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The process of culture change that occurs when the culture traits of a dominant culture are accepted by the less-dominant culture.


occurs when a minority population loses its identifying cultural characteristics as it blends into the dominant culture.

cultural adaptation

the strategies that human groups employ to live successfully as part of their natural environment (air conditioning, irrigation, style of dress)

core and periphery

the culture hearth and the area to which the diffusion occurs is representative of this pattern.

cultural ecology

the study of the relationship between a culture group and its natural environment (for example: The Balkan landscape and subsequent cultural and political fragmentation.)

cultural identity

how an individual or group sees itself within the larger society.

cultural landscape

the result of interaction between a human group and its natural environment.

culture realm

the broadest classification of culture regions ("Latin America" "Southwest Asia")


learned behavior—a shared set of meanings observed in everyday life within a group.

formal culture region

an area inhabited by people who share one or more culture traits

functional culture region

areas delimited in order to function politically, socially, or

vernacular/perceptual region

—"The South" or "Dixie" or "The Valley"

expansion diffusion

the spread of an idea or innovation from one culture to a neighboring


top down diffusion


diffusion that depends on direct contact

stimulus diffusion

the fundamental idea, but not the specific trait, encourages

migrant diffusion

diffusion that weakens in the source area as it diffuses (fashion

relocation diffusion

people move and they take their culture with them.

maladaptive diffusion

items that are not really appropriate to a given location are brought to an area through diffusion.


the development of a new form of culture trait when two separate and distinct traits are fused (religion or language, for example).


a relatively equal exchange of culture and ways of life between two strong cultures.

adaptive strategies

how groups change behavior to survive their environment.


something that was not previously considered "for sale" becomes an object to be exchanged for money.

Folk Culture

culture exhibited by small, static, homogeneous, isolated, and largely self-sufficient social group.

Folk food

foodways associated with a particular folk group (menudo or barbacoa in Mexico)

folk songs

traditional songs that reflect the culture. A style of music particular to a group (Tibetan throat singing, corridos in Mexico)


oral traditions of a folk culture—including tales, fables, legends, and moral teachings. (La Llorona in Mexico and New Mexico. The woman wails for her lost children after drowning them when her husband leaves her.)

material culture

same thing as built environment.

popular culture

cultural elements representative of large, heterogeneous groups. Items are mass produced for mass consumption.

surveying systems

cadastral systems

metes and bounds

—A system if land surveying east of the Appalachian

township and range system

a rectangular surveying system found west of the

Longlot system

distinct regional approach to land surveying found in the

Traditional architecture

folk housing forms found in areas inhabited by indigenous people. (wattle and daub in Africa, communal house in South Pacific)


A language that began as a pidgin language but was later adopted as the mother tongue. (Swahili in East Africa, for example.)


local or regional characteristics of a language with distinctive grammar and vocabulary.

Indo-European languages

half of the world speaks a language that is of this language family.


a mapped boundary line marking the limits of a particular linguistic feature (flock or herd, coke or soda, etc.)


symbolic communication

language group

a collection of individual languages that are part of a language branch. They share common origins and have a similar grammar and vocabulary.

lingua franca

A "common language" used among speakers of different languages for the purpose of trade and commerce.

official language

in multilingual countries the language selected often by the educated and politically powerful elite to promote internal cohesion.


when parts of two or more language are combined in a simplified structure and vocabulary.

standard language

the variant of language that a country's political and intellectual elite seek to promote as the norm for use in public life.


the study of place names (Can reflect religious background, historical relationships, physical characteristics.)

trade language

language used for commerce (Swahili or pidgin)


A traditional religion in which animals, and objects in the natural environment are believed to possess souls that can help as well as hinder human efforts on earth.


A universalizing religion that originated in South Asia with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama.

cargo cult

a type of religious practice that may appear in tribal societies in the wake of interaction with technologically advanced, non-native cultures. The cults are focused on obtaining the material wealth of the advanced culture through magical thinking, religious rituals and practices, believing that the wealth was intended for them by their deities and ancestors


Although not organized as a religion, it has had a great influence on thought and behavior in East Asia. The focus is on hierarchy and order to create a harmonious society.


a "spreading out" of a population (Jews after the destruction of the Second Temple, Chinese throughout Southeast Asia)


Most "far flung" of the major world religions


Religion found in a "belt" from North Africa to Indonesia


The state religion of Japan

ethnic religion

religion identified with a particular culture group and largely exclusive to it.


part of a country's national territory that is physically separated from it.

Nagorno Karabakh

exclave of Armenia


a small area or territory located within a state but which does not come under its jurisdiction.


religious adherents who cling to the basic tenets of the religion.


The Tao art of arranging surroundings in order to balance the natural elements in the environment.


--Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca--one of the Five Pillars of Islam.


--ethnic religion of South Asia (carried to many parts of the British Empire.

interfaith boundaries

-- boundaries between the world's major faiths


an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. Similarities to Buddhism--influential traders.

proselytic religion

religion that actively seeks converts

Judaism, Christianity, Islam

religions with their origins in Southwest Asia

Taoism and Confucianism

Two religions that had their origins in China

Dome of the Rock

Islamic sacred site in Jerusalem

Western Wall

Jewish sacred space in Jerusalem


rejection of or indifference of religion.


form of tribal religion based on belief in a hidden world of gods, ancestral spirits, and demons responsive only to an interceding priest.

Sharia law

--strict Islamic law as the civil code (Iran and northern Nigeria)


--syncretic religion (Hinduism/Islam)--Northwest India (the Punjab)


--majority Islamic sect--more secular


--minority Islamic sect--strong in Iran and southern Iraq; believe that blood relatives of Mohammad should lead the faith.


Chinese value system and ethnic religion emphasizing harmony with the natural way of the universe


government of religion--Iran

traditional religion

--an ethnic or tribal religion--not necessarily shamanistic or animistic--found in remote, mountainous, isolated regions.


a religion that sees itself as being for all (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism)


ancient monotheistic religion of Persia--predates Judaism.


Hispanic area of a town or city.

cultural shatterbelt

transition zones between major culture realms--Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Balkan Peninsula

ethnic cleansing

the use of genocide or forced relocation to remove members of a certain culture group from an area (Bosnia/Kosovo/Darfur)

ethnic enclave

--a small area occupied by a distinctive minority culture.

ethnic group

people sharing a distinctive culture, frequently based on a common national origin, religion, language, or race.

ethnic island

a small rural area settled by a single distinctive ethnic group that has placed its imprint on the landscape.


the belief that one's own ethnic group is superior.


--a segregated residential area housing a racial, ethnic, or religious minority

plural society

a country with several different ethnic groups--a "multinational state"


--a categorization of humans based on skin color and other physical characteristics.


measures the degree to which members of a minority group are not uniformly distributed among the total population.

social distance

a measure of segregation of two or more distinct social groups.


in a cultural sense, a reference to socially created, not biologically based distinctions between females and males

gender gap

the differences in treatment of males and females within a given society

longevity gap

women live longer than men.

maternal mortality rate

death rate among pregnant females (as a result of being pregnant)

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