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National and Global Identity in The Inheritance of Loss - Essay Example

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National and Global Identity in The Inheritance of Loss [Student] [Class] [Professor] [Date due] Introduction The rise of the global capitalism and the development of inter-cultural connections frequently raise the question of the contradictions between older identities and cultural homogenization brought about by the developments in global economy and culture…
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National and Global Identity in The Inheritance of Loss
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National and Global Identity in The Inheritance of Loss

Download file to see previous pages... The key argument to be propounded within the course of the essay is that from the impressions of The Inheritance of Loss one has to conclude that the development of ‘global’ identity in non-Western societies is generally restricted to wealthier, more affluent and cosmopolitan classes of those societies, while the vast majority of population remains wedded to national identities, making a cultural bridge between these two social layers rather significant one. The nature and causes of existence of such cultural drift are fundamentally conditioned by the discrepancies generated in the course of twin processes of globalization and decolonization. Even though the decolonization and the growth in importance of the ‘Third World’ nations such as India have led to progressive shifts in the balance of forces within the global arena, it is still evident that the modern globalized world is still based on cultural patterns and assumptions that are directly inherited from the times of undisputed Western hegemony. The global identity, as expressed in the dominant models of consumption, education, etc., remains inherently Western, despite all attempts at making it more diverse and inclusive. Even though the very concept of “culture” has always been historically conditioned1, it is still evident that the vast majority of modern cultural identities are less prone to uprooting and homogenization than it is often assumed in various transnationalist concepts of world politics and culture. The globalization and the formation of the numerous layers of transnational migrants, voluntary and forced, permanent and temporary, shifted the balance from the maintenance of traditional identities, of national and local dimensions, to the construction and deconstruction of the global, homogeneous identity. However, as may be evidenced from The Inheritance of Loss, the situation may be more nuanced and difficult than can be judged from ‘common-sense’ representations of these processes. The growing trends for cultural integration and economic migration, despite being important for the general process of globalization, do little to mask the remaining chasms between the representatives of upper strata of non-Western societies and their compatriots remaining generally tied to cultural habits and traditions that still reign supreme over the people living in modern time. The Inheritance of Loss testifies to this very situation. The major characters of the novel are in their own way expressions of the aforementioned dichotomy. The two groups of the characters, each representing a respective social class, embody the controversies generated by globalization and de-localization. The Judge Patel and his granddaughter Sai represent the two generations of upper-class cosmopolitanism and geographical and educational mobility. While they may differ among themselves in subtleties of cultural perceptions, both of these characters are distinguished by intense interest and self-identification with the non-Indian cultural environment – an Anglicized, respectable, upper-middle class world that is both connected with the Indian tradition, albeit of British Raj variety, and deeply estranged from it. Sai’s recollections of her upbringing in the Catholic Church and the secular and non-traditional lifestyle of her parents are indicative of that. While the secularism was not inherent in Indian ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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