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Unit 3 Cultural Patterns and Processes


Unit 3 Cultural Patterns and Processes * * * * * * * * * * * * * * AIDS and Relocation Diffusion Some authors suggest AIDS diffuses through relocation diffusion. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Unit 3 Cultural Patterns and Processes

Unit 3Cultural Patterns and Processes
Cultural Landscape
  • If you have ever studied the earths surface from
    an airplane thousands of feet in the air, you
    have observed the cultural landscape the
    modification of the natural landscape by human

Midwestern U.S.
Big Cities
Culture the complex mix of values, beliefs,
behaviors, and material objects that together
form a people way of life. Important
terminology follows
  • Non-material Culture consists of abstract
    concepts of values, beliefs and behaviors.
  • Values are culturally defined standards that
    guide the way people assess desirability,
    goodness, and beauty, and that serve as
    guidelines for moral living.

Red Sonia Leslie Hovvels of Welsh died
because of infection related to nose piercings.
  • Egyptian body piercings reflected status and love
    of beauty.
  • Romans were practical piercers. Signified
    Strength and Virility.
  • Aztecs, Mayans and some American Indians
    practiced Tongue Piercing as religious ritual.
  • Modern Day Mostly limited to the ears until
    recently. Hippies of the 1960s traveled to
    India and brought back the concept of nose rings.
    The concept of body piercing has continued to
    gain in popularity throughout the 80s, 90s and

  • Beliefs specific statements that people hold to
    be true almost always based on values.
  • Behaviors Actions that people take generally
    based on values and beliefs as reflected in norms
    the rules and expectations by which a society
    guides the behavior of its members.

Material Culture wide range concrete human
  • Artifacts reflect the values, beliefs, and
    behaviors or a culture.
  • From an airplane you can readily see material
    culture as it relates to the environment.
  • Roads
  • Houses
  • Buildings,
  • Car
  • Farm equipment
  • Airport runways
  • Look beyond the objects Why does a person build
    a house? Why are the houses arranged in the
    patterns that you see? What purpose do
    checkerboards serve, and where do the roads lead?
    The answers to these questions lie in the values,
    beliefs, and behaviors (non-material culture)
    that humans use to guide the creation and
    maintenance of their artifacts (material culture)

Culture Regions Traits and Complexes
  • Separating culture into non-material and material
    types helps you begin to study its complexities.
  • Culture Region is an area marked by culture that
    distinguishes it from other regions
    non-material culture, such as clothing and
    building style, reflect the values, beliefs, and
    behaviors of the people that live in the region.

Culture Trait
  • A single attribute of a culture is called a
    Culture Trait and a culture region consists of
    countless numbers of traits.
  • Ex A trait may be wearing colorful clothing with
    the groups own skillful weave and design.
    Another culture trait may be the building of
    roads and bridges across mountain ranges. Yet
    another trait may be the construction of
    buildings without mortar and another the
    terracing of land for crop growth. Put all these
    and thousands of others together, and you may
    study the culture region that survives today
    around the Andes Mountains in South America.

  • Culture traits are not necessarily confined to a
    single culture. For example, people in many
    cultures use brushes to clean their teeth and to
    make their hair more attractive, and they usually
    use different kinds of brushes for the two types
    of activities. However, the trait combines with
    others in a distinctive way, so that a culture
    complex is formed. A culture complex consists of
    common values, beliefs, behaviors, and artifacts
    that make a group in an area distinct from

China Many Culture Complexes
  • Modern City of Xian combines religions and
    beliefs, such as Buddhism, Islam and Confucianism
    in a way that makes it identifiable as a separate
    culture complex. However, particular traits such
    as following Confucian principles, are shared by
    other complexes around them. Any area with
    strong cultural ties that bind its people
    together forms a Culture System a group of
    interconnected culture complexes.
  • On the map, a culture region can represent an
    entire culture region can represent an entire
    culture system that intertwines with its
    locational and environmental circumstances to
    form a geographic region.

  • Cultural Hearths are the areas where
    civilizations first began that radiated the
    ideas, innovations and ideologies that culturally
    transformed the world.
  • Early Cultural Hearths developed in Southwest
    Asia, North Africa, South Asia, and East Asia in
    the valleys and basin of great river systems.
  • Cultural Hearths developed much later in Central
    and South America, and their geography shaped
    cultural development not around river valleys,
    but around mountain ranges and central highlands.

  • Another Cultural Hearth with its own culture
    complex developed centuries later in West Africa,
    very much influenced by earlier hearths along the
    Nile River in Northeast Africa.
  • Another unique cultural hearth developed in the
    islands of the Aegean Sea, where the inhabitants
    were jointed by easy water access among islands
    and mainland.
  • From their centers, the hearths grew until they
    came into contact with one another, although
    their ability to travel to and contact other
    cultural hearths was limited by their levels of
    technology and distance. Cultural hearths have
    shifted greatly over time. For example, the
    Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th
    century moved cultural hearths to Europe and
    North America, with modern shifts in the 21st
    century continuing to occur.

Cultural Hearths
Cultural Diffusion
  • The early cultural hearths were centers for
    innovation and invention, and their non-material
    and material culture spread to areas around them
    through a process called cultural diffusion.
  • Over time, as cultural hearths have shifted,
    cultural diffusion has spread culture traits to
    most parts of the globe.
  • This long and complicated spread of culture often
    makes it difficult to trace the origin, spread,
    and timing of a particular trait.

How do I understand Diffusion?
  • Acculturation when smaller/weaker groups take
    on traits of the larger/dominant culture. Can be
    2-way process e.g. Aztecs acculturated into
    Spanish culture, but some Aztec traits remained
    and became Spanish culture.

  • Assimilation the adoption of cultural elements
    can be so complete that two cultures become
    indistinguishable e.g. jeans being worn here
    in the Czech Republic

  • TIME and DISTANCE DECAY farther from the source
    the more time it takes, the less likely
    innovation adopted
  • CULTURAL BARRIERS some practices, ideas,
    innovations are not acceptable/adoptable in a
    particular culture e.g. pork, alcohol,
  • PHYSICAL BARRIERS physical barriers on the
    surface may prohibit/inhibit adoption

Distance Decay Graph
  • Learn to think about distance decay in a
    spatial context
  • Think of distance decay in terms of an x and
    y axis

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Two Types of Diffusion
  • Expansion
  • Relocation

Expansion Diffusion
  • Spread of an innovation/idea through a population
    in an area in such a way that the of those
    influenced grows continuously larger, resulting
    in an expanding area of dissemination.
  • (de Blij/Murphy 7th ed., page R-20)

Expansion Diffusion
  • This occurs when an idea or trait spreads from
    one place to another.

Kinds of Expansion Diffusion
  • Hierarchical Diffusion spread of an idea
    through an established structure usually from
    people or areas of power down to other people or

Examples of Hierarchical Diffusion
  • AIDS is typically viewed as hierarchical because
    if its historically distinctive URBAN to URBAN
    diffusion pattern
  • Blackberries have diffused hierarchically.
    Blackberries, though becoming cheaper, are too
    expensive for most consumers to buy therefore
    diffusing hierarchically.

Expansion Diffusion
  • Contagious Diffusion spread of an
    idea/trait/concept through a group of people or
    an area equally without regard to social class,
    economic position or position of power.

Diagram of Contagious Diffusion Human Geography,
deBlij Murphy, 7th ed. Page 28
  • A is a diagram of contagious diffusion. Notice
    virtually all adopt.
  • B is a diagram of hierarchical diffusion.
    Notice the leapfrogging over some areas.

Expansion Diffusion
  • Stimulus Diffusion the spread of an underlying
    principle even though the characteristic itself
    does not spread.
  • OR
  • Stimulus Diffusion - involves the transfer of an
    underlying concept or idea, without the specific
    accompanying traits due to some cultural or other
    barrier to the movement of the idea

An example of Stimulus Diffusion
  • McDonalds spread to India however, Indian
    Hindus do not eat beef. Indian McDonalds serve
    veggie burgers, which is culturally acceptable.
    The idea (McDonalds burgers) was acceptable, but
    not in its original form hence stimulus

  • Sequential diffusion process in which the items
    being diffused are transmitted by their carrier
    agents as they evacuate the old areas and
    relocate to new ones. The most common form of
    relocation diffusion involves the spreading of
    innovations by a migrating population.
  • (de Blij/Murphy 7th ed., page R-26)
  • This occurs when the people migrate and take
    their cultural attributes with them.

Relocation and Expansion In Review Human
Geography, Fellmann, Getis Getis, 8th ed. Page
  • A is relocation diffusion as the person goes.
  • B is expansion diffusion as the idea/trait
    moves or transports.

AIDS and Relocation Diffusion
  • Some authors suggest AIDS diffuses through
    relocation diffusion. This is true by the fact
    that the diffusers take the disease with them.
    However, AIDS is not contracted by everyone in
    its path. More importantly, the pattern of AIDS
    diffusion is more classically hierarchical (and
    therefore expansion).

Migrant Diffusion (a form of Relocation Diffusion)
  • Migrant Diffusion is when an innovation
    originates and enjoys strong, but brief, adoption
    there. The innovation may travel long distances
    ( be thriving), but could be faded out back at
    the point of origination e.g. influenza in
    China will reach the U.S., but the epidemic could
    be over in China by the time it takes hold in the

One more lookWal-Mart as both contagious and
reverse hierarchical diffusion WHY? Human
Geography, Fellmann, Getis Getis, 8th Ed. Page
How about another example of reverse hierarchical

Random Thoughts on Diffusion
  • Expansion Diffusion
  • Contagious
  • Does not need have a specific pre-existing
    structure for transmission
  • disease contagion is a prime example
  • Dont forget the orange scent spreading around
    the room
  • Hierarchical
  • requires a pre-established structure to channel
    the flow ie 'chain of command' or network of
  • Relocation Diffusion
  • Movement of people and things
  • Europeans moved to the Americas and brought their
    culture with them

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