Diffusionism. Parallel to evolutionism. Continued till 1920s. Culture traits move from one area to the other by diffusion and migration.
Believe that man was basically uninventive and major inventions were made only at one place from where it spread throughout the world by diffusion on migration. Diffusion is taking over of traits by imitation while migration is is that culture carrier like people broke away from their original settlement and moved to other parts of the world taking their cultural inventory with them but adapting it to new environmental conditions.
therefore cultural diffusion is the process by which culture traits, discovered or invented at one place or society, are spread directly or indirectly to other societies or places.
Certain cities of societies have been centres of cultural diffusion like Egypt Rome China India. Buddhism diffused from India. Chinese give paper. Indian decimal system crossed Arabia and Europe. Presently USA is diffusing culture like Rock music and fashion. Kabul was an important centre of trade where merchants mat and exchange their ideas.
factors that influence diffusion.
Relationships and communication.
Need and desire for new traits.
Competition with old trade and their opposition.
Respect and recognition of those who bring new traits.
Condition related to cultural diffusion
cultural groups will adopt any cultural trait only when it is meaningful and useful to them socially or economically.
During diffusion a cultural trait may not remain in original for but changes due to different environments
Process of diffusion follows high culture to low culture for developed towards underdeveloped culture. Criticism, biased, universalisation of tradition ignored.
Diffusion may create culture change in groups adopting them. Sometimes borrowed cultural traits may bring other changes.
there are obstacles in cultural diffusion like lack of transport communication rivers mountains deserts and so on.
Pan Egyptian or helio centric school. For Smith and very Egypt was the only e centre of culture.
G Elliott Smith 1871 to 1937
Studied pyramids and Egypt culture. Similarity between English megalith like stone hedge and Egyptian pyramids. megalith as poor imitation of pyramids. It must have travelled from Egyptian culture. Compared Japanese Cambodia Indonesia architecture Maya pyramids Japanese pagodas and Bali temples to conclude diffusion from Egyptian pyramids. Wrote about it all in origin of civilization 1928.
Diffusion of culture 1933. Egyptians developed irrigation. Pottery. Law, writing cities law government religion mummified the dead. Started sun worshipping. Started to spread to other parts. Egyptians wanted precious stones, spices and carried civilization with them.
he called the people outside civilization as natural Mam and describe their culture as collection of negative traits because there was no clothing housing ornaments government burial and not even magic - as per Smith.
he popularised the idea that man was basically an inventor and inventions or discoveries begin first in Egypt and appeared in other cultures due to contact communication and migration. therefore multiple origin, independent invention, psychic Unity and other concepts like survival were abolished by Smith.
in this book diffusion of culture 1933 he again, explained diffusion of cultural traits from Egypt to the the rest of the world.
William Perry 1877 to 1949 - disciple of smith. His famous book portrait egyptians religious system - "The children of the Sun 1923". Studied in Egypt and the powerful Sun god.
Worshipping the sun diffuse from Egypt towards other parts of the world. He argued that pyramid structure, temple building, gold and silver ornaments and so on work creations of Egyptian civilization.
Whr rivers. 1864 to 1922
Torres strait expedition member. 1898.
Used genealogy as a tool to study social change. Famous article on genealogical method 1900. He recorded genealogy and kinship terms and rights duties privileges status and role during his trip.
1904 India visit among todas. The todas 1906. Studied the buffalo complex of toda culture and published a monograph on them.
Discovered that diffusion may also lead to disappearance of traits. wrote on disappearance of useful art forms.
Melanesians had canoes but their holes gradually died. Otherwise they would not have been able to reach these islands. Therefore culture traits frequently disappear as well.
in Australia 5 different burial rituals in homogeneous population in a small area prove that aborigines could not have developed so many variations just by themselves there for successive migrations may have occurred in this region.
1914 history of melanesian society. Kinship and social organisation 1914.
He was more vigorous and better explanations. try to explain cultural diversity on basis of diffusion. Burial systems in melanesia explained with diffusion and migration.
Lowie argued that rivers did not conduct intensive study of language art religion history and Technology.
he was overwhelmed by his study and considered his findings as his invention
Not well read.
Criticism of British school.
Extreme opinion that man was not invented and similarities in culture could be explained by imitation only. Therefore they were extremists.
Used the argument that man was uninventive to explain everything they wanted to prove without considering different functions and cultural meanings of their cultural traits
do not consider places other than Egypt as the centre of cultural traits like India and Indus valley civilization Mesopotamia completely ignored.
Ignored diffusion of cultural complex and focus only on cultural traits.
emphasis on diffusion of material traits and ignored non material aspects of culture.
Austro German school
Superior to British diffusionist in their Outlook methods and ideology. They were not extremist. They also touch upon evolutionary schemes. According to them culture development it does not take place at one particular place but occurs at several different places at several times. therefore different cultural traits and complexes originated independently at several places and time. inventions and discoveries are constant continuous process. accepted theory of diffusion and evolution both for cultural development and growth.
believe that if different layers of cultural traits were examined and analysed scientifically, migration of different traits from different places could be identified.
Different circles or districts developed at different places in different phases. Each culture trait and complex has a circle or district from where it migrated to other places. But not necessarily traits and complexes migrate all over the world.
migration of traits can be explained with the help of historical data. Therefore they are called culture circle school culture kreise school or culture historic school.
major criticism of Germans is that they never explain how diffusion takes place.
Ratzel 1844 to 1904
Anthropogeography book in 1882. Emphasize on relation between Anthropology and geography. his focus was on study of people's relationships two neighbouring countries and particularly trait distributions.
Diffusion influenced by geography environment climate and population migration. but people were more influenced by one other than factors of climate and terrain.
Unclear view on psychic Unity. tended to deny multiple independent inventions. Believe that man is much more given to imitation than creativity.
Believe that whole cultural complexes can be transplanted migration and main focus was from where did the cultural traits come and where did they go. But traits' environmental adaptations will take place.
Not every similarity means diffusion but certain similar qualities like Spears will always be pointed but 800 where they are created for or used may indicate diffusion. He called this principle "criterion of form.” applied it by comparing African bow and arrow with Indonesian and argued that they have diffused.
Method. mapping migration and historic connection between geographical localities.
1882 anthropogeography .
Similarity between two distant cultures far away is due to diffusion.
History of mankind 1885 book
Frobenius 1873 to 1938
Culture circle. Kulturekriese.
Student and colleagues of ratzel. Historical connections usually implied that not just single culture traits but often whole culture complexes were involved. Therefore migration was more important factor of explanation than diffusion. Therefore bow and arrows were not just similar in West Africa and Indonesia but also resemble each other in houses shield mask and drums therefore indicating migration.
Used geographical statistics and counted number of similarities.
When people migrate some traits change and some would disappear therefore not only similarities but significant differences should also be studied.
not just limited to material culture but also considered study of mythology and traditional stories. Argue that African and Indonesian stories were related.
large concentric circles which consists of small circles and may overlap. Culture trade flows from one Circle to another and he used statistics to create a model known as anthropos statistics.
each culture circle has dominant culture trait and dominance of the trait can be identified on the basis of statistics.
English speaking and private sector corporate culture in Delhi vs Mathura vs haryana villages agriculture around.
Graebner 1877 to 1934
Curator at museum. Leader of culture kreise school
created methodology and principles for culture circle movement in his famous book methodder ethnology 1911
Attempted to create elaborate criteria for similarity and historical relationships
Two basic rules
criteria of form. Similarity between two culture elements should be interpreted as a result of diffusion regardless of the distance but similarity should not being basic like arising out of the nature material and purpose of the traits object. Presence of knife into societies does not indicate diffusion but similar shape usage and design may indicate diffusion
Criteria of quantity. Probability of historical relationship between two items increases as number of additional items showing similarities increase
Collected impressive amount of data and detailed descriptions. Best contribution
Argues that man invented culture language tools but soon created small bands that became isolated. Each band develop their own distinctive culture and spread out in different directions in all continents.
Reconstructed 6 successive layers of cultural development
Tasmanian culture earliest one
Melanesian bow culture
Schmidt. 1868 to 1954.
Follower of graebner
Distinguished major grades of culture circles with sub circles
Primitive culture circle
Central. Pygmy of Asia and Africa
Primary culture circle
Exogamous patrilineal hunters
Exogamous matrilineal horticulturist
He believe that during halting gathering stage women specialised in wild plants collection and therefore invented horticulture and became owner of products of soil and the land itself. Therefore matrilocal residence and matrilineal descent started and tradition of couvade began.
Did not create evolutionary order but there was some hint of evolutionism in his approach. he believed that property rights went from equality in primitive stage towards female dominated and finally towards male domination on property.
he criticizes evolutionists like Taylor and Spencer who thought that culture was one single entity and which displayed everywhere same tendencies toward progress and complexity. he argued that cultural institutions like family did not become complex over time. he also criticized that evolutionist used their own culture as normative for all others and criticized use of Survival as a tool of reconstruction.
But he himself used progress to explain culture and fitted culture into sequence.
Argued that religion started from one God and multiple God came into existence because man started to overthink.
Criticism of German school also called as Vienna school of diffusion
The theory has been proved wrong and no circle could be established by data
Shortcoming of assumptions and methods. Assumption was quality that cultural differences begin from 45 early bands which migrated to other continents.
Criteria of norm for quality and quantity did not yield realistic result because there are too many other influences that interfere
Similarities between cultural traits like feathered arrows metal Unity or mythology does not necessarily prove historical relationship. Also cultures divergent converge so similar origin main result ine different it out comes and vice versa.
Never explain why diffusion and migration takes place. overlooked analysis of reasons behind acceptance rejection and modification of cultural items.
Clark Wissler 1870 to 1947
Student off Franz Boas. He believe that instead of treating American Indians as uniform and homogeneous, steps should be taken to indicate and locate the varieties of of the modes of life and locate their varieties according to the dominant traits and geographic locations.
believe that no two groups of people were identical but customs of nearby people tend to be similar. since people closer together borrow and interact with each other more often they form a cluster with similar culture. This area of similar cultures is called culture area.
Initially mission created a list of 18 American Indian culture areas like Arctic, Iroquois, Andean etc. This was defined by Clark Wissler.
Define culture area. if we take cultural traits groups - like food areas, textile areas, ceramic areas - in two simultaneous consideration and view it as a social or tribal unit then we are able to form a fairly definite group which gives us a culture area for classification of social groups according to their cultural traits.
but culture area is a classificatory device and not very useful for historical concept although it can help in reconstruction of the past.
He listed 10 culture areas for North America 4 for South America and 1 for Caribbean. Then he took substance as the basic factor and common denominator for each group. Thereby reducing to 8 food culture areas
Caribou for Eskimo.
Bison for great plains
Maniac in Amazon and Caribbean.
Created maps on archaeological and ethnographic data. Concluded that Indian culture were quite stable. But trying to match his culture areas with linguistic and racial classification led to weak correlation. Regardless he was satisfied that the cultures were relatively homogeneous and there was similarity in food, clothing, housing, art, dancing and so on.
He believe that there was a culture Centre for each of his culture area. this centre was the place of early settlement from which various trades diffused. Cultural traits appeared at the centre and the diminished in number with increase in distance from the centre gradually different elements and cultural traits become numerous and eventually lead to another culture centre in a different culture area. But he did not cause it degeneration since traits must be adopted to specific conditions if they have to remain functional. But it was unproven.
origin of culture centres is due to factors not geography but once these Centre are located they make adjustments to suit their environment.
Is law of diffusion means that anthropological traits tend to diffusion all directions from their centre of origin. age area principal means that we can in for relative age of cultural traits based on their geographical distribution. Most widely distributed trades around a Centre will be the oldest ones. Diffusion rate tends to be uniform and with diffusion they lose some of their complexity.
give two types of cultural diffusion. Natural and organised diffusion. organised diffusion is quick and transmitted by organisations like missionary's invaders and contact. Natural diffusion is time taking and involves trial and error.
Relationship between culture and ecology.
the American Indian 1917.
1923 man and culture.
studied process of diffusion in historical framework and give the concept of age area hypothesis. The larger the area of distribution of a cultural trait the older it is. New culture trait has limited area of spread.
Kroeber. 1876 to 1960.
believe that theory must result from fieldwork as far as possible. Great emphasis on data collection.
Argued that decorative and symbolic art can develop simultaneously this rejecting Haddon argument that 8 evolves in linear sequence of realism symbolism and geometric.
Attack on morgans scheme of kinship terminology
Morgan believe that classificatory terminologies were associated with evolutionary emergence of unilineal descent groups. they were gradually replaced by descriptive terminologies when there was transition from kinship towards state organised societies
But kroeber in his paper classificatory system of relationship 1909 argue that kinship terminologies of all cultures primitive or civilized consisted a mix of classificatory and descriptive tendencies and there was no general rule that can be related to the social structure. But ultimately kroebers view of relationship between kinship terminology and social structure proved to be incorrect. ???? Ask sir.
Concept of culture climate and culture intensity.
Studied and wrote the book handbook of Indians of Kalifornia. Observe that despite differences, culture areas often resemble each other in many ways. Therefore statistical correlation must be made to find coincidence of ethical traits to differentiate culture areas properly. But overtime creating list of cultural traits got out of hand and range upto 7 and 8 thousand. it was time consuming and difficult for researchers and informatics. Also the list can never be completed. It was soon abandoned.
Finally himself admitted that culture traits cannot be completely listed because certain elements cannot be captured by the list and called them sensitive indicators of culture. These include 8 religion ethics philosophy and so on.
Revised Wisslers culture areas. created 7 grand areas, 21 areas and 63 sub areas for north and Central America.
To give the concept of cultural climax. it is dynamic equivalent of culture centre. It is the part of area where tribes have a large contact of culture. it is where more numerous elements and more sharply expressed and interrelated patterns are observed.
Every culture moves towards cultural climax in which the culture at its peak of its development and this climax is a product of culture interaction with the environment and the process of diffusion which the culture has experienced.
During the culture climaxes the culture becomes more productive and highly organised with better ability to assimilate new ideas and techniques.
different cultures have different cultural climaxes and different levels of diffusion. This give rise to independent field of cultural ecology.
Cultural traits diffuse at different speed and can even move back.
he was focused on cultural patterns and configuration rather than just traits and complexes. Culture area of the concept analytical tool to understand the process of diffusion.
Didn't believe any civilization was superior or inferior and all men are totally civilized.
P 137 & 138 doubt.
Concept of culture as super organic and super individual
Inspired by Herbert Spencer and durkheim.
Culture cannot be treated as organic where it is born grows up and eventually dies but culture is something super organic. It has its own realm of phenomena and own rules and cannot be explained by biology or psychology and so on.
Culture has its own inner dynamic force and regulates its own changes. Human genius has no decisive influence upon culture.
In his research paper super organic 1917 he argued that since culture is super organic that's why inventions like telescope Steel boat discovery of Oxygen and Neptune were independently done this simultaneous invention of photography telephone and other things was the best proof that there is some thing beyond individuals and he called this super organic. Individuals are definitely carriers of culture but culture is not the creation of any specific individual basically the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. people dying generations die and groups and but culture continues this is why it is super individual as it is created and continued despite the individuals fate.
Culture is super organic because it is inorganic and free from organic influence. it has qualities of being transferable, changeable, collective, has a value pattern and ability to impress people therefore it is super organic.
Criticized by Edward sapir that he should not ignore individual role in culture and cultural process. culture develops because of individual effort and things are built upon previous ones for example discovery of Neptune could not have been done without the telescope which depends on glass and optics.
Boas said, superorganic view is mysticism. Opler said, organic view keeps humanity out of the concept and therefore script Anthropology of its warmth and Purpose.
Studied patterns of art, music, religion, philosophy etc.
Criticism of culture area scheme
it is difficult to trace the exact place of their origin because migration causes many cultural traits to be side-by-side. Therefore culture area concept appears static and without historic depth
Divide the world into certain categories but fails to explain worldwide diffusion of culture
too much emphasis on material aspects and did not explain clearly non material aspects of culture
too much focus on geographical areas and little on common language rituals food habits.
Empirically e not real that in only in habitants of culture centres were the inventors of cultural traits and others were borrowers.
the idea that cultural traits diffusion all directions was incorrect.
Listing of cultural traits was time-consuming and frustrating.
Basic postulates of diffusionists.
• Any cultural group will adopt a culture trait of other cultural group, only when it would
be meaningful and useful either economically or socially or both.
• In the course of diffusion, culture trait may not remain in original form, but changes can
take place in it due to different environments.
• Process of diffusion of culture traits always follow from a developed culture into an
• Process of diffusion may create culture change in groups adopting culture of other
groups. Sometimes borrowed culture traits get assimilated easily, but sometimes, they are
responsible for many changes.
• Lack of transport and communication facilities, ocean, river, mountain, desert etc.,
operates as obstacles in cultural diffusion.
Thought man was not inventive
Racist because considered other civilizations as inferior.
Evidence shows how elements don't diffuse in one direction but 8 keep circulating and interacting. English language has many Hindi words French and German words.
Virtually impossible to trace the origin of a culture trait. Since there no clear evidences.
Diffusion is not inevitable phenomena and cultures can coexist without diffusion.