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Western Cultures. Loss Of Centerdness In The Early 20th Century - Essay Example

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The Western cultural invasion had created an identity crisis for non-western cultures wherever they were colonized by the Western world. It was one tool of self-justification for the colonizer to prove that the colonized were inferior to them…
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Western Cultures. Loss Of Centerdness In The Early 20th Century
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Download file to see previous pages The political power exerted by the colonizer made it easy for them to establish that they were culturally superior as well. The establishment of the cultural superiority of the colonizer has been a step by stem process by which first of all, the colonizer’s culture is imposed, then the culture of the colonized is replaced with a new culture that is still inferior to, but imitative of the colonizer’s culture. The result of this phenomenon is that slowly the colonized cultures and people belonging to them loose their self-esteem and abandon their culture out of an inferiority complex. The tragedy of this situation is that even when colonization ends, this sense of inferiority of one’s own culture will remain for a long time in the minds of the colonized. Introduction Culture is a phenomenon that embeds all human being, gives meaning and purpose to their lives and provides them a sense of belonging and connection. Once culture is disintegrated, a whole society can also get disintegrated. In the history of humanity, nothing else than colonialism had made such an impact on specific cultures as to disintegrate them partially or completely. As the colonizers were mostly the westerners and the colonized being the non-western cultures, the result was an imposition of the cultural hegemony of all western values. The non-western cultures faced a complex identity crisis in the face of this cultural invasion. In the later nineteenth and early twentieth century, colonialism emerged as an extension of western political and cultural imperialism, to such an extent that “the self-proclaimed “superiority” of “Western culture”, functioned as the rationale and mandate for colonialism” (Narayan and Harding, 2000, p.83). The result was that whichever cultures colonized by the western world, began to feel themselves as inferior cultures to the western culture and lost their sense of centeredness. For example, David (2011) has investigated the colonial experience of Philippines and showed that the Americans settled in Philippines as part of the colonial legacy, still view Filipino culture as inferior to western and American culture (p.13). Sonnenburg (2003) has pointed to how the British colonization of Australia treated the indigenous people of Australia as some animal or cattle and forcefully separated children belonging to these aborigines from their mothers, “a practice that continued into the mid-twentieth century” (p.1). Similarly, the English colonial experience in Ireland resulted in the Anglicization of Ireland and suppression of Irish language and culture (Sonnenburg, 2003, p.280). All the colonized cultures had experienced this kind of cultural oppression and this experience was described as, “loss of centeredness,” by many scholars (Kebede, 2004;Sayre, 2012). What is meant by this expression is that the colonized cultures that were self-reliant and centered around their own culture were forced to feel that their cultures were no more the center of the universe they knew. Instead they began to feel that their cultures were inferior to the cultures that colonized them. The most serious consequence of this loss of centeredness has been that even after the colonial rule was withdrawn, the people continue to experience this loss of centerednedd (Kebede, 2004). Rightfully calling colonialism, “a cultural project of control”, Dirk (1992) has described the complex experience of colonialism from the point of view of culture (p.7). He (Dirk, 1992) has tried to describe this complexity by saying that “not only did colonial rulers align themselves with the universal and inexorable forces of science, progress, rationality and modernity, they displaced many of the disruptions and excesses of rule ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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