Flashcards for Culture Change
Topics 1-2:  Overview and Process of Change
(17 cards)

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Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

The cultures that do not change over time.

none (all cultures change)
The cultures that resist change.
all cultures

The rate of global culture change today. (Hint: think in terms of slowing down, staying the same, or accelerating.)


The reason that the following statement is wrong:

New technological inventions have no impact on the rest of the culture in which they occur.

Inventions potentially can affect all cultural institutions because cultures are organic wholes consisting of interdependent components.

The reason that the following statement is wrong:

Culture change is not likely to have an impact on the environment.

Cultures do not exist in isolation. When cultures change, they can have major impacts on the environment. Similarly, when the environment changes, there are likely to be impacts on culture.

The term for the movement of cultural traits and ideas from one society or ethnic group to another.


The term for the loss of cultural traits by a society. (Hint: this usually occurs as cultures change and acquire new traits. Old, no longer useful or popular traits also disappear.)

culture loss

The process by which a culture is transformed due to the massive adoption of cultural traits from another society. (Hint: it is what happens to a culture when alien traits diffuse in on a large scale and substantially replace traditional cultural patterns.)


The process by which an individual moves to a new society and adopts their culture.


The general processes operating within a society that lead to its culture change.

invention and culture loss

The general processes operating within a society that cause a resistance to culture change.

habit and the integration of cultural traits

The main process resulting in culture change when cultures have extensive contact with each other.


The aspect of a cultural trait that may not be transferred unaltered between cultures when diffusion occurs between them. (Hint: think about American fast-food chains opening up in non-Western nations.)

The meaning or significance of the trait may be different even though the form remains the same.

The explanation as to why most Native Americans speak English, dress the same, and eat the same foods as members of the dominant culture in North America today.

Most of the Native Americans have been extensively acculturated by the dominant European American culture.

The term for what happens when a genuine invention is sparked by an idea that diffused in from another culture.

stimulus diffusion

The processes operating in the contact between cultures that result in resistance to change.

“Us versus them” competitive feelings, ethnocentrism, and ingroup-outgroup dynamics

The kind of culture change exemplified by the invention of a unique writing system by the Cherokee Indian Sequoyah around 1821 after seeing English writing.

stimulus diffusion