What is Cultural Diffusion Definition & Characteristics

Sat, 02/25/2012 - 09:07 -- Umar Farooq

What is Cultural Diffusion

There are many cultures in the world which are contact in one way or other with one another. The process of diffusion is due to the spread of cultural traits. Both the material and non-material cultural traits transmit from one society to another. Material traits spread quickly while non-material takes more time and spread gradually. For example the teachings of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is spread from society to society is the diffusion of culture.

Definitions of Cultural Diffusion

Following are the definitions of cultural diffusion given by various sociologists:

According to Herskovits, “Cultural diffusion is the achieved cultural transmission.”

Krober define it as “The spread of one cultural elements both material and non-material to the other is called cultural diffusion.”

In simple words “The process by which cultural traits of one society directly or indirectly spread to the other society is called cultural diffusion.

Characteristics of Cultural Diffusion

Following are the characteristics of cultural diffusion

  1. Selective Process. It is a selective process and the traits of one culture are adopted by other on selection. There is compulsion to adopt the traits of others.
  2. Rapid Material Diffusion. In cultural diffusion material aspect change rapidly while the non-material aspect like norms values, customs are rigid to change.
  3. Two Way Process. There is a bridge between two cultures. If one culture gives trait to other it will be easy to take another trait from the opposite culture.
  4. Strong Culture Less Diffused. Weak cultures have more changes to diffused while strong and developed cultures diffused slowly.
  5. Continuous and Increasing Process. Cultural diffusion is a continuous process and it is increasing in every society.