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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
Unformatted Document Text:  Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria Similarly to Portes, Friedman (1994) accepts Geertz’s, Smith’s and Appadurai’s basic notion of cultural fragmentation, but argues that in today’s world the existence of tribal societies cannot be correctly understood without explaining how they are embedded in global networks. In his view, cultural diversity must be seen in a global context. There remains the ultimate question about the alleged rise of a global culture: What is the global language? The diffusion of Esperanto has certainly not delivered on early expectations, and the “English-as-global-language” argument seems equally far-fetched and indefensible. As Mazlish (1993:16) observes, English “is becoming a sort of Lingua Franca [but] there are serious limitations to the use of English as the daily language of a global culture.” Moreover, English is being challenged as the dominant language in parts of the United States and the United Kingdom. It is also instructive to recall that the most successful world language ever, Latin, evolved into a mosaic of Romance languages after spreading in its various vulgarized forms throughout most of Western and Central Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. Another sound argument against English as the global language is the one by Smith (1990:185-186). He notes that rather than the emergence of a ‘global’ culture what we are witnessing is the emergence of ‘culture areas’-not necessarily at odds or in conflict with each other, as Huntington (1996) would have it. Thus, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, Kiswahili and Chinese have become the shared languages of certain groups, communities or population strata across countries located in specific regions of the world, namely, Latin America, the CIS, the Arab world, sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, and South East Asia, respectively. Inevitably, globalization can lead to the development of indigenous languages, which is a major component of culture of any people. Another vital point in favour of globalization and ICTs comes from the argument of the opponents of the cultural development school of thought. They note that with globalization and developments in information and communications technologies, American culture and English language will swamp their cultures and traditional industries. Such fears are unfounded, debatable and questionable. According to Cairncross (2000: 279): 10 | P a g e

Authors: Ekeanyanwu, Nnamdi.
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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
Similarly to Portes, Friedman (1994) accepts Geertz’s, Smith’s and Appadurai’s basic notion 
of cultural fragmentation, but argues that in today’s world the existence of tribal societies cannot be 
correctly understood without explaining how they are embedded in global networks. In his view, 
cultural diversity must be seen in a global context. There remains the ultimate question about the 
alleged rise of a global culture: What is the global language? The diffusion of Esperanto has certainly 
not delivered on early expectations, and the “English-as-global-language” argument seems equally 
far-fetched and indefensible. As Mazlish (1993:16) observes, English “is becoming a sort of Lingua 
Franca [but] there are serious limitations to the use of English as the daily language of a global 
culture.” Moreover, English is being challenged as the dominant language in parts of the United 
States   and   the   United   Kingdom.   It   is   also   instructive   to   recall   that   the   most   successful   world 
language ever, Latin, evolved into a mosaic of Romance languages after spreading in its various 
vulgarized forms throughout most of Western and Central Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. 
Another   sound   argument   against   English   as   the   global   language   is   the   one   by   Smith 
(1990:185-186). He notes that rather than the emergence of a ‘global’ culture what we are witnessing 
is   the   emergence   of   ‘culture   areas’-not   necessarily   at   odds   or   in   conflict   with   each   other,   as 
Huntington (1996) would have it. Thus, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, Kiswahili and Chinese 
have   become   the   shared   languages   of   certain   groups,   communities   or   population   strata   across 
countries located in specific regions of the world, namely, Latin America, the CIS, the Arab world, 
sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, and South East Asia, respectively. Inevitably, globalization can lead 
to the development of indigenous languages, which is a major component of culture of any people.
Another vital point in favour of globalization and ICTs comes from the argument of the 
opponents of the cultural development school of thought. They note that with globalization and 
developments   in   information   and   communications   technologies,   American   culture   and   English 
language will swamp their cultures and traditional industries. Such fears are unfounded, debatable 
and questionable. According to Cairncross (2000: 279):
10 | 
P a g e


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