Cultural diffusion

Cultural diffusion

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In cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 and cultural geography
Cultural geography
Cultural geography is a sub-field within human geography. Cultural geography is the study of cultural products and norms and their variations across and relations to spaces and places...

, cultural diffusion, as first conceptualized by Alfred L. Kroeber
Alfred L. Kroeber
Alfred Louis Kroeber was an American anthropologist. He was the first professor appointed to the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and played an integral role in the early days of its Museum of Anthropology, where he served as director from 1909 through...

 in his influential 1940 paper Stimulus Diffusion, or trans-cultural diffusion in later reformulations, is the spread of cultural
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 items—such as idea
Idea
In the most narrow sense, an idea is just whatever is before the mind when one thinks. Very often, ideas are construed as representational images; i.e. images of some object. In other contexts, ideas are taken to be concepts, although abstract concepts do not necessarily appear as images...

s, style
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

s, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, technologies
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

, languages etc.—between individuals, whether within a single culture or from one culture to another. It is distinct from the diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations...

 within a single culture.

Diffusion across cultures is a well-attested and also uncontroversial phenomenon. For example, the practice of agriculture is widely believed to have diffused from somewhere in the Middle East to all of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

, less than 10,000 years ago, having been adopted by many pre-existing cultures. Other established examples of diffusion include the spread of the war chariot and iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 smelting
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 in ancient times, and the use of car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s and Western business suits in the 20th century.

Types

  • Expansion diffusion: an innovation or idea that develops in a source area and remains strong there, while also spreading outward to other areas.
  • Relocation diffusion: an idea or innovation that migrates into new areas, leaving behind its origin or source of the cultural trait.
  • Hierarchical diffusion: an idea or innovation that spreads by moving from larger to smaller places, often with little regard to the distance between places, and often influenced by social elites.
  • Contagious diffusion: an idea or innovation based on person-to-person contact within a given population.

Mechanisms


Inter-cultural diffusion can happen in many ways. Migrating populations
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 will carry their culture with them. Ideas can be carried by trans-cultural visitors, such as merchants, explorers
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

, soldiers, diplomats, slaves, and hired artisans. Technology diffusion has often occurred by one society luring skilled scientists or workers by payments or other inducement. Trans-cultural marriages between two neighboring or interspersed cultures have also contributed. Among literate societies, diffusion can happen through letters or books (and, in modern times, through other media as well).

There are three categories of diffusion mechanisms:
  • Direct diffusion is when two cultures are very close to each other, resulting in intermarriage, trade, and even warfare. An example of direct diffusion is between the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     and Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    , where the people living on the border of these two countries engage in hockey, which started in Canada, and baseball, which is popular in American culture.
  • Forced diffusion occurs when one culture subjugates (conquers or enslaves) another culture and forces its own customs on the conquered people. An example would be the forced Christianization
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

     of the indigenous
    Indigenous peoples
    Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

     populations of the Americas by the Spanish, French, English and Portuguese, or the forced Islamization
    Islamization
    Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

     of West African peoples by the Fula.
  • Indirect diffusion happens when traits are passed from one culture through a middleman to another culture, without the first and final cultures ever being in direct contact. An example could be the presence of Mexican food in Canada, since a large territory (the United States) lies in between.


Direct diffusion is very common in ancient times, when small groups, or bands, of humans lived in adjoining settlements. Indirect diffusion is very common in today's world, because of the mass media and the invention of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

Of interests also is the work of American historian and critic Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel Joseph Boorstin was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.- Biography:...

 in his book The Discoverers
The Discoverers
The Discoverers is a non-fiction historical work by Daniel Boorstin published in 1983 and is the first in the Knowledge Trilogy that also includes The Creators and The Seekers....

, in which he provides an historical perspective about the role of explorers
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 in History in the diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations...

 between civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s.

Theories


The many models that have been proposed for inter-cultural diffusion are
  • Hyperdiffusionism
    Grafton Elliot Smith
    Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, FRS FRCP was an Australian anatomist and a proponent of the hyperdiffusionist view of prehistory.-Professional career:Smith was born in Grafton, New South Wales...

     —the theory that all cultures originated from one culture.
  • Culture circles diffusionism (Kulturkreise)—the theory that cultures originated from a small number of cultures.
  • Evolutionary diffusionism—the theory that societies are influenced by others and that all humans share psychological traits that make them equally likely to innovate, resulting in development of similar innovations in isolation.
  • Mallory's "Kulturkugel" (a non-existent German compound meaning "culture bullet"), a term suggested by JP Mallory
    JP Mallory
    James Patrick Mallory is an Irish-American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist. Mallory is a professor at the Queen's University, Belfast.-Biography:...

     to model the scale of invasion
    Invasion
    An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

     vs. gradual migration vs. diffusion. According to this model, local continuity of material culture and social organization is stronger than linguistic continuity, so that cultural contact or limited migration regularly leads to linguistic changes without affecting material culture or social organization.


A concept that has often been mentioned in this regard, which may be framed in the evolutionary diffusionism model, is that of "an idea whose time has come" — whereby a new cultural item appears almost simultaneously and independently in several widely separated places, after certain prerequisite items have diffused across the respective communities. This concept has been invoked, for example, with regard to the development of calculus
Calculus
Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

 by Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

 and Leibnitz, or the inventions of the airplane
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 and of the electronic computer.

Hyperdiffusionism


Hyperdiffusionists deny that parallel evolution
Parallel evolution
Parallel evolution is the development of a similar trait in related, but distinct, species descending from the same ancestor, but from different clades.-Parallel vs...

 or independent invention took place to any great extent throughout history, they claim that all major inventions and all cultures can be traced back to a single culture.

Early theories of hyperdiffusionism can be traced back to ideas about South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 being the origin of mankind. Antonio de Leon Pinelo
Antonio de Leon Pinelo
Antonio de León Pinelo was a Spanish-colonial historian .Pinelo was born in Cordova de Tucuman, and educated in the College of the Jesuits of Lima. He travelled to Spain in 1612 and became attorney of the council of the Indies...

 a Spaniard who settled in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 claimed in his book Paraiso en al Nuevo Mundo that the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 and the creation of man had occurred in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and that the rest of the world was populated by migrations from there. Similar ideas were also held by Emeterio Villamil de Rada, in his book La Lengua de Adan he attempted to prove that Aymara
Aymara
The Aymara or Aimara are an indigenous ethnic group in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America; about 2 million live in Bolivia, Peru and Chile...

 was the original language of mankind and that humanity had originated in Sorata
Sorata
Sorata is a small town in the La Paz Department in the Bolivian Andes, northwest of the city of La Paz and east of Lake Titicaca. It is the seat of the Larecaja Province and the Sorata Municipality. At the time of census 2001 it had a population of 2,217....

 in the Bolivian andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

. The first scientific defence of humanity originating in South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 came from the Argentine paleontologist Florentino Ameghino
Florentino Ameghino
Florentino Ameghino was an Argentine naturalist, paleontologist, anthropologist and zoologist.Born in Luján, son of Italian immigrants, Ameghino was a self-taught naturalist, and focused his study on the lands of the southern Pampas...

 in 1880. Ameghino published his research in a book titled La antigüedad del hombre en el Plata.

There was a revival of hyperdiffusionism in 1911 with the work of Grafton Elliot Smith
Grafton Elliot Smith
Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, FRS FRCP was an Australian anatomist and a proponent of the hyperdiffusionist view of prehistory.-Professional career:Smith was born in Grafton, New South Wales...

 who asserted that copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 spread from Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to the rest of the world along with megalithic culture. Smith had claimed that all major inventions had been made by the ancient Egpytians and were carried to the rest of the world by migrants and voyagers. His views became known as "Egyptocentric-Hyperdiffusionism". William James Perry
William James Perry
William James Perry , usually known as W. J. Perry, was a leader in cultural anthropology at University College, London.Megalith culture, according to him, was transmitted to the rest of the world from Egypt....

 elaborated on the hyperdiffusionist ideas of Smith by using ethnographic data. Another hyperdiffusionist was Lord Raglan
FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan
Major FitzRoy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan was a British soldier, beekeeper, farmer and independent scholar. He is best known for his book The Hero, where he systematises hero myths.- Life :...

 in his book How came Civilization (1939) he wrote that instead of Egypt all culture and civilization had come from Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

.

Hyperdiffusionism after this did not entirely disappear, but it was generally abandoned by mainstream academia.

Medieval Europe


A noteworthy example of diffusion theory is the massive infusion of technology into Europe between 1000 and 1700 CE. In the early Middle Ages, Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n societies were far more advanced than Europe, however, the era beginning in the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 reversed that balance and resulted in a Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 which surpassed Asian, Byzantine and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 cultures in pre-industrial technology. Diffusion theory has been advanced as an explanation for this shift in technological development. Many important basic inventions had their roots elsewhere, notably gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

, clock
Clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

 mechanisms, shipbuilding
Shipbuilding
Shipbuilding is the construction of ships and floating vessels. It normally takes place in a specialized facility known as a shipyard. Shipbuilders, also called shipwrights, follow a specialized occupation that traces its roots to before recorded history.Shipbuilding and ship repairs, both...

, paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 and the windmill
Windmill
A windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important...

, however, in each of these cases Europeans not only adopted the technologies, but improved the manufacturing scale, inherent technology, and applications to a point clearly surpassing the evolution of the original invention in its country of origin. Historians have questioned recently whether Europe really owes the development of such inventions as gunpowder, the compass, the windmill or printing to the Chinese or other cultures. It is a matter of record that by the late eighteenth century, European fleets, armed with advanced cannon, decimated Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 and Chinese
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

 fleets, paving the way for unfettered domination of the seas that led to the colonial era.

Disputes


While the concept of diffusion is well accepted in general, conjectures about the existence or the extent of diffusion in some specific contexts have been hotly disputed.

An example of such disputes is the proposal by Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl was a Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer with a background in zoology and geography. He became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition, in which he sailed by raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands...

 that similarities between the culture of Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

 and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 are due to diffusion from the latter to the former—a theory that currently has few supporters among professional anthropologists.

Attempts to explain similarities between two cultures by diffusion are often criticized for being ethnocentric
Ethnocentrism
Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one's own. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with...

, since they imply that the supposed "receptors" would not be capable of innovation. In fact, some authors made such claims explicitly—for example, to argue for pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact
Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact
Theories of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact are those theories that propose interaction between indigenous peoples of the Americas who settled the Americas before 10,000 BC, and peoples of other continents , which occurred before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean in 1492.Many...

 as the "only possible explanation" for the origin of the great civilizations in the Andes and of Central America.

Those disputed are fueled in part by the overuse of cultural diffusion, starting in the late 19th century, as a blanket explanation for all similarities between widely dispersed cultures. The most famous proponent of this theory was Grafton Elliot Smith
Grafton Elliot Smith
Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, FRS FRCP was an Australian anatomist and a proponent of the hyperdiffusionist view of prehistory.-Professional career:Smith was born in Grafton, New South Wales...

, who argued that civilization first formed in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 and then diffused to other places.

Diffusion theories also suffer from being inherently speculative and hard to prove or disprove; especially for relatively simple cultural items like "pyramid-shaped buildings", "solar deity", "row of standing stones", or "animal paintings in caves". After all, the act of diffusion proper is a purely mental (or at most verbal) phenomenon, that leaves no archaeological trace. Therefore, diffusion can be deduced with some certainty only when the similarities involve a relatively complex and partly arbitrary collection of items—such as a writing system, a complex myth, or a pantheon of several gods.

Another criticism that has been leveled at many diffusion proposals is the failure to explain why certain items were not diffused. For example, attempts to "explain" the New World civilizations by diffusion from Europe or Egypt should explain why basic concepts like wheeled vehicles or the potter's wheel did not cross the ocean, while writing and stone pyramids did.

Contributors


Major contributors to inter-cultural diffusion research and theory include:
  • Franz Boas
    Franz Boas
    Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

  • James Burnett, Lord Monboddo
    James Burnett, Lord Monboddo
    James Burnett, Lord Monboddo was a Scottish judge, scholar of linguistic evolution, philosopher and deist. He is most famous today as a founder of modern comparative historical linguistics . In 1767 he became a judge in the Court of Session. As such, Burnett adopted an honorary title based on his...

  • Leo Frobenius
    Leo Frobenius
    Leo Viktor Frobenius was an ethnologist and archaeologist and a major figure in German ethnography.-Life:He was born in Berlin as the son of a Prussian officer and died in Biganzolo, Lago Maggiore, Piedmont, Italy...

  • Cyrus H. Gordon
    Cyrus H. Gordon
    Cyrus Herzl Gordon , was an American scholar of Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages.-Biography:Gordon was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Lithuanian emigrant and physician Benjamin Gordon...

  • Fritz Graebner
    Fritz Graebner
    Robert Fritz Graebner was a German Geographer and ethnologist best known for his theory of the Kulturkreis, or culture circle....

  • A. C. Haddon
  • Stephen C. Jett
  • Alice Beck Kehoe
    Alice Beck Kehoe
    Alice Beck Kehoe is an anthropologist. She attended Barnard College and Harvard University, from which she received her PhD in Anthropology. While a student at Barnard, she was influenced by James Ford, Gordon Ekholm, and Junius Bird; she worked summers at the American Museum of Natural History...

  • David H. Kelley
    David H. Kelley
    David Humiston Kelley was a Canadian American archaeologist and epigrapher, most noted for his work on the phonetic analysis and major contributions toward the decipherment of the writing system used by the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the Maya script.-Work and interests:From...

  • A. L. Kroeber
  • E. Lorges
  • William James Perry
    William James Perry
    William James Perry , usually known as W. J. Perry, was a leader in cultural anthropology at University College, London.Megalith culture, according to him, was transmitted to the rest of the world from Egypt....

  • Friedrich Ratzel
    Friedrich Ratzel
    Friedrich Ratzel was a German geographer and ethnographer, notable for first using the term Lebensraum in the sense that the National Socialists later would.-Life:...

  • W. H. R. Rivers
    W. H. R. Rivers
    William Halse Rivers Rivers, FRCP, FRS, was an English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist and psychiatrist, best known for his work with shell-shocked soldiers during World War I. Rivers' most famous patient was the poet Siegfried Sassoon...

  • Everett Rogers
    Everett Rogers
    Everett M. Rogers was a communication scholar, sociologist, writer, and teacher. He is best known for originating the diffusion of innovations theory and for introducing the term early adopter....

  • Wilhelm Schmidt
    Wilhelm Schmidt
    Wilhelm Schmidt was an Austrian linguist, anthropologist, and ethnologist.Wilhelm Schmidt was born in Hörde, Germany in 1868. He entered the Society of the Divine Word in 1890 and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1892. He studied linguistics at the universities of Berlin and...

  • Grafton Elliot Smith
    Grafton Elliot Smith
    Sir Grafton Elliot Smith, FRS FRCP was an Australian anatomist and a proponent of the hyperdiffusionist view of prehistory.-Professional career:Smith was born in Grafton, New South Wales...

  • E. B. Tylor
  • Clark Wissler
    Clark Wissler
    Clark Wissler was an American anthropologist.Born near Hagerstown, Indiana, Wissler graduated from Indiana University in 1897. He received his doctorate in psychology from Columbia University in 1901. After Columbia, Wissler left the field of psychology to focus on Anthropology...


See also

  • Demic diffusion
    Demic diffusion
    Demic diffusion is a demographic term referring to a migratory model developed by Cavalli-Sforza, that consists of population diffusion into and across an area previously uninhabited by that group, possibly, but not necessarily, displacing, replacing, or intermixing with a pre-existing population...

  • Diffusion of innovations
    Diffusion of innovations
    Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations...

  • Meme
    Meme
    A meme is "an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena...

  • Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact
    Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact
    Theories of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact are those theories that propose interaction between indigenous peoples of the Americas who settled the Americas before 10,000 BC, and peoples of other continents , which occurred before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean in 1492.Many...


External links

  • "Diffusionism and Acculturation" by Gail King and Meghan Wright, Anthropological Theories, M.D. Murphy (ed.), Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Alabama.