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Unit 3

3.8 Effects of Cultural Diffusion

2 min readoctober 11, 2020


Danna Esther Gelfand

AP Human Geography 🚜

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As time progresses, cultural diffusion causes the altering of the cultural landscape, practices, innovations, ideas. Acculturation is defined as the adoption of cultural and social characteristics of one society that is controlled by another society with the minority of inhabitants adapting and adopting the host cultures experiences. Ex: Spanish speakers that immigrated to the United States and learned English mostly speak it when in public while also speaking their native language around friends and family from Spain. Mongols conquered China and largely adopted Chinese culture. 


Transculturation differs in that it is an equal exchange or flow of traits between two cultural groups. Ex: Strong influence of both Buddhism and Confucianism in East Asia. One did not dominate the other but rather Buddhism diffused and interacted with Confucianism.
Syncretism is the birth of a new culture trait from blending two or more culture characteristics Ex: Sikhism which combines elements of Islam and Hinduism, in addition to Baha’i which accepts other religious founders, Shin-Buddhist which blends buddhists and shinto practices in Japan.

Assimilation and Cultural Diffusion

Assimilation occurs when the minority culture integrates, absorbs the host culture and in the process loses aspects of their native customs. Ex: Immigrating to a new country and no longer speaking your native language or carrying on your traditional customs. The latin language and culture is an early example adopted and the basis of most modern day languages. The language became dominant due to the power of the Roman people.

Appropriation and Cultural Diffusion

Cultural appropriation describes a situation where a dominant cultural group takes a product or idea from an oppressed/minority cultural group and uses it for its own benefit. Ex: Using a Native-American tribal name as an American sports team name (Redskins, Blackhawks, etc.). Cultural imperialism is the invasion of a culture into another by dominating.
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🗺Unit 1: Thinking Geographically
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