Q:

What is a cultural region?

A:

A cultural region refers to people who share a dominant culture in a specific geographic location. Everyone within a cultural region is influenced by the dominant culture in some form.

Cultural regions can form cultural boundaries. For instance, there were cultural boundaries between Germanic and Roman cultures. People within a cultural region do not limit their culture within national borders, but boundaries and distinctions can be drawn to pinpoint people who live in a certain region. These boundaries may be based on language, religion or folklore.

Cultural region borders can also be established due to minor differences between the same ethnic group. For example, distinctions can be made between Germans living in Switzerland and Germans who live in Germany. There are also boundaries within social classes, such as blue collar and white collar classes.

Three types of cultural regions exist: formal, functional and vernacular. Formal cultural regions are places where people share certain cultural traits, such as livelihood, religion or language. People in formal cultural regions most likely share homogeneous traits that bind them together. Functional cultural regions do not need to be homogeneous, and these structures are based on economic or political foundations. City halls, churches and banks are examples of functional culture traits. People who live in a vernacular cultural region are bonded together by perception, such as history or cultural belonging. The American South is one example of a vernacular region.


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