Unit II CG See attached SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 1 Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

Unit II CG See attached SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit II

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

5. Describe the relationship between landscape and culture.
5.1 Discuss how landmarks impact local culture.
5.2 Describe how human culture impacts local landmarks.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity


Unit Lesson
Videos in Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 33-54
Unit II Essay


Unit Lesson
Videos in Unit Lesson
Chapter 2, pp. 33-54
Chapter 6
Unit II Essay

Required Unit Resources

Chapter 2: Globalization and Cultural Geography, pp. 33–54

Chapter 6: Geographies of Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Gender

Unit Lesson

In this unit, you will read about many different culture-related topics. They include cultural impacts of
globalization, commodification of culture, culture and local knowledge, and identity and culture. This lesson
will focus on defining culture, the globalization of culture, and touch on the impact of important cultural
elements like race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender in shaping culture.

What is Culture?

You were first introduced to the definition of culture and the relationship between geography and culture in
Unit I. In Chapter 1 of the course textbook, there was a discussion about the relationships between culture
and nature and culture and landscapes. What is culture? There are many different definitions for culture, but it
is sometimes easiest to understand with a simplified definition. Culture is the shared beliefs, values, norms,
symbols, and material objects found in a particular society or group. Culture shapes the individual and group,
and, in turn, humans impact culture. Culture is complex, dynamic, and a social creation (Greiner, 2018).
There are two types of culture: material culture consists of concrete goods created by people, and
nonmaterial culture, which includes non-tangible items associated with oral tradition like recipes, songs, and
philosophies (Greiner, 2018). Watch this short video defining and explaining culture. The transcript for this
video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database.

Promedion Productions (Producer). (2004). What is culture? (Segment 1 of 14) [Video]. In Culture, identity,

and behavior. Films on Demand.


Culture and Identity


SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 2



Globalization of Culture: Popular Culture

The concept of globalization was explained in the Unit I reading and lesson. This unit connects globalization
to culture. Cultural geographers study how globalization of culture is impacting different areas of the world.
They focus on how culture is utilizing and shaping the environment in our highly globalized world.

Most of you might be familiar with the term pop culture. This is short for popular culture. Greiner (2018)
defines popular culture as “The practices, attitudes, and preferences held in common by large numbers of
people and considered to be mainstream” (p. 366). Reality TV shows, wearing jeans, vacationing at Disney
World, and watching college football on Saturdays are just a few examples of American popular culture. Many
of America’s popular cultural habits and goods have been diffused around the globe thanks to mass media
like TV, Internet, and radio. Why is pop culture important? It connects us to our generation, our nation, and
our past. It shapes our group and individual identity.

Globalization of Culture: Commodification of Culture

Greiner (2018) lists three main cultural geographic concepts when discussing how the globalization of a
commodified culture is shaping places. These include homogenization, polarization, and glocalization.
Homogenization is when the same music, stores, etc. can be found in very different areas. The example in
the textbook was an image of fast food chain billboards that were in Australia, but if you had not known it was
Australia you would have assumed it was a street in the United States. When discussing homogenization and
globalization of culture, you often hear the term Americanization. Americanization is the spread of American
brands and ideas around the globe. Polarization is the push-back against homogenization by groups within a
culture that want to retain their own traditional identity. Glocalization is when a company or institution alters
their goods or message to fit a certain culture’s values to gain more customers or support. An example would
be Starbucks serving more varieties of tea and rice wraps in China to better fit their cultural tastes.

The Impact Globalization of Commodification Has On Cultures

The spread of American brands and ideas can be viewed as a positive for sharing ideas and goods. It can
also be seen as a negative. There is the concern that places will lose their unique cultural identity. There are
concerns that the spread of some brands can cause physical harm. For example, the spread of McDonald’s
and other fast food restaurants around the world is increasing the consumption of high-fat, processed foods
and reducing healthier eating. Another big concern surrounding the globalization of culture and
homogenization of culture is the rising power of the multinational companies like Coke, Starbucks, and
McDonald’s. These wealthy global companies use their influence to gain support for policies that favor their
production and distribution of goods. These activities geared toward the wellbeing of the multinational
company may not be what is best for the local people. Watch these two brief videos on the commodification of
culture. The transcript for each video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in
the Films on Demand database.

The first video segment below talks about how many people in the United Kingdom focus too heavily on
consuming and not enough on what truly matters.

Journeyman Pictures (Producer). (2011). Consumerism—“Chasing status” (Segment 2 of 20) [Video]. In

Consumed: Identity and anxiety in an age of plenty. Films on Demand.

Did you know the CSU Online Library has a database called “Pop Culture Collection?”
It offers pop culture magazines and journals and magazines that analyze pop culture.
Visit the database at




SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 3



The second video below discusses how intensive product marketing pushes consumerism in society and has
a negative impact on people.

Journeyman Pictures (Producer). (2011). Looking for meaning through material consumption (Segment 12 of

20) [Video]. In Consumed: Identity and anxiety in an age of plenty. Films on Demand.

Have you witnessed homogenization of culture while traveling in the United States or around the globe? Can
you think of some examples of how commodification of culture has positively or negatively impacted you, your
community, or your nation?

Geographies of Identity

The Chapter 6 reading in the course textbook highlights that certain groups we belong to can have a big
impact on our identity, which in turn will have a big impact on how we perceive and interact in society. These
group identities also impact social, political, and economic policy in society. The major groups discussed were
race, ethnicity, and sexuality.


Greiner (2018) discusses how race is socially constructed and how racism developed, stating “Scholars agree
that events associated with the European colonization and settlement of the Americas during the 16th and
17th centuries contributed significantly to the development of racism” (p.145). Another key driver in the
development of racism was the great chain of being. This European philosophy created during the late 1700s
and 1800s focused on God-determined ranking in the world. This ranking included nonliving things, plants,
animals, humans, angels, and God. With this chain, ethnic groups and other races were placed on a lower
rung than white Europeans. This belief in being a superior race fueled the rise of slavery and discrimination
between races. Racism has had a lasting impact here and abroad. One of the things cultural geographers
study is how institutional discrimination impacts spatial organization, such as Chinatown in Vancouver and
apartheid in South Africa.


In Chapter 6 of the course textbook, Greiner (2018) discusses how ethnicity is the identification with a group
rooted in common ancestry, history, language, or religion. It highlights the different ethnic groups in the United
States and discusses how human geographers study ethnicity. Greiner (2018) states, “Ethnic geography is a
subfield of human geography that studies the migration and spatial distribution of ethnic groups, ethnic
interaction and networks, and the various expressions or imprints of ethnicity on the landscape” (p. 158).
Watch this short video on the interaction and separation of the different ethnic groups in New York City. The
transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on
Demand database.

Ruiz, W. R. (Producer). (2004). Cultural middle ground in New York City (Segment 2 of 6) [Video]. In

America’s immigration debate. Films on Demand.

Sexuality and Gender

Sexual orientation and gender can have a big impact on how one interacts in society and how one is
impacted by society. Greiner (2018) provides examples of the relationship between sexuality and space.
Don’t ask/don’t tell policy, the gay rights movement, and policies regarding public bathrooms matching gender
identity are discussed. Watch this video titled Sexual Orientation. The video discusses the theories and
societal beliefs on different sexual orientations. The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the
“Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database.




SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 4



Intelecom (Producer). (2008). Sexual orientation (Segment 3 of 4) [Video]. In Our families, ourselves-sex and
sexuality. Films on Demand.

Differing gender role norms across cultures impact social, cultural, political, and economic activities.
Unfortunately, some gender role norms have created a gender gap. Greiner (2018) defines this as “a disparity
between men and women in their opportunities, rights, benefits, behavior, or attitudes” (p.166). Watch this
gender gap video. The video provides a description of the gender gap in societies and what has created the
gap. The video also discusses the economic benefits of having more gender equality. The transcript for this
video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films on Demand database.

Bloomberg (Producer). (2016). The gender gap (Segment 1 of 4) [Video]. In Smashing the glass ceiling: The

gender gap. Films on Demand.

What is Your Family Culture?

So far in this lesson, we have investigated the relationship between culture and space at the group or society
level. Now, let’s look at the relationship between culture and space at the individual level. We all have a
variety of different cultural influences that impact our own personal or family culture. Investigate your own
personal or family culture. Look around your house. Look at your décor items, your furniture, your clothes, the
food you eat, your music collection, and the activities you spend most of your time doing. Think about how
things like globalization, commodification, popular culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality have
impacted your own cultural views and experiences. What are values and beliefs that are central to you or your
family? How do you spend your leisure time? How big of a role does your faith, race, ethnicity, or gender play
in your family culture? What cultural elements most influenced your identity? What are some similarities and
differences between your cultural identity and your friends or co-workers? What are some benefits of
examining your own cultural identity? It helps you better understand and evaluate what activities and beliefs
are important to you. You can better understand if your activities are consistent with your values.
Understanding your own culture better also helps you become more aware of the different elements impacting
other people’s culture, which can help create a deeper understanding, curiosity, and respect for different

Conclusion and This Unit’s Assignment

After completing the readings for this unit and reading this lesson, you should have a greater idea about the
relationship between culture and place. You learned that geography (place and environment) has played a
role in diffusion of culture, globalization of culture, and molding the identity, material, and non-material
culture of a place. You also were introduced to how different elements like race, gender, and ethnicity shape
a culture.

In this unit, your assignment is to write a travel essay on important cultural landmarks in a place and their
impact on the local people and the visitors. There is a strong connection between man-made or natural
landmarks and the people who inhabit the area where the landmarks are located. The local people shape the
landmarks by supporting legislation or paying taxes that help preserve landmarks. The people shape the
landmarks by visiting them or working at them. In turn, the landmarks shape the people by offering economic
benefits, meaningful cultural experiences, and can even become a strong part of the local cultural identity.
Besides benefiting the local people, landmarks benefit visitors by increasing their cultural awareness and
giving them meaningful cultural experiences. Things like economic downturns, globalization, and natural
disasters can all have a big impact on a landmark, which, in turn, has an impact on the local community. This
assignment combines concepts you learned in Unit I about cultural landscapes and sense of place and what
you learned in Unit II about culture. For more illustrations, watch one or more of the short videos in the
Suggested Reading providing examples of the relationship between landmarks and people.



SOC 2010, Cultural Geography 5




Greiner, A. L. (2018). Visualizing human geography: At home in a diverse world (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Suggested Unit Resources

In order to access the following resources, click the links below.

The transcript for each video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films
on Demand database.

This segment discusses the booming tourist industry in the Dominican Republic.

BBC (Producer). (2015). Dominican Republic: Tourist destination (Segment 3 of 19) [Video]. In Caribbean

with Simon Reeve: Part 1. Films on Demand.

This segment discusses tourist landmarks in Zhouzhuang, China, and the impact on the local community.

German United Distributors (Producer). (2007). Zhouzhuang: Tourism (Segment 2 of 16) [Video]. In Jiangsu:

Between the Emperor Canal and modern skyscrapers. Films on Demand.

This segment discusses examples of activities and beliefs that make up culture.

Promedion Productions (Producer). (2004). Roots of culture (Segment 3 of 14) [Video]. In Culture, identity,

and behavior. Films on Demand.

This segment talks about how the Blue Lagoon natural landscape impacts tourists and locals in Iceland.

Pumpkin TV (Producer). (2013). Tourist industry (Segment 4 of 17) [Video]. In Iceland: Living with volcanoes.

Films on Demand.

Learning Activities (Nongraded)

Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit
them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.

1. Answer the Concept Check questions for Chapter 2 on pages 33, 37, 43, and 49. Answer the
Concept Check Questions for Chapter 6 on pages 147, 151,157, 163, and 167.

2. Complete the Chapter 2 Self-Test on pages 53 and 54 of the textbook. Complete the Chapter 6 Self-
Test on pages 171 and 172. (Answers to the Self-Test for Chapter 2 and 6 are on page 359).





Looking for this or a Similar Assignment? Click below to Place your Order