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Popular culture. Popular Culture Regions Diffusion in Popular Culture The Ecology of Popular Culture Cultural Integration in Popular Culture Landscapes of Popular Culture. Ecology of popular culture. Popular culture may seem less directly tied to the physical environment than folk culture

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Popular culture


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  1. Popular culture • Popular Culture Regions • Diffusion in Popular Culture • The Ecology of Popular Culture • Cultural Integration in Popular Culture • Landscapes of Popular Culture

  2. Ecology of popular culture • Popular culture may seem less directly tied to the physical environment than folk culture • Cyberplace, Virtual ecology • Adaptive strategies have enormous potential for producing ecological disasters

  3. Environmental influence • The physical environment still can exert an influence on members of popular cul­ture even with their loss of close ties to nature • Some natural hazards are actually intensified • Millions of city dwellers live astride the major earthquake zone in California • Popularity of seaside residences greatly increases dwelling susceptible to hur­ricane destruction along the Gulf Coast • Epidemic diseases can spread more rapidly along modern transportation networks

  4. Environmental influence • How weather may affect a sport’s popularity • Is greater popularity of basketball in the North partly because of cold winters? • Does cold weather favor bowling and ice hockey, explaining their popularity in northern states and Canada? • Is it mere chance that major college football bowl games are all played in Sunbelt States? • Over 80 percent of the College Baseball World Series winners, in the past 50 years, have been teams from the Sunbelt

  5. Environmental influence • Why climatic influence on different sports is waning • Huge covered stadiums make it possible to play football and baseball indoors • Artificial wave-making machines permit surfboarding in Arizona’s desert

  6. Environmental influence • Japan’s Seagaia Ocean Dome at Miyazaki on the island of Kyushu • Three story structure offers indoor surfing • Computer-controlled wave-making machine • Temperature remains at 84°F all year around • World’s largest retractable roof permits fresh air in perfect weather • Has palm trees and sandy beaches • Has an enormous waterslide and 17 restaurants

  7. Environmental influence • La Laporte Ski Dome, near Tokyo, Japan • Stands 25 stories high • Provides year-round skiing for 2,000 customers at a time • Ski runs are the length of five football fields

  8. Environmental influence • The popular way of life has become a high-energy consuming culture • Even devices of diffusion require large amounts of electricity and gasoline • Labor-saving machines add to insatiable need for fossil fuels and other energy supplies • If energy costs rise, we may reach a point where many aspects of popular culture can no longer be maintained

  9. Impact on the Environment • Popular culture makes heavy demands on ecosystems • Since World War II, leisure time and recreational activities have increased greatly in developed countries • Much time is spent in some space-consuming time outside cities • Demand for “wilderness” recreation zones has risen sharply in the last 25 years • No end to the increase is in sight

  10. Environmental Impact:San Felipe, Mexico • Prior to the advent of dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), a rich variety of sea birds inhabited the beaches of this fishing community.

  11. Environmental Impact:San Felipe, Mexico • In the past decade, San Felipe has become a tourist mecca, especially popular with ATV enthusiasts. • Driving through a pelican colony seems like great fun to these tourists.

  12. Impact on the Environment • Massive presence of people in recreational areas results in damage to physical environment • National parks suffer from traffic jams, residential congestion, litter, and noise pollution • Off-road vehicles have caused soil loss and long-term soil deterioration • As few as several hundred hikers can beat down trails • Vegetation is altered • Erosion is encouraged • Wildlife diminished • The more humans cluster in cities and suburbs, the greater their impact on open areas

  13. Impact on the Environment • Reactions to the recreational tourist boom • Some countries have made natural areas more accessible, causing them to become crowded, and damaged • Others, including the United States, have drawn a distinction between nat­ional park tourism and wilderness areas • Access to many wild districts is now restricted • Some national parks restrict access by automobile and camper • For most of the countryside, recreational assault continues • Enormous demand for refuse dumps • Generated by cities • Refuse is altering the ecology of many rural areas

  14. Popular culture • Popular Culture Regions • Diffusion in Popular Culture • The Ecology of Popular Culture • Cultural Integration in Popular Culture • Landscapes of Popular Culture

  15. The convergence hypothesis • We are supposedly converging in our cultural makeup, becoming more alike • In 1790 a more pronounced regionalization of people’s given names existed than in 1968

  16. Cultural Integration:Lane County, Pennsylvania • Lane County is part of the Pennsylvania “Dutch” ethnic homeland. • Even though some members of this community still reject modern phenomena such as electricity and automobiles, many have chosen to cater to increasing leisure demands of the larger society.

  17. Cultural Integration:Lane County, Pennsylvania • Motels, restaurants, shops, and activities such as buggy rides playing on the local heritage are increasingly common and are evidence of assimilation. • The sign’s folk hex symbols are countered by the popular AAA (American Automobile Association).

  18. Cultural Integration:Lane County, Pennsylvania • The AAA is an instrument of landscape change as it provides information, recommends destinations and routeways, and puts its seal of approval on accommodations for thousands of travelers nation-wide.

  19. Mapping personal preference • Working against the convergence hypothesis is greater personal individualism • Gone is the conformity of folk cultures • Individualism, coupled with other factors, has the ability to create new regionalism • Gives us the will and means to diverge rather than converge • Free exercise of individual preferences — each person “doing his/her own thing” • Could create a new spatial order

  20. Mapping personal preference • How new spatial restructuring can occur • If people who pursue similar life-styles gather in close geographical proximity to each other • We already have Sun City, Arizona, where only the elderly live • There are residential concentrations of gay people in certain districts within cities such as San Francisco • The media cater to and help promote restructuring • The increasing desire of people for individual freedom may have begun to alter the spatial attributes of society and culture

  21. Place images • The media often produces place images • Place, portrayer, and medium interact to produce the image that colors our perception and cognition of places and regions we have never visited • The images created may be inaccurate or misleading, but create a world in our minds

  22. Place images • Example of Hawaii • In the American mind a sort of earthly paradise • Peopled by scantily clad, eternally happy, invariably good-looking swarthy natives • A physical setting of unparalleled natural beauty and idyllic climate • The interworkings of popular culture cause these images to proliferate and become more vivid, if not more accurate

  23. Social spatialization • Geographer Rob Shields’ views • Sees popular cultural integration from the core/periphery perspective • Agrees we need to begin remapping the universalized and homogeneous spatialization of popular culture • We need to reveal heterogeneous places • Agrees place images are very powerful

  24. Social spatialization • Geographer Rob Shields’ views • Devotes attention to peripheral areas and locales —”left behind in the modern race for progress” • Because of remoteness • Because they are sites of illicit or disdained activities • “Margins become signifiers of everything centers deny or repress” • Legalized prostitution in Nevada • Legalized gambling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey • English resort town of Brighton, where proper Londoners can spend a “dirty weekend”

  25. Social spatialization • Geographer Rob Shields’ views • Canadian North • Arctic and Subarctic regions • Native folk cultures survive at least in vestige • Popular culture intrudes more weakly • Southern Canadians mythologized the North as seat of the “real” Canada a “counter-balance to the civilized world” of the urbanized South • Planetary culture is almost certainly illusory in the age of popular culture • Popular culture and its integration work as much against homogenization as for it

  26. Popular culture • Popular Culture Regions • Diffusion in Popular Culture • The Ecology of Popular Culture • Cultural Integration in Popular Culture • Landscapes of Popular Culture

  27. Elitist landscapes • Development of social classes is a distinctive aspect of popular culture • The top social class consists of persons of wealth, education, and taste—the elitist class • Because of their wealth, desire to be together, distinctive tastes, and hedonistic life­styles, they create distinctive cultural landscapes

  28. Elitist landscapes • Example of the French Riviera • A district of stunning natural beauty and idyllic climate • French elite created an aesthetically pleasing cultural landscape • Characterized by preservation of old buildings and town cores • Building codes and height restrictions are rigorously enforced • Land values have risen making the Riviera ever more elitist • It is now far removed from the folk culture and poverty that prevailed there before 1850 • Farmers and fishermen have almost disappeared from the region

  29. Leisure Landscape:Southern France • This is an artificial beach, made by dumping sand on a rocky shore of the Mediterranean Sea near Spain. • Increases in leisure time and disposable income create demand for recreational

  30. Leisure Landscape:Southern France opportunities and many Northern Europeans head southward in • Here, a “natural” environment has been constructed for leisure, and with an array of new hotels and services, evolves as a leisure landscape.

  31. Elitist landscapes • America also has its elitist landscapes • Exclusive suburbs with rigidly-enforced architectural themes are common • In Santa Fe the favored architectural style is pseudo-Pueblo Indian

  32. Elitist landscapes • The gentleman farm — agricultural unit operated for pleasure rather than profit • Owned by affluent city people as an avocation • Help to create or maintain high social standing • Most notable found: • In the inner Bluegrass Basin of north Kentucky • The Virginia Piedmont west of Washington, D.C. • Eastern Long Island in New York • Parts of southeastern Pennsylvania • Engage in such activities as breeding fine cattle, racing horses, or fox hunting

  33. Elitist landscapes • Gentleman farms in the Kentucky Bluegrass Basin • Concentrations so great they constitute a dominant feature on the land­scape • Have black or white wooden fences • A rural landscape created more for appearance than function • Elaborate entrance gates with hand-painted sign giving name of farm and owner • Network of surfaced, well-maintained driveways and pasture roads • Elegant houses visible through a lawnlike parkland dotted with clumps of trees and maybe a pond or two • Tourists think they are seeing the “real” rural America

  34. Landscapes of consumption • Eye catching commercial “strips” along urban arterial streets • Study of the evolution of such a strip in an Illinois college town • Covered the period 1919 to 1979 • Street changed from single-family residential to a commercial focus

  35. Landscapes of consumption • Researchers suggested a five-stage model of strip evolution • Single-family residential period • Introduction of gasoline stations • Other businesses join growing number of filling stations, • Multi-unit housing becomes common • Absentee ownership increases • Commercial function dominates • Businesses catering to drive-in trade proliferate • Residential use sharply declines • Income levels of remaining inhabitants is low • Residential function of the street disappears • Totally commercial landscape prevails • Business properties expand to provide off-street parking • Often public outcry against the ugliness of the strip is raised

  36. Landscapes of consumption • Represent popular aesthetic values, and may reveal social and cultural problems that need redress • May be needed antidote to plastic artificiality of elitist landscapes • Perception of strip creators • See it differently than do visitors • Owners or operators of businesses are proud of them and their role in the community • Hard work and hope colors their perceptions

  37. Landscapes of consumption • The grandest of the indoor shopping malls — West Edmonton Mall • Located in the Canadian province of Alberta • Encloses 5.2 million square feet and completed in 1986 • Employs 18,000 people in over 600 stores and services • Earned 42 percent of dollars spent in local shopping centers in its first nine months of operation

  38. Landscapes of consumption • The grandest of the indoor shopping malls — West Edmonton Mall • Boasts a water park, sea aquarium, and ice skating rink • Also has mini-golf course, roller coaster, and 19 movie theaters • Has a 360 room motel • Its “streets” feature motifs from exotic places • Hopkins says this “simulated landscape” reveals “growing intrusion of spectacle, fantasy, and escapism into the urban landscape”