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Lecture 4

GG270 Lecture 4: GG270 LECTURE 4

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Margaret Walton- Roberts

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GG270 LECTURE 4 Part A: Diffusion studies the traditional approach, which focuses on the spread of a specific cultural trait (the landscape school) the spatial analytic approach, which is designed to uncover empirical regularities (quantitative revolution). The third, the political economy approach (links diffusion, culture, and power) Eurocentric diffusionism (Blaut). Most studies examine the diffusion of an innovation. 1. Cultural trait spread Material culture (artefacts), occupancy pattern on the land etc and diffusion of certain cultural forms in buildings etc (descriptive) Certain practices are linked to specific cultural groups (cigar tobacco, covered bridges). Migration of populations as well as of innovations can accompany diffusion 2. Spatial analytic approach to diffusion Torsten Hgerstrand and agricultural innovation Used Monte Carlo simulations to move beyond descriptive focus of cultural trait approach Best known for time space prism in geography, where space and time have a dialectical relationship. The approach had more influence with quantitative than cultural geographers, with Mei some exceptions. 3. Political economy approach to diffusion Models of diffusion tended to assume homogeneity among individuals Politicaleconomy emphasised issues of marginality, access to power and hierarchy E.g Diffusion of green revolution in India Early adopters tend to be elites who convert early success to long term profitability Costs of seeds and fertilizer prevent diffusion of new seeds to poorer farmers, not peasant mentality. Reproduced the power of the wealthier landowners. Blauts arguments Diffusionism accepts the insideroutsider model Accepts myth of emptiness in the periphery Gives civilization in return for resources Diffusion becomes implicit, not tested, and acts as an ideologyEurocentrism Europe in the Middle Ages In the Europe of the Middle Ages human observations about the world conformed to Biblical scripture. belief that the universealso known as the cosmoswas the creation of a divine being.
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