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Modernity versus Westernization - Essay Example

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Modernity is the concept by which there is a discontinuation of the past from the present. This discontinuity arises from social and cultural changes which occur through progress or decline. The premise is life in the present is different from life in the past…
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Download file to see previous pages Modernity is the concept by which there is a discontinuation of the past from the present. This discontinuity arises from social and cultural changes which occur through progress or decline. The premise is life in the present is different from life in the past. This is a view held globally and clashes with tradition which stipulates that the present is a continuation of the behaviour and events of the past and continue to be repeated. Modernity is viewed as a problem since it challenges and replaces the traditional way of life. It results in alternatives and unmanageable changes and that the present is merely a period of transition and is not directed towards a specific future goal. The changes happening at the present and in which will happen in the future are seen as products of forces beyond our control. Modernity presents a vast selection of alternatives such as in lifestyle and historical possibilities. In contrast, traditional culture offers the present a certain number of alternatives. The proliferation of alternatives is often seen as a threat to tradition and efforts are made to limit these alternatives.Westernisation is a form of modernity. There is discontinuity between the past and the present. However, there occurs a specific phenomenon in westernisation wherein traditional societies come under the influence of western culture. Western culture permeates and influences industry, technology, politics, law, economy, lifestyle, values, religion, and almost every niche and aspect of society. It had accelerated its influence throughout the world these past few centuries. It is related to the process of acculturation wherein changes happen within a society or culture when two different groups come into constant and direct contact with each other. The result are changes in the cultural patterns of one or both groups. In the case of westernisation, the changes in cultural patterns occurs in native societies as they come into contact with western cultures and are exposed to their influences.
B. Religion and social movements
Many studies have shown that religion helps to mobilize resources for groups and organizations that are engaged in democratic movements or safeguard the interests of marginalized sectors. It provides much needed social capital and democratic skills that are requisites in democratic participation. As political alternatives and political discussions happen in civil society, religion provides sustaining support to it. Christian Smith's "disruptive religion" takes notice of the "religious assets for activism", many being cultural assets. His work shows that religion is important in social protest. His study on U.S. religious resistance to counterinsurgency activities in Central America gives insight on the moral outrage which served as the basis for "insurgent consciousness". Smith showed how certain individuals were made receptive to mobilization with religion moulding their sensibilities such that their violation results in outrage. Religious networks also made people "subjectively engageable" to mobilization. Smith sees people as moral beings who try to create their lives out of external tensions and divisions (Wood 1995).
Many of the changes that have occurred worldwide these past four decades can be attributed to or in part effected by religion. Many religious leaders have not only served as proponents or initiators, but have paid dearly with their lives. Religious nationalism has become active these recent decades, connecting religious convictions with the population's political and economic destiny. Many nationalist movements have incorporated the revival of traditionalist religious doctrines in their national identity and leadership. Among the strongest forces in religiously influenced social movements is Islamic nationalism which has influenced both national and international politics. The encroachment of western influence into the Muslim world during the 19th century spurred movements seeking the restoration of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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