Cultural Influence on a Geographic Region: Vocabulary

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  • 0:02 Cultural Geography
  • 1:09 Core-Domain-Sphere
  • 3:22 Regions & Realms
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How does a culture spread? And how can we study the way that culture changes across physical space? In this lesson, we'll look at two approaches to cultural geography: the core-domain-sphere model and culture regions and realms.

Cultural Geography

Ray loves football. He can talk about it for hours and always feels a little blue when football season ends. Whether it's high school, college, or pro football, Ray will watch it and cheer passionately.

Ray is from the South, so football is part of his culture, or the beliefs and traditions of a group of people. The culture of the American South involves loving football, and Ray is an enthusiastic part of that culture.

Cultural geography is the study of the interaction between people and the environment. For example, though there are big football fans in Montana, the culture of Montana is less about football than the culture of the South. This is, in part, because the warmer weather in the South means that people can play football more easily during the winter months, and with more people playing and watching football, a culture of football fans grew.

Let's look closer at how culture and geographic regions interact, including the core-domain-sphere model of geography, as well as culture regions and culture realms.

Core-Domain-Sphere Model

As we've seen, where a person is from can be a big influence on their culture. For example, Ray's southern culture centers on football: watching it, playing it, and talking about it! Living in the heart of the South, Ray is surrounded by football fans.

On the other hand, if Ray moved somewhere else, football might not be as big of a deal. The core-domain-sphere model of cultural geography says that culture is very concentrated at some points and less concentrated at others.

Think of culture as concentric circles. The center circle is the most concentrated area of a culture, and as you move out into the outer circles, that culture is less strong. The core of a culture is the area of highest concentration of the culture. It is like the center, or core, circle. For example, the American South is the core of football culture. When Ray is at home in the south, he is surrounded by lots of football fans.

The domain of a culture is like the next circle outside of the center circle. Here, culture becomes less concentrated but still has a strong influence. For example, if Ray moves to Montana, he might find that people like to watch football, but they aren't as focused on it as they are in the South. There will be some rabid football fans, like Ray, but there won't be as many of them.

Finally, the sphere of a culture is the most diffuse area of the culture. It's like the outermost circle. If Ray moves to Canada, there will be even fewer football fans than if he was in Montana. It's just not as much a part of the culture.

Another example of the core-domain-sphere model involves religion. The core of the Mormon religion is in Salt Lake City, where there are many Mormons. The domain is the state of Utah, where there are still a lot of Mormons but perhaps in a less concentrated form than in Salt Lake City. Finally, the sphere is the western U.S., where there are still some Mormons but fewer of them.

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