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Folk and Popular Culture

Folk and Popular Culture. Folk Culture. Practiced by small, homogenous groups living in isolated areas Small scale Why? - geographic isolation, limited communication More likely to vary from place to place at a given time

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Folk and Popular Culture

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  1. Folk and Popular Culture

  2. Folk Culture • Practiced by small, homogenous groups living in isolated areas • Small scale • Why? - geographic isolation, limited communication • More likely to vary from place to place at a given time • Reflects local diversity and may be more sensitive to protecting local environment • Spreads by relocation diffusion

  3. Popular Culture • Found in large, heterogeneous societies that share certain habits(habit - repetitive act performed by an individualcustom - repetitive act of a group that becomes a characteristic of the group) • Scale is large, wide distribution • Based on rapid global connections through communications, travel, and technology • Rapid diffusion = frequent changes, so, more likely to vary from time to time in a given place • Becoming more dominant due to globalization - threatening the survival of folk cultures, reducing local diversity (and with it, intellectual stimulation) • Threatening quality of of environment - not based locally, so more likely to modify the environment according to outside values

  4. Origin of Folk and Pop Culture • Hearth (center of innovation): • Folk hearth - usually anonymous w/ unknown dates, sometimes multiple hearths • Popular hearth - usually MDCs - arise from advances technology & leisure time • I.e. fast food, pop music, TV, video games • Spreading faster as more of the world’s labor force changes from agricultural to serive & manufacturing (more leisure time)

  5. Music • Folk Music (ancient) - expansion diffusion • anonymous & transmitted orally • Across cultures, content of folk songs arises from events in daily life that are familiar to people (life-cycle events, nature, farming) • Popular Music (originated in 1900) - hierarchical diffusion • Written by skilled people for sale to large #’s of people • Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley - birth of the music industry • WWII - broadcast music to locations across world for soldiers to hear, English becomes international language of popular music (still is) • After WWII, Tin Pan Alley declined as recorded music became more important than printed song sheets • Hip hop - originated in NYC in 1970s, spread to Oakland in 1980s • Both global and local (global reach through technology, but many lyrics are local)

  6. Diffusion: Folk Culture • Relocation Diffusion - The Amish • Distinctive clothing, farming & religion • 80K people in US • Originated in Switzerland, France & Germany in 1600s • Spread to other parts of NW Europe looking for religion freedom (merged with other Mennonite groups & did not develop distinctive traits) • 2 waves migrated to US: PA in 1700s and OH, IL, IA & Ontario in 1800s • Isolated, retained culture • Diffusing slowly to places where land is cheap (ex: to KY from PA)

  7. Diffusion: Popular Culture • Hierarchical diffusion - Soccer • Started as English folk culture • Origin is obscure - maybe England in 11th century after Danish invasion • Banned in England in 12th cent & legalized by King James I in 1603 • Transformation to global popular culture began when professional leagues formed in 1863 • Football Association = Soccer • Increasing leisure time = more people to play and to watch • Diffused through contact with English players, adoption by schools, universities & factories, & later through technology - radio & TV

  8. Why is Folk Culture Clustered? • Isolation promotes cultural diversity • Ex. Himalayan Art -- 4 distinct groups living close together but isolated due to the mountains have very different art • Tibetan Buddhists • Hindus • Muslims • Animists • All are influenced by unique religion and by environment

  9. Influence of the Physical Environment • One of many things that influences folk culture such as choices of clothing, food & shelter • Food • Particular foods are produced in the environments that are good for growing them (rice in moist & warm, wheat in cold and dry) • People adapt • soybeans must be cooked & where fuel is scarce, people developed ways to each soybeans without extensive cooking -- fermenting (soy sauce) & bean sprouts • N. Europe - abundant wood, therefore a tradition of slow stewing and roasting • Terrior - the contribution of a location’s physical features to the way food tastes (I.e. wine)

  10. Food Attractions and Taboos • Some foods are eaten for their perceived beneficial traits - strength, sexual prowess, etc (jaguars, mandrake) • Some foods have perceived negative properties • Taboo - restrictionon behavior imposed by social custom • Ainus don’t eat otters, Europeans avoided potatoes, women in Chad don’t eat chicken or goat before becoming pregnant & once pregnant don’t eat antelope with twisted horns • Some taboos protect the natural environment • (I.e. Hebrews: pig meat spoils quickly in hot climates & is not suited to ancient Hebrew lifestyle, Hindus in India need lots of oxen around at plowing season)

  11. Food Taboos cont… • Social values also influence food taboos • Hebrew taboos partially serve to set them apart from others • Christianity did not observe these taboos -- set them apart • Even in areas dominated by pop culture, there are still taboos • Americans don’t each insects (right?)

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