Cultures Essay, Research Paper

Culture is something that is very stable but it is still something that is subject to

change. There are different causes to change including accidents or the unexpected

outcome of events that are already in existence. Sometimes it is also the attempt to solve

a perceived problem. Change can also be forced upon a group through intense contact

between two societies. Adaption and progress are both consequences and not causes of


The ultimate source of all change is innovation. This is any new practice, tool, or

principle that gains widespread acceptance within a group. A primary innovation is a

change that involve the chance discovery of a new principle. A secondary innovation

results from the deliberate application of known principles. A great example of primary

innovation is the firing of clay which makes it permanently hard. Modeling the clay to be

fired by known techniques into familiar objects. Primary stimulate other inventions and

may prompt rapid cultural change.

Diffusion is known as the borrowing of cultural elements from one society by

members of another. Borrowing is so common that the North American anthropologist

Ralph Linton suggested that as much as 90% of a culture is accounted for by borrowing.

The Pilgrims that settled in New Plymouth might have starved to death if it wasn’t for the

Indian Squanto which showed them how to grow crops. There is a creativeness behind

the borrowing, picking and choosing from multiple possibilities. Most of these choices

are made to be compatible with the already existing culture.

Cultural loss has to do with the abandonment of some trait or practice with or

without replacement. People think of change as an accumulation of innovations: adding

new things to those that are already there. When reflected upon you come up with the

conclusion that the existence of a new innovation leads to the loss of an older one. This

in not only a feature of Western Civilization. In biblical times chariots and carts were in

Widespread use but were replaced by camels because they worked better by the 6th


Acculturation is the occurrence of two groups of different cultures coming into

intensive firsthand contact with each other. An element of force is usually involved

directly or indirectly. There are other variables which include the degree of cultural

difference; circumstances, intensity, frequency, and hostility of contact; who is dominant

and who is submissive: and whether the nature of the flow is reciprocal or nonreciprocal.

Acculturation and diffusion are not equivalent terms; one culture can borrow from

another without being in the least acculturated.

Genocide is the extermination of one group of people by another, often

deliberately and in the name of “progress.” This is nothing new in history. The most

widely known act of genocide in recent history was the Nazi German attempt to wipe out

European Jews and gypsies in the name of racial superiority. To end such ugly practices

are ever to be ended, we must gain a better understanding of them then currently exists.

All cultures change at one time or another for the reasons spoken. Although some

people change on purpose most change is accidental. There are different mechanisms of

change and it is usually positive. We definitely have to learn from our past mistakes so

that negative things such as genocide don’t take place again. If we don’t learn from our

mistakes we are bound to repeat them.

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