Modeling cultural dissemination and divergence between rural and urban regions
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJASSS : Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. 2020, 23 (4), 1-17. 10.18564/jasss.4391
The process by which beliefs, opinions, and other individual, socially malleable attributes spread across a society, known as "cultural dissemination," is a broadly recognized concept among sociologists and political scientists. Yet fundamental aspects of how this process can ultimately lead to cultural divergences between rural and urban segments of society are currently poorly understood. This article uses an agent-based model to isolate and analyze one very basic yet essential facet of this issue, namely, the question of how the intrinsic differences in urban and rural population densities influence the levels of cultural homogeneity/heterogeneity that emerge within each region. Because urban and rural cultures do not develop in isolation from one another, the dynamical interplay between the two is of particular import in their evolution. It is found that, in urban areas, the relatively high number of local neighbors with whom one can interact tends to promote cultural homogeneity in both urban and rural regions. Moreover, and rather surprisingly, the higher frequency of potential interactions with neighbors within urban regions promotes homogeneity in urban regions but tends to drive rural regions towards greater levels of heterogeneity.