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Evaluation of Cultural, Social and Technological Diffusion in the Modern World

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Introduction

An Evaluation of Cultural, Social and Technological Diffusion in the Modern World Brian Daurelle When two different cultures come together, their better ideas, innovations and ideals tend to mesh into one another. It pertains mostly to technological advances that one people have on meeting another group, that this second group then learns of and takes advantage of. This happens invariably whenever two cultural groups interact for a sustained time; it is particularly acute when developed culture collides with a less developed one. Diffusion is the process of cultural integration by the mixing of ideas and objects. To some critics, this process is a destruction of smaller ethnic cultures and a loss of diversity, driving them to term it 'Cultural Contamination. The following are several specific cases in which such 'contamination' or diffusion has occurred, and an appraisal of its effect on the world. The great cities in Africa are prime examples of diffusion. The cultural and ethnic diversity there spans a broad range. While the common people may still wash their clothing and get their drinking at a village or personal well, they can also be found talking on cell phones, which have become integrated into society in many African nations. ...read more.

Middle

Tall, modern buildings tower over every cityscape, and the only real Japanese culture left to be found is in the scant farming areas that are unsuitable for urbanization. The crowds in Japanese cities are peppered with Westerners, while there are many less Europeans in the outlying suburbs. An example of diffusion well-known to American schoolchildren is one that occurred in the mid-western United States during the age of Westward expansion. The Spanish and other European immigrants came with their technology and found the Native Americans. A time later, serious settlement across all of the western U.S. solidified the process of Western cultural domination. Of course, at the time, there was little to no concern for 'purity' or to preserve Native culture, so the two were able to mesh freely. The two groups traded, fought and intermarried and their ways were intermingled, resembling in some ways the interactions Native American tribe had had among themselves before contact with European society. Among the signs of diffusion; It became common for a Native child to leave his tribe and participate in white society; Children began to have names that incorporated elements from both societies (McGinn). ...read more.

Conclusion

So, despite the growing concern for containing and preserving ethnic cultures and societal structures, one can argue that diffusion is one of the best things that human culture can do; it helps those who are behind in their social and technological development to move faster and be a part of the outside world; it attempts to bring all people to the same levels of living. Diffusion is, by its very nature, a process by which a people can better their way of life. Every culture imaginable is a product of historical diffusion, be it internal or external; it is somewhat paradoxical to choose a particular moment in time at which to halt and preserve a particular culture. Recording its current state is of some interest, but much more interesting would be to see how it responds and develop as diffusion occurs, and look back on its previous states only to observe how it has changed. Preservation of culture is suited for museums, not for real societies. Cultural contamination is something that may well exist, by definition, but those whose cultures are being 'contaminated' see it as a way to take part in the world, to better their own lives by taking after those whose cultures have come to dominate it. ...read more.

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