How does geography affect culture?
The geographical location of any given society close to certain physical features may shape the social life of people. In the ancient African culture, some of the people associated mountains, trees, or hills to their Gods and their cultural practices. In extreme cases, some people, like the Africans, believed that the forest appeared where God stayed. As a result, some of them believe that the forest should never be cut down, and they go to the extent of protecting it against poachers and other forms of destruction. This fact shaped their beliefs in relation to moral upbringing and coexistence.
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The modernity of society critically influences the way people associate things. In the urban centers, there is a tendency among the youth to follow fashion and copy the way celebrities dress and behave themselves. In the course of time, their beliefs, as well as social values, may be changed as they want to copy behaviors they see in movies. It may further be determined how the youth relate to other people either positively or negatively. This may also influence the culture of the local people depending on the aspirations of young individuals.
On the other hand, when people migrate from one location to another one, they may be assimilated through socialization. As a result, they may find themselves being influenced either through peer group influence or due to their own need to belong to a certain social class. Consequently, they may change their beliefs as well as social values in order to fit a specific social group.
The geographical location influences the way people wear clothes. This may be observed by the way the Eskimos dress so heavily due to the excessive cold found in their area of origin. On the other hand, most people who live along with the cost dress scantily due to the hot weather. This has the effect of determining their cultural beliefs, either directly or indirectly.
Can you think of any way that the unique geography of the Middle East may have affected the cultures of the Middle East?
The Middle East is mainly associated with the desert and religion of the Muslims. This fact has stifled their cultural values being mostly associated with the Arab world. In the desert, people live in an extremely harsh environment, and as a result, they get used to hardship throughout their lives. Due to these conditions, people hold so much to what they believe in the extent of giving up their lives in suicide missions. This issue may be evident by the high number of suicide bomb attacks observed in the Arabic countries believing that they are fighting for their rights1.
Besides, the desert environment has highly influenced the religion of society, which could be observed by the firm loyalty in what they believe. In the Middle East, one could see that most people are strictly religious. It is very rear for someone to influence the Arabic population against their religion, with most of them have built a strong foundation since the time when they were young.2 According to the harsh environment, most of them have to wear a long piece of clothing they call a ‘kanzu.’ This is a long dress that covers the whole body by allowing free circulation of air underneath.
The nature of the desert weather also affects the type of games they are engaged in. Most of the games played in the desert are highly related to its nature. This will always have a great influence on the life of children throughout their childhood and adult life. With the course of time, the culture of an individual will have been shaped to a given degree. In relation to the strong and harsh environment of the desert, most of these people have very strict and strong cultural beliefs3.
How does an understanding of Middle Eastern geography affect the way we think about the Middle East?
Due to specific natural conditions of the most parts of the Middle East, in particular dry and hot air, Arabic life creates the impression to be an actual hardship for the majority of people. The Arabs and most of the population living in the Middle Eastern region of the world are perceived to be people who are hardened due to their environment. However, the presence of oil in their countries has greatly helped them to solve most of their problems. In addition to that, the environment determines their manner of language and how they behave in the society in general. Apart of that, the hard environment could be the reason due to which most of the people in the Arabic world have very hard and strong beliefs which cannot be changed under any conditions. The specific Middle Eastern environment is also closely associated with the perception of destruction and inhumanity taking into consideration their actions on the world arena, for example, how they are associated with the suicide bombing and terrorism.
Lowenstein, Michael. Human Geography. New York: Penguin publishers, 2003.
Moore, Geoffrey. Population Growth And culture. Illinois: Johnston Publishers, 2000.
Pearson, Bryan. Geography And The Society. San Francisco: Brooks publishers, 2012.
- Lowenstein, Michael. Human Geography. New York: Penguin Publishers, 2003.
- Moore, Geoffrey. Population Growth And culture. Illinois: Johnston Publishers, 2000.
- Pearson, Bryan. Geography And The Society. San Francisco: Brooks publishers, 2012.