April 25, 2020
In the article “The Case for Contamination”, the author makes an attempt to explain the effects and manifestations of globalization and cosmopolitanism. The society is gradually being transformed. With this transformation ushers in progressive adoption of foreign cultures, occasioned by a mix between exotic ideas, politics, language, songs (Appiah, 2006). As the world globalizes, the impact is felt in almost all the facets of the life of every society. The author therefore relevantly and rightly explores the gradual evolution of societies from purity to impurity and contamination. To a large extent the ideas of the author on contamination are accurate. However, the justifications for contamination are also quite extremist and over-extended.
Contamination in Kumasi is evidenced with the cosmopolitan nature of this society. The contamination of the culture in this place is demonstrated by the diversities in Wednesday festival (Appiah, 2006). Although this is typically and ideally a traditional occasion founded on the cultural practices and the political organization of this society, within the crowd are men in modern suits and representatives from an insurance company. The people are also having modern western cell phones, a further indication of the mix between the traditional modes of communication and its contamination with modern technologies. Further, adjacent to the dais are meetings about contemporary issues affecting the modern society such as HIV/AIDS, the 21st century education needs and teaching of science and technology in the University around Kumasi (Appiah, 2006).
The ceremonies like the festival the author makes reference to are often associated with centuries-old traditions. However, it is gradually being contaminated by the consequences of globalization. Appiah (2006) cited that such ceremonies have strong connections with far places that are classically categorized as modern. Such includes Washington, Mexico City, Beijing and even Moscow.
Social interactions further catalyze the contamination and promotion of heterogeneous cultural orientations (Moran & Brett, 2010).This is evidenced in Ghanaian society where such cultural integrations have even led into intermarriages and linguistic diversity and exchange between natives and foreigners. The natives have even adopted exotic languages as their mode communications (Appiah, 2006). This illustrates the extent to which globalization has enhanced contamination and created a cosmopolitan society.
Globalization has significantly promoted contamination and mix of cultures and lifestyles (Hopper, 2007). Nonetheless, it can also be justifiably argued that it is not guaranteed that the society will always drift absolutely to a contaminated type and result in the extinction of the native culture. Moran & Brett (2010) argue that in the midst of the contamination of cultures, lifestyle, and beliefs, homogeneity is also enhanced. For example, twenty miles away from Kumasi, the effects of globalization is demonstrated by the presence of radios in as predominantly monocultural community (Hopper, 2007). It is however not absolutely contaminated.
The villagers twenty miles from Kumasi engage in discussions about global sport champions like Ronaldo, Mike Tyson. Encounter with clubs, bottles of Guinness, Coca-Cola is not a strange occurrence. However, the villagers have also maintained some of the traditional, agrarian lifestyles. This is evidenced by the production of certain old crops such as yams. In terms of religion, while the villagers got converted into Christianity with the coming of the missionaries, they have managed to live with some of their old rites of passage (Appiah, 2006). This is despite the fact that the modern trends ushered in by cosmopolitanism and globalization is also upheld with their contaminating consequences noted.
In conclusion, as cultural diversity takes root in society, the traditional lifestyles gradually gets contaminated with the new exotic worldviews. However, the differences in the effect of the impurities tend to vary in every society. This difference is caused by the ability of the cosmopolitans to respect the freedom and the choice to stick by the old beliefs. Contamination, nonetheless, remains a strong, never-ending process dominated with imitation and revision of values.
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