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How Does Geography Affect Culture

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How does Geography shape culture

It is no secret that religion is most successful when it is suitable for the cultural setting of the period. This is because it is not easy for religion to change society. The opposite is true all the different value structures that people posses help differentiate between religions, adapt them or reject them altogether. Some people will agree that religion is only relevant to society or culture if it is compatible with the needs of the people and their pursuit of a happy life.

If we follow this line of thought, it becomes evident that people are not guided towards religion because of some spiritual, supernatural force. We are religious because our culture permits it, and the practice of our religiousness is scrupulously tied to the values and practices of our cultures. Does this mean that if your family and friends are atheists, you will also be an atheist? Does this mean that if you were born in India, there is a high chance your religion would be Hinduism? Maybe.

These questions open a particular can of worms. This is because such questions suggest that geography, the place where you come from, is directly correlated with the religious affiliation of people. In such a context, how is it possible for any religion to claim to be the right one? This points to one major thing, and that is the inseparable nature of religion and culture.

How Do Historical And Geographical Factors Influence Culture

a. When we refer to historical factors, we refer to how past of a particular region affects and impacts its culture. Such a factor influences diversity of a region. When we refer to geographical factors we refer to the location,climatic conditions, relief features of a particular area that again influences its culture.

How Geography Define Our Culture

In broad terms, cultural geography examines the cultural values, practices, discursive and material expressions and artefacts of people, the cultural diversity and plurality of society, and how cultures are distributed over space, how places and identities are produced, how people make sense of places and build senses

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What Are The Elements Of Geography Explain It

Together, these standards and essential elements identify the most important ideas in the study of geography. The six essential elements are The World in Spatial Terms, Places and Regions, Physical Systems, Human Systems, Environment and Society, and The Uses of Geography. On the chart, they are shown in purple.

How Did Geography Impact The Development Of Early Mesopotamia

How Did Geography Affect Culture In The Fertile Crescent ...

The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers are important landmarks of ancient Mesopotamia. The two rivers are fondly referred to as the cradle of civilization and as such, they had a huge impact on the culture of ancient Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamia valley was a rich agricultural hub, thanks to the presence of the two rivers.

The two rivers also acted as a source of water for irrigation, besides aiding in trade and transportation . In addition, these geographical features helped connect the region to India, Egypt, and China. Mesopotamia is at a crossroad, connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa. This is an indication of cultural openness of the region, and perhaps a mirror of the regions geography.

Because the area did not have natural boundaries such as large rivers and mountain ranges, Mesopotamians remained quite receptive to external influences. Mesopotamia thus became a multicultural and multilingual region at an early age. The culture further impacted on some of its neighbors including the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians.

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Four Geographical Factors Influencing Culture

Geography, which is the study of the Earth’s surface, focuses on elements such as the arrangement of physical features, climate, soil and vegetation. Geography influences the development of the people who occupy given areas. Humans respond and adapt to the conditions they encounter, developing patterns of behavior and customs to cope with dry deserts, arctic cold, high mountain ranges or the isolation of an island. In turn, humans interact with physical geography to change, enhance or destroy physical and ecological features. The study of human interaction with the land is called “cultural geography,” and it includes economics, migrations, religion and language.

What Is Basis Of Conflict

Basis of conflict may be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course. Routine group interaction is first disrupted by an initial conflict, often caused by differences of opinion, disagreements between members, or scarcity of resources.

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How Does Culture Change Religion

How did Christianity change when it spread to other parts of the world, among all the different people and cultures? Many people were not entirely satisfied with priests having social privileges or with the notion of God’s mandate that can be traced in The Book of Samuel.

There was a need for equality and a tendency for alternative interpretations of the Bible, some of which lead the way towards the European Reformation and the growth of democracy, as well as the severance of religion and state, which became the underpinning of modern Christianity. The separation of the public and private sphere came with the aftermath of the realization that we use religion to establish our freedom of choice.

Still, that same freedom of choice is, in turn, applied to dismiss religion. Different cultural contexts demanded different interpretations of religions, and a major religion like Christianity is no exception.

Theoretical Perspectives On Culture

How to Study Cultures – “How Geography Defines a Culture”

Music, fashion, technology, and valuesall are products of culture. However, what do they mean? How do human geographers perceive and interpret culture based on these material and nonmaterial items? Let us finish our analysis of culture by reviewing them in the context of three theoretical perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.

Functionalists view society as a system in which all parts workor functiontogether to create society as a whole. In this way, societies need culture to exist. Cultural norms function to support the fluid operation of society, and cultural values guide people in making choices. Just as members of a society work together to fulfill a societys needs, culture exists to meet its members basic needs.

Functionalists also study culture in terms of values. Education is an essential concept in the United States because it is valued. The culture of educationincluding material culture such as classrooms, textbooks, libraries, dormitoriessupports the emphasis placed on the value of educating a societys members.

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How Geography Has Impacted The Development Of Ancient American Culture

The geography of Ancient America has impacted greatly on its political, economic, and cultural development. Natural resources, topography, water bodies and climatic conditions have all determined the levels of civilization and cultural development in the region .

Latin America was characterized by varied bodies of water and physical geography of land. As a result, some people opted to settle in lands that would allow them to attain higher levels of civilization and cultural development. Mexico, the Central America and South American also had varied topography and climate, and this has resulted in the uneven population distribution that we witness today.

For example, the huge savannah and tropical forests of the Amazonian region are sparsely populated, as well as the northern wastelands of Mexico and the Patagonia desert in Argentina . On the other hand, the Brazilian coast, the central plateau of Mexico and the Rio de la Plata plane in Argentina are overpopulated.

What Are The Religious Beliefs

Religious belief means the belief in a religions central articles of faith, for example, within Christianity that Jesus is the Son of God. It also means beliefs which exist within a religion, but which are not shared by everybody within that religion. the belief in creationism or intelligent design.

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How Geography Has Impacted The Development Of Ancient Egyptian Culture

The Nile River is characterized by yearly floods, resulting in silt deposits. This provides fertile soil for the farming of ample crops. In Ancient Egyptian culture, people were forced to construct channeling water, reservoirs, and dikes. Geography affected Egyptian settlement. There were deserts to the west and to the east.

These created defensive barriers and limited expansion of the Ancient Egyptians who had settled along the River Nile valley . To the Egyptians, the Nile River was also a source of transport, facilitating the movements of the people up and down the river on trade excursions, and in search of food. The limestone, granite deposits and sandstones found on the banks of the Nile River helped to enhance the economic activities of the Egyptians.

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Geographical Differences In Personality

As mentioned previously, personality differences exist across nations and states within nations. Allik and McCrae used the FFM model to analyze personality across 36 nations and found similar personality profiles in geographically adjacent countries. For instance, North America culture of Canada and America, in comparison with Southeast culture of Philadelphia and Indonesia, is higher in extraversion and openness to experience. Later research extended the FFM model to analyze data across 56 countries and found geographical distributions in personality . Findings revealed that Asian and African countries are higher in conscientiousness, South American and European countries are higher in openness to experience, East Asian countries are lower in openness to experience, and African countries are lower in neuroticism as they show lower scores in anxiety and depression.

What Is The Most Important Geographic Factor

In general, just as climate, relief, and soil are the major factors in agricultural geography natural vegetation in pastoral geography and in forest geography and the mineral resources in mining geography so in the geography of man- ufacturing and transportation, relative location is the all-important factor.

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What Is Conflict In A Story Examples

For example, if the protagonist is fighting his or her government, or is accused of a crime he or she didnt commit, these would be examples of Man vs. Society as conflict. If a protagonist is going against the grain of what his or her society and people expect, this is also an example of Man vs. Society conflict.

Geographical Differences In Cultural Tightness

Geography’s Influence on World History, Society and Human Development

Cultural tightness-looseness refers to the strength of external societal constraints and includes two key components: strength of social norms the clarity and pervasiveness of norms within societies, and strength of sanctioning tolerance for deviance from norms within societies . Tight nations have been found to display strong social norms and low tolerance for deviant behavior whereas loose nations display weak social norms and high tolerance for deviant behavior . In addition, investigations of cultural tightness-looseness across 33 nations have revealed that countries with higher ecological and historical threats have tighter cultures as they showed stronger social norms and lower tolerance for deviant behavior. Tight nations were observed to have higher population density, higher projected population increases, and fewer natural resources compared to loose nations.

Aside from national differences in cultural tightness-looseness, Harrington and Gelfand looked at state-level tightness-looseness by developing an index to measure cultural tightness-looseness across 50 U.S. states. Their findings revealed significant state-level differences in cultural tightness-looseness. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee were identified as the top five tight states, while California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts were identified as the top five loose states.

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What Is An Example Of Cultural Geography

Culture is the collection of behaviors and traditions of a group of people. For example, in some cultures it is customary for a bride to wear white on her wedding day, while in other cultures, a bride wears red. Cultural geography involves studying how the physical environment interacts with the traditions of people.

Does Physical Geography Affect Human Life

Physical geography is the study of natural features and phenomena on the planets surface and our interactions with them. Geography doesnt just determine whether humans can live in a certain area or not, it also determines peoples lifestyles, as they adapt to the available food and climate patterns.

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How Does Geography Affect American Culture

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Accordingly, how do geography and culture affect religion?

Sacred placesTraditional cultural geographical approaches to the study of religion mainly seek to determine religion’s impact on the landscape. These perceptions and imaginings influence the way such spaces are used, and the personal, spiritual meanings developed in using such sacred spaces.

Secondly, how does topography affect culture? Topography, the study of reliefs on the surface of the earth, has significant impact on the culture. Natural barriers such mountain ranges, oceans and large deserts limit human travel and isolate populations, thereby restricting cultural exchanges. Climate can greatly affect a culture.

Secondly, how does geography affect our lives?

These features include vegetation, climate, the local water cycle, and land formations. Geography doesn’t just determine whether humans can live in a certain area or not, it also determines people’s lifestyles, as they adapt to the available food and climate patterns.

How did geography affect the Native Americans?

Because the Great Plains had rivers, various Native American tribes would camp along these rivers while they were following the buffalo. So again, the geography of the area provided this availability of food and places to stay and feed and water their horses.

How Does Geography Influence Religion


It is a common knowledge that civilizations ordinarily develop in and around river systems where there are easy access to water, food sources, and irrigation systems. This geographical state permits people to grow crops and thus shift from the hunter gatherer lifestyle to becoming agriculturistfarming and domesticating livestock.

The Ganges, Indus Valley, the Nile, and Amazon River are geographical regions where various kinds of people have developed over time. Dissimilarities in culture result in diverse religious inclinations which incorporate their environments into their rituals, mythologies, and iconography. This partially explains the rise of various religions in these places.

The origin of some features within a religion can also be explained by geography. For instance, shrines in Shintoism have been built for reasons that include geography . Every shrine typically has a kami , which may be a natural or topographical feature. The kami is said to normally reside in an object, such as a stone.

Many examples also prove that the physical environment of a place or geography elucidates many aspects of the religions in it:

Olympus was the home of the ancient Greek pantheon and Mt. Fuji was the dwelling place of gods in Japan. Man even built artificial mountains in an attempt to reach the divine in the form of pyramids, ziggarats, and mounds.

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Geography is very important to understanding culture. Places along the coast may have an oceangoing culture. Fish might be a major part of their diet. Many ethnic Portuguese dishes use fish. Fish also appears prominently in Thai and British cuisine.

Climate, as it relates to geography, is also important for understanding a culture. Some places in Central and South America have the siesta, a midday break, because it is too hot to do much in the middle of the day. Most countries who are traditionally good at hockey are places with cold winters. This is also true for other cold-weather sports, such as Alpine skiing. People from cold-weather areas also wear heavier clothes than people from warm-weather areas who typically only wear light textiles.

Geography can also affect the economy of a region. Large-scale agriculture is common in the United States and Ukraine due to the fertility of the soil there. Areas next to the coast are known for trade. Tokyo and London have taken advantage of their maritime locations in order to build massive trading empires. Countries rich in oil such as Saudi Arabia have cashed in on their resources, creating an economic system in which a few people have gotten quite wealthy.

M.A. from The University of Alabama

Educator since 2008

Further Reading

What Are The Geographical Factors That Affect Development

Geographical factors that affect development

  • Climate. One of the most important factors in development is geography, where the country is in the world, and climate.
  • Location. Secondly, geographical location plays a part in access to markets.
  • Resources. Thirdly, every country has been dealt a hand in natural resources.
  • Stability.

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Main Ways In Which The Earth’s Surface Affects Culture

  • Cultural geography is a subfield in geography that deals with the way different cultures are shaped by geographical landscapes.
  • Topography is extremely important for the development of cultures because mountains can easily isolate humans and prevent them from stepping into contact with other cultures.
  • Once humans started to sail over the oceans, it became easier to spread various cultures around, and coastal lines became the hubs where cultures were exchanged.

Our world is home to many different cultures. By visiting other countries we are exposed to many wondrous things of whose existence we were hardly aware of. Cultural diversity is extremely important for the world, and the best way to experience it is by visiting other countries. We use the word culture to describe the lifestyles of different groups of people. These people most often live in different countries than we do. There are many people on our planet, and the number of different cultures is astounding.

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