The Inner-Street Culture And Cultural Perceptions Of Space And Time

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Space and time are means by which individuals and cultures orientate themselves to the world. Each is defined by their respective cultures, the resulting meaning and value supplied by that culture. The purpose of this paper is to explain and discuss how and why meanings surrounding space and time differ from one culture to the next. That geographical location, historical instances, and how individuals are include or exclude highlight the varied cultural meanings that exists within space. In addition, how rituals like rites of passage and liminal space are symbolic constructions surrounding different concepts and experiences of time. Space, and the meaning cultures give to it, is not static. Every culture defines space differently. To westerners …show more content…
Race and gender often define and position people socially within space, whether it be an inner-city ghetto populated by poor and low-income minorities that is seen as dangerous, or semi-public space like restrooms. Philippe Bourgeois, in an excerpt from is ethnography In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, demonstrates how blacks and Hispanics in inner-city communities are disproportionately defined by this perception of danger. "Street culture 's violence pervades daily life in El Barrio and shapes mainstream societies ' perception of the ghetto in a manner completely disproportionate to it 's objective danger (Bourgois, p. 34). Because violence in these communities focuses around drug abuse and is often very public, drugs and violence become the defining factor of these spaces to the larger society. The people who live in these spaces are then also defined by that perception. Public or semi-public spaces can do the same thing more subtly, often separate and defining people on the basis of gender roles in that culture. Bathrooms in the United States for example tend to only place baby-changing tables in women’s’ restrooms (Delaney, p. 48). Space then becomes a means of reinforcing the gender roles people are expected to perform in their culture. In this case, the expectation that women are meant to be the primary care giver to …show more content…
Time is relative, so are the concepts and experiences different cultures build around notions of time. Rituals are one way of marking and passing down ideas of time. They point to the source of ideas surrounding how important events and activities are marked. Religious rituals in particular inform world-views and influence attitudes, values, and notions of time that have far reaching affects. A simple example of this can be seen in clocks. "Clocks were introduced beginning in the fourteenth century; at that time they were primarily installed in church towers and were used to ring out the time of... morning and evening prayer (Delany, p. 85)." In this way, arbitrary divisions of time become culturally significant. Other activities would necessarily need to be structured around these calls to prayer. For this reason it can be said that all divisions of time are constructions. Each is organized around cycles of events that are important to that particular culture, rather then an inherent structure that exists independent of

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