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Lecture

Chapter 14 – Globalization.docx


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
AN101
Professor
Anne- Marie Colpron

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Chapter 14 – Globalization
Globalization
The reshaping of local conditions by powerful global forces on an ever-intensifying scale.
(Textbook, p. 327)
The intensification of global interconnectedness suggesting a world full of movement and
mixture, contacts and linkages, and persistent cultural interaction and exchange.
(Textbook, p. 327)
Global processes are interpreted and experienced in contradictory ways by different groups and
actors:
It can reinforce inequalities and favor people in power situation.
It can also create new opportunities for some groups to build worldwide organizations to defend
their interest.
Indigenous Amazonia example
Disease, devastation, and misery have been all too common for Indigenous people who have
encountered Western expansion.
Anthropologists have long feared that Indigenous Amazonian people were destined for extinction
(Guayaki case).
But some Indigenous people, such as the Kayapo, have organized themselves to resist outside
encroachment on their traditional land.
Kayapo example
Kayapo leaders have worked successfully with national and international allies.
They were able to bring 28 Indigenous Nations together in a huge inter-tribal protest against the
hydroelectric dam project at Altamira on the Xingu River.
The leader Payakan combined traditional Indigenous political skills with a knowledge of
Portuguese and a keen understanding of the international media.
The leader Raoni toured Europe with the rock musician Sting to seek international support for
his peoples’ cause.
The Brazilian government has still not built the dam.

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The Kayapo had established legal control of 28.4 million acres of their traditional land.
All Kayapo villages have signed agreements with conservation-based development projects.
The Kayapo have struggled with the effects of Western contact for over 500 years, but rather
than disappear, they were able to create global alliances and negotiate their rights with the
Brazilian government.
Cultural imperialism
The idea that some cultures dominate other cultures: The West dominates the rest due to
colonialism and capitalism.
The idea that cultural domination by one culture leads inevitably to the destruction of the other
cultures: The idea that Western imperialism is responsible for destroying local music, dress,
technology, food traditions, etc.
The inevitable outcome of Western cultural imperialism is seen to be the cultural homogenization
of the world: The world is doomed to uniformity.
Is cultural imperialism considered as a satisfactory explanation by anthropologists?
No!
Cultural imperialism denies agency to non-Western peoples who make use of Western cultural
forms.
It assumes that they are passive and without the resource to resist anything of Western origin.
It assumes that non-Western cultural forms never moves from other parts of the world to the
West but this is false: We just have to think of the importance of non-Western food and music in
our everyday life.
Cultural imperialism ignores the fact that cultural forms and practices sometimes move from one
part of the non-Western world bypassing the West entirely. For example: Mexican soap operas
are very popular in the Philippines.
Criticism
Borrowing cultural forms or practices from elsewhere always involves borrowing with
modification: People never adopt blindly but always adapt what they borrow for local purposes.
People rarely accept ideas or practices from elsewhere without indigenizing them, finding a way
of reconciling them with local practices in order to serve local purpose.
What is borrowed meet the purposes of the borrowers, which may be quite remote from the
purpose of those among whom the form or practice originated.
This form of cultural change is very different from having something from elsewhere forced
upon you against your will.

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Cultural hybridization or creolization
Hybridization is a biological metaphor and creolization a linguistic metaphor.
Both metaphors highlight forms of cultural borrowing that produce something new that could not
be subsumed either with the culture of the donor or within the culture of the recipient.
Both terms stress the positive side of cultural mixing: Rather than indicating a regrettable loss of
original purity, they draw attention to positive processes of cultural creativity.
We have to keep in mind that cultures have always been hybrid.
Cultural hybridization is not always experienced the same way: It is welcomed when people
perceived it to be under their own control and it is resisted when it is perceived to be potentially
threatening.
Appropriation or incorporation
These concepts insist on the agency of the borrower in the process of cultural borrowing.
Cultural borrowing is considered active and implies cultural creativity.
Human beings are not passive in the face of the new: They actively and resiliently respond to
life’s changes and challenges.
Multiculturalism
Living permanently in settings where people come from different cultural backgrounds.
In multicultural settings, questions of rights become salient. Struggles arise to define the degree
to which the cultural practices of different groups should be accorded respect and recognition by
the national society.
Multicultural politics
Every country develops different policies concerning multiculturalism.
France:
Ethnocentric assimilation
Immigrants are promised all the rights and privileges of native-born citizens as long as they
adopt French culture completely.
(Textbook, p. 365)
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