the
environment which in turns affects choices available
to people in the region
Folk and Popular Culture
Folk culture: limited to smaller region and
smaller number of people than pop culture
– Usually isolated groups that have long-lasting
culture traits that haven’t substantially changed
over time
Example: Amish
Popular culture: mass culture that diffuses
– Example: 1960’s or Rock and Roll
Gender Issues in Culture
Defined: category of classifying humans reflecting
not just biological but also social differences
between men and women
Throughout history, there has been a gender gap.
Current issues include
– High maternal mortality rates-women in less developed
countries are 100-600 times more likely to die in childbirth
– Female infanticide: seen in countries where men are more
desired like China or India where parents can’t pay the
– Dowry Death: a bride is killed by her husbands family
because her father didn’t/couldn’t pay the dowry
– Enfranchisement: most women can’t vote today
– Gender imbalance: places like China and India where men
outnumber women creating huge social problems
– Longevity gap: despite issues, women typically live longer
than men
Ethnic Issues in Culture
Defined: sets of rules that people create to define
their group through actual or perceived shared
culture traits, such as language, religion and
Very debated term because no one really knows
how to define global ethnicities
Ghetto: region in which an ethnic minority is forced
to live by economic, legal or governmental
Ethnic Enclave: place in which an ethnic minority is
concentrated, sometimes in the form of a ghetto
Enclave: a place in which a minority group is
concentrated and surrounded by a hostile or
unwelcoming majority
Barrio: Spanish-speaking enclave in a city
Race issues in Culture
Defined: classification system of humans
based on skin color and other physical
Throughout history, race has been used to
separate groups of people
– Example: Apartheid, South Africa
It is not always a clear distinction between
race and ethnicity but ethnicity is usually
seen to incorporate more than just race
– Example: Turks in Germany
Culture Regions and
We already learned formal, functional and
perceptual regions-there is another type, cultural
Culture region defined: drawn around places and
peoples with similarities in their culture systems
– Becomes more a question of perspective than anything
Culture realm defined: merging together of culture
People typically feel a sense of emotional
attachment to particular regions leading to regional
Regional identities often lead to perceptual regions
– Example: People from Texas consider themselves from the
Southwest but people from California consider Texans to
be southern
Cultural Diffusion
Cultural diffusion defined: spread of
people’s culture across space
– Two categories of diffusion exist
Expansion diffusion: cultural component spreads
outward to new places while remaining strong in its
original hearth
Relocation diffusion: actual movement of original
adopters from their point of origin (hearth) to a new
Spatial diffusion: spread of any
phenomenon across space (like a disease)
Expansion Diffusion
Several forms exists
Stimulus expansion diffusion: happens when an
innovative idea diffuses from its hearth outward but
original idea is changed by new adopters
– Example: Microsoft
Contagious expansion diffusion: when numerous
places or people near the point of origin become
adopters (or infected in the case of disease)
– Example: spread of diseases or KFC restaurants
Hierarchical expansion diffusion: occurs when
diffusion innovation or concept spreads from a
place or person of power or high susceptibility to
another in a leveled pattern
– Example: rap music moved from large to small cities
Relocation Diffusion
Different from expansion diffusion where innovation
or disease does the moving, here the people do the
– Examples: HIV/AIDS, Chinese food in America
Migrant diffusion: where innovation spreads and
lasts only a brief time in the newly adopted placemakes finding the place of origin difficult
– Example: the flu, native languages
Most diffusion is mixed and doesn’t fit into one
– Example: HIV/AIDS
Maladaptive Diffusion
Defined: adoption of a diffusing trait that is
impractical for a region or culture
Occurs because popular culture doesn’t always
reflect its original environment
Many see this as a negative because pop culture
has lead to an increase in consumption
– Created overfilled landfills with water bottles or people
driving by themselves instead of in carpools
– Blue jeans in warm climates
– What examples can you think of?
Cultural Convergence
Defined: process of two cultures adopting each
other’s traits and becoming more alike
Typically, when two cultures come into contact, one
will be more powerful than the other
Acculturation: when “weaker” of two cultures
adopts traits from more dominant culture
– Example: foreign foods in U.S. or immigrants being
Assimilation: when original traits of weaker culture
are completely erased and replaced by traits of
more dominant culture
– Example: war, immigrants no longer speaking native
Transculturation and the
Transculturation defined: occurs when two
cultures of just about equal power or
influence meet and exchange ideas or traits
without the domination seen in acculturation
and assimilation
– Example: idea of “melting pot” in U.S.
S-curve: path diffusion often follows
Early adopters: innovators
Majority adopters: more people adopt innovation
Late adopters: stragglers to innovation
Example: computers or cell phones
Sample S-Curve
Technology S-Curves
Cultural Imperialism
Defined: the invasion of a culture into another with
the intent of dominating the invaded culture
politically, economically and/or socially
Many people in the world feel that globalization is
really cultural imperialism
Cultural nationalism has risen in response to
cultural imperialism-it is the rise of anticultural
imperial forces, the fight by regions and cultures to
resist cultural convergence and imperialism and
remain distinct
Cultural homogeneity: cultural sameness
– This is being seen across the globe because of
globalization and the internet
Ethnic Cleansing
Used throughout history to justify the systematic destruction
of one particular ethnic group
Usually happens in area where cultural imperialism is occuring
or has historically occurred!
Defined: process in which a racial or ethnic group attempts to
expel from a territory another racial or ethnic group
When ethnic cleansing is taken one step further it becomes
genocide (when a racial or ethnic group tries to kill another
racial or ethnic group)
– Slobodan Milosevic in the former Yugoslavia
– Hitler and the Jews
– Darfur region of Sudan
Cultural Hearths
Defined: areas where innovations in culture
began, such as where agriculture,
government and urbanization originated
Considered the sources of human civilization
Independent innovation: where hearths
invent innovations without knowing about
each other
– Example: agriculture developing in Mesopotamia
and East Asia at same time
Locations of cultural hearths
List of accepted cultural hearths
Andean American: eastward direction through
South America
Mesoamerica: eastern and western North America
West Africa: throughout Africa
Nile River Valley: throughout Africa and SW Asia
Mesopotamia: throughout SW Asia, Europe, Central
and East Asia, West Africa
Indus River Valley: SW, Central and East Asia
Ganges River delta: South, SE and SW Asia
Wei and Huang rivers (China): East and SE Asia
Combined with religion, language creates the
fundamental components in cultural identity
Language is culture trait that is learned and passed
on from one generation to another
Estimates are language emerged nearly 2.5 million
years ago
Language divergence: when speakers of the same
language scatter and develop variations of that
original form of the language to meet needs for
new surroundings
– Example: original language may not have had word for
iceberg because they never saw one
Language, cont.
Language replacement: when invaders replace the
language of those they conquer
Replacement can lead to language extinction (when
a language is no longer used by people in the
Geographers trace language diffusion paths
through reverse reconstruction
– If two languages share a common word for an extinct
animal that no longer exists
– That animal only existed in one of the many places where
the two languages are now spoken
– Then one possible conclusion is that the language diffused
from the place where the extinct animal once existed and
speakers carried the word for that animal with them
Language Tree
Developed by Geographers to organize
languages and is divided into the
following hierarchy
– 19 language families
Each family has its own branches
– Each branch has its own groups
 Each group has its own language
 each language has its own dialects
Major Language Families
Indo-European: 430 languages spoken by 44.78%
of the world
Sino-Tibetan: 399 languages spoken by 22.28% of
Niger-Congo: 1,495 languages spoken by 6.26% of
Afro-Asiatic: 353 languages spoken by 5.93% of
Austronesian: 1,246 languages spoken by 5.45% of
Dravidian: 73 languages spoken by 3.87% of
Confusion Alert!
There is no clear consensus on what exactly is and
is not a family.
– Some people want to put it as the highest level (the 19
language families)
– Others use it to mean smaller groups (Germanic Family)
Indo-European Hearth
About 50% of all people speak an Indo-European
language, most prominent is English
Location of this hearth is speculative
Conquest theory says it began in empire-building
Kurgan culture located in steppe region of Russia,
north of the Caspian Sea
Agricultural theory says it started in farming
community in Danube River region
Either way, it is believed to have settled between
6000 and 4500 BCE
Monolingual and
Multilingual States
Language can tie a state together or create
Multilingual states: countries where more
than one language is spoken
– Can cause conflict over language and ties to
national identity and power
Monolingual states: contain speakers of only
one language
– Very difficult to find in world of globalization but
some countries fighting to keep monolingual
status like France
Multilingual Conflict
Canada: English vs. French
– Quebec (French speaking) want recognition and power against
English majority
– Some have called for secession from Canada
Belgium: Dutch vs. French
– Dutch speaking North, French speaking south competing for
control over government
Cyprus: Greek vs. Turkish
– Greek majority and Turkish minority compete for control of island
– Currently divided by “green-line” partition separating the two
Nigeria: Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo and 230 other languages
– Hausa in north, Yoruba in SW and Ibo in SE divide Nigeria with
230 other languages adding complications for unity
– English is official language in attempt to create common
Multilingual State:
Official and Standard
Official language: declared by leaders of country to
be the language used in legal and governmental
– Usually it is language of majority
– Can have more than one official language
– Examples: Nigeria and English, Canada and French and
Standard language: acceptable form of a given
language as declared by political or societal leaders
– Example: Britain teaches British Received Pronunciation
English in schools instead of American English
Last of Language Stuff
Lingua Franca: language used to facilitate
– Example: In Africa where many native languages
are spoken, business uses English or French
Pidgin: a simplified version of a language
Creole: a language that is mixed from a
group of colonizers and the people they
Defined: place names that reflect cultural
identity and impact the cultural landscape
These can tell us what cultures value
– Controversy in India over renaming the city of
Bombay to Mumbai-English had named it
Bombay but Mumbai relates to an Hindu God
– St. Petersburg in Russia named by Peter the
– Paradise, California
– Hell, Michigan
Cultural Identities and
Looking closely at what defines
Religion defined: a set of beliefs and
activities that are created to help humans
celebrate and understand their place in the
Religions help define right and wrong within
a culture
Can have profound impact on human
interaction with the environment through
architecture, ideas about land, etc
Religion is the single largest determiner of
2 religious classifications
Universalizing vs. Ethnic
– Universalizing: try to have universal appeal and attract all
people to their beliefs
Example: Christianity, Islam
– Ethnic: attempt to appeal not to all people but to one
group, usually in one place or of one ethnicity
Example: Hinduism, Judaism
Polytheistic vs. Monotheistic
– Polytheistic: belief in many supreme beings
Example: Hinduism, maybe Buddhism
– Monotheistic: belief in one supreme being
Example: Christianity, Islam, Judaism
World Religious Regions
Ethnic Religions
Developed before the major
universalizing religions
Largest are Hinduism and Judaism
East Asian ethnic religions have many
Origins: has more than 900 million adherents,
mostly living in India
– Evolved in Indo-Gangetic Heart in about 2000 BCE
– Oldest religion on earth
– Has many sacred texts including the Vedas and the
Baghavad Gita
Diffusion Route: spread from Indo-Gangetic Hearth
eastward via the Ganges and south through India
– Blended with other faiths
– Never really left India and is closely tied to Indian culture
Primary Branches: no real formal branches exist
– Can be considered both monotheistic and polytheistic
Basic Beliefs
Reincarnation: continue through cycle until reaching
Karma: universal law of justice
Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Brahma: creator of the world
Vishnu: he loves you
Shiva: god of duality, both destroyer and fertility
Ganesh(a): remover of obstacles-NOT part of the Trinity
Brahmans: educated elite, priests
Kshatryas: military class
Vaisyas: merchants and farmers
Sudras: peasants
Untouchables: truly “untouchable”
Caste system: social hierarchy based on Karma
Cultural Landscape Features
Ganges river holy to bathe in
Temples frequently have food as offerings to Gods
Cremation of dead most common
Hindu Gods
Origins: oldest monotheistic religion on earth
created 2000 BCE in Semitic Hearth
– Grew out of tribal belief of Jews whose headquarters
became Jerusalem
– Abraham is considered founder and root of religions
– Sacred text is Torah (Biblical Stories) and Talmud
(rabbinical and historical teachings)
Diffusion route: After Rome destroyed Jerusalem,
Jews were scatter throughout world in Diaspora (a
scattering of any ethnic group)
– Jews scattered into central Europe and toward Iberian
– Currently about 18 million Jews world wide with many
living in Israel
– 66% of Jews live in the U.S. and Israel (created in 1948 as
homeland for Jews)
Basic Beliefs
There is one God, Jehovah
There will be a Messiah or Savior
10 commandments
Kosher: dietary law based in Old Testament
Primary Branches
– Orthodox: seeks to retain the original traditions of the
– Reform: developed in 1800s attempting to adjust the
religion to fit more modern times
– Conservative: most recent branch, more moderate
approach to the religion than either Reform or Orthodox
Cultural Landscape
Synagogue: house of worship and community gathering
– All have an ark housing the Torah
Western Wall in Jerusalem, believed to be western side of
Temple Mount complex that was destroyed
Six-pointed star
East Asia Religions
Shintoism: syncretic, ethnic religion blending Buddhism with
Japanese local religions
– About 118 million adherents
– Ancestor worship and Buddhism
Taoism (Daoism): Chinese idea based on philosopher Lao Tzu
who lived about 6th century BCE
– Teaches people should live in harmony with nature in all aspects of
their lives
– Created feng shui the practice of organizing living spaces in
harmonious ways
Confucianism: Chinese philosopher who lived around the same
time as Laozi
– Teachers a system of morals and way of life for Chinese in areas like
government, education, religion and philosphy
– Focuses more on worldly life rather than idea of heaven and hell
– Both spread to Korean Peninsula, Japan, SE Asia, North American
and Europe
– Together estimated 263 million followers
Shamanism and Animism
Shamanism: term given to any ethnic religion
in which community follows its Shaman, or
religious leader, healer and truth knower
Historically found in North America, SE
Asia and East Asia
Animism: belief that objects such as trees,
mountains and rivers have spirits in them
Taught by some Shamans
Universalizing Religions
Followed by about 60% of worlds population
Can be broken down into branches, denominations
and sects
– Branches: large fundamental divisions with in a religion
Example: Catholicism and Protestantism
– Denominations: groups of common congregations within a
Example: Anglicans and Episcopalians
– Sects: smaller groups that have broken away from
recognized denomination within a branch
Example: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints
Examples include: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam
and Sikhism
Origins: worlds first universalizing religion
– Developed out of Hinduism and caste system
– Founded in India near Indo-Gangetic Hearth
between Indus and Ganges rivers by Prince
Siddhartha Gautama born in 644 BCE
Diffusion Routes: started in India, spread to
China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia and
Southeast Asia along Silk Road
– Now nearly extinct in India
– Nearly 350 million followers world wide
Basic Beliefs of Buddhism
4 noble truths
– Life is suffering and inherently painful
– Suffering has a cause: craving and attachment
– Craving and attachment can be overcome
– By following the eightfold path
Eightfold path
– Right Concentration, Right Purpose, Right Speech, Right
Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Alertness,
Right Understanding
Reincarnation: humans cycle through until reaching
Karma: Universal law of justice
Branches of Buddhism
Theravada: monastic, practiced by nearly 55% of all
– Found mainly in SE Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar,
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
Mahayana: do not spend time as monks but find salvation
(enlightenment) through meditation and prayer
– Practiced by 40% of Buddhists and found primarily in Korea,
Vietnam, Japan and China
Lamaism in Tibet: combines monasticism of Theravada with
local images of deities and demons-practiced only by about
5% of Buddhists
– Leader is Dalai Lama who has been exiled from Tibet by Chinese
Zen: exists primarily in Japan but growing in popularity in U.S.
– Believes in original mind
Cultural Landscape
Most famous structure is pagoda which is made to
look like ancient burial mound shapes
Bodhi tree in India where Buddha reached
enlightenment while meditating under it
Origins: second universalizing religion to develop as
offshoot of Judaism when Jesus Christ was seen as
expected Messiah by disciples
Hearth: near modern day Israel
Diffusion Route: used both expansion and
relocation diffusion from Palestine, has nearly 2
billion adherents
– 312 CE Roman Empire adopted Christianity as official
– 15th Century colonization efforts of Europeans spread it as
– Today nearly 90% of Western Hemisphere is Christian
Basic Beliefs
Jesus Christ is the Son of God
Bible is sacred text
Belief of love, forgiveness and
Some branches/sects accept prophets,
some do not
All believe in personal God who is
Branches of Christianity
Roman Catholics: largest and original piece of Christianity
with nearly 830 million adherents
– Hierarchical religion because of well defined organization with
Pope at top
– No real divisions
– Headquartered in Vatican City in Rome, Italy
Protestant Christians: nearly 503 million adherents, broken
into denominations
– Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal and Lutheran are largest
– Began in 15th Century with Protestant Reformation
Eastern Orthodoxy: developed in 1054 when Roman Catholic
Church split
– Collection of 14 self-governing churches, largest being Russian
– Has nearly 192 million adherents and is rooted in Constantinople
Cultural Landscape
Varied landscape
reflects varied
Catholicism has
Cathedrals in
almost every city
Protestantism is
usually simple,
wood, plain
Origins: was 3rd Universalizing religion to develop,
originated in Mecca, Saudi Arabia around 600 CE
– Last prophet was Muhammad, has nearly 1.2 billion
– Is 2nd largest but fastest growing religion on earth
– It is monotheistic and sacred text is the Koran
Diffusion Route: diffused through Mohammed’s
followers who organized armies through Africa,
Europe and Asia
– Successful diffusion led to Crusades by Europeans to “take
back” and “save” lands that had been conquered by
Basic Beliefs
5 pillars of Islam
Faith: accepting Allah as the only God, Mohammad
as his final prophet and the Qur'an as Allah’s words
Prayer: pray 5 times a day, facing Mecca
Fasting: during month of Ramadan in memory of
Mohammad’s first vision
Almsgiving: a.k.a. Zukat, giving of money to care
for the less fortunate; about 2 ½% of one’s income
and can be public or private
Hajj: a.k.a. pilgrimage-once in a lifetime trip to
Primary Branches
Sunni: means orthodox
– About 85% of Muslims practice this
– Dominate in Arab-speaking areas of Bangladesh and
– Believe Sunni Caliphs (religious emperors) in the Umayyad
Dynasty were not descendants of Muhammad, nor were
Ottoman emperors
Shi’ite: majority in Iran and Iraq
– Account for nearly 15% of adherents
– Shia believe descendants of Ali were acceptable authorities
in Islam
Sufi: less than 3% of Muslims
– Mystical sect
– Example: Twirling Durbishes
Cultural Landscape
Mosque: center of Muslim worship, typically has
four minarets or towers used to called worshippers
No depiction of human or animal form
Largest World Religious
Catholic Church
Sunni Islam
Eastern Orthodox
Assemblies of God
Seventh-day Adventists
Jehovah’s Witnesses
LDS Church
New Apostolic Church
Secularism and Theocracy
4 billion people world wide believe in some
religion or faith
Millions of people have accepted secularism
instead of religion
Secularism: movement away from control of
life by religion
Other countries have accepted a theocracy
Theocracy: government run by religion
Religion and Conflict
Throughout history, humans have fought
over territory thought to be sacred
Interfaith boundaries: divide space between
two or more religions
Intrafaith boundaries: divide space within
one religion, often among denominations
Boundaries can lead to conflict that is often
very passionate and violent
Examples of Interfaith
China and Tibet: between Tibetan Buddhism and
Nigeria: between Islam and Christianity
India: between Hinduism and Sikhism in NW state
of Punjab, Sikhist government wants autonomy
from Hindu Indian government
India and Pakistan: between Islam and Hinduism
Former Yugoslavia: between Christianity and Islam
Israel: between Judaism and Islam
Examples of Intrafaith
Iraq: Sunni and Shia Islam
United States: Christian
fundamentalism and moderate, liberal
Northern Ireland: Protestant Christians
and Roman Catholics