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In all parts of the world, people interact and in one way or the other share their ways of life. On the same note, people are curious about how others carry out their life which makes them learn different methods of accomplishing tasks.
The process by which cultural traits and items are spread from one individual to another, either within a particular cultural setting or from one culture to another is known as cultural diffusion (Blij, Peter and Jan 250). In many instances, cultural diffusion leads to change in the way different activities are accomplished. It is important to note that cultural diffusion is influenced by various factors and has several effects.
Factors influencing Cultural Diffusion
Interaction between individuals leads to increased chances of people learning how others carry out their activities. As a result, cultural diffusion takes place at different rates in various parts. Consequently, increased interactions between people increase the rate of cultural diffusion (Zeder 8). Unfortunately, other parts are far apart and interaction does not easily occur.
Therefore, travelling plays a crucial role in cultural diffusion for places that are geographically far apart. People moving from one place to settle in other places or just for leisure, are always fascinated by the different ways in which things are done. Subsequently, they learn the new ways and also pick some other cultural items which they take back to their homes.
On the same note, people have come to embrace the need to accommodate cultural diversity that is present in our society. As a result, they have found it worthwhile to learn other people’s cultural traits to enhance harmonious living. As a result, culture has been spread even faster in recent times than it was anciently.
Effects of Cultural Diffusion
Cultural diffusion has very many effects which are both positive and negative. To begin with, cultural diffusion leads to the spread of new and sometimes easier ways of accomplishing tasks (Blij, Peter and Jan 277). It is important to note that cultural diffusion has lead to enrichment of cultures. Similarly, cultural diffusion enhances peace by improving understanding and interaction between people.
On the other hand, cultural diffusion has led to loss of some ancient items and ways of life. Similarly, people have assimilated cultural traits from others making cultures increasingly similar. As a result, there has been cases of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of other cultures thus leading to prejudices and even stereotyping (Blij, Peter and Jan 280).
Example of Cultural Diffusion
North Africa is located near Southwest Asia and Europe. Consequently, there is transmission of cultural artifacts between these regions especially through trade. The larger part of North Africa and southwest Asia is dry. However, Egypt has been practicing irrigation since time immemorial, which has lead to availability of a variety of agricultural products (Zeder, 13).
Due to travelling and interactions, people from Southwest Asia have also learned the art of irrigation and they have substituted their nomadic way of life with agriculture. Nowadays, some countries of southwest Asia have many agricultural products to the extent that they can afford to export. Countries like Israel have highly invested in agriculture which contributes significantly to their gross domestic product.
It is important to note that cultural diffusion does not necessarily mean complete replacement of cultural elements (Zeder 19). This can be seen from countries of southwest Asia where cattle keeping persist, even after the countries embracing cultivation. However, it is important to note that cultural diffusion occurs everywhere and has increased nowadays due to globalization, social networking and increased travelling.
Blij, Henry J., Peter O. Muller and Jan Nijman. The World today: Concepts and Religions in Geography. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.
Zeder, Melinda A. Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archeological Paradigms. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. Print.