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Diffusion Horton High School


									What diffuses ?

The process by which a characteristic
spreads from one place to another over
Terms associated with Diffusion

Hearth: the region where an innovation originates

Agent of Diffusion: method by which the
                    innovation diffuses
Innovator: person who is responsible for the
           idea/innovation & thus initiating
           the diffusion process

Adopter: person who accepts the idea/innovation
Involuntary / voluntary exposure or adoption:

• people may become adopters whether they want to or not

• people decide whether to accept the innovation or not
Barriers: Obstacles to the spread of an innovation ...

  Physical – mountains, oceans, river, …

  Cultural – language, religion, …

  Permeable – slows down diffusion but does
            not prevent it

  Impermeable – prevents diffusion
Cultural Lag: when a group of potential adopters
              are unresponsive to changing
              circumstances and to innovations
            (often primitive and traditional societies –
             no need to change – happy as they are)
Related ideas

Folk culture: the body of institutions, customs,
dress, artifacts, collective wisdoms, and traditions
of a homogeneous, isolated, largely self-sufficient,
and relatively static social group
Popular culture: the constantly changing mix
material and nonmaterial elements available
through mass production and mass media to
urbanized, heterogeneous, nontraditional societies
Types of Diffusion

          Expansion Diffusion

          Relocation Diffusion
Expansion Diffusion
• an idea / innovation develops in a hearth
and remains strong there, while also spreading
outwards (the idea/innovation moves, not necessarily the people)

• 3 different types



Expansion – Contagious Diffusion
  • as the idea/innovation spreads, almost
  everyone is affected, although they may
  not all adopt it

 Islam                                 Common Cold
Expansion – Hierarchical Diffusion

 • spread of an idea/innovation from persons or nodes
 to other persons or nodes

 • may affect only certain persons or nodes

 • from more influential people to progressively less
 influential people

 • from larger nodes to progressively smaller nodes
examples of hierarchical diffusion:

AIDS                                  Fashion

Expansion – Stimulus Diffusion
•the idea/innovation is adopted in a modified form
McDonalds - U.S.A & India
Relocation Diffusion

• the spread of an idea/innovation through the
physical movement of people

• they migrate and take ‘it’ with them & they
may then disseminate it in the new locale

• not everyone along the path of advancement
adopts the innovation
example: - early Europeans coming to the
           new world brought with them :
                 crops & farming techniques
                 building styles
                 concepts of government
Once the idea/innovation arrives:

Acculturation – when the less dominant culture
            adopts elements of the cultural practices
            and ideas of the dominate culture
Assimilation – when the adoption of cultural
            elements is so complete that the
            two cultures become indistinguishable

Transculturation – when both cultures function as
both sources and adopters of ideas/innovations
Relocation diffusion – migrant diffusion

 • a special type of relocation diffusion where
 the idea/innovation disappears from its hearth
 as it diffuses to new areas

 example: mild influenza pandemic
 (starts in Asia & by the time it seriously affects
 Europe and N.A., it has faded away in Asia)
                                           Rate of Acceptance of an Innovation
Cumulative percentage of the population

                                                       Isolated nonknowers



The spatial diffusion of many phenomena tends to follow an S-curve
of slow buildup, rapid spread, and leveling off. (Knox & Marston)
What type of diffusion is responsible for
the spread of the following: (may be a combination)

   Use of the internet


   Nuclear weapons

   Common cold

   Anabaptist faith
Explain how Christianity was spread by several types of diffusion



Do ethnic religions diffuse ? If so, is it significant ? If so, how ?

The diffusion of universalizing religions, especially Christianity
& Islam typically comes @ the expense of ethnic religions
Bright idea



Fashion (female)

Fashion (Male)


Hosing style



Aircraft carrier

Map of Islam

Common cold

Blues music

Cowboy hats

Reindeer herders

Cattle ranching

McDonalds US

McDonalds India



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