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Cultural meanings GG2001 Module 5, Lecture 2 Tim Unwin.

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1 Cultural meanings GG2001 Module 5, Lecture 2 Tim Unwin

2 Lecture outline Geographical interpretations of cultural meanings Analysing cultural data Visual imagery

3 By the end of the lecture, you should…. Be aware of some of the ways in which geographers have sought to interpret cultural meanings Understood something of the complexity of interpreting visual imagery Be prepared to undertake the practical on interpreting imagery

4 Geographers and cultural meanings Why the emphasis on meanings? What do you understand by culture?

5 Defining culture Mike Crang (1998): –…cultures are sets of beliefs or values that give meaning to ways of life and produce (and are reproduced through) material and symbolic forms (p.2) What are the significant words in this? –Beliefs and values –Produce and reproduce –Material and symbolic

6 Cultural analysis Techniques for making sense of –Beliefs and values –Material and symbolic Last lecture briefly illustrated –Landscapes –Texts –Adverts What other examples of cultural elements might we look at?

7 Geographers and cultural analysis (i) Cultural Geography (Jackson, 2003) - key themes –mid-1980s, a cultural turn –Politics of representation Emphasis on self-reflection –Social differences –Cultural diversity –Embodied identities Constructed through socially significant others Cover of Almudena Grandes Atlas de Geografía Humana (1998) –Geographies of consumption

8 Geographers and cultural analysis (ii) But how do we analyse these? –Mapping cultures Traditional approaches –Textual analysis of symbolic meanings –Landscape iconography More recent emphasis –Questions of representation –Material objects: the social life of things –Places of consumption Such as supermarkets

9 Analysing culture: a checklist Meanings –What were materials and symbols meant to mean –How do we, and others, interpret them Intentions –What were the original intentions behind their production? –What are the intentions of consumption? Differences –How do we convey differences in meanings? Re-presentations –How do we re-present culture?

10 Visual imagery Traditional focus on texts and landscapes But diversity of visual imagery all around us –Television and Films –Magazines –Advertisements –Video games –Posters –Architectures

11 Ways of seeing Distinction between vision and visuality –Vision: what our eyes see –Visuality: the way in which vision is constructed Our ways of seeing are socially and cultural constructed Studying visual images –The production of the image –The image itself –The audience for the image (Morgan, 2003)

12 Analysing image production What is the image? –How do we see it? Who produced it? Why was this particular image produced? Who was it produced for?

13 Analysing the image itself Where is the image? What is being shown? What are the components of the image? What use is made of colour? Is it combined with text?

14 Analysing the audience Who consumes the image? How is the image consumed? –Alone or with others? What do consumers make of the image? Where is it seen?

15 Visual culture (Rose, 2001) Images do something –Images are sites of resistance and recalcitrance Images visualize social difference –Especially with feminist and post-colonial writings Concern with ways in which images are looked at –Spectators look in particular ways The embeddedness of visual culture in a wider culture

16 Visual methods (Rose, 2001) Sites and modalities: a framework for seeing Sites –Of production –Of the image –Where seen Modalities at each site –Technological (from oil painting to the Internet) –Compositional (content, colour, spatial organisation) –Social (economic, social and political relations) The value of semiology (the study of signs) –Signs that stand for something other than themselves –Important in our understanding of many images

17 The practical: wine images Why do we drink wine? An interpretation of wine imagery How do wine advertisements draw on our cultural imagery? Using Roses framework

18 An opportunity for any questions?

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