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Decolonization and the Politics of Culture Essay

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Updated: May 31st, 2020


After World War 1, the politics of decolonization began to erupt in developing nations. During this period, some theorist believed that the colonial situation produced some forms of unity while other theorists were simply interested in decolonization. (Chakrabarty, 4815) Regardless of what both sides thought, the major population of undeveloped nations clamored for independence. However, the colonial countries like France and Britain were not prepared to leave at the period when undeveloped nations wanted independence. Most of the colonial countries were in undeveloped countries for their personal gains and not to develop these undeveloped nations as they had promised.

In the mid 20th century after the politics of decolonization, newly independent nations began to sought development, technological advancement and modernization. This gave rise to the international politics of globalization. The major concern that dominated the idea of decolonization was development. (Chakrabarty, 4813) After undeveloped nations noticed that colonial nations had failed to develop them as promised, they began to agitate for independence but little did these undeveloped nations know that certain policies or treaties in the future will compel them to the whims and caprices of western nations. But the desire for independence and development superseded every other thing.

This essay will summarize the politics of decolonization and how post-colonial theorists did everything possible to get rid of colonial nations. However, after achieving independence, newly independent nations began to seek development and this marked the beginning of globalization. Globalization seems like a modern type of colonization due to its structure and policies. It is important to note that, the same colonial nations that failed to develop African and Asian countries in the 20th century are the same nations that today set the trend for globalization.

Decolonization and the politics of culture

The campaign of decolonization began when some theorists began to perceive colonization as something of a broken promise. (Chakrabarty, 4815) The colonial nations had taken over undeveloped nations with a promise of developing these uncivilized nations. However, in the late 20th century and the early 21st century, third world countries noticed that the promise of development was not kept so; this gave rise to the campaign of decolonization. (Chakrabarty, 4813) The fight against colonialism was a tough and fatal fight. Some activists who were perceived as enemies to the then western rule were charged with treason and eventually prosecuted. In South Africa for example, the South Africans practically had to go to war with their colonies in order to gain independence. But this was not supposed to be the case when a country desired independence.

The western colonial countries had promised undeveloped African and Asian countries rapid development but instead of keeping to this promise, the colonial nations adapted a style of politics which Dipesh Chakrabarty terms or describes as “pedagogical style of politics”. Here, the colonial nations had made the western world a model for undeveloped nations to follow and the aftermath is still seen and felt up to this day. (Chakrabarty, 4814) In African and Asian nations, democratic and economic policies are set using the western democracy and economy as models to follow. Perhaps the most devastating effect felt after decolonization was the loss of culture by colonized nations. After gaining independence, most nations had lost their original cultures and in turn adapted the western culture as theirs. In Africa for example, educational systems, and the entire life style of most African countries today is adapted from their colonial masters. (Chakrabarty, 4812)

Globalization theory and the subject of ethnic

Shortly after attaining independence, developing nations of Africa and Asia started searching for ways to develop themselves due to the failure of colonial nations to keep to their promises. (Koshy, 120) This opened a new chapter of struggle and the issue of globalization began in earnest. African and Asian nations had to go back to the drawing board in order to map out strategies that will enable them develop rapidly. But the interesting part of globalization is, the trend set is given by the same colonial nations who had failed to develop third world countries. (Koshy, 110) with this development, it can be inferred that some countries are still not independent. Furthermore, the treaties signed by some third world countries still bounds them economically and politically to their colonies.

African and Asian nations lost their original cultures, religion, life style and traditions due to colonization. Colonial countries had made the western world a model to follow thus destroying everything Asian and African nations owned prior to their arrival. (Koshy, 122) Presently, the theory of globalization is the new trend which the nations of the world clamor to follow and the subject of ethnicity is of less importance now. (Koshy, 125) Following the trend of globalization seems to be the only important thing on the list of countries worldwide. This is so because, failure to either follow the globalization bandwagon or signify interest might cause certain discomfort to some countries. For instance, international bodies like IMF, UN, EU and a host of other organizations seriously consider globalization before indulging in business with third world countries. In other words, globalization is a criteria used in measuring if a nation is worth a loan from the IMF or not, it is also a criteria for the World Bank to sponsor assisted projects in African or Asian nations. (Koshy, 124)


The world generally, is full of politics of different dimensions and styles. There are international politics of global governance where super powers of the world clamor to govern the world. Also, you can find economic politics where western nations struggle to capture and dominate nations with large populations that serve as big markets. In the 20th century, it was the politics of decolonization and independence. After independence, it is now the politics of development and modernization through the method of globalization. (Chakrabarty, 4812) For many decades, there has been a recurrent question about who actually governs the globe. To effectively answer this question, it will be necessary to score the performance of the global governors.

Can developing nations actually say they have attained independence? Considering the fact western nations still make policies for African nations and these policies are accepted and adapted by African nations without questions. It becomes difficult to tell if undeveloped nations actually gained independence. This is doubtful because, the aftermath of colonization is still felt and practiced in developing countries and this can be seen in the way third world countries still look up to the western nations for guidance. If African and Asian nations are truly independent, it is time for these nations to sit up and make policies that will be beneficial to their citizens. Until undeveloped countries begin to do this, the independence which they feel they have gained is a mirage and not a reality. It is worthy of note that, developed western nations still serve as a model for third world countries politically and economically. It can therefore be concluded that, the struggle for independence was not satisfactorily won.

Works cited

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. The Legacies of Bandung: Decolonization and the Politics of Culture. Economic and Political Weekly Journal. 2005. Print.

Koshy, Susan. The Postmodern Subaltern: Globalization Theory and the Subject of Ethnic, Area, and Postcolonial Studies. London: Duke University Press, 2005. Print.

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