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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 global village it is not deep going agreements on deep going matters, but something more like the recurrence of familiar divisions, persisting arguments, standing threats, the notion that whatever else may happen, the order of difference must be somehow maintained. Similarly, Smith (1980:171) opens his essay on global culture with what he calls the “initial problem” with the concept: Can we speak of ‘culture’ in the singular? If by ‘culture’ is meant a collective mode of life, or a repertoire of beliefs, styles, values and symbols, then we can only speak of cultures, never just culture; for a collective mode of life, or a repertoire of beliefs, etc., presupposes different modes and repertoires in a universe of modes and repertoires. Hence, the idea of a ‘global culture’ is a practical impossibility, except in interplanetary terms. Appadurai (1996:4, 21) aptly articulates the anthropological approach to the global. He argues, “Individuals and groups seek to annex the global into their own practices of the modern,” and writes about the “global modern.” In his view, the central features of global culture today is the politics of the mutual effort of sameness and difference to cannibalize one another and thereby proclaim their successful hijacking of the twin enlightenment ideas of the triumphantly universal and the resiliently particular. This mutual cannibalization shows its ugly face in riots, refugee flows, state-sponsored torture, and ethnocide. Its brighter side is in the expansion of many individual horizons of hope and fantasy (Appadurai, 1996:4, 21). The critical point is that both sides of the coin of global cultural processes are today products of the infinitely varied mutual contest of sameness and difference on a stage characterized by radical disjuncture between different sorts of global flows and the uncertain landscapes created in and through this disjuncture (Appadurai, 1996:43). Drawing on anthropological work and his own research, Portes (1997:3) proposes the term “transnational communities” to refer to “cross-border networks of immigrants that are ‘neither here nor there’ but in both places simultaneously” (see also Portes, Guarnizo, and Landolt, 1999). Different transnational communities, however, exhibit different origins, features and problems, and certainly do not form a monolithic global class of cosmopolitan citizens. 9 | P a g e

Authors: Ekeanyanwu, Nnamdi.
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Theorizing Cultural Development vis-à-vis Cultural Imperialism Theory: Lessons from Nigeria
global village it is not deep going agreements on deep going matters, 
but something more like the recurrence of familiar divisions, persisting 
arguments, standing threats, the notion that whatever else may happen, 
the order of difference must be somehow maintained. 
Similarly, Smith (1980:171) opens his essay on global culture with what he calls the “initial 
problem” with the concept: 
Can we speak of ‘culture’ in the singular? If by ‘culture’ is meant a 
collective mode of life, or a repertoire of beliefs, styles, values and 
symbols, then we can only speak of cultures, never just culture; for a 
collective  mode of life, or a repertoire  of beliefs, etc., presupposes 
different modes and repertoires in a universe of modes and repertoires. 
Hence, the idea of a ‘global culture’ is a practical impossibility, except 
in interplanetary terms. 
Appadurai   (1996:4,   21)   aptly   articulates   the   anthropological   approach   to   the   global.   He 
argues, “Individuals and groups seek to annex the global into their own practices of the modern,” and 
writes about the “global modern.” In his view, the central features of global culture today is the 
politics of the mutual effort of sameness and difference to cannibalize one another and thereby 
proclaim their successful hijacking of the twin enlightenment ideas of the triumphantly universal and 
the resiliently particular. This mutual cannibalization shows its ugly face in riots, refugee flows, 
state-sponsored   torture,   and   ethnocide.   Its   brighter   side   is   in   the   expansion   of   many   individual 
horizons of hope and fantasy (Appadurai, 1996:4, 21). 
The critical point is that both sides of the coin of global cultural processes are today products 
of the infinitely varied mutual contest of sameness and difference on a stage characterized by radical 
disjuncture   between  different   sorts of  global  flows and  the  uncertain   landscapes  created   in  and 
through   this   disjuncture   (Appadurai,   1996:43).   Drawing   on   anthropological   work   and   his   own 
research, Portes (1997:3) proposes the term “transnational communities” to refer to “cross-border 
networks of immigrants that are ‘neither here nor there’ but in both places simultaneously” (see also 
Portes,   Guarnizo,   and   Landolt,   1999).   Different   transnational   communities,   however,   exhibit 
different origins, features and problems, and certainly do not form a monolithic global class of 
cosmopolitan citizens.
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P a g e

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