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									Folk and Popular
The International Perspective
           What is Culture?
 Culture is that complex whole which
  includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals,
  law, custom, and any other capabilities and
  habits acquired by man as a member of
 Enculturation is the process by which a
  child learns his or her culture.
            Features of Culture
1. Styles of Dress               16. Concept of Fairness
2. Ways of Greeting People       17. Nature of Friendship
3. Beliefs about Hospitality     18. Ideas about Clothing
4. Importance of Time            19. Foods
5. Paintings                     20. Eating Habits
6. Values                        21. Facial Expressions and Hand
7. Literature                       Gestures
8. Beliefs about Child Raising   22. Concept of Self
    (Children & Teens)           23. Work Ethic
9. Attitudes about Personal      24. Religious Beliefs
    Space/Privacy                25. Religious Rituals
10. Beliefs about the            26. Concept of Beauty
    Responsibilities             27. Rules of Polite Behavior
11. Gestures                     28. Attitude Toward Age
12. Holiday Customs              29. Beliefs about the Importance
13. Music                           of Family
14. Dancing                      30. General World View
15. Celebrations
around the

    Source: Johns Hopkins
              Photo Share
            Culture Is Learned
 Cultural learning is unique to humans.
 Cultural learning is the accumulation of knowledge
  about experiences and information not perceived
  directly by the organism, but transmitted to it through
   – Symbols are signs that have no necessary or natural
     connection with the things they signify or for which they
   – Scholars often define culture as ideas based on cultural
     learning and symbols.
 Culture is learned through direct instruction and
  through observation, providing conscious and
  unconscious means for the acquisition of cultural
 Anthropologists accept a doctrine named in the 19th
  century as the ―psychic unity of man,‖ which asserted
  that all human populations share the same capacity
  for culture.
         Culture Is Shared

 Culture is an attribute not of individuals
  per se but of individuals as members of
 The social transmission of culture tends
  to unify people by providing them with
  common experiences.
 Such experiences in turn shape
  people’s values, memories, and
  The Fundamentals of Culture
 The fundamental ways cultures differ is in the way
  they view:
   – The concept of time (e.g., How important is punctuality? Are
     people’s lives driven by the clock, or do people have a more
     relaxed view of time?)
   – The concept of the self (e.g., Is the culture more individualist,
     or is it more collectivist? Is individual self-reliance and
     independence more important, or is ensuring the well-being
     of the group more important?)
   – The concept of locus of control (e.g., Do people believe they
     control their own lives and their own destinies, or do people
     believe things ―just happen‖ to them due to fate—or due to
     outside forces they cannot control?)
   – The concept of personal vs. societal obligations (e.g., Do the
     same rules apply to everyone, regardless of the situation, or
     are exceptions made for certain individuals depending on the
          Levels of Culture

 National culture refers to those experiences,
  beliefs, learned behavior patterns, values,
  and institutions that are shared by citizens of
  the same nation.
 International culture refers to cultural
  practices that extend beyond and across
  national boundaries.
 Cultural practices may be transmitted through
 Subcultures are identifiable cultural patterns
  and traditions associated with particular
  groups in the same complex society.
French Wine Regions
        Features of Culture

 Cultural universals are certain biological,
  psychological, social, and cultural features
  that are found in every culture.
 Cultural generalities include features that
  are common to several but not all human
 Cultural particularities are features that are
  unique to certain cultural traditions.
Mechanisms of Cultural Change -
 Diffusion, defined as the spread of cultural traits
  through borrowing between cultures, has been a
  source of culture change throughout human
 Diffusion can be direct when two cultures trade,
  intermarry, or wage war on one another or indirect
  when cultural practices or traits move from group A
  to group C via group B without any firsthand
  contact between groups A and C.
 Diffusion can be forced when one culture
  subjugates another and imposes its customs on the
  dominated group (e.g. through warfare,
Models of Diffusion
  Mechanisms of Cultural Change -
 Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features
  that results when groups come into continuous
  firsthand contact.
 Acculturation may occur in any or all groups
  engaged in such contact.
 A pidgin is an example of acculturation, because
  it is a language form that develops by blending
  language elements from different languages in
  order to facilitate communication between
  populations in contact (e.g. in trade relationships).
Mechanisms of Cultural Change -
    Independent Invention
 Independent invention is defined as the
  process by which humans innovate,
  creatively finding solutions to problems.
 Cultural generalities are partly explained by
  the independent invention of similar
  responses to comparable cultural and
  environmental circumstances.
 The independent invention of agriculture in
  the Middle East and Mexico is cited as an
  Folk vs. Popular Customs

 Folk customs have anonymous
  sources, are practiced by small
  homogeneous groups living in
  relative isolation.
 Popular customs are invented and
  associated with societies
  possessing modern
  communications systems.
      Types of Social Customs
 First type
  – Customs which are derived from basic human
    needs – especially food, clothing and clothing
  – The methods people choose to meet these
    needs result in varying landscapes around the
 Second type
  – Related to people’s choices in leisure activities
  – Leisure activities = arts & recreation
    Customs Defined by Arts

 Arts – literature, performing arts & visual arts
 These artistic efforts define what is
  meaningful for a particular society, what a
  society holds to be beautiful, ugly, tragic,
  comic, etc.
 Artistic efforts may vary in different places in
  part because of differences in the
  environment in which they are created.
 Different artistic efforts result in landscapes
  that appear different in different places.
   Customs Defined by Leisure
 Leisure activities involves recreation,
  both active, such as sports, and
  passive, such as television viewing or
  listening to music.
 These recreation activities are done to
  invigorate or to relax.
 People in different societies select
  different recreation activities in which to
       Cultural Landscapes

 In some societies, meaning derives primarily
  from substituting for work.
 In other societies, meaning can derive from
  other human emotions, such as the need to
  relax, be entertained, etc.
 As with artistic efforts, differences in
  recreation occur in part because of
  differences in the environment and
  conversely, different recreation activities
  create different cultural landscapes.
        Monochronic Cultures
 In monochronic cultures, the belief is that time is fixed
  and people need to regulate their lives by it.
 The needs of people are secondary to the demands
  of time—schedules, deadlines, etc.
 Schedules are sacred, to be late is rude, interruptions
  are considered ―bad,‖ and ―time is money.‖
 These cultures believe that time is quantifiable, and a
  limited amount of it is available.
 People do one thing at a time and finish it before
  starting something else, regardless of circumstances.
 In these cultures, the focus is:
   – on the task and getting the job done quickly, and
   – on establishing and maintaining relationships.
         Polychronic Cultures
 In polychronic cultures, the belief is that time is the
  servant and tool of people.
 Time is adjusted to suit the needs of people.
 Plans frequently change, and being made to wait is
 These cultures believe that more time is always
  available, and you are never too busy.
 People often have to do several things
  simultaneously, as required by circumstances.
 It’s not necessary to finish one thing before starting
  another, nor to finish your business with one person
  before starting in with another.
 In these cultures, the focus is:
   – on the person and establishing relationships, and
   – on the task and getting the job done quickly.
            Space Concepts
 The question of how we perceive space is equally
  depending of the culture.
 The western cultures focus their attention on objects,
  and neglect the space in between.
 The Japanese, on the other hand, honor the space in
  between as ma.
 In a different system, the Hopi Indians have in their
  language no words for a fixed room: all objects are
  described in their relation to each other, but no
  concept of a three dimensional space exists.
 Also the way we deal with space is different.
 The concepts of the private space, the space
  orientation, the interpersonal distance and the space
Wine Production per year

   The distribution of wine production shows the joint
   impact of the physical environment and social customs.
Hog Production & Food Cultures

  Annual hog production is influenced by religious taboos against pork
  consumption in Islam and other religions. The highest production is in
  China, which is largely Buddhist.
  Clustering of Folk Cultures
 Isolation promotes cultural diversity
  – Himalayan art

 Influence of the physical environment
  – Distinctive food preferences
  – Folk housing
  – U.S. folk house forms
Himalayan Folk Cultural

Cultural geographers have identified four distinct culture regions based
on predominant religions in the Himalaya Mountains.
House Types in Western China

 Four communities in western China all have distinctive house types.
Broadly Defined Cultural Areas
The 5,000 Worldwide Indigenous
    Globalization and Culture
 Globalization encompasses a series of
  processes that work to promote change in a
  world in which nations and people are
  increasingly interlinked and mutually dependent.
 Economic and political forces take advantage of
  modern systems of communication and
  transportation to promote globalization.
 People must increasingly cope with forces
  generated by progressively larger systems –
  region, nation, and world.
 New forms of political mobilization and cultural
  expression are emerging from the interplay of
  local, regional, national, and international cultural
Diffusion of
1954 - 2005

  Television has diffused
  widely since the 1950s,
  but some areas still have
  low numbers of TVs per
 Distribution of
Internet Users,
  1990 - 2005

   Internet users per 1000
   population. Diffusion of
   internet service is
   following the pattern of TV
   diffusion in the 20th
   century, but at a much
   faster rate.
   Why Does Globalization of Popular
      Culture Cause Problems?
 The basic problems related to social customs
  derive from
  – the increasing dominance of popular culture, originating
    in more developed countries, and
  – the diffusing more rapidly around the world than in the
    past due to modern communications.
 This increasing dominance of popular culture
  poses two problems:
  – the threat to survival of distinctive folk customs and
  – increasing pollution.
Impacts of the Globalization of
      Popular Culture
 Threats to folk culture
  – Loss of traditional values
  – Foreign media dominance

 Environmental impacts of popular
  – Modifying nature
  – Uniform landscapes
  – Negative environmental impact
The Generational and Cultural
                They’re well-off, well
                 educated, widely traveled,
                 fluent in several
                The elder woman, mother
                 of the younger, is a
                 biochemist, married to a
                 prosperous businessman
                 in Mumbai.
                Her daughter (in a PVC
                 catsuit of her own design)
                 is a model and former host
                 on the music video
                 channel VTV.
        Folk Culture
 Stable and close knit
 Usually a rural community
 Tradition controls
 Resistance to change
 Buildings erected without architect or
  blueprint using locally available building
 anonymous origins, diffuses slowly
  through migration. Develops over time.
 Clustered distributions: isolation/lack of
  interaction breed uniqueness and ties to
  physical environment.
                               FOLK ARCHITECTURE
Effects on
  Landscape: usually
  of limited scale and

   Agricultural: fields,
     terraces, grain
   Dwellings: historically
     created from local
     materials: wood,
     brick, stone, skins;
     often uniquely and
     traditionally arranged;
     always functionally
     tied to physical
               FOLK FOOD

How did such
Marboloro Man in Egypt
Problems with the Globalization of Culture

                                        Often Destroys
                                        Folk Culture – or
                                        preserves traditions as
                                        museum pieces or
                                        tourism gimmicks.
                                             Mexican Mariachis;
                                              Navigators; Cruise
                                              Line Simulations
                                             Change in
                                              Traditional Roles and
                                              Values; Polynesian
                                              weight problems

Satellite Television, Baja California
Problems with the Globalization of
        Popular Culture
 Western Media Imperialism?
    U.S., Britain, and Japan dominate
     worldwide media.
    Glorified consumerism, violence, sexuality,
     and militarism?
    U.S. (Networks and CNN) and British
     (BBC) news media provide/control the
     dissemination of information worldwide.
    These networks are unlikely to focus or
     provide third world perspective on issues
     important in the LDCs.
Environmental Problems with
   Cultural Globalization
Accelerated Resource Use through Accelerated
       Furs: minx, lynx, jaguar, kangaroo, whale, sea otters
        (18th Century Russians) fed early fashion trends
       Inefficient over-consumption of Meats (10:1), Poultry
        (3:1), even Fish (fed other fish and chicken) by meat-
        eating pop cultures
       Mineral Extraction for Machines, Plastics and Fuel
       New Housing and associated energy and water use.
       Golf courses use valuable water and destroy habitat
Pollution: waste from fuel generation and discarded
  products, plastics, marketing and packaging
Abu Dubai

            New York City


       Everyone Has a Culture –
         Everyone is Different
1.  What languages do you speak?
2.  What music do you listen to?
3.  What dances do you know?
4.  What food do you eat at home?
5.  In your family, what is considered polite and what is
    considered rude? (what manners have you been
6. What do you wear on special occasions?
7. How important is your extended family (e.g.
    grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins)?
8. What holidays and ceremonies are important to your
9. What things are most important to you?
10. Based on your answers, how would you describe the
    characteristics of the culture of which you are a part?

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