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Geography - Cultural and Political Geography | 12th Geography : Chapter 5 : Cultural and Political Geography

Chapter: 12th Geography : Chapter 5 : Cultural and Political Geography

Cultural and Political Geography

Understand the existence of cultural diversity and cultural traits around the world.

Cultural and Political Geography

Learning Objectives

* Understand the existence of cultural diversity and cultural traits around the world.

* Describe the world distribution of the tribes.

* Explain the concept of nation and state.

* Distinguish between Boundaries and Frontiers

* Understand political relevance of Heartland theory and Rimland theory to the present world.



An interesting traditional Chinese custom says that a husband should carry his bride over a pan of burning coals before crossing the threshold of their home as husband and wife. According to tradition, the ritual ensures that the wife will have an easy and successful labour. Fire walking is also performed by some Chinese people as a means to prevent natural disaster’.

‘In Cypriot culture, do not give white lilies as they are used at funerals. It is polite to nish everything on your plate. If you have not nished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife’. It indicates you have nished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel across the right side of your plate’. Do you know some interesting custom practiced in our culture?

Culture is the total way of life that characterises a group of people. There are thousands of cultures existing today and each contributes to global diversity. There are so many ways that people can be culturally different. Specifically, a culture consists of numerous cultural components that vary from one culture group to the other. Some of the cultural parameters are religion, language, architecture, cuisine, technology, music, dress, gender roles, law, education, government, agriculture, economy, sport, values, and many more.

Culture Region

A culture region is a portion of Earth that has common cultural elements and has distinct cultural authority from other regions. Any number of cultural components may be used to define culture regions. A map of world religions, for example, includes a shaded area in South Asia where Hinduism is dominant.

Culture regions differ greatly in size. Some are exceedingly large, like the Islamic culture region that encompasses millions of square km of North Africa and Southwest Asia. Some are very small, like Spanish Harlem, which encompasses about three square km of Manhattan. Many others are of intermediate size, like the Corn Belt, which occupies a portion of the mid western United States.

Cultural Diffusion

Cultural diffusion is the spread of cultural beliefs and social activities from one group of people to another. Mixing of world culture through different ethnicities, religions and nationalities has only increased with advanced communication, transport and technology.

Cultural Landscape

Cultural Landscapes have been defined by the World Heritage Committee as “cultural properties representing the combined works of nature and of man”.

The World Heritage Committee has identified and adopted three categories of cultural landscape. The three categories extracted from the Committee’s Operational Guidelines, are as follows:

i. “A landscape designed and created intentionally by man”.

ii. An “organically evolved landscape” which may be a “relict (or fossil) landscape” or a “continuing landscape”;

iii. An “associative cultural landscape” which may be valued because of the “religious, artistic or cultural associations of the natural element”.

Cultural Interaction

Cultural interaction focuses on the relationships that often exist between cultural components that characterize a given community. Different factors interact with each other and give rise to prevalent trait.

What language do you speak? What dress do you wear? What food do you like? What is the structure of the house you live in? For the above question by searching the answer we can learn the culture of a human society.

Culture shapes our identity and influences our behaviours. Culture refers to the sharing language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviours and material objects, which are passed from one generation to the next generation. Cultural geography is the branch of human geography which deals about the areal organization of various cultural aspects in relation to total environment. Some of the cultural aspects are as follows:


Language plays great force in socialization and historical transmission, which is the primary instrument for transmitting culture. Human can bind any group of people through the network of interaction. Languages are in written or oral form. India (780) has the world's second highest number of languages, after Papua New Guinea (839).


Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified withinparticular social setting. .Habit is a similar word which is adopted by an individual and it has been adopted by most of the people of the ethnic group or society.


Norms refers to attitude and behaviours that are considered normal, typical or average within the group. Cultural norms are the standards we live by. They are the shared expectations and rules that guide behaviour of people within social groups. Cultural norms are learned and reinforced from parents, friends, teachers and others while growing up in a society. Norms often differ across cultures, contributing to cross-cultural misunderstandings.


Values refer to intangible quality or beliefs accepted and endorsed by a society. A culture's values are its ideas about what is good, right, fair, and just. Sociologists disagree, however, on how to conceptualize values. Conflict theory focuses on how values differ between groups within a culture, while functionalism focuses on the shared values within a culture.

Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage. As part of human activity Cultural Heritage produces tangible representations of the value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles. As an essential part of culture as a whole, Cultural Heritage, contains these visible and tangible traces form antiquity to the recent past.

Cultural Heritage types

Cultural Heritage can be distinguished in: Built Environment (Buildings, Townscapes, and Archaeological remains), Natural Environment (Rural landscapes, Coasts and shorelines, agricultural heritage) and Artefacts (Books & Documents, Objects, and Pictures).

Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity refers to having different cultures, respect to each other differences. Cultural diversity is important; because of work place and show increasingly consist of various cultural, racial and ethnic groups. We can learn from one another but first we must have a level of understanding. Cultural diversity exists in many countries around the world, but it can be challenging and, at times, problematic. Through this lesson, you will learn how to define cultural diversity and explore some of the ways in which it influences society.

Cultural Traits

A cultural trait is a characteristic of human action that's acquired by people socially and transmitted via various modes of communication. Cultural traits are things that allow for a part of one culture to be transmitted to another. There are millions of culture traits, a trait can be an object, a technique, a belief or an attitude. Culture traits are interrelated with each other, their collective function forms culture complex.

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