Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 24, issue 1 (1998) pp. 265-290 Published by Annual Reviews
There has been rapid growth in the study of diffusion across organizations and social movements in recent years, fueled by interest in institutional arguments and in network and dynamic analysis. This research develops a sociologically grounded account of change emphasizing the channels along which practices flow. Our review focuses on characteristic lines of argument, emphasizing the structural and cultural logic of diffusion processes. We argue for closer theoretical attention to why practices diffuse at different rates and via different pathways in different settings. Three strategies for further development are proposed: broader comparative research designs, closer inspection of the content of social relations between collective actors, and more attention to diffusion industries run by the media and communities of experts.
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