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Old 01-31-2012, 11:03 PM
Ysionris The Byzantine Empire Ysionris is offline
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Cultural Assimilation

I currently work as a translator in East Asia, and one of the complaints I once heard from my Asian co-workers towards the Western world is what he terms "cultural assimilation", that - through institutions and organs such as Hollywood and Christianity - the Western world is imposing their own cultural standards and values on other countries, and politically and socially condemning those who do not share their values.

On one hand, some people see their own personal cultures as a means of heritage, an ethnic and national form of identification. They consider their own culture and values to make them what they are in terms of nationality and ethnicity, what makes them unique and different from everyone else in the world. They also consider their own history and customs too important to simply forget and abandon, and consider Western intrusion on their values to be a violation on their cultural sovereignty. On the other hand, different values are often used to justify what people in the West consider to be the suppression of human rights or crimes against humanity. They have caused more than one diplomatic spat, and make international endeavors increasingly difficult not only in terms of international communication, but also mutual interests and mentality. Some also argue that the differences in culture only serve to divide humanity with self-important and meaningless categories, thereby promoting ethnocentricism and nationalism.

So the question posed: In a globalizing world, how much cultural assimilation are we supposed to accept? What is your ideal scenario in regards to cultural similarities, cultural preservation, and cultural sovereignty?

Please note: This debate is not talking about whether cultural assimilation is an inevitability or an impossibility. If we're going to try and discuss how likely we'd ever be able to set a cultural standard, we'd be here all day. This discussion is one held under the hypothetical scenario that we are able to define such a standard, and asking you what your ideal standard is. It is also a discussion on whether you think the assimilation and/or protection of different cultures is a good or bad idea, and your rationale for it.

Please discuss. ^_^
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:09 PM
Sophie Sophie is offline
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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In a globalizing world, how much cultural assimilation are we supposed to accept? What is your ideal scenario in regards to cultural similarities, cultural preservation, and cultural sovereignty?
I don't think this is a new phenomenon. I'm not a history buff, but through studying art history, I've been surprised to learn about the cultural exchanges that happened during the times of the Roman Empire and the Islamic world from the 7th to 17th centuries. (* There are others, but I'm not really prepared to write an essay )

I think there can be a nice blend of cultural exchange, cultural blending, and also holding on to some cultural aspects that we choose to keep.

"Cultural sovereignty" .... no culture is perfect, so I personally prefer the mixing, blending, and exchange over time.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:47 PM
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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In a globalizing world, how much cultural assimilation are we supposed to accept? What is your ideal scenario in regards to cultural similarities, cultural preservation, and cultural sovereignty?
It doesn't really matter at all.

The world is basically a giant melting pot. People will do what they want to do. The only way unique culture can be preserved is through a conscious effort to capture cultural organs. And even then, it's not a unique culture. It's the global culture with local history tacked on because of nationalistic aspirations.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:08 AM
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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Originally Posted by AzraelBlack View Post
Cultures wax and wane and get stronger and disappear all the time. Some cultures and stuff will die out, eventually, so will the western one.

It is all just within nature. So I am indifferent.
And so to if cultures can wax, wane, and eventually die out, attempting to preserve a culture through protectionism or other practices is basically like putting it on life support. It'll be successful for a while, but the action itself is basically conceding the inevitable--that the culture in question is going to die.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:47 PM
Lanayru_ Lanayru_ is a male United States Lanayru_ is offline
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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I currently work as a translator in East Asia, and one of the complaints I once heard from my Asian co-workers towards the Western world is what he terms "cultural assimilation", that - through institutions and organs such as Hollywood and Christianity - the Western world is imposing their own cultural standards and values on other countries, and politically and socially condemning those who do not share their values.
I can understand that argument, but not the one against "cultural assimilation", which seems to be different from "cultural domination", which is what he's talking about.

Cultural assimilation has been happening forever. Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cultures are a great example. Chinese religion is a great example. If you go to China and ask what religion most people are affiliated with, they'll be confused about the question. Their religious beliefs don't involve following a strict doctrine, they're a melting pot of East Asian religions. Buddhism didn't even originate in China.

Languages in Europe are constant bastardizations of what once were ubiquitous and widely used early Latin variations. Language constantly assimilates dialects, cultural changes, and influences from other parts of the world. A lot of people are surprised that words like "lol" are now parts of the dictionary, but what they don't realize is that some of the words they use today probably became part of the English language for an equally stupid reason.

Cultural assimilation is really just what most people call cultural appropriation, which involves the alteration and mixing of cultures.

Jazz music involves cultural appropriation of black culture in America mixed with African music brought over during the slave trade. Rock music involves cultural appropriation of Jazz music. Pop music involves cultural appropriation of... you get it

Cultural appropriation is a part of human history, and it changes what we value as humans, what religions we believe in, what music we like, how we speak and what language we use, what we wear... everything. There is no escaping it, there is no valid concept of a "pure" culture, because every single culture on earth is probably a giant melting pot of other cultures. All it takes is a pair of eyes and a history book to see it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:34 PM
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Re: Cultural Assimilation


ASSIMILATE ALREADY! I WANT TO BUILD FACTORIES HERE! THE FRENCH ARE CATCHING UP TO ME IN ECONOMIC SCORE!



Seriously though, I think holding onto tradition can be a bad thing. It gets in the way of progress. I may be a conservative, but I don't think sentiment should get in the way of political change. Governments and societies should be able to react to change using effective methods and not be constrained by 'tradition'. Only need to look at Napoleon or Hitler to see that when someone breaks tradition, they tend to succeed very well.
It took the old orders of Europe a long time to catch up to Napoleon and break the traditions that had constrained them. It took the Allies a long time to break with tradition to be able to fight back Hitler- the British and the French expected a repeat of the 1914-1918 war and prepared as such. The Germans had no intention of letting this happen, and between the wars developed brand new methods of fighting.


ALTHOUGH it can be said the main ingredient of German success in 1939/40, the devolution of command down the chain, dates back to von Moltke and wasn't really a new thing. But Rommel and Guderian (and others) running around with their tanks in France really shows the allies were certainly not up to scratch on how to fight a modern war.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:54 PM
Slimer Slimer is a male United States Slimer is offline
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

Evidence towards the fallible notion of cultural assimilation: I'd like to know which of these you can understand the best.

1:Tilunge gebland sy gebćrd

or

2:Cultura est assimilatio naturalis

The first one is English, circa 500 A.D.. The second one is Latin, during the same time period. In Modern English, that was supposed to mean "Cultural assimilation is natural". The British had strong associations with (and occasionally were dominated by) the rest of Europe. Throughout the ages, English diverged from other Germanic languages like Welsh, Gaelic, Scandinavian languages, and German in not only language, but culture. This shows how culture simply evolves over time, and will evolve again. (I.E. we no longer own slaves, rape for fun, or worship severed heads.

---------- Post added at 10:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:52 PM ----------

I do agree with Dovakkhin, though, in that preserving culture can be great. There is no need to forsake your culture for someone else's.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:59 PM
Sweet SS Zelda Sweet SS Zelda is a male Canada Sweet SS Zelda is offline
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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Originally Posted by Anakrousis View Post
Evidence towards the fallible notion of cultural assimilation: I'd like to know which of these you can understand the best.

1:Tilunge gebland sy gebćrd

or

2:Cultura est assimilatio naturalis

The first one is English, circa 500 A.D.. The second one is Latin, during the same time period. In Modern English, that was supposed to mean "Cultural assimilation is natural". The British had strong associations with (and occasionally were dominated by) the rest of Europe. Throughout the ages, English diverged from other Germanic languages like Welsh, Gaelic, Scandinavian languages, and German in not only language, but culture. This shows how culture simply evolves over time, and will evolve again. (I.E. we no longer own slaves, rape for fun, or worship severed heads.

---------- Post added at 10:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:52 PM ----------

I do agree with Dovakkhin, though, in that preserving culture can be great. There is no need to forsake your culture for someone else's.
The last time I checked, Welsh and Gaelic are not Germanic languages; those two languages are Celtic languages.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:40 PM
Slimer Slimer is a male United States Slimer is offline
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Re: Cultural Assimilation

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Originally Posted by Nen desharu View Post
The last time I checked, Welsh and Gaelic are not Germanic languages; those two languages are Celtic languages.
i was under the impression that celtic languages were related to germanic languages, my bad

but it's kind of irrelevant to the point i was trying to make
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