MAJOR CULTURAL REALMS OF THE WORLD
A cultural realm is a geographical region where cultural traits maintain homogeneity. The cultural traits are supposed to be the product of regional geographical circumstances. It is, thus, regional geography which has become the basis of the delineation of cultural realms in the world. Ratzel’s concept of cultural landscape provided encouragement to geographers for culture regionalization.
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Apart from the geographers, historians, anthropologists and sociologists have also tried to regionalise the world into cultural realms. The variables of culture include the economic organization, social customs, traditional values, dietary habits, dress patterns, language and uniformity in physical characteristics. On the basis of these variables, various cultural realms can be identified.
Brock Webb tried to establish the dominance of a particular phenomenon over the evolution of cultural landscape. He found that the impact of religious values is tremendous over the entire cultural system. All over the world, human beliefs, day-to-day activities and even dress patterns, food habits and social values are influenced by religious messages. To many geographers, religious messages are also influenced by regional geography. A cultural religious investigation reveals that the culture of a particular region becomes ineffective once the religious impact is withdrawn. Considering these phenomena, Brock Webb divided the world into four major and two minor cultural realms. The major cultural realms are Occidental Realm, Islamic Realm, Indian Realm, East Indian Realm and the major cultural realms are South-East Asian Realm, Meso-African.