Tradition and Modernity in Europe

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Tradition and Modernity in Europe

Europeans are well known for their firm traditions and their unwillingness to shift from old to new world ideals and changes. As the decades go by, Europeans are being bombarded with new world industry and new traditions. In 1976, through Susannah Hoffman’s documentary entitled “Kypseli: Women and Men Apart-A Divided Reality”, we are provided with the ultimate in European, namely Greek/Kypselian traditions. Hoffman shows the old world way of life when men and women lived off the land, made homemade meals by hand each day, and lived a life separate from the world and all its technological advances. But as time and the world progress, such cultures are being forced or led into new ways of living, doing, and thinking about everyday life. With each year comes a greater descent into modernization where European societies are converging toward modern values and gradually abandoning their traditional values.

The respective place and definitions of modernity and tradition are frequent themes in contemporary European life. Perhaps Europe could be defined by the very modernity of its traditions. Europeans are continually being bombarded with new world, new age, industrial views and changes that are forcing their staunch, old world traditions into disarray, and thus modernity. Though they can not fully stop the inevitable, people are using local culture to respond to the national and/or global forces for change. Diana Barthel-Bouchier and Lauretta Clough discuss such acts in their article “From Mondavi to Depardieu: The Global/Local Politics of Wine”. In it, they focus on the subject of local winemakers in France experiencing a great change in the wine industry. Per tradition, these winemakers have been the sole source of wine for their culture for many years, but with the growth of industry and capitalism, “and an increasing number of newcomers…who have migrated south in search of sun and a gentler lifestyle.” (75),...
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