Th e formation and transformation of cultural systems and identities Success Okeke Chijioke Social Anthropology Diploma Essay 2019 Our culture lies as the substratum of subsequent diff erent forms and shades of identities that emerge. Having an
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  GLOBALIZING HE LOCAL AND LOCALIZING HE GLOBAL Te formation and transformation of cultural systems and identities Success Okeke ChijiokeSocial Anthropology Diploma Essay 2019 Our culture lies as the substratum of subse-quent different forms and shades of identities that emerge. Having an identity is part of, if not the main essence of living. All we contribute to our world and society is a product of who we are.Tis goes a long way to describe how im- portant it is for our identity to have an amount of stability, at least at the core of it Te major problem associated with wiping out a cultural system from the world’s cultural map, is the diffi culty of correctly retracing it with time. I believe that the best way to retain an effec-tive cultural identity is by ensuring that cultural systems are relevantly and reasonably preserved.  i CONEN Introduction 1 Te formation of cultural systems and identities 2 Te formation of Greek cultural system and identities 3 Te formation of Igbo cultural system and identities 5 Te transformation of cultural systems and identities 7 Te transformation of Greek cultural system and identities 7 Te transformation of Igbo cultural system and identities 8 Te reconstruction of cultural system and identities 9 Conclusion 11 Bibliography 12    1 INRODUCION  he words ‘Culture’ and ‘identity’ can be used interchangeably depending on the context, though they might be different, but with a strong nexus. Culture is basically defined as a group of people’s way of life. It is the system of public meanings that structure their living. Identity describes how individuals define themselves within their environment through a given culture. Culture lies as the substratum of subsequent different forms and shades of identities that emerge. Terefore cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. On the other hand, it is also the feeling of being different from another group. o effectively describe an identity, it has to be against others to be clearly seen. It is part of an individual’s or a group’s self-conception and self-perception. Just as a building foundation (sub-structure), culture seems to be more stable in description compared to the identities (super-structures) that are formed on its premise, which are more fragile and susceptible to change at a slightest encounter with others. Culture and the identities that reflect it, go through changes in a continuum from old to new, to form a historical narrative. With time the difference between the old and the new becomes very clear, yet the processes that create this difference could be so complex and diffi cult to appreciate. Tis is because the change occur rhizomatically, making it almost diffi cult to control, as so many internal and external factors happen to affect cultural pattern and definitions to create new pat-terns with time.In this essay, I would be looking into how the culture and the identity of a people get formed, in-fluenced and transformed. I believe it can be interesting to trace this ‘in-between’ spaces of trans-formation. It can go a long way to help us see how external (global) and internal (local) forces play different roles to metamorphose cultural systems and identities into a new versions of themselves through a system of fusion or synthesis, or into a new branch of an already existing one through a system of acculturation (supplanting).  Whenever these forces get to the extent of total acculturation, it teleologically leads to a disap-pearance of cultural system and identities from the cultural map. Tis makes the global cultural account more deficient. Patrick Lumumba posited (in his speech made in a cultural event in  Anambra state Nigeria, 2019), that though culture is dynamic, we still have to be welded to our cultural values in other to be recognized as who we are. How far can these changes go? How fast do they occur in cultural systems, practices or in identities? What are the agents that cause these changes? Can they be controlled and why is it important to control these changes? Tese are the different questions and aspects I would be discussing in this essay. I will also be discussing differ-ent cultural identities that have gone through transformation, example the Greeks, and the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria who are going through fast cultural and identity transformation.  2 HE FORMAION OF CULURAL SYSEMS AND IDENIIES Culture is a complex topic of study for sociologists. It exists anywhere humans exist, with variations from one culture to the other. Tis is because a combination of different elements or aspects come together to form a people’s unique way of life. Culture is simply defined as the people’s way of life which is visibly expressed in both their material and immaterial activities. It seems easier to appreciate a cultural system within an ethnic group by looking at how they carry out activities to satisfy needs especially the basic ones. With reference to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow,1943), culture can well be expressed in our quest to satisfy our needs for food, shelter, safety, communication yet it transverses even with more complexity into the unseen be-lieve and evaluation systems of the people. So it is seen from the concrete believes and practices that are shown as the people carry out their daily activities like; eating, bathing, communication, clothing to events like; building, marring, education, working, worshiping, even to their im-material perception and responses to their world and to one another. A cultural system can also anthropologically be defined as those socially transmitted patterns for behavior characteristic of a particular social group. In Keesing’s references, Some earlier representative attempts at definition reveal different facets of culture: Tat complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. (ylor 1871) Te sum total of knowledge, attitudes and habitual behaviour patterns shared and trans-mitted by the members of a particular society. (Linton 1940)[All the] historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational, irrational, and non-rational, which exist at any given time as potential guides for the behaviour of man. (Kluckhohn and Kelly 1945)Te mass of learned and transmitted motor reactions, habits, techniques, ideas, and values-and the behaviour they induce. (Kroeber 1948) Te man-made part of the environment (Herskovits 1955) Patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by sym-bols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embod-iments in artefacts. (Kroeber and Kluckhohn 1952) (All as cited in Keesing, Roger M & Strathern, Andrew J. 1998, 15 ).  We already know that racial differences are based on our genetic dynamics, so it is more biological than psychological. But cultural differences are results of how we think about what we see. What  we are looking at might be the same, yet the eyes of our mind through thoughts and imaginations attach different evaluations to them. So people of same culture tend to have a common under-standing and evaluation of their physical and non-physical environment. From this culture stems different identities, which can be describe as how individuals define themselves within their en-vironment through a given cultural spectrum. Identity is both about difference (from other peo-ple) and sameness (to people one feels attached to). Since a peoples’ identity is encoded in their  world view, as posited by Sarup (Sarup,1996 as cited in Ikebude, 2009, 9), understanding this  world view, therefore, can lead to an understanding of the identities. Identity is most importantly  3 about being different from other people or groups, because it is most effectively defined against others. Te difference between how communities of people perceive and interact with their world eventually gives us our different cultural identities. Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of an individual’s or a group’s self-conception and self-perception  which is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, gender, locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture. In this way, cultural identity is both charac-teristic of the individual or group, but also of the culturally identical group of members sharing the same cultural identity or upbringing. Tough with more detailed study, the uniformity might end at the layer of ideas and beliefs but varies more in their actual individual behavior and per-spectives which create individual identities. o throw more light on the complementary relationship between cultural commonality among members of a society and their individual identity diversity Schwartz argues; Te distribution of a culture among the members of a society transcends the limitations of the individual in the storage, creation, and use of the cultural mass. A distributive model of culture must take into account both diversity and commonality. It is diversity that increases the cultural inventory, but it is commonality that answers a degree of communicability and coordination. (Schwartz 1978, 423 as cited in Keesing, Roger M & Strathern, Andrew J. 1998, 19) In this part of this essay, I will be looking at some major aspects of cultural commonality and di-versities within some cultural systems. Which has eventually made the cultures rich in subgroup and individual identity differences. It appears simple when we try to define culture at a generic or objective level, but once we start zooming in into the different subjective identities it has cre-ated at the subgroup level it becomes complex. Ten when we zoom all in into the individuals identity relatively to the common culture it becomes really complex. Now ideas and ideals are been mixed, refined, challenged, and tested all from different microcosmic perspectives. So at this point different subjective shades and reflections of the objective cultural identity begin to emerge from within. Te formation of Greek cultural system and identities During the “Greek Dark Ages” as it is called, before the archaic period, people lived scattered throughout Greece in small farming villages. As they grew larger, these villages began to evolve. Some built walls. Most built a marketplace (an agora) and a community meeting place. Tey  fig. 1 . An illustration of culture - identity relationship, drawn by Success Okeke
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