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Cultural Change and Diffusion: Geographic Patterns, Social Processes, and Contact Zones
Cultural change and diffusion: Geographic patterns, social processes, and contact zones

Cultures develop and change both through spontaneous, local invention and the adoption of ideas, customs, and objects from other cultural groups. As early as the 1930s, scholars suggested that “no more than 10% of all of the cultural items found in any culture—including our own—originated in that culture” (Ferraro, 2006, p. 395). The diffusion or spread of culture from a point of origin to other places and people can occur through personal contact, migration, trade, war, or mass communications. Diffusion is important to studying history, but it is also part of the trajectory of the future. The spread of some ideas, such as ...

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