Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cultural Imperialism Essay - 275 Words

Cultural Imperialism (Essay Sample) Content: NameInstructorDateCultural ImperialismMany of the non-Western peoples that Europeans colonized in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries complained that Europeans often embraced the ideals of liberty and equality yet placed restrictions on their meanings in practice. A similar criticism regarding the treatment of the working classes and ethnic minorities emerged from those who began to support nationalism and socialism in the late 19th and 20th centuries. What might this suggest about the limits of the liberal legacies of the development of capitalism, the Enlightenment, and the 18th- and 19th-century revolutions? Many historianshave tried to answer this question by delving into theanalysis between liberalism and empire. European attitudes towards colonies provided a classic example of liberal thought and how the rise of empires subjugated indigenous freedoms through cultural and capitalist imperialism.During the 17th and 18th centuries, various European empiresstarted a series of expansive programs aimed at exploring uncharted territoriesunder the guise of spreading civilization and Christian values. The justification of cultural imperialism at that time was that the assimilation of colonies intothe European culture would be highly beneficial to them. The age of enlightenment in 17th and 18th century Europe, was a cultural and intellectual period characterized by changes in ideologies regarding social and political freedoms. It was described by many scholars as the emergence of self-conscious thought and the advent of liberal universalism. It was at this time that many European nations sought to spread these imperialist ideals of truth and justice to their conquered territories. Various European powers which professed liberalism found themselves on an impasse on two fronts. Foremost, the question arose on how these nations could dominate others while at the same time championing a sense of cultural freedom. The second dimension regarded how their u niversal valuescould be applied in the face of social diversity and diverse cultural freedoms.The view by a majority of the colonies was that their European masters imposed policies which were largely justified by their imperial thoughts and views. Indeed, the French empire imposed itsideals in Algeria and regarded the colony as an integral part of France and not a separatist state. In all fairness, not all conquered territories were opposed to these imperialist ideals and values. Individuals, particularly those in the upper middle classes, embraced them terming these idealsas a progressive step towards national development. In the early 17th century, after being crowned Nawab wazir of Oudh, Saadat Ali Khan embraced the culture of the British empire by refurnishing his palace in English style decorations and placing a requirement thathis dinnerbeserved using the best English china (Collingham 171).Colonial powers highly encouraged the process of assimilation wherebyindividuals in co lonies could in essence become fully fledged citizens of their colony countries by adopting their cultures and ideals. This process inadvertently led to the spread of 'imperial capitalism' .The concept of liberalism and capitalism was centered around the notion of upholding various capitalistic ideals including the ownership of property, adequate compensation of labor and also the liberalization of exchange systems. Thelate 19th century gaverise to the 'new imperialism model' which sparked the interest by imperial powersto seek imperial territories.During their numerous conquests, the British Empire sought to economically integrate their colonies into their capitalistic chains. Nevertheless, there was a complete contradiction between the self professed liberal self-image in Britain and the application of capitalistic ideals in their acquired colonies. Efforts shifted from the propagation of liberalist capitalistic thought to the exploitation of these colonies for the benefit of the European powers. Absolute control overcolonies discouraged any form of indigenous capitalist growth. The British Empire provided a classic case of the exploitation of the free market ideal inherent in the capitalist model. They adopted the mercantilist model of trade whereby colonies were encouraged to produce raw materials. Factories in England would then process these raw materials, which were returnedand sold to the colonies. Tothe British Empire, this was highly progressive capitalismas theyestablishedmanipulative global systems of raw material accumulationand virtually competitive-free markets for their products. This process was still in effect even in the late 20th century. The film Goodbye Lenin was a parodyfilm about western imperialism ...

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