THREE: CULTURAL PATTERNS & PROCESSES

3.1       Introduction to Culture

  • Culture comprises the shared practices, technologies, attitudes, and behaviors transmitted by a society.
  • Cultural traits include such things as food preferences, architecture, and land use.
  • Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism are different attitudes toward cultural difference.

3.2       Cultural Landscapes

  • Cultural landscapes are combinations of physical features, agricultural and industrial practices, religious and linguistic characteristics, evidence of sequent occupancy, and other expressions of culture including traditional and postmodern architecture and land-use patterns.
  • Attitudes toward ethnicity and gender, including the role of women in the workforce; ethnic neighborhoods; and indigenous communities and lands help shape the use of space in a given society.

3.3       Cultural Patterns

  • Regional patterns of language, religion, and ethnicity contribute to a sense of place, enhance placemaking, and shape the global cultural landscape.
  • Language, ethnicity, and religion are factors in creating centripetal and centrifugal forces.

3.4       Types of Diffusion

  • Relocation and expansion—including contagious, hierarchical, and stimulus expansion—are types of diffusion.

3.5       Historical Causes of Diffusion

  • Interactions between and among cultural traits and larger global forces can lead to new forms of cultural expression; for example, creolization and lingua franca.
  • Colonialism, imperialism, and trade helped to shape patterns and practices of culture.

3.6       Contemporary Causes of Diffusion

  • Cultural ideas and practices are socially constructed and change through both small-scale and large-scale processes such as urbanization and globalization. These processes come to bear on culture through media, technological change, politics, economics, and social relationships.
  • Communication technologies, such as the internet and the time-space convergence, are reshaping and accelerating interactions among people; changing cultural practices, as in the increasing use of English and the loss of indigenous languages; and creating cultural convergence and divergence.

3.7       Diffusion of Religion and Language

  • Language families, languages, dialects, world religions, ethnic cultures, and gender roles diffuse from cultural hearths.
  • Diffusion of language families, including Indo-European, and religious patterns and distributions can be visually represented on maps, in charts and toponyms, and in other representations.
  • Religions have distinct places of origin from which they diffused to other locations through different processes. Practices and belief systems impacted how widespread the religion diffused.
  • Universalizing religion, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism, are spread through expansion and relocation diffusion.
  • Ethnic religions, including Hinduism and Judaism, are generally found near the hearth or spread through relocation diffusion.

3.8       Effects of Diffusion

  • Acculturation, assimilation, syncretism, and multiculturalism are effects of the diffusion of culture.

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