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Chapter 4: Culture
Section 3 Outline: “Cultural Change”
(key terms are bolded & italicized)
I. How Culture Changes
A. All cultures change over time.
B. Why Cultures Change
1. A change in one part of a culture causes change in other parts.
2. Changes in the natural environment, technology, and ideas, all affect
C. New Technologies
1. During the 1800s and early 1900s, the growth of industry and the
spread of factories drew large numbers of Americans from the country
to the cities.
2. Limited transportation meant factory workers had to live close to the
factories, and cities grew larger as a result.
3. Everything changed after the invention of the car in the late 1800s_.
4. By 1920, many Americans had cars, which enabled people to live
farther away from their jobs and drive to work. Soon after, the idea of
owning a house with a yard became popular. The result has been the
growth of the suburbs since the mid-1990s and a new culture based
on car travel.
D. How One Change Can Lead to Others
1. Since radio & television brought entertainment and news into homes,
instant information is now part of our culture.
2. Radio, television, and computers changed our culture by bringing new
words into use, like broadcast, channel surfing, and hacker.
3. Computers can even help people live longer!
E. Cultural Change Over Time
1. The ability to control fire helped early people survive in colder
2. When people started raising animals and growing crops, they could
settle in one place for a long period of time. Before that, they had to
keep roaming over a wider area looking for wild plant & animal foods.
II. How Ideas Spread
A. Advances in transportation technology, such as the airplane, made it
easier for people to move all over the world.
B. When people move, they bring new kinds of clothing and tools with them. C. People may also learn from other cultures through written material.
D. How Cultures Adopt New Ideas
1. Cultural diffusion is the movement of customs & ideas. An
example of this cultural change would be the sport of baseball. It
began as an American sport, but other countries, like Japan, love it too.
2. These cultural changes are an example of acculturation, or the process
of accepting new ideas and fitting them into a culture.
E. Communication Technology and the Speed of Change
1. Years ago, cultural change happened slowly because people and
goods moved by foot or wagon or sailing ship.
2. Recently, communication technology has increased the speed of
3. Technology has brought many benefits.
a. Computers let scientists share information about how to cure
b. Telephones let us instantly talk to people thousands of miles away. 4. Defending Traditions
a. If things change too fast, people may feel that their culture is
b. Once traditional knowledge has been lost, it can never be regained.
c. In many parts of the world, people are working to preserve, or save,
their own cultures before it is too late.