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Regional Culture

20 January, 2016 - 16:32

An interesting thing about living in the United States is the regional differences that make each part of the country unique. When I attended college in Boston, I heard the expression “wicked” used quite often.

After asking my New England friends what “wicked” meant, I learned that it was used to emphasize a point. If I attended a concert that I really enjoyed, I would say, “That concert was awesome!” New Englanders would say, “That concert was wicked awesome.” After living in the Boston area for 4 years, the word became a part of my vocabulary. When I used the word in conversations with my friends and family members in Minnesota, they did not understand what I meant.

All national cultures consist of regional subcultures that influence the characteristics of one group from another in a nation state. The word “pop” refers to a soft drink in the Midwest, but if you go to the East Coast, it is referred to as “soda.” In other regions of the United States, a soft drink is referred to as “Coke.”

The following is an example of regional cultural differences and one way the difference is expressed:

Dianne moves from Texas for a job opportunity in Georgia. She lives in Georgia for 25 years and feels that it is her home state. However, her neighbors and co-workers do not think that she is a Georgian. Even though Dianne thinks she is from the south, she is reminded by others that she is “not a southerner.”

Dianne experiences a regional cultural shift that she did not know existed until her move. Although she considers herself a Georgian, she is constantly reminded that she is not a southerner. At a conscious and unconscious level, her regional cultural experiences will dictate her thoughts about herself and others. She may develop the following assumptions and beliefs as a result of the regional cultural influences:

  • I better just tell people that I am from Texas.
  • Georgians think that you have to be from certain states to be considered a “southerner.”
  • If you are from the south, you must have lineage or roots that directly link you to the south. A “transplant” is not considered a true southerner.

What are regional differences and similarities that you have experienced or have been a part of? The following is a chart to help you identify regional similarities and cultures. In the column labeled “Regional Culture Names,” write down two regions of a nation or country, such as West Coast and New England. Then, for each cultural expression listed, write down the regional similarities and differences you notice about each region you have chosen to identify.

Table 3.1 Exercise to Identify Regional Cultural Differences and Similarities

Regional Culture Names

Cultural Expression

Regional Differences

Regional Similarities




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