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Spatial Diffusion

  • The general diffusion of any human product is usually called spatial diffusion.
  • When a product first starts spreading across an area, it starts at an origin point, which is called a hearth
  • The human product, which can be ideas, goods and/or services, can also move in different patterns to reach other areas to influence. 
  • So under spatial diffusion comes five different types of diffusion of human products across the world. 

There are five patterns of diffusion to know. 

1. Expansion Diffusion⬅➡⬆⬇

  • Expansion diffusion occurs in a single origin point or hearth. 
  • It then rapidly expands in all directions towards other locations and onward. 
  • The origin point also usually remains the strongest sphere of influence for that human product.
  • An example of this diffusion would be the spread of Islam. The hearth for Islam in the Middle East and the religion has quickly expanded to influence the entire world. However, Islam still remains the strongest in the Middle East, its hearth.
  • There are also two types of expansion/spatial diffusions: contagious and relocation diffusions.

2. Contagious Diffusion😷 

  • This diffusion pattern begins at a single origin point. 
  • This origin point can also be one of little fame or in other words, it can start at any regular area.  
  • It then moves outward to the surrounding area through different modes of transportation. 
  • One example is the spread of the Ebola virus through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (So the general spread of diseases is a contagious disease.) 
  • Another example would be a viral tweet (a public statement made through Twitter), which would first gain some retweets to spread the tweet to a larger number of users. Then those users who like the tweet and want to spread it further would give the tweet more retweets to allow more users to see it. AND BOOM! YOU HAVE A VIRAL TWEET AND AN EXAMPLE OF CONTAGIOUS DIFFUSION!

3. Hierarchical Diffusion🤴 

  • On the other hand, hierarchical diffusion starts at an origin point that has the highest authority in a chain of command. 
  • So, the factor being diffused will start with the highest authority level and then it will diffuse to the second-highest authority level, then third-highest level and downwards. 
  • This will continue as the information will descend down the chain of command to the lowest level of authority in the structure. 
  • Basically, it’s like a slide starting from the very top of the authority structure and ending at the very bottom. 
  • An example of hierarchical diffusion would be when a CEO informs the top management of an oncoming layoff. Then those in the top management will tell those under them to spread the word further down and the cycle repeats until everyone under the business knows.

4. Relocation Diffusion🏠👉🏠

  • Relocation diffusion is what it sounds like honestly. 
  • It is when one factor moves from one area to another through the physical movement of people. 
  • This factor can also be modified during its journey and can also influence the surrounding environment of its new relocated area. 
  • An example of this would be Haitian Vodou. When the French brought enslaved West African slaves to Haiti, many of these slaves were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism. To retain their cultural identity, many West Africans combined Catholic elements to West African Vodun, their native religion. This thus created the syncretic religion of Haitian Vodou.

5. Stimulus Diffusion🔲➡◼◻ 

  • Stimulus diffusion is a bit different as it helps stimulate the evolution of an idea and other factors. 
  • Basically, stimulus diffusion starts with an already existing factor that stimulates the creation of new related factors surrounding it.
  • An example would be the rise of vegan restaurants in Los Angeles. A rise in veganism will stimulate a higher demand for vegan dishes in the food industry, which will likely push more restaurants to cater to vegans. 
  • Another example would be a McDonald's creating more ethnic-inspired meals. Say a McDonald's opens in India. That Indian McDonald's is going to have more Indian-inspired dishes to cater to the Indian population.

And that’s it! 

Good luck studying and have a great day!🙋

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