Sociology BA LLB for Sociology Notes

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‘Cultural homogenization, Americanization, westernization, the global village even modernity itself are all variants of myth-a cultural narrative to use the terms of this study-whereby the West imagines its own being and becoming and that of the rest of the world.’ - BOOK Suitably Modern: Making Middle-class Culture in a New Consumer Society

By Mark Liechty

Historically Western civilization is European civilization. In the modern era, Western civilization is Euroamerican or North Atlantic civilization. Europe, America and the North Atlantic can be found on a map; the West cannot. The name “the West” has also given rise to the concept of Westernization and has promoted a misleading conflation of westernization and modernization: it is easier to conceive of Japan “Westernizing” than “Euroamericanizing”. European-American civilization is however, universally referred to as Western civilization and that term despite its serious disabilities will be used here…In the earlier phases of change, Westernization thus promotes modernization. In the later phases modernization promotes de-Westernization and the resurgence of indigenous culture…’-Samuel Phillips Huntington (BOOK: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)

Features or characteristics of Westernization

  • Anglicization
    • Prominence and dominance of English language
    • Though the term is westernization but the linguistice dominance is that of English
    • Language of study, entertainment
  • Rationalization
    • Westernization is based on rationalization
    • Modernization and westernization are both based on rationalization.
  • Individualism
    • Individuals are given more importance than the family or group.
  • Weakening of religious values
    • Westernization means weakening of religious values
    • Dominance of scientific and rational.
  • Weakening of family ties
    • The westernization means people have less attachment with their family
  • Nuclear family
  • Flexibility in marriage
    • Seriousness of marriage will be in decline.
  • Relaxation in sexuality
    • Sex is no longer viewed as evil, impure or dangerous.
    • Sexual relationship outside marriage is seen as natural
  • Prominence of western education
    • Westernization means use of western education in non western societies.
  • Dominance of western perspective of the world
    • History and philosophy of the west gets prioritized
  • Dominance of western art and culture
  • Deification of the west

Westernization in Nepal

  • Westernization in Nepal began before 1950s but it was only after 1950 that when Nepal was finally opened to foreign tourists that westernization began in Nepal with more force.
  • The western tourists who came to Nepal began westernization in their own small way.
  • In 1970s Nepal and India’s Goa became the center outside California for Hippie youths of America who were spiritual, rebellious, anti-government, and anti-war.
    • Kathmandu was popular for marijuana and hashish which was not illegal till then.
    • Hippies came in large number in Kathmandu and settled in Jhose which till this date is called freak street.
    • Hippie did not directly bring westernization but they showed Nepali youths that western culture was different.
    • Youths were attracted to them.
  • The culture of sending the children of upper and middle class to westernized schools in India (Darjeeling, Kalingpong, Dehra Dun) also started after 1950s.
  • In 1990 Nepal overthrew autocracy and accepted the multiparty democracy.
  • The multi-party democratic system uplifted all the restrictions on foreign literatures, and medias.
  • The foreign medias and influx of large number of foreigners to Nepal started westernization in Nepal among youths.
  • The upper and middle class began to send their children to expensive westernized private school within Nepal.
  • The post 2000 Nepal saw the explosion of internet and internet related subculture (facebook, chat etc).

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