10 Hierarchical Diffusion Examples (2022) - AP Human Geography (2022)

10 Hierarchical Diffusion Examples (2022) - AP Human Geography (1)

Hierarchical diffusion is one of six ways cultures can spread around the world (what we call ‘types of cultural diffusion’). What makes hierarchical diffusion unique is that it involves the spread of culture starting from the most powerful and influential people within the culture.

Once the influential people embrace a certain culture, the rest of the culture are more likely to follow.

It can occur both within a culture (such as the spread of a trend within the United States) as well as between different cultures (such as spreading elements of US culture to Asia).

Some examples of hierarchical diffusion include:

  • Parisian Fashion Diffusion
  • Royal Fashion Trends
  • Hollywood Trend Diffusion
  • Music Genres (rap, etc.)
  • The Spanish Inquisition
  • Religious Doctrine
  • Celebrity Tweets

Hierarchical diffusion is a very common type of diffusion in the 21st Century. Companies and brands will often pay influential people (such as ‘Instagram Influencers’) to wear their clothes or use their products to try to influence entire youth subcultures. But it was also common in the past, especially in European monarchies, where the kings and queens would be the trendsetters for everyone else to follow.

(Video) Types of Diffusion [AP Human Geography]

Below are some of the best examples of hierarchical diffusion.

Hierarchical Diffusion Examples

1. Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain – The Spanish Inquisition

The example most commonly used in AP Human Geography courses is that of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon. These two separate kingdoms were united by the marriages of Ferdinand and Isabella and led to the de facto unification of Spain. We say ‘de facto’ because the unification did not become official for a long time later. Nonetheless, through their marriage, they brought together the two kingdoms culturally and socially.

Some reforms they implemented including the Reconquista, which involved the forced conversions of Jews and Muslims to Christianity. This type of ‘forced diffusion’ was common in Medieval Europe, and particularly in Catholic Spain.

Because these (rather brutal) cultural reforms were enforced from the top in society, we consider this to be a quintessential example of hierarchical diffusion.

2. Schoolyard ‘Cool Kids’

The easiest way to explain hierarchical diffusion is to relate it back to when you were in school. You may have seen the ‘cool kids’ in your class adopt a trend. Because they were cool, you may have wanted to imitate them and copy the trend.

(Video) 3.4 Types of Diffusion (Unit 3 Cultural Geography, Topic 3 of AP Human Geography)

If it was a not-so-cool kid in the class who adopted a trend you might not have been as interested in doing it. That’s because people with high social regard (what we often call ‘social capital’) will often be the trendsetters in a society. You want to be seen as being more like the cool kids and less like the uncool kids.

3. Hollywood Films

Hollywood films will often be used to spread culture around the United States and the world. There are two ways they do this.

First, Hollywood films often depict internationally famous actors like Brad Pitt and Zac Efron wearing the newest fashion trends. This can be the trendsetter for distributing those new fashions to the masses. By starting ‘at the top’ with the famous actors and spreading the culture from those influencers down, this is a classic example of hierarchical diffusion of culture.

Second, Hollywood films are a super-spreader of US culture around the world. A Hollywood film will make its way to cinemas around the globe more than any others. We often call the spread of US culture in the age of Globalization “Americanization”, which is something many anti-globalists rail against.

(Note that this second example also has strong elements of expansion diffusion).

4. Religious Doctrine in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is a notoriously centralized institution. All changes to Catholic doctrine must come from the top. They hold authority over interpretations of scripture as well as positions on controversial issues like sexuality and abortion.

When the Church makes a change to their doctrine, it ‘trickles down’ throughout the entire culture of the Catholic Church. It affects the conversations and even actions of priests and laypeople throughout the world. This hierarchical way in which culture is diffused is one of the most regimented examples because it’s non-organic. For the Church, there are explicit rules and instructions on how culture is policed and changed.

(Video) Relocation & Expansion Diffusion [AP Human Geography Unit 3 Topic 4] (3.4)

5. Talk Back Radio Hosts

For politicized talk back hosts, they have the ability to inspire entire movements for and against cultural issues like gay marriage (in the early 2010s).

Talk back radio hosts such as the late Rush Limbaugh revolutionized political culture in the United States. For Limbaugh in particular, he vocalized many populist right-wing views that emboldened many people in the United States to become politically active in movements like the Tea Party and Trump Republicans.

The power talk back radio hosts have – to talk to millions of people every morning – makes them oversized influencers. When they say something, they will be able to influence large groups of people across a culture.

6. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the US national anthem in 2016 in protest against the treatment of black people by police. At the time he was widely criticized by the conservative establishment within the NFL as well as many fans. He was not signed to any football teams in subsequent years, potentially due to his political views.

However, Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem also led to a groundswell of support and was an influential moment in pushing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. This footballer used his position as a powerful cultural influencer to bring about cultural change from the top down.

7. Parisian Fashion

Paris is known as a fashion capital of the world. The fashions that come out of Paris influence the Western world and have done so for centuries. Paris Fashion Week occurs twice per year where influential fashion designers release their new designs. These designs can filter down to yearly fashions and influence other fashion shows around the world.

8. Royal Fashion

Similarly, the fashion of royals spread throughout the world. Marie Antoinette is famous for being a French fashion icon who changed up fashion in her time. She embraced the chemise á la Reine (fashion of the Gaulle) which upset the traditional fashion of the nobility. Many nobles copied her fashion, but it also led to widespread criticism from the French people and lesser nobility that her fashion sense was excessive and even too sexualized for the times.

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Today, royal watchers continue to observe the fashions of royalty closely. This is mostly the case with the British royalty who remain the most eminent Western royal family of the 21st Century. However, in republics such as the United States, it is often celebrities such as Beyoncé who are the new royalty and are looked upon for their fashion trends.

9. Paid Celebrity Tweets

Today, there is an enormous industry built up around celebrity ‘influencers’ sending out tweets and Instagram photos of themselves using their favorite brands. The use of the brands by high-powered social icons is clearly seen as paying dividends for brands given that they pay extraordinary sums of money for a single tweet or photo. According to inc.com Chloe Kardashian can attract up to $8,000 for a single tweet of a brand or product.

10. Government Laws and Decrees

Another prominent way cultural diffusion occurs is through government laws. In this case, it’s a form of ‘forced hierarchical diffusion’. The powerful people in society demand cultural change through outlawing certain behaviors. This is similar to the Spanish Inquisition example earlier in this piece.

But today there are many examples of this. One might be the widespread legalization of gay marriage in the early 2010s in the Western world. Nations like Canada, the UK and the USA legalized gay marriage, partially due to a bottom-up groundswell (the opposite of hierarchical diffusion). But once the government went about legalizing the practice, a return hierarchical effect was seen within instructions. For example, in some countries health insurance providers were no longer allowed to discriminate based on sexuality.

Through government laws, cultural change can be normalized both in legal and business institutions as well as the behaviors of people over time. Things that were once considered outside the norms can become mainstream if the government legalizes and accepts those behaviors within a culture.

RELATED:

  • Examples of Contexts
  • Contagious Diffusion Examples
  • Relocation Diffusion Examples

Conclusion

These examples of hierarchical diffusion can overlap with other examples, like expansionist and forced diffusion. So, they’re not mutually exclusive. But if you’re using one of these examples, I’d recommend mentioning that it could also be considered another type of confusion at the same time if you feel this is the case. That will show the person grading your work that you’ve got a thorough understanding of cultural diffusion and related concepts like cultural adaptation.

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FAQs

What is an example of hierarchical diffusion in AP Human Geography? ›

Some examples of hierarchical diffusion include: Parisian Fashion Diffusion. Royal Fashion Trends. Hollywood Trend Diffusion.

What is a real life example of hierarchical diffusion? ›

When a celebrity starts a fashion trend and this trend slowly becomes popular throughout the United States. Usually, hierarchical diffusion starts in big urban areas (NYC, LA, etc.), then spreads to smaller cities/suburbs, and then lastly to rural areas.

Which is an example of hierarchical diffusion quizlet? ›

An example of hierarchical diffusion is the diffusion of fashion. When it comes to fashion, it comes in many different forms, prices, and practicalities. A lot of times one kind of trend will diffuse from celebrity to celebrity, as they can all afford the costly clothing, and don't require a lot of practicality.

What is a hierarchical diffusion? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion. The spread of an idea from persons or nodes of authority or power to other persons or places. Examples- Birkenstocks, Christianity, styles of clothing, music.

What type of diffusion is McDonald's? ›

The idea (McDonald's burgers) was acceptable, but not in its original form – hence stimulus diffusion.

What type of diffusion is volleyball? ›

Volleyball was diffused by contagious and hierarchical. There is some grey space on how it spread but it was created in MA and shortly became a popular hobby and sport as it spread more and more around the world.

How does hierarchical diffusion spread? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion is when an idea spreads by passing first among the most connected individuals, then spreading to other individuals. Think of the chain of command in businesses, and the government.

What are the five types of diffusion? ›

Relocation, expansion, contagious, hierarchical, and stimulus diffusion.

What is hierarchical contagious stimulus and relocation diffusion? ›

Hierarchical diffusion is when a cultural trend is spread from one segment of society to another in a pattern, such as hip hop spreading from cities to less populated areas. Stimulus diffusion is when a cultural trend spreads but is changed by those adopting the idea, such as American practitioners of yoga poses.

Is Starbucks hierarchical diffusion? ›

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, built a solid foundation for the company by hiring executives that would be able to diffuse the company across the world (Hierarchical Diffusion). Starbucks also began to spread contagiously as people began to hear about their business.

What is hierarchical diffusion AP human? ›

Hierarchical diffusion. Occurs when the diffusion innovation or concept spreads from a place or person of power or high susceptibility to another in a leveled pattern. Stimulus diffusion. Occurs when the innovative idea diffuses from its hearth outward, but the original idea is changed by the new adopters.

What type of diffusion is TV? ›

Example of Relocation Diffusion: Technology such as computers, the internet, telephone, TV, etc.

What are three examples of cultural diffusion? ›

Common Cultural Diffusions

For example, jazz started as a blend of the music of Africa and the Caribbean. Southern cities in the United States, especially border towns, have signs in both English and Spanish. The popularity of sushi, a traditional Japanese dish, shows diffusion of Japanese cuisine.

What are the 3 ways cultural diffusion occurs? ›

In essence, there really are only three types of cultural diffusion: relocation, expansion and maladaptive.

What are the 2 types of expansion diffusion? ›

Expansion diffusion comes in two types: contagious and hierarchal.

Is the Internet contagious diffusion? ›

Contagious diffusion is the process of an idea being spread rapidly throughout the population; all places and individuals in the region are affected. Examples could include: the spread of AIDS prevention; the spread of disease; the use of the internet.

What is a real world example of stimulus diffusion? ›

An example of stimulus diffusion is the growing worldwide love for hip hop music. Hip hop culture started in American inner cities like New York City, as an expression of African-American culture and experiences.

What is stimulus diffusion? ›

Definition of stimulus diffusion

: diffusion in which one people receives a culture element from another but gives it a new and unique form.

What is folk culture diffusion? ›

Folk customs originate in the distant past and change slowly over time. Folk cultures move across space by relocation diffusion, as groups move they bring their cultural items, as well as their ideas with them. Folk culture is transmitted or diffused in person.

What are the types of cultural diffusion? ›

There are five different types of cultural diffusion. They are expansion, contagious, hierarchical, stimulus, and relocation diffusion.

How do you win in volleyball? ›

To win a game, a team must score 25 points with a two-point difference. If they're too closely matched, the game can continue over the 25-point maximum. On the final deciding game of the match it's only played until 15 points, but the two-point difference still applies.

What is an example of a hierarchical religion? ›

a religion that has a well defined geographic structure and organizes territory into local administrative units. EX:Roman Catholicism provides a good example of a hierarchical religion. individuals who help transmit a universalizing religion through relocation diffusion.

What type of diffusion is the spread of rap music? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion

This type of diffusion can help explain how aspects of culture such as language and religion have spread as people have spread throughout an area. Examples: The diffusion of hip-hop/rap music from urban areas out to the general public.

What is most responsible for hierarchical diffusion as opposed to contagious diffusion? ›

What is most responsible for "hierarchical" diffusion, as opposed to "contagious" diffusion? links to one another in a network.

What type of diffusion is Christianity? ›

Christianity spread through relocation diffusion by missionaries and hierarchical diffusion when the Roman Empire made Christianity its official religion. Christianity became the dominant religion in North and South America because of the early explorers and colonizers from Europe were Christians.

How many types of diffusion are there? ›

Diffusion can be classified into two main types: Simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion.

How is culture spread? ›

Culture spreads through social connection; in extreme cases, via social contagion. There is a well developed evolutionary biology on why units of culture spread, but for our purposes, all we need to understand is that there is a theory on why, and more importantly, how to make culture spread.

What type of diffusion is the spread of drive through windows? ›

Which of the following is an example of stimulus diffusion? The spread of drive-through windows from fast food restaurants to liquor stores.

How was the recession of 2008 an example of globalization? ›

The global crisis of 2008–2009 was accompanied by large disruptions in international trade and capital flows. Trade fell so much that the moniker “great trade collapse” was coined to refer to the dynamics of imports and exports between the end of 2008 and early 2009.

How has Starbucks adapted to Chinese culture? ›

Moreover, Starbucks very deliberately began to bridge the gap between the tea drinking culture and the coffee drinking culture by introducing beverages in the Chinese stores that included local tea-based ingredients. Market research supported the development of Starbucks' competitive internationalization strategy.

What is hierarchical diffusion quizlet? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion. spread of a feature or trend from one key person or node of authority or power to other persons or places. Contagious Diffusion. rapid, widespread diffusion of a feature or trend throughout a population(disease).

What is the hierarchy? ›

Hierarchy describes a system that organizes or ranks things, often according to power or importance. At school the principal is at the top of the staff hierarchy, while the seniors rule the student hierarchy.

How is Bollywood an example of cultural diffusion? ›

Bollywood is an example of Culture Diffusion for India. Bollywood is Indian Cinema or Hindi(The main language spoken in India) Cinema. Bollywood was created through Contagious Expansion Diffusion because it was spread through the media. Even the term 'Bollywood' came from the word Hollywood.

How does popular culture diffused globally? ›

Popular customs are based on global interaction and modern technology, and are most often a product of economically developed countries. As the world family draws ever closer through instant communications and rapid transportation, popular culture increasingly welds itself into an evolving global culture.

What is one barrier to the diffusion of English throughout China? ›

The response to part C earned 1 point because it correctly describes the strength of the Chinese language within China as a barrier to the diffusion of English throughout China.

What is diffusion in culture PDF? ›

Cultural diffusion is the spread of cultural trends across locations. Beliefs, practices, and ideas get shared from person to person, and sometimes even around the world through this diffusion, as happens with viral videos. This is when a trend is spread from its originating place, outward.

What is an example of diffusion in geography? ›

Expansion diffusion is when innovations spread to new places while staying strong in their original locations. For example, Islam has spread throughout the world, yet stayed strong in the Middle East, where it was founded.

What are the 4 types of diffusion AP Human geography? ›

There are six types of cultural diffusion:

Expansion Diffusion. Contagious Diffusion. Hierarchical Diffusion. Stimulus Diffusion.

What is hierarchical contagious stimulus and relocation diffusion? ›

Hierarchical diffusion is when a cultural trend is spread from one segment of society to another in a pattern, such as hip hop spreading from cities to less populated areas. Stimulus diffusion is when a cultural trend spreads but is changed by those adopting the idea, such as American practitioners of yoga poses.

What type of diffusion is the spread of rap music? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion

This type of diffusion can help explain how aspects of culture such as language and religion have spread as people have spread throughout an area. Examples: The diffusion of hip-hop/rap music from urban areas out to the general public.

What are the five types of diffusion? ›

Relocation, expansion, contagious, hierarchical, and stimulus diffusion.

What are 3 examples of relocation diffusion? ›

Examples of Relocation Diffusion
  • Blues Music. Blues has elements of African music that were taken to the United States by slaves. ...
  • Buddhism. ...
  • Amish Settlements in the United States. ...
  • Curry.
28 Sept 2021

What type of diffusion is Christianity? ›

Christianity spread through relocation diffusion by missionaries and hierarchical diffusion when the Roman Empire made Christianity its official religion. Christianity became the dominant religion in North and South America because of the early explorers and colonizers from Europe were Christians.

What is hierarchical diffusion quizlet? ›

Hierarchical Diffusion. spread of a feature or trend from one key person or node of authority or power to other persons or places. Contagious Diffusion. rapid, widespread diffusion of a feature or trend throughout a population(disease).

What type of diffusion is social media? ›

In the case of social media, memes and viral videos spread from person to person in contagious expansion diffusion as they are shared.

What is reverse hierarchical diffusion in human geography? ›

▪ Reverse Hierarchical Diffusion is the. processes in which a trait diffuses from a lower. class to a higher class.

What is most responsible for hierarchical diffusion as opposed to contagious diffusion? ›

What is most responsible for "hierarchical" diffusion, as opposed to "contagious" diffusion? links to one another in a network.

What type of diffusion is trade? ›

1. Direct Diffusion- direct contact between two cultures i.e trade, intermarriage, warfare.

What type of diffusion is music? ›

Relocation Diffusion occurs when people move from their original location to another and bring their innovations with them. Immigration from country to country, city to city, etc. As they relocate to a new location, they bring their ideas, cultural tradition such as food, music, and more.

What kind of diffusion is language? ›

Language shift can be described as a diffusion process in accordance with physical diffusion—as spread of the dominant language and resulting retreat of the minority language.

What type of diffusion is Spanish? ›

One of the most common examples of relocation diffusion is the spread of a language. For instance, Spanish as we know it is the result of relocation diffusion.

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