Marginalization of Africa

In accordance to Durkheimian explanations there is an immense importance of culture in sustaining social solidarity in the face of social change and nothing is more relevant in this context the case of Africa and its “cultural distance” as noted by James Ferguson. The work by James Ferguson, Global Shadows, shows that the Africans themselves have been marginalized within a larger “global community” (McCarthy, 202-214).

While addressing the aspects of cultural distance, Ferguson (2006) noted that “Zambia in particular was tapped by the World Bank and other international observers as a model of the new, democratic, neoliberal African state” (Ferguson, 120). In the same context, Ferguson (2006) also indicates that “Through good government, privatization, generational succession, and information age technology, the ‘new culture’ seemed to promise” (Ferguson, 120). This ‘new culture’ is the vital aspect of “cultural distance” through globalization.

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Ferguson noted that “Defenders of neoliberal structural-adjustment programs naturally find Africa an inconvenient example; they prefer to talk about Asian tigers” (Ferguson, 26) because it is more successful in Asia. But the aspect of “cultural distance” is evident on both Africa and Asia. In accordance to anthropological theory or concepts of “cultural distance”, it is evident that the local judiciary or authority seldom manages to catch up with the psyche of the local culture at the advent of a foreign concept or dominant culture (Raleigh, 69-86). However, it should be taken into account that the Africa has very intricate value systems, which even today pose questions to the West. A thorough understanding is needed of their culture, perceptions and style of thinking in order to accurately predict their behaviour on Western understanding scales. “For much of Africa, such a new political order has meant not ‘less state interference and inefficiency,’ as Western neoliberal reformers imagined” (Ferguson, 39).

Ethical values and corporate social responsibility are fast gaining global priority. The corporate sector has, since long, behaved as an isolated entity, powerful enough to influence and dictate directions in the life of the common man, as well as governments. The emergence of environmental concern and sustainability issues has highlighted the role of ethics and social responsibility in the functioning of the corporate sector. Modernisation has brought in materialism and consumerism, which by itself is not detrimental (Castells, 69-170). However, it should be mentioned that Africa has yet to cope with the changes in its own way. Ferguson indicates the “pride in the struggle for liberation and the achievement of democracy with the advocacy of neoliberal, ‘free-market’ economic policies” (Ferguson, 116) but pride alone would not serve the purpose.

Similarly, it should be noted that It should be stated that Economic liberalization can pave the way for internal conflict as a catalyst to other societal issues that can cause civil conflict independent of liberalization. Thus, it is not inherent in liberalization to cause conflict and such reforms are not sufficient or necessary in the development of civil conflict. More, it can also be stated that civil conflict is more dependent on three factors – economic liberalization can facilitate these factors or exacerbate them, but does not need to occur for these factors to cause civil conflict on their own. The factors are: a discrepancy between what people expect and what they receive, poor governance and institutions, and economic disparities that coincide with ethnicity or regions (Raleigh, 69-86). Furthermore, it is not inherent in economic liberalization to cause conflict. Other factors can cause civil conflict independent of economic liberalization; however liberalization can act as a catalyst to these factors.

From the point of view of Christian anthropological analysis, this movie is extremely important. The feature is a live documentation of the fact that Hybridization of cultures is nothing new to the history of the world and it as happened earlier. However, the only difference this time is that the scale is taking place at a much larger parameter today. We can well ascertain there would be a single culture in days to come is the current trend is in motion on an uninterrupted manner. There would be a loss of cultural pride, sovereignty, individuality but the gradual change would make it bearable for all, and the one world scenario would be welcomes by the generations undergoing the change (McCarthy, 202-214).

On the other hand, the brought in culture can effortlessly step into the shoes of the local culture, causing diminution in assortment through hybridization or even incorporation (Castells, 69-170). However, there is “also the considerable numbers of local elites who have found great wealth, and not only poverty, in the wide open spaces of neoliberal Africa” (Ferguson, 187). Nevertheless, it is the case of cultural degeneration that is creating the major concern at the moment.

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