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Chapter 8 The Human Mosaic

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1 Chapter 8 The Human Mosaic
Popular Culture Chapter 8 The Human Mosaic

2 Characteristics of popular culture
Constantly changing Based in large, heterogeneous groups of people Based mainly in urban areas Material goods mass-produced by machines in factories Prevailing money economy

3 Recreation and clothing

4 Characteristics of popular culture
More numerous individual relationships, but less personal Weaker family structure Distinct division of labor with highly specialized professions and jobs Considerable leisure time available to most people Police, army, and courts take the place of family and church in maintaining order

5 Leisure time

6 Popular culture If a single hallmark of popular culture exists, it is change Words such as growth, progress, fad, and trend crop up frequently in newspapers and conversations Some people unable to cope with fast change Change can lead to insecurity expressed in the term future shock Vast majority of people in developed countries belong to the popular culture

7 Popular culture If a single hallmark of popular culture exists, it is change Contributions to the spread of popular culture Industrialization Urbanization Rise of formal education Resultant increase in leisure time All the reasons popular culture spread caused folk culture to retreat

8 Placelessness: Anywhere USA
Without the sign, we would not know if these were houses, apartments, or condos. Their style is no style; a sense of sameness pervades. Nothing sets these structures apart as being in a particular place; this is placelessness.

9 Placelessness: Anywhere USA
In fact, the complex is in suburban Columbus, Ohio otherwise known as “Test Market USA.” Because the demographic character of Columbus offers a representative cross section of American society, it is an appropriate place to try out new products. Most fast food menus are tested here.

10 Popular culture If a single hallmark of popular culture exists, it is change We and our recent ancestors embraced the free, open, dynamic life-style offered by popular culture Science challenged religion for dominance in our daily lives We profited greatly in material terms through this transition In reality, all culture presents a continuum on which popular and folk represent extreme forms

11 Popular culture If a single hallmark of popular culture exists, it is change Many graduations between the two are possible Disadvantages become apparent as one moves toward the popular end of the continuum We forfeited much in discarding folkways Popular culture is not superior We weaken both family structure and interpersonal relationships Tne prominent cultural geographer has said of popular culture “only two (things) would I dislike to give up: inside plumbing and medical advances.”

12 Popular culture Popular Culture Regions Diffusion in Popular Culture
The Ecology of Popular Culture Cultural Integration in Popular Culture Landscapes of Popular Culture

13 Placelessness or clustering?
Superficially, popular culture appears to vary less areally than folk culture Canadian geographer Edward Relph’s proposal Popular culture produces a profound placelessness A spatial standardization that diminishes cultural variety Demeans the human spirit James Kunstler speaks of “geography of nowhere” in describing America One place become much like another, robbed of its geographical essence Pervasive influence of a continental or worldwide popular culture

14 McDonald’s in Tokyo

15 Wendy’s in Idaho

16 Pampas Grill in Finland

17 Placelessness or clustering?
Folk cultures, rich in uniqueness, appear to make the geographical face of popular culture seem expressionless Michael Weiss argues that “American society has become increasing fragmented”

18 Cappadocia province, Turkey

19 Placelessness or clustering?
Jonathan Robbin identifies 40 “life-style clusters” based on postal ZIP codes Says the ZIP codes can tell him what people eat, drink, drive—even think Each life-style cluster is a formal region with a colorful name, for example: “Gray Power”—upper middle-class retirement areas “Old Yankee Rows”—blue- and white-collar older ethnic neighbor­hoods of the Northeast Norma Rae-Vile—lower- and middle-class southern mill towns

20 Lifestyle clusters

21 Placelessness or clustering?
Old Yankee Rowers” typically have a high school education Like bowling and ice hockey Three times as likely to live in rowhouses or duplexes Residents of Norma Rae-Vile Mostly nonunion factory workers Have trouble making ends meet Consume twice as much canned stew as the national average

22 Placelessness or clustering?
The above examples are to make a point A whole panoply of popular subcultures exists in America and the world Each possesses its own belief system, spokespeople, dress code, and lifestyle Popular culture creates new places Paul Adams sees television as being a gathering place Social space where members of a household and their friends assemble

23 Placelessness or clustering?
Television has become to popular culture, worldwide, what fire and hearth were to folk culture Must remember region and place exist from micro to macro scales

24 Cyberspace Perhaps the personal computer and Internet access have created another new type of place Certain words we use imply it has a geography—”Cyberspace” The information superhighway connects not two points, but all points, creating a new sort of place

25 Cyberspace Does cyberspace contain a geography at all?
Place, as understood by geographers, cannot be created on the net “Virtual places” lack a cultural landscape and a cultural ecology Human diversity is poorly portrayed in cyberspace Old people, poor people, the illiterate, and the continent of Africa are not represented On the net, users end up “meeting” people like themselves The breath and spirit of place cannot exist in cyberspace These are not real places and never can be

26 Cyberspace Still, cyberspace possesses some geographical qualities
Enhances opportunities for communication over long distances Allows access to rare data banks Encourages and speeds cultural diffusion The Internet helps heighten regional contrasts Uneven spatial distribution of Internet connections creates a new way people differ

27 Internet Connections

28 Food and drink What we eat and drink differs markedly from one part of the country and world to another Difference in alcoholic drink consumption in the United States Beer has highest per capita consumption levels in the West Least beer is sold in the Lower South and Utah Corn whiskey, both legal and illegal, has been a traditional southern beverage Californians place more importance on wine


30 Kitsch Architecture: Lacross, Wisconsin
Kitsch – trivial, showy, designed for mass consumption – it is increasingly common in placeless landscapes. Much kitsch in North American and Australia is characterized by gigantism This is purported to be the world’s largest six-pack.

31 Kitsch Architecture: Lacross, Wisconsin
Gottlieb Heileman, a German immigrant, founded his brewery in 1870 and this region has one of the highest per capita beer consumption figures in the nation.

32 Food and drink Foods vary across North America
In the South, barbecued pork and beef, fried chicken, and hamburgers have greater than average popularity More pizza is consumed in the North Focus of Italian immigration Pizza diffused to the southern states only in the mid-1950s

33 Food and drink Importance of fast food restaurants varies greatly within the United States Stronghold is in the South — 57 percent in Mississippi Northeast has lowest rate of such eateries —27 percent in New York and Vermont We should not expect geographical uniformity within popular culture Placelessness has been overstated


35 Popular music The many difference styles of popular music all reveal geographic patterning in levels of acceptance Pop musicians can receive adulation of a magnitude reserved for deities in folk culture Elvis Presley, a generation after his death retains an important place in American popular culture Illustrates the vivid geography of the culture Sale of memorabilia reveals a split personality Hotbeds of Elvis worship lie in eastern states Elvis largely forgotten out West


37 Sports Abundant leisure time has allowed North Americans to devote time watching or participating in sports Few aspects of popular culture are as widely publicized as our games, both amateur and professional From Little League through professional contests, athletics receive almost daily attention from members of popular culture The further we withdrew from our folk tradition, the more important organized games became

38 Sports The nineteenth century gave us football, ice hockey, baseball, soccer, and basket­ball—our major spectator sports Our folk ancestors played games, but most were limited to children and little time was spent on them Concept of professional athletes and admission-paying spectators is not found in folk culture

39 Sports With diffusion of commercial spectator sports through North America, distinct regional contrasts developed “Hotbeds” of football arose in some regions Basketball became a winter mania in some areas Baseball came to rule supreme in some states Ice hockey reigned in still other provinces


41 Sports Participant sports reveal similar regionalization
Ten “sports regions,” each with its own special character was developed after a study done by two geographers These ten regions provide a more definitive identity to regions formerly revealed mainly through intuition


43 Beauty pageants Contests are not confined to sports arenas
Nearly everyone participates in one or another less strenuous competition Provide a typical expression of American popular culture Began in earnest at Atlantic City, New Jersey in the early 1920s

44 Beauty pageants Reveal pronounced areal contrasts
Winners tend to come preponderantly from certain parts of the country A “beauty queen belt” stretches from Mississippi to Utah Directly north of this belt lies a sizable block of states that have never pro­duced a major contest winner As with other culture regions the question arises concerning cause and effect


46 Vernacular culture regions
Defined as those regions perceived to exist by their inhabitants Product of the spatial perception of the population at large Not a formal region based on carefully chosen criteria Such regions vary greatly in size, from small districts to multistate areas Often overlap and usually have poorly defined borders

47 Vernacular culture regions
Example of “Green Country” in northeastern Oklahoma Name pushed by Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission Proclaim “where a blend of natural beauty, ideal climate and frontier heritage offers visitors a memorable vacation experience” News media in Tulsa repeatedly drum “Green Country” into minds of local Oklahomans Billboards and businesses spread the same message


49 Vernacular culture regions
These regions can be found in almost every part of the industrialized Western world Wilber Zelinsky Compiled province-sized regions in North America Used most common provincial name appearing in the white pages of urban telephone directories One curious feature is found in the populous districts in New York, Ontario, eastern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania where no affiliation to province is perceived


51 Vernacular culture regions
Joseph Brownell, in 1960, sought to delimit the “Midwest” Sent questionnaires to postal employees in the midsection of the United States from the Appalachians to the Rockies Asked each employee whether he/she felt the community lay in the “Midwest” Revealed core area where residents felt themselves to be Midwesterners Similar survey done 20 years later, using student respondents, gave almost the same result


53 Vernacular culture regions
A resident of Alabama’s “Black Belt” might also claim residence in “Dixie” and “the South” Vernacular regions of America are perceptual in character Vernacular regions are often perpetuated by the mass media

54 Popular culture Popular Culture Regions Diffusion in Popular Culture
The Ecology of Popular Culture Cultural Integration in Popular Culture Landscapes of Popular Culture

55 Hierarchical diffusion
Might play a larger role because popular society is highly stratified McDonald’s restaurants Beginning in 1955 spread hierarchically Revealed a bias in favor of larger urban markets

56 Hierarchical diffusion
Wal-Mart stores Diffused from its Arkansas base in a largely contagious pattern Spread into neighboring states Initially chose smaller towns and markets for locations using a pattern called reverse hierarchical diffusion Later spread into cities Combination of contagious and reverse hierarchical diffusion led Wal-Mart, within 30 years, to become the nation’s largest retailer

57 Hierarchical diffusion
Speed of diffusion in popular culture Progresses far more rapidly than in folk culture Time-distance decay is considerably weaker In the early nineteenth century time span was measured in decades Modern transportation and communications networks now permit cultural diffusion to occur within weeks or days Rapid diffusion enhances the chance for change in popular culture

58 Advertising Most effective device for popular culture diffusion
Commercial advertising of retail products bombards us visually and orally Using psychology, we are sold products we do not need Popular culture is equipped with the most potent devices and techniques of dif­fusion ever perfected

59 Advertising Modern advertising is very place-conscious
Products and services are linked to popular, admired places Example of the “Marboro Man” and the romanticized American West Remarkably such techniques work in countries as far away as Egypt

60 Advertising and Diffusion: Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Advertising plays a key role in the diffusion of popular culture. Symbols are important marketing tools and companies aim to get instant recognition for their products. Here a row of former Chinese shophouses has been renovated as a “strip mall.” The signs are international status symobls meaning “American.”

61 Advertising and Diffusion: Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
American pop culture is becoming increasingly popular in Asia to the dismay of many traditional parents. How do you think these young Malaysians learn about American products and why are they so much in demand? Where do you think they are manufactured? What signs do you recognize?

62 International diffusion
Innovations diffuse between countries and continents as rapidly as jet airplanes and satellite-beamed television programs Popular cultures of North America, Europe, and Australia have become similar and in constant contact Country-western music now heard in Northern Ireland’s pubs Levi-clad Romanians in small towns flock to American-made movies

63 International diffusion
Popular cultures of North America, Europe, and Australia have become similar and in constant contact Americans lineup to hear touring British rock musicians Rocky Mountain ski resorts are built in Alpine-Swiss architecture Latest Paris fashions appear in American department stores Fast-food franchises of MacDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken diffused to Russia Motel chains such as Holiday Inn took root in Tibet and other countries


65 International diffusion
In many lesser-developed countries acceptance of Western popular culture occurs among a socioeconomic elite Many people across the world now share aspects of a global culture

66 Stimulus Diffusion and Fast Food: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Not only have McDonalds and other fast food outlets spread around the world but also they have stimulated the development of new ones.

67 Stimulus Diffusion and Fast Food: Sao Paulo, Brazil
At McDingos, one can buy a hamberger, cheeseburger, a “Big Dingo” with double meet and cheese, and a “Bomba de Chocolate” ie a chocolate sundae The American influence is unmistakable

68 Communication barriers
Spread can be greatly retarded if access to the media is denied Billboard, a magazine devoted largely to popular music, described such a barrier Record company executive Seymour Stein complained radio stations and disk jockeys refused to play “punk rock” Stein claimed punk devotees were concentrated in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and London Diffusion of punk rock could only be heard in other areas through live con­certs and the record sales they generated Other musical forms had the same problem -- pachanga, ska, pop/gospel, “women’s music”, reggae, and “gangsta rap” Time Warner Inc., a major distributor of gangsta rap, had to endure scathing criticism in the United States congress in 1995

69 Communication barriers
To control programming of radio and television is to control much of the diffusion of popular culture Government censorship can also provide barriers to diffusion Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran during 1995 Long opposed Western popular culture as a corrupting influence Outlawed television satellite dishes to try and prevent citizens from Watching programs broadcast in foreign countries Repressive regimes must cope with a proliferation of communication methods—the fax and Internet It is probably impossible for even totalitarian nations to completely keep out some influence of popular culture

70 Communication barriers
Government censorship can also provide barriers to diffusion Example of Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran —outlawed television satellite dishes in 1995 Control of media can approach control of the mind in popular culture Repressive regimes must cope with a proliferation of communication methods Status of inward-looking “hermit” nations is probably no longer attainable

71 Communication barriers
Newspapers also act as selective barriers Reinforce the effect of political boundaries Between 21 and 48 percent of all news published in Canadian newspapers is of foreign origin, mainly United States news About 12 percent of news in American newspapers foreign

72 Diffusion of the rodeo Rooted in ranching culture of North American West and has never completely escaped that setting Modern rodeo had its origin in folk tradition Began simply as roundups of cattle in Spanish livestock ranching Started in northern Mexico and the American Southwest Word rodeo derived from the Spanish rodear, “to surround” or “to round up”


74 Diffusion of the rodeo Cowboys from adjacent ranches began holding informal contests at roundup time to display their skills After the Civil War, some cowboy contests on the Great Plains became formalized, with prizes awarded


76 Diffusion of the rodeo Transition to commercial rodeo, with admission tickets and grandstands, came quickly The “Wild West Show” and its role in the diffusion of the rodeo A rodeo at North Platte, Nebraska in 1882 led to some events being included in a Wild West Show held in Omaha in 1883 Wild West Shows moved by railroad from town to town Probably provided the most potent agent of early rodeo diffusion

77 Diffusion of the rodeo Within a decade of the Omaha affair commercial rodeos were being held independently of Wild West Shows at several towns The first apparently at Prescott, Arizona, in 1888 By 1900, commercial rodeos appeared throughout much of the West Frontier Days rodeo, at Cheyenne, Wyoming, was first held in 1897

78 Diffusion of the rodeo By World War I, rodeos became an institution in provinces of western Canada The Calgary Stampede began in 1912 Professional rodeos are now held in 36 states and 3 Canadian provinces Oklahoma listed 98 scheduled events in 1977 Ethnic and gender lives have been crossed Creek Nation All Indian Rodeo at Okmulgee All Girls Rodeo at Duncan All Black Rodeo at Wewoka In Texas and other states, rodeo competition has become an official high school sport Major acceptance is found west of the Mississippi River

79 Diffusion of the rodeo Absorbing and permeable barriers to diffusion
Mexico—bullfighting occupies a dominant position Mormon culture region centered in Utah In central Mexico the charreada exists as a unique form of rodeo In California the rodeo penetrated the mountains to reach the Pacific Greatest strength of commercial rodeo lies in the cattle ranching areas

80 The American diner Restaurant in the general shape of a railroad or trolley car Experienced a failure to diffuse throughout the United States Arose before World War II in the northeastern United states Spread through the manufacturing belt states — New York City-Philadelphia urban quarter Perhaps as many as 6000 eateries were founded by 26 companies


82 The American diner Spread of the diner generally failed in the American South Connoted cities, industries, ethnicity, and “northernness” Threatened southern way of life Rejected from Virginia southward Only Florida proved receptive to the idea

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