folk and popular culture n.
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Folk and Popular Culture
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  1. Folk and Popular Culture

  2. Definition of Culture • A group of belief systems, norms and values practiced by a people • Recognized in 1 of 2 ways • People call themselves a culture • Others can label a certain group of people as a culture

  3. Folk Culture • Small • Incorporates homogeneous population • Typically rural • Cohesive in cultural traits • Work to preserve those traits in order to claim uniqueness

  4. Folk Culture cont. • Material culture: what a group of people make • Nonmaterial culture: beliefs, practices, aesthetics and values of a group of people

  5. Popular Culture • Large • Incorporates heterogeneous populations • Typically urban • Experiences quickly changing cultural traits • Practiced by people across identities and across the world • Also encompasses material and nonmaterial culture

  6. How is popular culture diffused? • Hierarchical diffusion • Uses an urban hierarchy (distance decay) • David Harvey: time-space compression • Refers to social and psychological effects of living in a time-space convergence (Donald Janelle) • Since technology links some places more closely than others, culture diffuses more quickly rather than at a constant rate

  7. Hearths of Popular Culture • How do things become a part of popular culture? • Often begins with contagious diffusion • Ex. Dave Matthews Band

  8. Manufacturing a Hearth • Clayton Rosati • Studied infrastructure of MTV & its role in the production of popular culture and geographies of popular culture • MTV produces popular culture by opening globalized spaces to local culture thereby globalizing local culture

  9. Popular culture does not take over the existing popular culture, rather a process called reterritorialization of popular culture occurs • When people w/in a place start to produce an aspect of popular culture themselves in the context of their own culture ands making it their own

  10. How are local cultures sustained? • Assimilation of certain groups destroyed local culture • Local culture sustained through customs • Simon Harrison • 2 goals of local cultures: keep other cultures out; keep their culture in • Local cultures work to avoid cultural appropriation • Recognized that through cultural appropriation, places become increasingly important • neolocalism

  11. Influence of the Physical Environment • Customs are influenced by climate, soil and vegetation • Particularly responsive to environment b/c low level of technology and agricultural economy • 2 necessities of life: food and shelter • Shows the influence of cultural values and the environment on the development of unique folk culture

  12. Distinctive Food Preferences • Derived from the environment • Adapt food preferences to environmental conditions • Role of terrior (effects of the environment on a particular food item)

  13. Food attractions and Taboos • Everything in nature has a signature or distinct characteristic • Therefore people eat and don’t eat certain things based on a response as to whether it is socially acceptable or not • The nutritional value is one of the determining factors in whether someone eats something or not • Some things are eaten b/c they enhance some characteristic the culture deems important

  14. Food attractions and Taboo • Taboo to eat things that are thought to embody negativity • May establish food taboos to protect the environment • Religion and social values also play a role in food taboos

  15. Folk Housing • House among the essential facts of human geography A. Distinctive Building Materials -influenced by location, resources available and social factors B. Distinctive House Form and Orientation -forms result from customary beliefs or environmental factors

  16. Folk Housing cont. C. Housing and Environment -homes are constructed based on the environment

  17. U.S. Folk House Forms • Fred Kniffen-3 major hearths of folk house forms in the US: • NE-saltbox, two-chimney, cape cod, front gable and wing • Mid-Atlantic: “I” house • Lower Cheasapeake-one story w/steep roof and two chimneys • Style of housing not as distinctive anymore due to rapid communication and transportation systems • Majority of people don’t build the houses they live in

  18. Diffusion of folk housing forms

  19. Local & Popular Culture Seen in the Cultural Landscape • Reflects norms, values and aesthetics of a culture • Placelessness (Edward Relph) • Cultural landscapes are so similar because: • Architecture forms + planning ideas have diffused around the world. • Individual businesses + products are so widespread they impact all places • The borrowing of idealized landsca[e images promotes a blurring of place distinctiveness

  20. Why is popular culture widely distributed? • Popular Housing Styles • Modern house styles (1945-1960): minimal traditional, ranch, split level, contemporary + shed style houses • Neo-eclectic (1960-): mansard, neo-Tudor, Neo-French, neo-colonial *have great rooms rather than separate living + family rooms

  21. Diffusion of Popular Culture cont. • Rapid Diffusion of Clothes • Characterized by income and job characteristics • Improved communication • Exposure to folk dress due to increased travel + television • Jeans-know why + how jeans became a part of popular culture

  22. Diffusion of Popular Culture cont. • Snack foods and beverages *preference based on what is made, grown or imported locally *also affected by background *dependent on income and advertising

  23. Role of TV in diffusing Popular Culture • Significant custom because: • Most popular leisure activity • Most important means by which culture is diffused

  24. Why Does Globalization of Popular Culture Cause Problems? • Threat to Folk Culture: • Rising income increases demand for items valued in popular culture • Can lead to domination of folk culture • Loss of traditional values (clothing) • Change in traditional role of women-How? • Can also cause problems in less developed nations-increase in prostitution

  25. Globalization of Popular Culture cont. • Threat of Foreign Media Imperialism • Threatens LDC’s independence • Seen as a new type of economic + cultural imperialism • Allow governments of LDC to censor shows and/or only program shows appropriate to traditional values

  26. Environmental Impact of Popular Culture • Modifies nature • Uniform landscapes-seen to generate product recognition + greater consumption

  27. Negative Environmental Impacts • Increased demand for natural resources • Depletion of resources and/or extinction of species • Inefficient use of resources • Pollution • Popular culture produces a lot of waste • Folk culture can also negatively impact the environment by ignoring natural processes