Essay Cultural Diffusion and Globalization

1037 Words 5 Pages
Isn’t it curious how some traditional American characteristics like blue jeans or Coca-Cola products can be found in the most remote places, such as Himalayan villages or the French island of Bora Bora? Or how soccer is played in all parts of the world? Cultural diffusion and globalization explain these peculiar phenomena. While some believe that that these two notions have a negative impact on society, others believe they on the contrary have a good impact. Personally, I agree with the latter.

Cultural diffusion was defined in 1980 by American anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber as “the diffusion or spread of cultural material” (Kroeber, 1940). Since culture is a community’s way of life, cultural diffusion is the spread of ideas,
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(Goldstein, King & Wright). This type of cultural diffusion promotes understanding and further cooperation. For instance, Canada and the USA have lots of cultural traits in common, principally due to their close proximity.
Today as well, cultural diffusion is observed however in a different method. In fact, direct and forced diffusion practically disappeared, leaving instead the place to indirect cultural diffusion. This relatively new form of diffusion occurs when a cultural trait is passed on from a culture to another without being in contact. Tools such as the mass media, the Internet, and advertising are the means of indirect cultural diffusion. The biggest culture hearths of our days are the USA seconded by Japan, diffusing its values, beliefs, language, food and products to the rest of the world. This explains the popularity of hamburgers or sushi in the world. It also explains the blue jeans and Coca-Cola products talked about earlier. Just like the other forms of diffusion, this form promotes understanding through the trans-cultural exchange of beliefs and lifestyles. It encourages tolerance, because when one gets to know the worldview and way of life of another person, one will understand and respect the other.
Nevertheless, cultural diffusion, like any other thing, has some negative aspects. First of all, when a person of a certain culture is exposed to another,

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