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Ch. 4: Folk and Popular Culture

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1 Ch. 4: Folk and Popular Culture

2 Culture The combination of: Material Culture/constructed artifacts
Art, houses, clothing, sports, dance, foods This chapter deals with material artifacts Nonmaterial Culture Language (Ch. 5) Values- religious beliefs (Ch. 6), ethnicity (Ch. 7) Political institutions (Ch. 8)

3 How do we know it’s a “Culture”?
If the group calls themselves a culture Local cultures see themselves as a community who share experiences, customs and traits and work to preserve those traits in order to claim uniqueness and distinguish themselves from others. Other people label a certain group as a culture However, when defining and characterizing peoples into cultures, it is more important to now how the people define themselves, not how we define them.

4 Material Culture Two basic categories: folk/local and popular culture
Folk/local culture Usually practiced by small, isolated, homogeneous groups in rural areas where tradition dominates life and they are resistant to change Popular culture Characterized by large, heterogeneous groups of people who share common habits despite differences in other personal characteristics

5 Folk Cultures in US

6 Where Do Cultures Originate?
Origin of folk and popular cultures Folk culture = hearth area/originators are usually unknown Popular culture = hearth area comes from more developed countries (MDCs) People in MDCs have disposable income and leisure time that allow for use of new innovations Golf, cars, gaming systems, TVs etc.

7 Where Do Cultures Diffuse?
Diffusion of folk and popular culture Folk culture diffuses slowly, primarily through migration, and at a small scale; clustered Example: Diffusion of Amish culture- what role does the environment play? Popular culture diffuses rapidly, mostly via hierarchical diffusion, and over a large scale Example: Sports, fashion

8 Hierarchical diffusion: $65,000 to $3500 in 48 hours!

9 Making local/folk culture “popular”– how could this hurt local/folk cultures?




13 Diffusion of Pop Cultures
Rapid diffusion (through globalization) reduces the local diversity of folk cultures (i.e. their customs). Pop culture vs. folk/local cultures = Globalization vs. local diversity

14 Globalization vs. Local Diversity

15 Quick Write Explain how popular culture could be a threat to local cultures. Explain the differences between local/folk and pop culture.

16 How are local cultures sustained?
By clustering By being isolated By practicing customs/traditions in the face of globalization

17 Influence of the physical environment
Folk culture = close connection to the environment Most folk cultures are rural and agricultural Clothing is often tied to environmental conditions Example: Wooden clogs in the Netherlands


19 Food Preferences Terroir- effects of local environment on food (soil’s effect on wine) Folk- certain foods eaten because of natural properties See case study for examples Food customs are affected by availability of products worldwide Food preferences are adapted to the environment In Asia, rice is grown in milder, wetter environments; wheat is grown in colder, drier environments 1:08 mark of Movie

20 Food Preferences Food taboos may be especially strong
People avoid certain foods because of negative associations with that food Preferences developed for environmental (protect endangered animals) and cultural (religion) reasons Examples- no pork for Jews or Muslims; popular culture doesn’t eat bugs like some folk cultures do Coca Cola

21 FIGURE 4-26

22 FIGURE 4-7

23 Some Kosher Laws- Of the "beasts of the earth" (which basically refers to land mammals with the exception of swarming rodents), you may eat any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. Any land mammal that does not have both of these qualities is forbidden. All blood must be drained from meat and poultry or broiled out of it before it is eaten. Fruits and vegetables are permitted, but must be inspected for bugs Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat). Utensils (including pots and pans and other cooking surfaces) that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.

24 Swine Stock Figure 4-8

25 Why Is Folk Culture Clustered?
Isolation promotes cultural diversity Examples: Unique cultural landscapes Beliefs and folk house forms Sacred spaces U.S. folk housing

26 Sacred Spaces Determines layout of folk housing
Ex: Java- front door faces south; Madagascar- important people are seated against the north wall

27 All sleep same direction- East
Do not want to face neighbor's feet, parallel w/ street, perpendicular w/ stream All sleep same direction- East

28 Folk Housing in US Migrants took memories of housing styles and built them as the moved throughout the US, they also built what was “in style” from the hearth at the time Three hearths Lower Chesapeake and Tidewater Middle Atlantic New England


30 Rural Local Cultures Little Sweden, USA
Have an easier time maintaining local cultures because of their isolation Rurality allows local cultures to define their space to practice their beliefs and customs- creating their own rural landscape Little Sweden, USA Lindsborg, Kansas Celebrating of Swedish ancestors Economic motives?

31 Is this authentic culture or “Disneyesque” fakery used to attract tourists?
Top: Lindsborg Bottom: Sweden

32 Urban Local Cultures Successfully built their own “place” to practice their customs within a major city by constructing ethnic neighborhoods/enclaves = able to maintain their distinctness among members of the popular culture Jews in Brooklyn Italians and Irish in Boston Are constantly threatened by nonmembers of the local culture moving into their neighborhoods (global vs local diversity)



35 People are forced to migrate primarily because of which factor?
A) economic B) environmental C) international D) cultural E) mobility

36 Which of the following is not presently one of the three largest migration flows in the world?
A) to Europe from Asia B) to Africa from Asia C) to North America from Asia D) to North America from Latin America

37 Europeans migrated to the United States primarily because of
A) decreased economic opportunities as European countries experienced rapid population growth. B) decreased political stability as European countries were wracked by revolutions. C) religious freedom in the United States as European countries oppressed their citizens. D) discoveries of gold in California and Alaska

38 The most prominent type of intraregional migration in the world is
A) north to south. B) region to region. C) urban to rural. D) city to city. E) rural to urban.

39 Reterritorialization of Pop Culture
Certain aspects of pop culture (music, food) will take on new forms when presented in new places Reterritorialization- Taking something not from your “territory” and re-making it so it becomes unique to only your “territory” Reterritorializatoin of Hip Hop- Example of reverse hierarchical diffusion (inner cities to global) European Hip Hop in France and Germany mixed with local cultures, experiences, and places making it unique to each locale Sampling/mixing things from own culture into Hip Hop music

40 Why Is Popular Culture Widely Distributed?
Remember: Pop culture requires disposable income and leisure time Popular culture varies more in time than place

41 Pop Culture: Diffusion of Food
Popular foods and beverages display regional variation in popularity depending on what can be locally produced More snack food and alcohol- why?

42 Diffusion of Clothing Dressing for occupation/current trends rather than environment Represents social class in society Jeans as a form of rebellion Technology has increased diffusion Two-way diffusion: MDCs and LDCs coming into contact with each other.

43 Diffusion of Pop Housing
Reflects fashion trends on what a house “should look like”—since WWII (1945). Suburban sprawl (spread out) of Levittowns Limited housing style choices allowed houses to be built faster to keep up with demand Folk culture house styles becoming “popular”?



46 Explain what we mean when we say that popular culture varies more in time than in space. Differentiate this from what you know about folk culture.

47 Losing the Local? Pop culture itself can seem like an assimilation policy US, West Europe, Japan, South Korea, India are all hearths of pop culture that produce different aspects of pop culture French radio policies- (saving the local)

48 Threats to Folk Culture
Loss of traditional values Wearing suits symbolizes success in the West Jeans vs. chador in Islamic regions Role of women Empowerment? (Increased dowries in India) Prostitution in LDCs




52 Assimilation v. Acculturation
Acculturation (still has the word culture in it!) Minority culture adopts traits of major culture but KEEPS most of their own beliefs Occurs when local culture lives among members of the major culture and ACCEPT certain aspects of major culture Assimilation Minority culture learns and absorbs major culture to the point that the original culture IS LOST Minor culture comes to resemble the major group; makes acceptance easier

53 Adopt traits, but keeps own, too.
Acculturation- Adopt traits, but keeps own, too. Assimilation- Adopted traits “take over”

54 Assimilation v. Acculturation
Examples: Second-language learning at school, but speaks first language at home still Sushi becoming popular in US Naturalization process for immigrants Immigrant parents choosing “American” names for children Forcing Native American’s in Boarding Schools and forbidden to speak language




58 Clash of Cultures (Pop vs Folk/Local)
Local cultures try to: Keep other cultures out, Keep own culture in Avoid cultural appropriation – when other cultures adopt customs and knowledge and use them for own benefit Commodifying local culture (Katy and Russell); Little Sweden? TOASTER STRUDEL! Commodification- to treat something that cannot be owned or that everyone has a right to like a product that can be bought and sold

59 Drawbacks of Cultural Appropriation
Shouldn’t it be a compliment? Usually done for economic benefit Commodification affects local cultures in many ways Material and nonmaterical culture can be commodified by nonmembers The culture itself can be commodified- “observing” the Amish culture Stereotypes / replicas mistaken for authentic Some Amish DO use technology

60 Authenticity of Places
Local cultures strive to make each place their own by infusing their customs, beliefs and traits into the landscape Theme parks and other entertainment venues look to copy the “mysticism” of local cultures Unsuspecting tourists may mistake the “mysticism” as authentic Corporations try to commodify the mystique of local cultures to intrigue customers/make profit, Ex: Irish Pub Company/Guinness Globalize the mystique of the traditional Irish pub *Spain, US, Italy and France have more than Ireland

61 Authenticity of Places
With commodification, usually one image or experience is typecast as the “authentic” image/experience of that culture. It is that image/experience that the tourist or buyer desires. People need to experience the complexity of a place/culture directly, rather than a stereotype of it. An “authentic” culture is complex, not categorized or stereotyped

62 Authenticity of Places
Commodifying local cultures freezes customs in place and time Local cultures, both urban and rural, are touched by outside influences over the years and therefore are dynamic (always changing) The search for an “authentic” local culture perpetuates (keeps going) the myths/sterotypes about local cultures

63 Did these buildings ever exist this way
Did these buildings ever exist this way? Did people really dress like that? Are these stereotypes of the “mystique”/uniqueness of a culture? Or are they authentic representations? Is this how the culture “characterized” here still is?

64 Busch Gardens would love to sell you some authentic “Africa”!


66 Am I really experiencing Mexico right now?

67 Mulan does exist!

68 Arendelle = Norway? No(r)way!

69 Amish for Sale! November 4, 2007, we purchased Flaby's Amish Tour business. We thought it would be fun to carry on Flaby's professional Amish tours. Vern, Eric, Rory, and Joan are our excellent, knowledgeable, and friendly hosts that guide the tours “certified guides”--Unique, intimate visit to 3 Amish properties --- a farm at milking time to observe how the Amish milk cows and cool milk without electricity (oooh, aahhh)

70 Commodifying a name Is this the inside of an “authentic” Irish pub or an exported copy?

71 Am I being too critical? Possibly. Some cultures may embrace people coming to “look at/study” them because it could educate and raise awareness. They may want/need that economic benefit. Problems arise when: cultural artifacts/customs/traditions are exploited (abused or misused), especially by nonmembers We “think” we know about a culture from what has been portrayed to use by popular culture—movies, magazines, etc. Both of these problems will lead to stereotypes and perpetuate the myths in search for the “authentic” culture

72 Western Control of Media
West (US, GB, Jap) controls majority of media TV programming diffuses western ideas/culture Glorifies consumerism, violence, sexuality, and militarism News coverage MDCs are unlikely to focus or provide third world perspective on issues important in the LDCs. LDCs rely on BBC, AP, and Reuters

73 Marlboro Man in Egypt


75 Satellites Satellites provide a way to get banned shows from all over the world Banned in Singapore; “un-Islamic” in Saudi Arabia


77 Environmental Impact of Pop Culture
Modifying nature Pop culture ignores local environment Spatially expansive—takes up a lot of room Golf courses

78 Palm Springs, CA Beijing, China

79 Beijing, China Palm Springs, CA

80 Environmental Impact of Pop Culture
Negative Impacts Increased demand/depletion of natural resources Animal consumption (chicken, beef) leads to grain depletion (feed) = inefficient use of food!!! Pollution Pop culture produces waste (Garbage can Ghana)




84 Environmental Impact of Pop Culture
Uniform Landscapes Creates homogeneity “placelessness”- loss of uniqueness of places Product/name/brand recognition Brings familiarity to a “strange” place Buildings designed for recognition of function Hotels, gas stations, grocery stores

85 3 ways to get “placelessness”
1. Certain planning and architectural forms have diffused around the world Skyscrapers in downtowns 2. Businesses and products are so widespread that they leave distinctive “stamps” on the landscape of far flung places Signs: Pizza Hut, McDonalds, etc. 3. Borrowing of idealized landscape images blurs places together Transplanting landscape features even it doesn’t fit Las Vegas strip

86 #1: Skyscrapers-Petronas Towers, Malaysia

87 #2: Business “stamps” on landscape: Munich, Germany

88 #2: Business “stamps” on landscape: Las Vegas Strip

89 #3: “Idealized” landscapes blur lines between places- Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

90 #3: “Idealized” landscapes blur lines between places- Venetian Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

91 #3: “Idealized” landscapes blur lines between places- Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau, China



94 Surfing at Disney’s Orlando Typhoon Lagoon
Are places still tied to local landscapes? Disconnect with landscape: indoor skiing/swimming pools? desert surfing?




98 FIGURE 4-20

99 Distance Decay vs Time-space Compression
Distance decay- diffusion less likely the further from the hearth you are = slower, old method of diffusion from hearth TSC- depends on the connectedness among places due to communication and transportation networks (world becoming smaller) = faster, modern method of cultural diffusion; no more distance decay problems? Today, the world is as connected as ever and those without connections are even more removed

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