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Describe how human culture impacts local landmarks.

Describe how human culture impacts local landmarks.

Describe how human culture impacts local landmarks.

SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

5. Describe the relationship between landscape and culture. 5.1 Discuss how landmarks impact local culture. 5.2 Describe how human culture impacts local landmarks.

Course/Unit Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity


Unit Lesson Videos in Unit Lesson Chapter 2, pp. 33-54 Unit II Essay


Unit Lesson Videos in Unit Lesson Chapter 2, pp. 33-54 Chapter 6 Unit II Essay

Required Unit Resources Chapter 2: Globalization and Cultural Geography, pp. 33–54

Chapter 6: Geographies of Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Gender

Unit Lesson In this unit, you will read about many different culture-related topics. They include cultural impacts of globalization, commodification of culture, culture and local knowledge, and identity and culture. This lesson will focus on defining culture, the globalization of culture, and touch on the impact of important cultural elements like race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender in shaping culture. What is Culture? You were first introduced to the definition of culture and the relationship between geography and culture in Unit I. In Chapter 1 of the course textbook, there was a discussion about the relationships between culture and nature and culture and landscapes. What is culture? There are many different definitions for culture, but it is sometimes easiest to understand with a simplified definition. Culture is the shared beliefs, values, norms, symbols, and material objects found in a particular society or group. Culture shapes the individual and group, and, in turn, humans impact culture. Culture is complex, dynamic, and a social creation (Greiner, 2018). There are two types of culture: material culture consists of concrete goods created by people, and nonmaterial culture, which includes non-tangible items associated with oral tradition like recipes, songs, and philosophies (Greiner, 2018). Watch this short video defining and explaining culture. The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database. Promedion Productions (Producer). (2004). What is culture? (Segment 1 of 14) [Video]. In Culture, identity,

and behavior. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=115831&loid=424530


Culture and Identity
SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 2



Globalization of Culture: Popular Culture The concept of globalization was explained in the Unit I reading and lesson. This unit connects globalization to culture. Cultural geographers study how globalization of culture is impacting different areas of the world. They focus on how culture is utilizing and shaping the environment in our highly globalized world. Most of you might be familiar with the term pop culture. This is short for popular culture. Greiner (2018) defines popular culture as “The practices, attitudes, and preferences held in common by large numbers of people and considered to be mainstream” (p. 366). Reality TV shows, wearing jeans, vacationing at Disney World, and watching college football on Saturdays are just a few examples of American popular culture. Many of America’s popular cultural habits and goods have been diffused around the globe thanks to mass media like TV, Internet, and radio. Why is pop culture important? It connects us to our generation, our nation, and our past. It shapes our group and individual identity.

Globalization of Culture: Commodification of Culture Greiner (2018) lists three main cultural geographic concepts when discussing how the globalization of a commodified culture is shaping places. These include homogenization, polarization, and glocalization. Homogenization is when the same music, stores, etc. can be found in very different areas. The example in the textbook was an image of fast food chain billboards that were in Australia, but if you had not known it was Australia you would have assumed it was a street in the United States. When discussing homogenization and globalization of culture, you often hear the term Americanization. Americanization is the spread of American brands and ideas around the globe. Polarization is the push-back against homogenization by groups within a culture that want to retain their own traditional identity. Glocalization is when a company or institution alters their goods or message to fit a certain culture’s values to gain more customers or support. An example would be Starbucks serving more varieties of tea and rice wraps in China to better fit their cultural tastes. The Impact Globalization of Commodification Has On Cultures The spread of American brands and ideas can be viewed as a positive for sharing ideas and goods. It can also be seen as a negative. There is the concern that places will lose their unique cultural identity. There are concerns that the spread of some brands can cause physical harm. For example, the spread of McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants around the world is increasing the consumption of high-fat, processed foods and reducing healthier eating. Another big concern surrounding the globalization of culture and homogenization of culture is the rising power of the multinational companies like Coke, Starbucks, and McDonald’s. These wealthy global companies use their influence to gain support for policies that favor their production and distribution of goods. These activities geared toward the wellbeing of the multinational company may not be what is best for the local people. Watch these two brief videos on the commodification of culture. The transcript for each video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database. The first video segment below talks about how many people in the United Kingdom focus too heavily on consuming and not enough on what truly matters. Journeyman Pictures (Producer). (2011). Consumerism—“Chasing status” (Segment 2 of 20) [Video]. In

Consumed: Identity and anxiety in an age of plenty. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=52598&loid=190203

Did you know the CSU Online Library has a database called “Pop Culture Collection?” It offers pop culture magazines and journals and magazines that analyze pop culture. Visit the database at HTTP://GO.GALEGROUP.COM.LIBRARYRESOURCES.COLUMBIASOUTHERN.EDU/PS/START.DO ?P=PPOP&U=ORAN95108
SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 3



The second video below discusses how intensive product marketing pushes consumerism in society and has a negative impact on people. Journeyman Pictures (Producer). (2011). Looking for meaning through material consumption (Segment 12 of

20) [Video]. In Consumed: Identity and anxiety in an age of plenty. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=52598&loid=190213

Have you witnessed homogenization of culture while traveling in the United States or around the globe? Can you think of some examples of how commodification of culture has positively or negatively impacted you, your community, or your nation? Geographies of Identity The Chapter 6 reading in the course textbook highlights that certain groups we belong to can have a big impact on our identity, which in turn will have a big impact on how we perceive and interact in society. These group identities also impact social, political, and economic policy in society. The major groups discussed were race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Race Greiner (2018) discusses how race is socially constructed and how racism developed, stating “Scholars agree that events associated with the European colonization and settlement of the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries contributed significantly to the development of racism” (p.145). Another key driver in the development of racism was the great chain of being. This European philosophy created during the late 1700s and 1800s focused on God-determined ranking in the world. This ranking included nonliving things, plants, animals, humans, angels, and God. With this chain, ethnic groups and other races were placed on a lower rung than white Europeans. This belief in being a superior race fueled the rise of slavery and discrimination between races. Racism has had a lasting impact here and abroad. One of the things cultural geographers study is how institutional discrimination impacts spatial organization, such as Chinatown in Vancouver and apartheid in South Africa. Ethnicity In Chapter 6 of the course textbook, Greiner (2018) discusses how ethnicity is the identification with a group rooted in common ancestry, history, language, or religion. It highlights the different ethnic groups in the United States and discusses how human geographers study ethnicity. Greiner (2018) states, “Ethnic geography is a subfield of human geography that studies the migration and spatial distribution of ethnic groups, ethnic interaction and networks, and the various expressions or imprints of ethnicity on the landscape” (p. 158). Watch this short video on the interaction and separation of the different ethnic groups in New York City. The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database. Ruiz, W. R. (Producer). (2004). Cultural middle ground in New York City (Segment 2 of 6) [Video]. In

America’s immigration debate. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=34175&loid=24953

Sexuality and Gender Sexual orientation and gender can have a big impact on how one interacts in society and how one is impacted by society. Greiner (2018) provides examples of the relationship between sexuality and space. Don’t ask/don’t tell policy, the gay rights movement, and policies regarding public bathrooms matching gender identity are discussed. Watch this video titled Sexual Orientation. The video discusses the theories and societal beliefs on different sexual orientations. The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database.
SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 4



Intelecom (Producer). (2008). Sexual orientation (Segment 3 of 4) [Video]. In Our families, ourselves-sex and sexuality. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=71302&loid=317030

Differing gender role norms across cultures impact social, cultural, political, and economic activities. Unfortunately, some gender role norms have created a gender gap. Greiner (2018) defines this as “a disparity between men and women in their opportunities, rights, benefits, behavior, or attitudes” (p.166). Watch this gender gap video. The video provides a description of the gender gap in societies and what has created the gap. The video also discusses the economic benefits of having more gender equality. The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database. Bloomberg (Producer). (2016). The gender gap (Segment 1 of 4) [Video]. In Smashing the glass ceiling: The

gender gap. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=145032&loid=477112

What is Your Family Culture? So far in this lesson, we have investigated the relationship between culture and space at the group or society level. Now, let’s look at the relationship between culture and space at the individual level. We all have a variety of different cultural influences that impact our own personal or family culture. Investigate your own personal or family culture. Look around your house. Look at your décor items, your furniture, your clothes, the food you eat, your music collection, and the activities you spend most of your time doing. Think about how things like globalization, commodification, popular culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality have impacted your own cultural views and experiences. What are values and beliefs that are central to you or your family? How do you spend your leisure time? How big of a role does your faith, race, ethnicity, or gender play in your family culture? What cultural elements most influenced your identity? What are some similarities and differences between your cultural identity and your friends or co-workers? What are some benefits of examining your own cultural identity? It helps you better understand and evaluate what activities and beliefs are important to you. You can better understand if your activities are consistent with your values. Understanding your own culture better also helps you become more aware of the different elements impacting other people’s culture, which can help create a deeper understanding, curiosity, and respect for different cultures. Conclusion and This Unit’s Assignment After completing the readings for this unit and reading this lesson, you should have a greater idea about the relationship between culture and place. You learned that geography (place and environment) has played a role in diffusion of culture, globalization of culture, and molding the identity, material, and non-material culture of a place. You also were introduced to how different elements like race, gender, and ethnicity shape a culture. In this unit, your assignment is to write a travel essay on important cultural landmarks in a place and their impact on the local people and the visitors. There is a strong connection between man-made or natural landmarks and the people who inhabit the area where the landmarks are located. The local people shape the landmarks by supporting legislation or paying taxes that help preserve landmarks. The people shape the landmarks by visiting them or working at them. In turn, the landmarks shape the people by offering economic benefits, meaningful cultural experiences, and can even become a strong part of the local cultural identity. Besides benefiting the local people, landmarks benefit visitors by increasing their cultural awareness and giving them meaningful cultural experiences. Things like economic downturns, globalization, and natural disasters can all have a big impact on a landmark, which, in turn, has an impact on the local community. This assignment combines concepts you learned in Unit I about cultural landscapes and sense of place and what you learned in Unit II about culture. For more illustrations, watch one or more of the short videos in the Suggested Reading providing examples of the relationship between landmarks and people.
SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 5



Reference Greiner, A. L. (2018). Visualizing human geography: At home in a diverse world (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Suggested Unit Resources In order to access the following resources, click the links below. The transcript for each video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database. This segment discusses the booming tourist industry in the Dominican Republic. BBC (Producer). (2015). Dominican Republic: Tourist destination (Segment 3 of 19) [Video]. In Caribbean

with Simon Reeve: Part 1. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=95056&loid=397811

This segment discusses tourist landmarks in Zhouzhuang, China, and the impact on the local community. German United Distributors (Producer). (2007). Zhouzhuang: Tourism (Segment 2 of 16) [Video]. In Jiangsu:

Between the Emperor Canal and modern skyscrapers. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=42265&loid=93242

This segment discusses examples of activities and beliefs that make up culture. Promedion Productions (Producer). (2004). Roots of culture (Segment 3 of 14) [Video]. In Culture, identity,

and behavior. Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=115831&loid=424532

This segment talks about how the Blue Lagoon natural landscape impacts tourists and locals in Iceland. Pumpkin TV (Producer). (2013). Tourist industry (Segment 4 of 17) [Video]. In Iceland: Living with volcanoes.

Films on Demand. ylists.aspx?wID=273866&xtid=58567&loid=278755

Learning Activities (Nongraded) Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.

1. Answer the Concept Check questions for Chapter 2 on pages 33, 37, 43, and 49. Answer the Concept Check Questions for Chapter 6 on pages 147, 151,157, 163, and 167.

2. Complete the Chapter 2 Self-Test on pages 53 and 54 of the textbook. Complete the Chapter 6 Self- Test on pages 171 and 172. (Answers to the Self-Test for Chapter 2 and 6 are on page 359).

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