AP Human Geography

Hershey High School

Habitat for Humanity

November16
Founder and Co-Founder of Habitat for Humanity

Founder and Co-Founder of Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller in 1976. They felt that their marriage was unconnected and went on a soul-search, the Fuller’s decided to reconnect with each other and their Christianity. Millard and Linda resulted in selling their most valuable possessions and donating money to the less-fortunate. Their search for a needy community led them to the Koinonia Farm, near Americus, Georgia. The people of this community were eager to find a way to submit an application of Christ’s teachings in the Bible, and luckily so were Millard and Linda. The Fuller’s made a partnership with Clarence Jordan, the owner of Koinonia Farm. Together they set out on a mission to give families with low incomes a decent, non-profit, no interest home.

Habitat for Humanity has helped families all over the world with the help of volunteers and donations.

Habitat for Humanity has diffused worldwide to become an International Organization.

The idea of Habitat for Humanity was thought of in the 1960s by the Fuller’s. They developed the Humanity Fund in 1968, and in 1976 Habitat for Humanity was recognized as International.  Houses are being built all around the country and even around the world.  Habitat has over 90 partnerships with foreign countries.  This well known organization has helped families in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean. The distance decay around the world has no influence on Habitat for Humanity. The founders and volunteers want to do everything they are able to do to help all of the struggling people. Their profound achievements, first locally, then nationally, and finally internationally, have led this movement to become hierarchical diffusion. Habitat originally started contiguously spreading throughout Georgia and then to near by states. Later, it evolved into a non-contiguous movement as Habitat for Humanity started  diffusing to other continents.

Habitat for Humanity has been spread through many sources. It is being acknowledged because of its good works, and many people also want to live by Jesus’ words.  Habitat for Humanity has diffused hierarchically through time-space compression. Due to technology and communication this is apparent. The places most connected are the ones taking action. Through the internet, ads, and fundraising the word has been spread to places far and near, connecting with this cause. The Habitat for Humanity website is a great way to learn about how anyone can volunteer or donate to this cause. Ordinary people, and even well known people have been helping over 330,000 families by giving them the opportunity for affordable housing and financial support. Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn partnered with Habitat creating the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Each year they take one week to build a home, in a different location each year. Their efforts have given Habitat for Humanity a large amount of publicity, and have involved volunteers from around the world. The Christians and volunteers play a big role in the crowd who has accepted this organization with open arms. Without the work of this local culture Habitat for Humanity would not be able to grow and share with families in need.

Volunteers are constructing a home for a family.

Volunteers are constructing a home for a family.

Although Habitat for Humanity is continuously growing internationally, this organization must always keep in mind its needs.  Donations, fund-raising, and volunteers is what keeps this movement alive. The need for donations and fund-raising is crucial in order for Habitat to continue, without them habitat is unable to help the needy families. From donations Habitat is able to purchase materials, choose a building site, and select a family based on their ability to repay the loans.

The general concept of Habitat for Humanity has been to build housing for families who financially cannot afford to repair, build, rent, or purchase a home. This is an effort to decrease homelessness worldwide.  Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman, and child deserves having a satisfactory, safe home. As Habitat went national and international, few changes were made to its non-material culture. Habitat for Humanity continues to focus on building homes, but also now offers financial adviceFinancial Fitness, is a resource to help you manage money and savings better, it allows families to be able to afford their home.

Stock Car Racing (NASCAR)

November16

Stock car racing, the number one spectator sport in the U.S., not only demonstrates the diffusion of a phenomenon but also the forging of a national custom. That is, in it’s beginning, stock car racing was basically a mean used by alcohol smugglers to outrun authorities during the Prohibtion era. Consequently, as the smuggling continued, the smugglers began to race one another. However, due to the absence

Founder of NASCAR

Founder of NASCAR

of regulatory body, the drivers had no real set of rules. Thereupon, in 1948,NASCAR was founded by fellow stock car racer Bill France Sr. as way to organize and monitor the races. Furthermore, the sport grew in popularity and crossed both national and international borders. Thus through its displacement, path of movement, and diffusion, stock car racing portrays the making of a global custom.
Unlike culturally appropriated sports like baseball and golf, stock car racing was born and developed in the United States. Specifically, having its early beginnings in the 1920s Prohibition Era, the sport took 30 years to spread internationally. Its first stop on the diffusion route, Great Britain accepted the custom, and had its first race in 1954. Since then, Great Britain has greatly reduced the American authenticity by installing heavy duty race engines and modified chassis. Following the success of stock car racing in Britain, the custom made its way to New Zealand, rather contiguously. However, New Zealands regulating body, New Zealand Motor, in contrast to NASCAR,  permits physical contact between the cars, moreover showing, the effects of distance decay on the subject of American authenticity. In addition, to New Zealand and Great Britain, stock car racing custom has both moved, and evolved, throughout other places, such as, Brazil and Canada. However, due to minimal displacement between the hearth and new place of custom, the custom has remained relatively intact.
Similarly to other popular culture, stock car racing has spread based on entertainment value. That is to say, due the large crowds gathering at places like Daytona beach. In this case, the event’s popularity meant large profits for the event’s sponsor, Sprint Nextel.

Stock Car racing

Stock Car racing

In time, such popularity gained the attention of businesses across the Atlantic. However, the spread didn’t go without barriers. Before the formation of Nascar in 1948, World War 2 relatively stopped all races nationwide until its end in 1945. However, more recently, NASCAR has faced encumbering criticisms from environmentalist groups for its disregard for emissions and pollution unlike other racing corporation such as FIA Formula One. However, despite these barriers stock car racing remains a major custom that defines American culture.
The movement of stock car racing is a classic example of hierarchical diffusion. In that, the sport was spread through the following hierarchies: smugglers, “underground racers,” national racers, mainstream audience, and finally an International sport, and thus international audiences. More specifically however, the audience, unlike sports such as baseball, consists of more than 35% women. Meaning, that this sport is accepted by both male and female segments of the population. Therefore, making it not only a global custom but also a genderless custom. Speeds of stock cars
All in all, stock car racing, through diffusion, displacement, and movement establishes itself as a global and genderless custom. That, through it’s displacement shows metamorphosis. Through its diffusion shows its appeal to both men and women. Finally, through its movement, shows its strength as a custom and a defining characteristic of our culture.

The Spread of Target Corporation

November12

The expansion of Target Corporation is a chief example of popular culture’s effect on the United States and the world as a whole. As a result of American popular culture’s certain values, Target’s discount stores were able to spread throughout the entire United States. The rapid growth of this company displays the considerable amount of emphasis that Americans place on their material culture, as Target Corporation has thrived on selling material goods such as clothing and electronic goods.

Creator of Targets Parent Company

George Dayton: Creator of Target's Parent Company

George Draper Dayton opened Goodfellow Dry Goods in 1902, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1962, the company (then known as the Dayton Company) opened the first of its “Target” discount stores in Roseville, Minnesota. Today, Target stores have spread from their Midwestern hearth throughout the United States. There is now a Target in every state except Vermont.

On the whole, Target stores have spread quickly. In 47 years since the flagship Target’s opening, over 1,600 more stores have been launched. The Target Corporation spread mainly through hierarchical diffusion, as stores were first opened in cities, and then began to appear in the suburbs. Economic factors have greatly affected the spread of Target stores. As a business, Target bases its expansion decisions on the state of the economy. In certain cases, these conditions have slowed or prevented the chain’s movement. For example, during the early 1970’s, Target temporarily halted all plans of expansion, as the company’s earnings plummeted. However, after profits increased, Target continued expansion.

Target Corporation was at first an example of contiguous movement, as stores spread outward from city to neighboring city. But, after acquisitions of other  store chains in the Southwest U.S., Target Corporation began to spread in a non-contiguous manner, in that Target stores were opened in seemingly random locations across the United States. As they were diffused, Target stores have become

Target Store

Target Store

somewhat altered. Although most Target locations are virtually the same in appearance, many that are built in the city have been constructed with multiple floors. This is due to the space constraints in most urban centers. However, a majority of Target stores have not experienced alteration. This contributes to an overwhelming sense of placelessness in much of Middle America. The cultural landscapes of these particular areas have lost their individuality, because chain stores such as Target are so numerous throughout the country. Due to Target’s reputation for selling high quality items at a low cost, the stores attract a great deal of shoppers.  Most of all, Target stores draw families (45% of shoppers have children at home) and those who are well educated (48% have completed college). This can be attributed to the clean, family-friendly environment, and the quality of Target’s products.

In the end, Target Corporation’s development has come as the result of America’s popular culture, and its value of material items. By selling high quality items for a low price, Target stores have achieved success due to consumers’ high regard for finite goods. Target Corporation continues to expand mainly due to its ability to identify with America’s ever-changing popular culture.

Snowboarding’s Popularity Increase

November10

Snowboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today. Teenagers are attracted to this sport, and its popularity is increasing every year. Although snowboarding was invented in 1929, it did not become popular until the 1980’s. Snowboarding is a prominent sport and it has spread to every part of the world. Snowboarding is popular with all types of people and is sure to grow even more in the upcoming years.

The original diagram of The Snurfer by Jake Burton, LTCC Snowriders club

The original diagram of The Snurfer by Sherman Poppen (LTCC Snowrider's club)

In 1929, M.J. Burchett combined a piece of plywood and horse reins to make his version of the very first snowboard, but it did not become popular for a long time. In Michigan, 35 years later a chemical engineer named Sherman Poppen combined two skis bounded by a rope for a present for his daughter. He named this snowboard The Snurfer, a combination of skiing and surfing. Jake Burton considered by many to be the founder of the snowboard came across The Snurfer at a ski competition, and he began playing with this toy on the weekends while he was in college. Jake Burton’s Dream’s dream was to make this activity a global sport that many would enjoy. A man named Dimitrijie Milovich saw Jake Burton’s invention and began publicizing this idea on newspapers and magazines. After Jake Burton graduated from college, he entered a snurfer competition. The crowd was amazed because Jake Burton added foot straps to this board and it became an instant hit. He began selling snowboards, and the industry grew rapidly. The snowboard phenomenon began.

Snowboarding began in the state of Michigan and has grown internationally. Snowboardings’ history has changed a lot in just 65 years. The sport of snowboarding has been transformed from a children’s game to an Olympic sport. Snowboarding began to rapidly diffuse when Jake Burton and Tom Sims sponsored a snowboarding contest in Vermont in 1982. Jake Burton’s design was one of a kind, and no one ever saw anything like it. It quickly began popular through non-contiguous diffusion because it was not available to everyone at first. Snowboarding is also a form of hierarchical diffusion because it was only available to those who were connected to winter sports. Snowboarding eventually appeared in movies, video games, and magazine articles which have helped it spread internationally. The authenticity of the snowboard began to diminish because the original design has been changed a lot overtime. Now, instead of plywood, snowboards are made of fiberglass. They also include bindings. The spread of snowboarding was constricted though due to the fact that many ski resorts did not allow snowboards when the sport was first introduced. In 1994, only 7% of all ski resorts permitted snowboarding; however, today close to 97% of ski resorts permit snowboarding. Ski resorts used cultural appropriation by adopting certain aspects of the snowboard culture by building ramps, rails, and half pipes to please the snowboarders because they help the ski resorts stay in business.

Movies such as the First Descent have helped the spread of snowboarding

Movies such as the "First Descent" have helped the spread of snowboarding (skichannel.com)

Snowboarding has attracted mostly young adults, and snowboarding is much cheaper than skiing. The easy accessibility of snowboards and the fact that it is the cool activity to do attracts many young people to the sport. The stereotypical custom of snowboarders is that they are lazy, grungy, and drug abusers, however most snowboarders have learned to assimilate into the skiing culture. Children have also become interested in the sport of snowboarding too. 17% of all snowboarders are between the ages of 7 to 11 years old.  In 2000, snowboarding was the fastest growing sport in the United States, and it is considered one of the most exciting events in the Winter Olympics. Young males are not the only people who enjoy snowboarding. 27% of all snowboarders are women. Snowboarding continues to grow as skiing is on the decline in most parts of the country. Skiing has declined 47%, while snowboarding has increased to 31%. Although snowboarding may never pass skiing in overall popularity, it has gained the attraction of many young teenagers.

Although snowboarding may never pass skiing in popularity, it has grown significantly in a short time period (Atlas of Canada)

Although snowboarding may never pass skiing in popularity, it has grown significantly in a short time period (Atlas of Canada)

Snowboarding’s growth has truly been remarkable. It has developed from a toy made for kids to an Olympic sport that is worth millions of dollars. Snowboarding attracts male and female, young and old. It has been growing while the older and more known sport of skiing has been on the decline. Snowboarding will be sure to grow in the upcoming years as even more people become familiar with this new winter adventure sport.

Diffusion of Television

November10

   If one were to ask a group of people, “Who here has a television?” he would probably be met by laughs. Television has become so integrated into culture that it can simply be deemed a part of life. It is even hard to imagine what the world would be like in the absence of television because we are so used to having easy

An article from San Francisco Guides by Susan Saperstein
Philo Farnsworth With His Television- An article from “San Francisco Guides” by Susan Saperstein

viewing access to programs like the Super Bowl or sitcoms. TV has become such an integral part of many societies that viewing it is not only a custom, but actually a mode of diffusing other culture. This prevalence of television, however, has not always existed. Like all other widespread culture and technology, television has undergone a complex system of diffusion.   

 The idea of the TV began in 1878 with a sketch of a telephonoscope. Since this sketch numerous adaptations of  the idea were created until in 1927, Philo Farnsworth, an American inventor, made the world’s first working television system in California. However, this is not when TV became thoroughly integrated into culture. Although it was indeed a working TV, it was impractical. Programs to attract viewers did not yet exist, and being a novel technology, it would have been incredibly expensive to buy. Because of this, the television underwent hierarchical and innovative diffusion. Farnsworth continued to change his invention with improvements and eventually joined the company Philco. Later this company merged with a European company, bringing the idea of the television to the innovators of Europe. From this another large company, Marconi-EMI, rose and sold their technology to BBC. Back in America, the company RCA bought Farnsworth’s patent to showcase electronic television at The New York World’s Fair in April 1939, and later sell electronic television sets to the public. As years went on, different companies battled to make the most practical, cheapest TV. Seeing an opportunity, advertisers

The First 75 Years under the Pre-1935  section
This picture is from the website “Television History: The First 75 Years” under the “Pre-1935″ section

joined the craze because television had the potential to be an extremely effective mode of advertisement. This competition led to the development of affordable televisions. Their popularity increased to the point that by the 1950’s many households in the United States owned one. The rate of diffusion was slowed simply by money. If the first television created would have been practical and cheap, it would not have taken so long to be a prevalent aspect of culture. People could not afford to buy the technology at first, but with time came cheaper prices. When televisions became affordable is when they became popular culture. This diffusion is clearly hierarchical and innovative. The television started in a laboratory, underwent innovation, was sold to production companies, underwent further innovation, spread to more companies, and was eventually made available to the common man. In general, television is accepted. However, certain societies that do not permit technology, like the Amish or orders of monks, would obviously condemn television. Restriction is usually centered around programming. Governments may ban programs that oppose their views. For example, Egypt banned the “Hukama Show” because it criticized Egyptian government. This also happens on a smaller level. Parents restrict what their children watch so as not expose them to inappropriate behavior. Overall, television is not a widely criticized and instead has been embraced.      

The diffusion of the television was not only on a national level. Although Farnsworth created the first working electronic television, innovators around the world were working on this idea. After Farnsworth’s production, his methods were adopted by European and Soviet innovators. In fact, the first practical use of the television was in Germany in 1936, where the Berlin Olympics were broadcast to television stations in Berlin and Leipzig.The same order of diffusion that occurred in America also occurred in Europe. It is apparent that television displays non-contiguous movement because it is sprouting from different parts of the world. Once again, the aspect of wealth slowed this diffusion. Poorer countries did not have companies that could afford to produce this technology and did not have consumers wealthy enough to make a television company practical. As time wore on, technology became cheaper so more and more countries could afford it. Also, as TV became more popular worldwide, countries lacking this technology probably saw it as a necessity to obtain.     

Television has become a major part of our culture. It can certainly be considered popular culture for its role in the today’s dynamic culture, but TV even goes beyond this. It has been so integrated into our society that it is actually a mode for popular culture to spread. New dress, food, music and other material culture are constantly being advertised, physically showing us our changing popular culture. TV is also an avenue for cultural appropriation and commodification. Outback Steakhouse has successfully performed cultural appropriation because of its ability to advertise through television and make the public aware of its existence.

The First 75 Years
Number of TV Households in America- From “Television History: The First 75 Years”

Advertisement is also the reason commodification can occur so easily because products can be made widely known through television. Because of this, authenticity is often not very high. When I see Outback Steakhouse offering Australian cuisine or Seinfeld giving insight to “normal” life of single, middle aged people, I am not receiving authenticity. This even leads into assimilation. Programming in the 1950’s and 1960’s often depicted a well run household of white families enforcing American culture. This may have been an effort to show people the proper way to act to be good Americans and assimilate to this behavior. Watching TV has become a custom in our culture, for it is a practice that people routinely follow. But not only has television become a custom, it is a display of culture.     

From the first invention in 1927, the television has hierarchically, non-contiguously diffused throughout the world. Only being slowed by its price, television has become an integral part of billions of people’s lives. But not only is it a major part of culture, it has become a medium to display culture. If i sit down and watch one program, I am likely to witness popular culture, material culture (through products advertised), cultural appropriation, commodification and also non-material culture (through the beliefs expressed in the programs). This did not hust happen overnight. From 1927, television has undergone a complex diffusion and is now an essential part of our culture.

Newer Entries »