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15 Examples of Culture Change

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Culture change is change that occurs over time to the shared way of life of a group. This emerges with the experiences of a society, traditional culture, organization, super culture or subculture. The following are illustrative examples of culture change.


Technological change has a broad impact on culture. For example, the internet allows people to connect to social groups and media that represents a particular worldview. This can result in tribalism whereby people no longer see themselves as part of a greater society.


Economic systems and conditions. A nation that has a growing middle class may experience an enrichment of culture as people have the economic security to pursue happiness. For example, a nation with a large middle class typically has a significant pool of talent who are pursuing creative careers in areas such as architecture, design, music, art, literature and entertainment.


The process of exchange and integration that occurs between nations. This is a long term process that has been underway for centuries but has accelerated due to advancements in communication, transportation, peace and cooperation. Globalization results in the pizza effect whereby cultures copy each other. These copies are always imperfect resulting in new culture. For example, American sushi is an imperfect copy of Japanese sushi that has its own merits.

War & Disaster

Conflict and disaster that destabilize a society. This may result in an abandonment of cultural pursuits as people focus on survival and security.


The emergence and diffusion of new ideas. This may be a process of survival of the fittest whereby good ideas survive over time and bad ideas are eventually overcome.


Aesthetic taste changes with time as new styles emerge and people emulate it. For example, ever changing fashion trends.

Rights & Freedoms

A nation that grants rights and freedoms to people may allow culture to flourish whereas oppression may subvert culture. For example, freedom of speech whereby people aren't penalized for voicing unpopular ideas allows for brave literature and art.


Laws and regulations have broad cultural impacts. For example, laws requiring businesses to close at a particular hour that restrict the night economy of a city.


Design impacts culture. For example, the urban design of cities influences how communities interact such as a city full of parks, public space and cafe terraces that develops a lively feel.


Hard infrastructure such as public sidewalks and soft infrastructure such as hospitals. For example, the construction of roads for automobiles beginning in the early 20th century that transformed cities into concrete jungles with vast suburbs.


Health can have a significant impact on culture. For example, the theory known as the lead–crime hypothesis that links declining crime rates in multiple countries to the phase-out of lead in gasoline and other products. The banning of lead in these products appears to have resulted in an increase in IQ, or rather a reversal of a tendency for these products to decrease IQ with exposure.


Education is a foundation of culture beginning with basic language and social skills that provide the tools to discover and use knowledge. An education system that fails students can result in a cultural decline whereby communities have little sense of history, tradition, norms, shared experience, civility, art, literature and celebration.


Environmental change impacts culture. For example, a city with low air quality such that people avoid the outdoors or an island where people have stopped going to the beach due to ocean plastic that causes beaches to resemble a garbage dump.

Art, Music, Literature & Media

Art, music, literature and media are elements of culture that also serve as potent forms of social criticism and construction. For example, it is possible for fictional ideas in books to become reality.


Leaders that unify a people or group towards a common purpose. A leader can also become a symbol of a culture such as Martin Luther King Jr. as an inspirational figure of Black American culture.


Overview: Culture Change
Change that occurs over time to the shared way of life of a group.
Related Concepts
Next read: More Examples of Culture Change

Culture Change

This is the complete list of articles we have written about culture change.
Cultural Concepts
Cultural Influence
Cultural Transmission
Culture Analysis
Culture Change
Culture Change II
Culture Shift
Experience Age
Filter Bubble
Night Economy
Pizza Effect
Super Culture
Urban Design
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