Does culture become, with the passage of time, more fragmenting or more homogenizing? Bhabha, Priestley, Jackson, CesaireDoes culture become, with the passage of time, more fragmenting or more...
Does culture become, with the passage of time, more fragmenting or more homogenizing? Bhabha, Priestley, Jackson, Cesaire
I would have to say that cultures are becoming more and more homogenized. The advent of the television, internet, and global urbanization have enabled all cultures to "rub elbows," so to speak. It seems in some countries (like India, for instance) you have the old-timers who are still steeped in their age-old traditions and way of life, mingling with the newer generation who have embraced and imbibe in the technology of today. It's a curious, heterogenous blend of the old and the new. Adding to the mixture is the unprecedented spread of Westernization throughout the world and its effect. Top it off with the fact that most nations trade and fraternize with each other financially and economically and you can see why homogenization has occurred.
Identity with an ethnic group seems less apparent as each generation becomes more and more disconnected from Ellis Island. With the European immigration into such cities as New York, Boston, Philadelphis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, etc. there were clearly ethnic neighborhoods and a distinct culture that was revered and preserved. Now that the differnent nationalities have intermarried such as the Slavic peoples with Irish or Italian, etc. there is less fragmentation.In fact, it seems irrelevant for most people of American to even discuss their nationalities nowadays as they are so often of many different ones. With the barriers to interracial marriages all but erased, this division, too, seems blurred.
There is much debate about this crucial question in cultural and postcolonial studies. Some argue that what we have witnessed over the past few years with globalisation has resulted in a more homogenised culture. However, others would argue that widespread migration has actually resulted in a far more fragmented sense of culture as people become more hybrid and diverse in their cultural loyalties. It seems clear that both are relevant realities that are changing our world. On the one hand we could look to the fact that languages of ethnic minority groups are dying out at an unprecedented rate. On the other hand some would argue that we are seeing cultural revivals of languages, for example Welsh.
In my opinion, culture has become more homogenizing over time. This may not be inherent to culture though -- it may be because of technological change and not because of culture.
Over the years, technology has made interaction between peoples easier (this has been going on for a long time -- steamships did this over a hundred years ago, the internet does it now). When people interact more, their cultures become more homogeneous as they borrow from one another.
Culture is only homogenized if those who were previously unexposed to it assimilate it after they are exposed to it. Yes the use of technology exposes people to other cultures, but they don't necessarily acquire the characteristics of a culture due to exposure. If anything, I would think culture becomes more fragmented because after being exposed to a culture, other might choose to pick up certain elements of it, but not its entirety.
The fact that everyone now "hyphenates" their culture speaks more of assimilation and homogenization than it does fragmentation. Including both, as in Irish-American, speaks to inclusion rather than exclusion. I find it rather ridiculous to label in such a way, but it does seem to be the direction many people are going as they attempt to culturally identify themselves.
I would have to say that culture becomes more fragmented as time goes by. We have people immigrating from other countries that may for a short while attempt to maintain their culture, however it seems like in time they leave their culture, but only in parts. As stated above people seem to pick and choose which parts of culture they want.