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What Is Cultural Diffusion? Essay

The Politics of Cultural Appropriation

❶The Jewish religion, Judaism, has exerted influence far beyond its own adherents. With its cultural elements stolen, co-opted, appropriated, and uncredited, the contribution of the subordinate inventor culture becomes diminished and diluted to the point of lacking social significance.

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Process of Cultural Diffusion


Why, in fact, do cultures have a need to borrow from other cultures? Is it out of necessity? An underlying assumption is that borrowing makes a culture better, stronger, more evolved as in adapting to constantly changing physical environments, more modern, and hence, more civilized.

This assumption leads to the observation that some cultural elements do not diffuse. Several social issues are important when considering the process of diffusion. Is the borrowed cultural element a basic need, such as technology that harvests food crops for human consumption? Does it enhance the quality of life, as in the case of people who use in vitro fertilization as a family planning option?

Also, when religious institutions televise their services, are these efficient means to reach and shepherd larger congregations? Perhaps an even more fraught argument to technological intervention in social institutions would be the tenuous use of teaching social science classes online or offering them through televised satellite centers.

What happens to the affective, effusive, volatile, provocative, soul searching, compassion, and empathy building in both of these cases? The impulse for efficiency is positive, but an arguable consequence is the loss of accountability and a diminished sense of human connectedness. Guiding the adaptation of the imported cultural element are evaluative considerations, the mechanics of implementation, and the terms of transfer decided upon by the receptor culture.

If the cultural element under consideration is not compatible with the values of the dominant culture, key decision makers, or gatekeepers, its importation is unlikely. This power elite can also force change on groups not in agreement with the imported practice. Obliging elderly people not computer literate to order their medication online and have it delivered to their homes is a good example of borrowed cultural elements forced on receptor cultures.

Diffusion of this kind is evinced in most of the objects of the modern world such as railway, motorcar, aeroplane, cinema, bank, telephone, telegraph, television, etc. No only do machines and tools spread from one country to another, but the same is true of thoughts which spread from one country to smother. Buddhist thought spread from India to China, Japan, Burma, etc. Communism originated in Russia and has spread elsewhere.

The decimal system reached Arabia from India and thence to Europe. The following factors are influential in the process of diffusion. The process of diffusion can take place jointly in various societies as well as within one society. The rate of diffusion in the twentieth century has vastly increased to the unprecedented developments in the means of transport and communications.

For example, the Hebrew Bible known to Christians as the Old Testament laid down dietary laws and indicated which foods were considered kosher fit for consumption. Jews also had their own written language, Hebrew, and distinct spoken languages developed. The best known of these spoken languages is Yiddish, which is based on the German language. Rather than the high estate which the Hebrews assigned to man as the representative of God on earth, for the inhabitants of Mesopotamia man was nothing more than the slave of the gods, designed to relieve them of their toils and subject to their whims.

The flooding of the Tigris and the Euphrates was violent and irregular, hence the mental life of the Mesopotamian civilizations became dominated by a sense of anxiety.

They consider the world as unpredictable and capricious, bringing life-giving rain and fertility one day and devastating destruction the next. They consider this the forces of nature which are expressions of the whims of the gods, the gods are also unpredictable and capricious.

That in itself was distinctive because most other cultures engaged in polytheistic worship, where not one god, but many were exalted. Yet, it is not merely their belief in one God that set the foundation for Hebrew thinking and living; it is what they believed about Him that made the difference.

In contrast to this, other cultures of the time saw their gods as removed from everyday human life. Their divinities were too busy fighting with each other to be overly concerned with mere mortals. Two of the most prominent societies of the time were the Egyptians and the Babylonians.

The Egyptians had a complex system of religion that included a multiplicity of gods, often represented by animals such as a cat, baboon, or lion. Even through modern research it is hard to piece together a complete system of Egyptian religion because of the inconsistent and confusing information left behind. Many of the gods and goddesses seem more or less identical, yet they existed together. Contradictory myths explaining the creation of the world, natural phenomena, and the like were accepted without argument.

Attributes of deities were freely and indiscriminately adopted from one group or locality to another, and combinations and fusions of gods were frequent. The Egyptian gods were made by the people, fabricated to suit their desieres and ideas.

Unfortunately, these gods could not be counted upon to be faithful or loyal to their followers. Blessing was based upon flattery and offerings. Likewise, the Babylonian system of religion revolved around many personalities, most of which were related to nature. Their religious ideas developed as a result of other Near Eastern religions in the Mesopotamian area.

In their theological thinking, man was created for the benefit of the gods. His whole purpose was to serve, proved for, pamper, worship, and revere them. Warfare, revenge, murder, and the like were, common behaviors to expect from the Babylonian deities. Some ideas that might be considered cornerstones of Western tradition are: Christianity, secularism, rational deductive reasoning, rule of law, esteem for human civilization, the development of science and technology.

The Enlightenment has had a major influence in the western thought over the last two centuries. However, the conquest of the western parts of the Roman Empire by Germanic peoples and the subsequent advent of despotism in the form of dominance by the Western Christian Papacy which held combined political and spiritual authority, a state of affairs absent from Greek civilization in all its stages , resulted into a rupture of the previously existing ties between the Latin West and Greek thought [1], including Christian Greek thought.

The Great Schism and the Fourth Crusade confirmed this deviation. Hence, the Medieval West is limited to Western Christendom only, as the Greeks and other European peoples not under the authority of the Papacy are not included in it. Morever, European peoples not included in Western Christendom, such as the Greeks, have redefined their relationship to this new, Currently, in the post-Cold War era, particularly after the September 11, attacks in the United States of America and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, major global antagonist blocs are the Muslim world and the Western world, or vice-versa.

Westerners accuse Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently and for not recognizing and adopt social accomplishments of Western society such as the universal concepts of free speech, democracy, universal suffrage, human rights, and gender equality , while largely using Western wealth, science and technology for self development and enrichment.

On the other hand, Muslim world largely views the Western world as a overwhelmingly decadent, corrupt, immoral and imperialistic society with inferior moral and spiritual beliefs. Thus, the contrast of theology between these cultures and the Hebrew people is evident.

The god of the Hebrews was not dependent upon them, they were vitally dependent upon Him.


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Cultural Diffusion is the process by which a cultural trait, material objects, idea or behavior pattern is spread from one society to another. It is very common in ancient times when small groups of humans lived in adjoining settlements and spreading of ideas and culture occurs.

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Short Essay on Cultural Diffusion – The process of diffusion involves the spread of cultural elements – both material artifacts and ideas – from one culture to another. The process of diffusion involves the spread of cultural elements – both material artifacts and ideas – from one culture to another. George Murdock has estimated that [ ].

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Culture diffusion happens when non material and material culture travels to another culture (Wise, ). How this happens is a million dollar question which needs to be answered correctly and to the point. To have a profound knowledge over how it happens we go to the basics of it which is culture hearth. According to Maclver and Page, cultural diffusion is the most important cause of social development. All the great cultures developed as a result of the mutual contacts of various cultures. The.

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Cultural diffusion was defined in by American anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber as “the diffusion or spread of cultural material” (Kroeber, ). Since culture is a community’s way of life, cultural diffusion is the spread of ideas, beliefs, religions, languages, and technologies from one culture . Cultural Diffusion Essay In its simplest form, cultural diffusion is the borrowing of cultural elements from one culture by another. Aspects of material culture include clothing styles, musical structures, medicine, and agricultural practices, whereas normative traits such as ideas, behavioral patterns, religion, language, and values are.