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Pic Cultural Notes

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This is an extract of our Pic Cultural document, which we sell as part of our Geography Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Exeter students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Geography Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Place, Identity and Culture Cultural 1: Imagined Geographies


Cultural: Human Activities
- The things we do daily
- ChoicesFood, clothes, books, internetDefines us as who we are: identity

? The 'cultural tern' in human geography

* New concept

* Recently taken seriously

* 1980s/1990s

* Culture is now at the heart of research and teachings What is culture?
Agri-culture Horti-culture Viti-culture
- Cultivation
- How humans get things out of the environment
- Linguistic origin But, over time...

* Idea of culture as comprising arts, literature, music, dance etc. Being a cultured or cultivated person. Concept of 'high culture'.
- Things that happen
- Are acquired
- 'high culture' - the greatest of these arts can define cultures?
- Elitist?

* Thence: 'popular culture'. music, fashion, journalism, television, films, DIY and so on...
- More entertainment based
- Every changing
- "here today, gone tomorrow"
- 'trashier'

* Best to think of culture as shared and contested values, beliefs, customs etc..

* Human activities through which collective values and beliefs are shaped, communicated and debatedBehavioursShared values and beliefs, even if argued over"shared, contested, valued"

A new cultural geography... emerges through early 1990's


Focus on culture (art, literature) as a realm in which political and economic power is represented and reproduced.


Culture as Ideology - a set of ideas, values, meanings which reproduce relations of domination and subordination


Culture as realm of struggle, conflict, debate.Story's told through cultural events e.g. OlympicsCulture isn't separate from inequalityCulture as an ideology- happened at all scalesClass exercising powerRelevant struggle

The study of cultural products and cultural representations? Such as...Travel writing, Novels, Photography, Maps, Paintings, Film and TV, Newspapers, Magazines
= Imaginative Geographies
? Defining imaginative geographies Study of imaginative geographies
= study of how particular cultures or societies represent both themselves and 'others' in art, literature, film etc
- Binary between self and other
- How stereotypes by middle class Eastern people were reinforced by paintings by Western people = imagined Example: E. Said (1978) Orientalism

* Mind intensifies own self of self by dramatizing difference and distance


Greek plays depict Asia through and by virtue of the European imagination"other world"Asia given feelings of loss/disaster

* Explorers providing literature of travel- lenses through which others experience

* The orientalist is though about in a mental operation performance Three Key Points:

1. IG's tell us more about those doing the depicting than those depicted
- The attributes and thoughts of those who build biases and prejudices

2. IG's not somehow distinct from 'real' geographiesAssumption that 'imagining' must be irrelevant - fantasy, so not realThey help to shape and define the cultures that we are part ofRepresentations (texts and images) create and 'mediate' the cultural worlds we live in.
~ everyone is influenced deeply by our cultures, it's undeniable = must be real

3. Imaginative geographies: not about 'subjective' perceptions as opposed to 'objective' factsStudied because they reveal collective cultural meaningsbecause they are matters of debate, conflict, struggle

? Example 1: The Earth From Space 1968/72 First time whole earth had been directly pictured

Striking, iconic, aesthetic quality Multiple Meanings

* Earth as fragile, adrift

* Earth as a unity, a whole

* Globe as symbol of American modernity, technological prowess, planetary geopolitical mission
- Cold war significance
- Used as propaganda, makes the whole world American

* Globe as symbol for environmental movements - earth to cherish and protect

* Contesting Western perspectives
- Contests typical cartography
? Example 2: Representing Mongolia

* Mongolia opened to Western travellers post 1990s

* Represented as a location through which 'travellers' could distinguish themselves from mere 'tourists'

* Traveller as intrepid, resourceful, empathetic

* Mongolia as 'frontier'

* Mongolia as the past

* Reproduction of Orientalist discourse Summary
? Understand how cultural geographers approach the study of culture
? Be able to define imaginative geographies
? Be able to discuss examples of how geographers have interpreted such geographies

Cultural 2: Material Culture Commodities and consumers
? COMMODITY Something that can be bought and sold
- Surrounded by them
- Part of who we are
- Everything and everyone is a commodity
- Can be an object (e.g a car) a person (e.g. a paid worker), or an idea (e.g a TV talent show format)
- Imbedded in what we do

* Capitalist Economic System
= proliferation of commodities
= extension of commodity form into different areas of life

* Kneale and Dwyer
- Consumption organises the world
- Arena in which culture is fought over

* Process through which an increasing number of people, objects, relationships and ideas are turned into commodities

* NHS hasn't been commoditised- don't have to pay




Not just inert objects or 'items'The other people who put together the commodity are often forgotten aboutCommodities contain myriad cultural, economic and political relationships

- commodity as solidified labour
- links between producers & consumers Kneale and Dwyer
- Commodities are a process, they acquire meanings as the go on


* Process through which commodities present themselves as separate from their origins
- i.e. detached from the cultural and geographical contexts in which they were made
- advertising: places commodities in fantasy worlds
- Main way a commodity fetish works- making us associate item with something good e.g. Marlboro Cigarettes- cowboy on the front, despite having not much to do with them

* Consumption: Kneale and Dwyer- attaching human value to things e.g. "sexy trainers"


* Post WW2 - growth of 'consumer society'
- Increasing economic importance of consumption
~ No longer citizens, now consumers
~ Society based upon consumption
~ Economy reliance
- Also increasing cultural significance of consumption practices
~ Who we are in regards to what we purchase
- Consumers as 'dupes'? Advertising as creation of 'false needs'?
~ fooled by the media
~ "you must have this"
- Consumption as marker of status, value, identity (you are what you eat)
? Geographies of Consumption Traditionally:

* Focus on production - economic geography

* Neglect of sphere of consumption Cultural Geography

* Research into spaces of consumption (malls, the home, tourist destinations etc)

* Research into consumption practices and consumer cultures (shopping, eating, consuming media products etc)

* Crang 1998
- Shopping centres are arenas of consumption
- Space create by society to sell Consumption: set of practices through which:
- new cultural identities are formed
- new places and networks take shape
? Consuming Nature The commodification of nature.
- e.g through Tourism & Leisure practices



- 'Tourist Gaze' (Urry, 1990)
- Natural world becomes 'scenery': a commodity to be visually consumed
- Turns 'sites' into 'sights'
- The very idea of a postcard.
- Outdoor pursuits & adventure tourism: nature as a playground, a space of exhilaration
- Buying a feeling, an experience Food, hygiene and beauty products.
- Concepts like 'nature', 'natural' as labels to sell commodities
- Products labelled organic or natural bought to promote sense of well-being, of being a good, responsible person?
- Association of nature with good feeling/healthy/ethical Of space Crang 1998
- What were once landscapes of labour are now landscapes of leisure
- Places of production have turned into places of consumption

? Commodity Chains Cook, I (2004) 'Follow the thing: papaya'
- Our lives are connected to so many other peoples
- Challenge commodity fetishism. Trace network back to site(s) of production
- From 'fork to farm'
- Reveal complex geographies: farmers, workers, packers, buyers, shippers, importers retaliers, shoppers etc Commercially farmed. In East Africa and Sri Lanka. Another part of this trade. Its nature far from pure. Or simple. An invisible part of countless people's lives. In countless ways. Papayas are impossible to avoid. Even if you've never eaten one: in loads of things e.g. chewing gum, toothpaste
? Ethical Consumption

* Barnett et al, Consuming Ethics
- Issue of caring at a distance
- Ethical consumption, then, involves both a governing of consumption and a governing of the consuming self
- EC: A contradiction in terms?
- Geography and ethics - caring at a distance

* EC: 'new networks of global solidarity'
- Who can afford to be an ethical consumer?
- "a means through which people consume particular conceptions of what it is to be ethical"
? Commodities in Social Relations

* Kneale and Dwyer
- Mother/daughter relationships
- At 14, daughter would rather the money than the clothes
- She preferred autonomy over cloth choice Summary
? Understand the meaning of commodities and consumers
? Be able to discuss changing geographies of consumption
? Bable to discuss in detail examples of geographical work on consumption, ethics, commodity chains

Cultural 3: Landscape and National Identity

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