Cultural Identities in a Globalized World
All throughout our readings, lectures, videos, and textbook we learn the effects of globalization on the different nations we studied. I often felt sad for these nations because we were encouraging them to practice our traditions and therefore their personal identities and culture were lost. Other than to improve healthcare and poverty through medical care and education I could not find positive improvements. In fact it appeared in most cases we were trying to force our beliefs and practices on these third world countries. Furthermore it appeared we weren’t doing this for the good of the group but to increase our own wealth, power, religious converts, prestige, and possessions. In India they eat dogs and worship cows. In America we eat cows and worship dogs. The Native Americans love and revere their elders and Americans put their elders in nursing homes and devalue their wisdom. It seemed to me that what they learned from the Americans was the American greed for material wealth, power, money, and ownership. These people never felt that was necessary to increase their well being. We Americans taught them that. Man;y comments in our text spoke of the fact that these nations weren’t wealthy. That’s a relative term. Wealthy by our standards or wealthy by the traditional native standards? Their wealth came from kinship relations, rituals, religious ceremonies and hunting, fishing, and farming.
The effects of globalization have caused the Tongans of the Polynesian Islands to become more capitalistic and market economy-driven and less interested in the Tongan ways. Furthermore, the youth traditionally brought up to farm and fish are migrating to urban areas to earn wages and obtain possessions. Tappa production once traditionally a female task is now being performed by male Tongans in order to increase sales for the market economy. The tradition of using Tappa cloth for personal and ceremonial/religious purposes is now being replaced by commercial production, sale, and museum display. The long term impact of increased tappa production is deforestation which is an environmental concern. The effects of globalization are eliminating the traditional Tongan way of life which includes their practices, cultures, ceremonies, traditions, and rituals. About 50% of the Tongan population are leaving their country in search of the market economy way of life leaving their traditions. One would wonder is Where will young Tongans be like in the future? Will they have any Tongan history left or anyone to teach the rituals to? Will they continue to move out of their country?
Tiv in Nigeria was another tribe greatly affected by globalization. Pre-globalization the Tivs practiced their traditional farming practices in the rural areas. Performing arts practiced through stories, dance, religion, and music were their important customs. After oil was discovered, and the multinational corporations moved in offering money and power the Tivs migrated out of the rural areas into Lagos, an urban city. They became connected to the worldwide market. This was a very different Nigeria of 50 years ago when they lived rurally, amongst themselves, in villages. There was political instability, wars, disunity, conflict over power, resources, and wealth, and emigration. Children were introduced to urban living, cell phones, and automobiles. Is it so bad to live in your own culture and practice your rituals and cermonies? One positive change though was the elimination of small pox which killed many, many Nigerians. This is not the Tiv of “Return to Laughter.”
One of the most disturbing case studies I read was in the Essays book on the Waorani Tribe, of the Amazonian Ecuador. They live in a beautiful rain forest environment where they fished, hunted, and farmed practicing an egalitarian society. They used blowguns and poison to hunt monkey and fish and...