1.1 Defining Culture
Culture is everywhere; it’s something that gives identity to a group of people or a place. It can be seen in something as small as a group of friends or a town or reaching much larger scales of a whole country. However the complexity of the word is something most people fail to think about. It’s a word everyone understands but ultimately find very difficult to define.
A definition by Raymond Williams taken from the book “Moving from high culture to ordinary culture” – 1958. “A culture has two aspects: the known meanings and directions, which its members are trained to; the new observations and meanings, which are offered and tested”. This is just a couple of lines from the very long definition however; it states, maybe, the most important part of the definition. The known meanings and directions of its members refers to everyday life of the members and what gives them their identity. The new observations and meanings which are offered and tested talks of how a culture can change over time. Raymond Williams also states how culture is ordinary and it’s an ordinary process of human societies to establish their own cultures.
Another Definition given by Edward Said quoted from his book “Culture and Imperialism” – 1994, also states how culture is given in two aspects but his definition interprets culture to be much broader than Raymond Williams. “First of all culture means all those practices like the arts of description, communication and representation, that have relative autonomy from the economic, social, and political realms and that often exist in aesthetic forms, one of whose principal aims is pleasure”. This refers to the way of life of a population and how they respond to laws and regulations of the area they live in which in its self is also culture. 1.2 Cultural Landscapes
Cultural landscape is easier to define as it is a particular part of culture. Cultural landscapes provide a sense of place and identity; they map our relationship with the land over time; and they are part of our national heritage and each of our lives. They are sites associated with a significant event, activity, person or group of people. They range in size from thousands of acres of rural land to historic homesteads. They are expressions of regional identity There are 4 types of cultural landscape:
1. Designed landscape - a landscape consciously designed by man 2. Vernacular landscape – landscape that has evolved through the use of people and their social and cultural attitudes 3. Historic Site – Significant for a historic event, person or structure 4. Ethnographic Landscape – Contains a variety of natural and cultural resources (heritage resources).
1.31 Why cultural landscapes are important
They show the legacy of a community. They show aspects of origin and development and how the relationship of that community’s relationship with the natural world evolved over time. Providing large economic, social, recreational, educational and inspirational factors to those who visit them.
1.32 Why it is important to protect cultural landscapes
These sites are at risk due to unnecessary development and short term solutions to problems that threaten the survival of all community and culture. Protecting these sites improves the quality of life and gives a sense of identity to future generations.
1.4 What is happening now?
Globalisation (the spread of information and culture from one nation to another) is destroying the culture of communities all around the globe and replacing it with a ‘westernised culture’. The fear is that this could lead to a globally homogenous culture. For this reason it is important to create new culture and protect culture that already exists. There are organisations and players that are involved in schemes that set out to do this.