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Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples Essay

Cultural refers to the fundamental way in which a society leads its daily life by its existing norms and traditions. Cultural change denotes a shift in the community’s customs, traits, social structure, and behavioral patterns. These changes result in a permanent alteration to the community’s setup and operations. Members abandon their old ways and adopt new or learned codes of living from other sources. Cultural change occurs primarily to adapt to a new environment.

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Cultural change in a given society occurs by various mechanisms, such as the acculturation and ethnocide process of change. This refers to a change in culture that is inevitable. It occurs when a weaker society interacts with another powerful one, and it adapts its culture willingly or by force (Haviland et al., 2015). In most cases, the majority culture colonizes the minorities. The two forms have different ways of implementing the change.

In acculturation, two cultures come into contact and form a deep connection leading to the change. The minority culture gradually becomes disintegrated as the members learn the dominating culture. However, in this process, the cultural markers, including the customs, foods, and language, are maintained (Haviland et al., 2015). This aids the weaker society to be able to identify themselves as a distinct culture. The change is always voluntary and results from a peaceful coexistence rather than due to a conquest or forces coexistence.

The majority cultures however, do not remain stable as it was before as it adapts new features from the minority culture. On the other hand, ethnocide refers to the total extermination of a particular culture. The powerful society, in this case, inevitably develops and transmits its cultural patterns without limitation. The weaker ethnic group is denied the right to practice or identify their cultures. This involves a massive violation of the human freedoms of a given community.

An example that illustrates the acculturation and ethnocide mechanism is the African cultural change during the colonization. During this period, the powerful European nations invaded and conquered African nations. The Europeans who sought to control Africa’s resources were too powerful compared to the Africans (Mashau et al., 2019). They took lands and established their settlements amongst the African societies. Their interactions led to a massive change in the norms and traditions of the African communities. They abandoned their cultural markers and adapted to the western lifestyle.

Some communities resisted the change, leading to the forceful implementation of the change through killings and subjection to heavy work. In contrast, others welcomed them and voluntarily accepted the change. One of the cultural aspects that were changed was the marriage norms. Initially, Africans practiced polygamy; a man could marry any number of wives. The Europeans, through Christianity, discouraged the trait and made Africans embrace monogamy (Mashau et al., 2019). Through the biblical teachings, Africans accepted to follow the new rules of Christianity. The church only allowed them to wed one woman with whom they could start a family.

In conclusion, cultural change describes the process of a society abandoning its traditional customs, norms, beliefs, patterns of behavior, and beliefs. There can be different reasons for change, but the main aim is to adopt changes in the community’s daily living. One of the mechanisms of cultural change is acculturation and ethnocide. This is where a weaker society adapts to the culture of another community that is powerful. This was the case in Africa during colonization, where Africans had to abandon their cultures voluntarily or forcefully. For instance, the African marriage form, where polygamy was allowed, was replaced by the biblical marriage of monogamy.

Haviland, W. A., Prins, H. E., Walrath, & McBride, B. (2015). The essence of anthropology (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Mashau, T. D., & Kgatle, M. S. (2019). Prosperity gospel and the culture of greed in post-colonial Africa: Constructing an alternative African Christian Theology of Ubuntu. Verbum et Ecclesia , 40 (1), 1-8.

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IvyPanda. (2023, July 8). Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples.

IvyPanda. (2023, July 8). Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples. Retrieved from

"Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples." IvyPanda , 8 July 2023,

1. IvyPanda . "Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples." July 8, 2023.


IvyPanda . "Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples." July 8, 2023.

IvyPanda . 2023. "Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples." July 8, 2023.

IvyPanda . (2023) 'Cultural Change: Mechanisms and Examples'. 8 July.

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Free Essay On Cultural Change

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture , Development , Organization , Sociology , Social Studies , Knowledge , World , Amendment

Published: 01/18/2022



Cultural change is seen as the alteration of a community through modernization, development as well as the contact with alternate communities (Global Sociology, 2016). This paper is going to explain about what is culture along with when it is essential. According to “Quappe and Cantatore” in their article concerning “what culture awareness entails.” It is clear that cultural change engrosses the potential of one being able to draw back from ourselves and getting conscious of our cultural principles, attitudes as well as discernments. The authors go further to state that “cultural change becomes more vital when we have to interrelate with individuals from alternate cultures (2016).” Concerning this explanation on cultural change, it is definite that people observe, understand along with estimate things in an alternate way. What is perceived as suitable for one culture is usually incompatible with the other one. An Article by “James McCalman and David Potter” on when is cultural change essential is explained regarding an organization alteration. It is seen that to understand the benefits as well as challenges in an organization. It is important for one to appreciate the cultural theory that is found in the body. Shifting culture is eventually alarmed by leadership along with the power problems (McCalman & Potter, 2015). The significance of culture depends upon our close connection to the ways through which we believe as well as stay. Discrepancies in culture have led to an assortment of the people from diverse parts of the universe. Thus, from the second article, it can be said that cultural change is essential in the way we approach our means of living.

Based on the two articles, it is clear that cultural change serves as the starting renaissance doctrines in our present day lives. They also shape our perception concerning things, character along with personality.

Global sociology. Cultural Change. Retrieved from McCalman. & Potter, D. (2015). The Key Importance of Culture in Organizational Change. Retrieved from organization-change Quappe, S. & Cantatore, G. (2016). What is Cultural Awareness, anyway? How do I build it? Retrieved from


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Cultural Changes - Essay Example

Cultural Changes

  • Subject: Sociology
  • Type: Essay
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Pages: 1 (250 words)
  • Downloads: 5
  • Author: leonebartell

Extract of sample "Cultural Changes"

Cultural changes bring new implications to society. Various fields such as education, financial sectors, information departments, health departments, the norms for social reforms and political wings, etc., get the colors of a particular culture. Every region or location has its unique features that form an identity. Why is it important to understand the effects of globalization? Why do cultural changes play a key role in getting competitive advantages and economic prosperity? The answers to these vital questions can be found with the help of a complete study regarding globalization or cultural changes. In this study, the scope and major factors in globalization will be studied to cope with the issue of successful global interaction.

The Importance of Globalization

Globalization will affect the social, political as well as economic life in every society. It can be used as a success factor, and sometimes it causes the leading element to fail. If you get knowledge about the key differences between your culture and the culture of another nation, then you can get more confidence and chances of progress. Suppose, a person wants to get an education in a foreign country but remains unfamiliar with its cultural differences; he or she cannot become a good student or a good citizen of that country. Globalization will broaden your vision and connect people. One learns to say welcome to other cultures and people. A person can truly represent their own nation if they show respect for others (Lechner, 2009).

Globalization gives cultural transforms:

The process of colonization, settlement, or cultural replication will expand the scope of globalization (Waters, 2001). It, basically, tends to make culture far more homogenous, resulting in a unified global culture that contains watered-down types of regional cultural styles. Even though there is no query that globalization gives cultural transformation, there exists limitless discussion in regard to what form these types of changes carry, and if they are to be accepted or prevented no matter what. A person can like or dislike any tradition in a foreign country, but there is no way to prevent others. This is what globalization teaches.

Basic needs of human beings:

Cultures can be classified as learned patterns attitudes or faiths. It is a basic need of human beings to learn them for the sake of bringing cultural harmony to society. Your family values or religious norms are very important. You want freedom of expression and participation in politics. All the factors vary as the culture changes (Inglehart, 1997). All these factors have a critical status for every responsible citizen, and they will be studied thoroughly.

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Cultural changes in the ratification of amendment, social and cultural changes after the first and second world wars, political, religious, social, and cultural changes in medieval europe, noteworthy cultural changes during the period of post war, british cultural changes in the 1960s, globalization and cultural changes, societal and cultural changes in human evolution, changing the organisational culture: from command-and-control to learning organisation.

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