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the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
Ex: Spanish Culture

folk culture

Cultural traits such as dress modes, dwellings, traditions, and institutions of usually small, traditional communities.
Ex: head wraps

popular culture

Culture found in a large, heterogeneous society that shares certain habits despite differences in other personal characteristics
Ex: rap music

local culture

a group of people in a particular place who see themselves as a collective or a community, who share experiences, customs, and traits, and who work to preserve those traits and customs in order to claim uniqueness and to distinguish themselves from others.
Ex: Chicago dyes the river green on St. Patrick's Day

material culture

The physical manifestations of human activities; includes tools, campsites, art, and structures. The most durable aspects of culture (can hold)
Ex: Mosques

nonmaterial culture

ideas, knowledge and beliefs that influence people's behavior (can't hold)
Ex: Eastern European Orthodox churches

hierarchical diffusion

The spread of an idea from persons or nodes of authority or power to other persons or places
Ex: commonly in Fashion


the social process of absorbing one cultural group into harmony with another


The frequent repetition of an act, to the extent that it becomes characteristic of the group of people performing the act.
Ex: head wrap

cultural appropriation

The process by which cultures adopt customs and knowledge from other cultures and use them for their own benefit
Ex: how to farm or grow certain type of plant


The process through which something is given monetary value. Occurs when a when a good or idea that was previously not regarded as an item to be bought and sold is turned into something that has a particular price and that can be traded in a market economy.
Ex: Bottled Water


countries characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; changing


in the context of local cultures or customs, the accuracy with which the single sterotypical or typecast image or experience conveys an otherwise dynamic and complex local culture or its customs

distance decay

The decrease in importance and eventual disappearance of a phenomenon with increasing distance from its origin; the farther away one group is from another, the less likely the two groups are to interact.

time-space compression

a term associated with the work of David Harvey that refers to the social and psychological effects of living in a world in which time-space convergence has rapidly reached a high level of intensity

cultural landscape

the visible imprint of human activity and culture on the landscape
Ex: agriculture and industry


defined by the geographer Edward Relph as the loss of uniqueness of place in the cultural landscape so that one place looks like the next
Ex: common scene of McDonald's and Lowes

global-local continuum

the notion that what happens at the global scale has a direct effect on what happens at the local scale, and vice versa.


The process by which people in a local place mediate and alter regional, national, and global processes
Ex: Ipod


A system of communication through the use of speech, a collection of sounds understood by a group of people to have the same meaning.
Ex: Hawaiian

mutual intelligibility

The ability of two people to understand each other when speaking.
Ex: Lingua Franca

standard language

the variant of a language that a country's political and intellectual elite seek to promote as the norm for use in schools, government, the media, and other aspects of public life
Ex for America: English


When the speech of two groups or two persons both speaking the same language exhibits very marked differences, the groups or persons are said to speak different dialects.
Ex: Southern dialect: What ya'll fixin' to do tonight?


geographic boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs, but such a boundary is a rarely simple line
Ex: 'Pop' and 'soda' in midwest; 'coke' in south

language families

Group of languages with a shared but fairly distant origin
Ex: Romance


Linguistic hypothesis proposing the existence of an ancestral Indo-European language that is the hearth of the ancient latin, greek, and sanskrit languages which hearth would link modern languages from scandinavia to north africa and from north america through parts of asia to australia

extinct language

A language that was once used by people in daily activities but is no longer used.
Ex: like ancient tribe languages

language divergence

when a language breaks into dialects due to a lack of spatial interaction among speakers of a language, and continued isolation causes new languages to be formed.

Renfrew hypothesis

three areas in and near the first agricultural hearth (fertile cresent), gave rise to three language families: Indo-European, Arabic Languages, and mid-eastern languages

conquest theory

the theory that early Proto-Indo-European speakers spread westward on horseback, overpowering earlier inhabitants and beginning the diffusion and differentiation of Indo-European tounges

dispersal hypothesis

Hypothesis which holds that the Indo-European languages that arose from Proto-Indo-European were first carried eastward into Southwest Asia, next around the Caspian Sea, and then across the Russian-Ukrainian plains and onto the Balkans.

Romance languages

Languages that lie in the areas that were once controlled by the Roman Empire but were not subsequently overwhelmed.
Ex: French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese

Germanic languages

Languages that reflect the expansion of peoples out of Northern Europe to the west and south.
Ex: English, German, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish

Slavic languages

Languages that developed as Slavic people migrated from a base in present-day Ukraine close to 2000 years ago.
Ex: Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian

lingua franca

A language mutually understood and commonly used in trade by people who have different native languages
Ex: English

pidgin language

A form of speech that adopts a simplified grammar and limited vocabulary of a lingua franca, used for communications among speakers of two different languages.
Ex: the creole language Tok Pisin (sounds like Talk Pidgin)

Creole languages

a language that began as a pidgin language but was later adopted as the mother tongue by a people in place of the mother tongue
Ex: Tok Pisin

monolingual states

countries or states that only speak one language
Ex: Australia, France, and Japan

multilingual states

states that speak more than one language
Ex: Belgium and South Africa

official language

In multilingual countries the language selected, often by the educated and politically powerful elite, to promote internal cohesion; usually the language of the courts and government
Ex: Australia

global language

The language used most commonly around the world; defined on the basis of either the number of speakers of the language, or prevalence of use in commerce and trade
Ex. English next to Chinese


a particular space with physical and human meaning
Ex: Paris


Place names given to certain features on the land such as settlements, terrain features, and streams
Ex: San Fransico


a system of beliefs and practices that attempts to order life in terms of culturally perceived ultimate priorities
Ex: Christianity


an indifference to religion and a belief that religion should be excluded from civic affairs and public education
Ex: Secular music

monotheistic & polytheistic religions

monotheistic religions believe in one god; whereas, polytheistic believe in numerous gods
Ex: Christianity/ Shinto

animistic religion

the beleif that inanimate objects, such as hills, trees, rocks, rivers, and other elements of natural landscape, possess souls and can help or hinder human efforts on Earth
Ex: Mormonism

universalizing religion

A religion that attempts to appeal to all people, not just those living in a particular location.
Ex: Christianity

ethnic religion

Religion that is identified with a particular ethnic or tribal group and that does not seek new converts.
Ex: Judiasm


An eastern religion which evolved from an ancient Aryan religion in which followers strive to free their soul from reincarnation until the soul is finally freed. This religion is practiced primarily in India.

caste system

the strict social segregation of people-specifically in india's hindu society-on the basis of ancestry and occupation
Ex: untouchables


Religion founded in the sixth century BCE and characterized by the belief that enlightenment would come through knowledge, especially self-knowledge; elimination of greed, craving, and desire; complete honesty; and never hurting another person or animal. Buddhism splintered from Hinduism as a reaction to the strict social hierarchy maintained by Hinduism.


Religion located in Japan and related to Buddhism. Shintoism focuses particularly on nature and ancestor worship


Religion believed to have been founded by Lao-Tsu and based upon his book entitled "Tao-te-ching," or "Book of the Way." Lao-Tsu focused on the proper form op political rule and on the oneness of humanity and nature.

Feng Shui

rules in Chinese philosophy that govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to patterns of yin and yang and the flow of energy (qi)


A philosophy that adheres to the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. It shows the way to ensure a stable government and an orderly society in the present world and stresses a moral code of conduct.


A religion with a belief in one god. It originated with Abraham and the Hebrew people. Yahweh was responsible for the world and everything within it. They preserved their early history in the Old Testament.


a dispersion of people from their homeland to new land
Ex: Zionism


A worldwide movement, originating in the 19th century that sought to establish and develop a Jewish nation in Palestine. Since 1948, its function has been to support the state of Israel.


A monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior.


a member of a Christian church founded on the principles of the Reformation.


A religion based on the teachings of the prophet Mohammed which stresses belief in one god (Allah), Paradise and Hell, and a body of law written in the Quran. Followers are called Muslims.

indigenous religions

Belief systems and philosophies practiced and traditionally passed from generation to generation among peoples within an indigenous tribe or group
Ex: Native


Community faith in traditional societies in which people follow their shaman - a religious leader, teacher, healer, and visionary. At times, an especially strong shaman might attract a regional following. However, most shamans remain local figures.


A journey to a place considered sacred for religious purposes.
Ex: Zionism

ethnic cleansing

Process in which more powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a less powerful one in order to create an ethnically homogeneous region
Ex: Nazis killed the Jewish people

religious fundamentalism

religious movement whose objectives are to return to the foundations of the faith and to influence state policy
Ex: create flyers (aware the people)

religious extremism

religious fundamentalism carried to the point of violence
Ex: Protests and marches

identifying against

constructing an identity by first defining the "other" and then defining ourselves as "not the other"


a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important

residential segregation

Defined by Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton as "the degree to which two or more groups live separately from one another, in different parts of the urban environment."


process by which new immagrants to a city move to and dominate or take over areas or neighborhoods occupied by older immagrant groups
Ex: peurto ricans inveaded jewish groups

sense of place

State of mind derived through the infusion of a place with meaning and emotion by remembering important events that occurred in that place or by labeling a place with a certian character.
Ex: Paris- Eiffel tower


Identity with a group of people that share distinct physical and mental traits as a product of common heredity and cultural traditions.


defined by Doreen Massey and Pat Jess as "social relations stretched out."

queer theory

Theory defined by geographers Glen Elder, Lawrence Knopp, and Heidi Nast that highlights the contextual nature of opposition to the heteronormative and focuses on the political engagement of "queers" with the heteronormative.

dowry deaths

In the context of arranged marriages in India, disputes over the price to be paid by the family of the bride to the father of the groom have, in some extreme cases, led to the death of a bride.
Ex: if the wives parents dont pay enough money


Defined by geographer James Curtis as the dramatic increase in Hispanic population in a given neighborhood; referring to barrio, the Spanish word for neighborhood.

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