Some Philosophical Questions
In her article, “Culture, Tradition and Globalisation: Some Philosophical Questions,” Asha Muharjee focuses on the phenomenon of globalization as a key concept helping to grasp the meaning of culture. The author explores culture and tradition as global concepts applicable to the world’s society in general. Muharjee is interested in the issues of cultural identity and how these differ in local and global communities.
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Namely, the author explores the relationship of the local and global identities and their correlative dynamics as those able to produce an effect on one another. In particular, Muharjee (54) notes that many local communities (especially nationalistic, fundamentalist, and ethnic ones) reacted to the development of globalization by perceiving it as a threat to their authenticity and individuality; in other words, the author pointed out that globalization can present a significant pressure on the independent yet small local communities that find it problematic to withstand the influence of the global society forcing them to conform to the new common rules and trends.
Elaborating on this subject, Muharjee (54) points out that the sense of belonging may play an important role in the formation of identity; when a larger culture takes over the smaller ones, it causes a phenomenon that can be identified as the generalization of identity that erases the unique features that used to differentiate it from the surrounding communities. Naturally, the smaller authentic groups begin to oppose the popularization of the global culture that pushes out their unique features and melds them into a big, faceless mass and depriving their members of what they used to consider their individual attributes that were associated with a home.
Apart from the resistance to the process of globalization, the author discusses the aspects for which the local communities could embrace and accept it gladly. For instance, Muharjee points out that globalization does not necessarily stand for the complete dissolution of the unique features of the local cultures. The author mentions the concept of nation-state that encourages the recognition of multiculturalism.
Muharjee (55) argues that globalization may be perceived as a threat to the local identities and smaller communities; however, one of its effects is its capacity to bring up the issues of diversity by means of bringing together the representatives of many different societies. In other words, the diverse groups of individuals inevitably begin to clash and search for ways to compromise through the discussion and acknowledgment of their differences and strategies, helping them to coexist instead of developing a conflict. Another issue that the author explores as an important factor of resistance to globalization is the judgment of cultures as more and less developed.
Muharjee mentions that globalization may be viewed as a positive influence that brings advancement to the “less developed” communities; however, at the same time, this tendency can serve as one more reason to oppose this process because it enforces judgments that are in most cases arbitrary and insulting to the representatives of the smaller groups of the population (55). In that way, when seen as the source of modernization, the process of globalization serves as a rather aggressive phenomenon promoting conformity and causing opposition of the smaller communities that appreciate their authenticity. Due to the fact that globalization involves a wide variety of regions and nations, it has to be a very diverse process and operates differently in various societies; it is uneven, and so are the reactions of the communities to it.
Article Selection Explanation
My choice of an article to summarize was majorly dictated by the other readings. The issue of globalization and the mechanisms according to which it works is raised by Wasserstrom in his article titled “A Mickey Mouse Approach to Globalization.” Wasserstrom (24) expands on the problem of conformity versus diversity by emphasizing that the process of globalization may promote the use of the same image in a variety of cultures; however, the one image is not going to stand for identical meanings. On the contrary, instead of disseminating generalization, globalization increases diversity.
Speaking about differences and diversity, Boroditsky (135) focuses on the language—the main means of communication. The issue of language in a globalized society has been frequently discussed because when coming together, diverse groups of people begin to face misunderstandings. Visual literacy has been recognized as one of the solutions to this problem. However, the author explains that even the visual perception of native speakers of different languages varies and may become a source of misinterpretation.
Finally, the article by Traves (178) unites all three discussions by raising the question of the need to learn English in China as the key to cultural advancement. In this way, the American or British culture is positioned as superior to that of China, forcing the latter to conform to its norms in order to benefit economically. As a result, the language (a critical aspect of culture) is erased and so is the feeling of belongingness and uniqueness; the native speakers are forced to adjust their perceptions to a foreign mentality just because it is considered more progressive. This tendency is a potential reason for the opposition to globalization.
Boroditsky, Lera. “How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?” Globalization: A Reader for Writers. 1st. ed. Ed. Maria Jerskey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 172-179. Print.
Muharjee, Asha. “The source of Culture, Tradition and Globalisation: Some Philosophical Questions.” Social Alternatives 35.1 (2016): 53-56. Print.
Traves, Julie. “The Church of Please and Thank You.” Globalization: A Reader for Writers. 1st. ed. Ed. Maria Jerskey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 135-144. Print.
Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. “A Mickey Mouse Approach to Globalization.” Globalization: A Reader for Writers. 1st. ed. Ed. Maria Jerskey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 20-24. Print.