Appiah Essay

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Kwame Anthony Appiah in his essay titled “The Case for Contamination” talks about three interrelated issues, globalization, cultural diversity, and ethical consideration. Within all this, there are two roles religion plays. The roles that those in favor of globalization claim and the roles against globalization claim. Religion is a double-edged sword when it comes to the role it plays in the issues at hand. On one side of the coin religion can be used positively in globalization to protect culture. It allows for people to be exposed to external media while still maintaining their culture’s value. Religion can help cultures stay rooted with their traditions as the process of globalization expands. For example, in essay Appiah mentions the case of a very religious Zulu man, Sipho. Sipho is from the province of South Africa of KwaZulu-Natal. Sipho was raised very traditional to his culture, yet has experienced globalization in many forms including that of the television. He has watched American programs on TV and was influenced by the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” He says that the show did help him understand and better his relationship with his father, but that certain aspect of the show such as woman dating before 20 remains unacceptable to him and his people. On the flip side, the role of religion in the process of globalization can be detrimental. Preservationists have the fear of globalization and the impact it will have on their culture negatively. There are two ways to go about the preservationists’ route, in the sense culture and authenticity and an economic view. In the cultural aspect, the importing of Western ideas changes the culture through the “imperial media” of the West as claimed by Herbert Schiller in Appiah’s essay. The other view preservationist critics have is that economically speaking is that since cheap Western clothing has been thrown into the markets, it now costs more to wear the religion traditional attire made of silk. In...
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