Five Themes as Expressed Through “The Power of Place”
Harm de Blij and his “The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization’s Rough Landscape” truly describes how geography is displayed in the world today. In particular on of the major themes that he discusses is the idea of globalization. He actually calls these people the “globals.” In the very beginning of his book he describes two different types of peoples: Locals and Globals. The difference between these people is that Locals are the poorer people, not as mobile, and more susceptible to the concept of place. On the other hand the Globals are the fortunate population, and are a small group of people who have experienced globalization firsthand (5). This idea of globalization is a main theme that Blij refers to throughout the book, however he also indirectly references the five themes of cultural geography: culture regions, cultural diffusion, cultural interaction, cultural ecology, and cultural landscapes. Through Blij’s analysis these five themes are revealed in detail and help explain his overall idea of globalization in the world today.
One theme that is evident throughout Blij’s “Power of Place” is the concept of culture regions mainly his analysis of formal, core, and periphery areas. To introduce the idea of culture regions he mentions how the many of the world’s underdeveloped and poor nations are part of the world’s periphery. In particular, referring to Blij’s map on page 14 many of the developed countries are among the world’s core nations: Japan, Australia, United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Blij explains through his diagram that the peripheries are located in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East (14). Blij describes the differences and the significance of these different cultural regions by presenting specific demographic and economic data. “The global core contains approximately 15 percent of the global population but records nearly 75 percent of the world’s annual income . . . The periphery represents 85 percent of the planet’s population, accruing just 25 percent of the total population” (13). Blij is separating the world into two different cultural regions: the core and periphery. Many of these core and periphery areas are formal areas because whether someone resides in a specific area, the core and peripheries each have a degree of cultural homogeneity where there are common characteristics of each region. Blij indirectly refers to these regions as formal regions, but describes the core and periphery as their own cultural regions with different characteristics.
Blij plunges into the idea of how people who speak specific languages can gain more opportunities and attempting to learn that language can cause pidgin languages. Blij comments that if you are born into a family that speaks English, French, or Spanish then you have a better chance at opportunity in life (33). Expansionary diffusion can help spread languages...