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Political Anthropology Power, Ideology & Inequality - Essay Example

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Globalisation has become a concern for many anthropologists in recent decades. Bringing global culture and forging it with local has based the assumption that we will not have any cultural diversity in future. This essay argues that globalisation cannot unify different ways of life into some kind of 'planetary culture', because merge with different local traditions assumes different outcomes…
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Political Anthropology Power, Ideology & Inequality
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"Political Anthropology Power, Ideology & Inequality"

Download file to see previous pages It was feudal kingdoms of Europe, which associated the word 'civilization' with their culture, way of life, religious beliefs and political system. Other cultures were addressed as 'uncivilized': "The comparison was a series of forced understanding and a justification to carry and implant civilization in the rest of the planet, which had been declared either lacking some properties or having them in excess." (Jameson and Miyoshi, 1998, p. 33). This was the first attempt of expanding own way of life on others, later on labeled 'globalisation'.
Globalisation is the right of the strongest - this 'core feature' has remained in almost primeval form. Western civilization unites the most developed countries of the contemporary world into a hegemony inducing its culture to the rest of the planet. There is no constant leader of this expansion: "At any one time a single state can be number 1 among the Great Powers... This was the case with Britain in the mid-nineteenth century and with the United States from 1945 to the 1970s" (Agnew, 1998, p. 7). Through this form of hegemony understandings and practices regulating world politics originated from Europe become dominant.
Advocates of globalisation often speak of 'new choices' brought into regions. 'Global' gives a new perspective to 'local', therefore producing new ways of life: "More persons in more parts of the world consider a wider set of 'possible' lives than they ever did before. recently, whatever the force of social change, a case could be made that social life was largely inertial" (Appadurai, 1991, p. 197). Influencing on local traditions with a global view is meant to give bigger picture of the world we live in. Sadly, this good intention has a horrible implementation in violent propagation of 'better' or 'more civilized' culture destroying local way of life too often.
Meanwhile there is a clear variance between theoretical debates on globalisation (how should it be) and its practical side (how is it in reality). "By encouraging students to display their virtuosity in abstraction, the discipline brackets questions of theft of land, violence, and slavery - the three processes that have historically underlain the unequal global order we now find ourselves in" (Krishna, 2001, p. 401). Indeed, the means of globalisation repeatedly look horrible in comparison to its ends. Globalisation habitually serves as an excuse for further expansion and the theory silently turns away from how locals are given these 'new possibilities of life'. While modern culture obliges globalisation to avoid the unnecessary violence, there are more effective ways of influencing local cultures.
Countries of western civilization have enough economic power at their disposal to make 'brute force' avoidable. "The countries that form the Group of Seven, with their 800 million inhabitants, control more technological, economic, informatics, and military power than the rest of the approximately 430 billion who live in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America". (Hetata, 1998, p. 274). Capitalist culture uses its power for indirect methods of control, such as informational dominance.
Information is the key to control - this simple truth has already become moss-grown. Culture is based on the knowledge people accumulate through their lives and transfer to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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