Diffusion Studies and Trickle Down

Diffusion studies investigate the process of how an innovation spreads through a social system. The framework called diffusion of innovations theory was studied first by rural sociologists including Bryce Ryan and George Beal to understand the diffusion of high-yielding hybrid seed corn, chemical fertilizers, and weed sprays. Questions were asked about why some farmers embraced these obviously beneficial innovations while others shied away from it.

Whenever individuals adopt or reject an innovation or consume a product, this behavior at some level leads to personal change, and if enough number of individuals adopts an innovation, it certainly leads to changes in the larger culture. Thus, the theory also helps explains cultural shifts shedding light on present-day consumerism and the development of mass culture. Diffusion studies underwent ...

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