Westernization

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Westernization (US) or Westernisation (UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation or occidentalization/occidentalisation (from the Occident ), is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in areas such as industry, technology, politics, economics, lifestyle, law, norms, mores, customs, traditions, values, mentality, perceptions, diet, clothing, language, alphabet, religion, and philosophy. During colonialism it often involved spread of Christianity. [1]

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

Europeanisation refers to a number of related phenomena and patterns of not change:

Contents

Westernization has been a growing influence across the world in the last few centuries, with some thinkers assuming Westernization to be the equivalent of modernization, [2] a way of thought that is often debated. The overall process of Westernization is often two-sided in that Western influences and interests themselves are joined with parts of the affected society, at minimum, to change towards a more Westernized society, with the putative goal of attaining a Western life or some aspects of it, while Western societies are themselves affected by this process and interaction with non-Western groups.

Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. Modernization refers to a model of a progressive transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. Modernization theory originated from the ideas of German sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920), which provided the basis for the modernization paradigm developed by Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902–1979). The theory looks at the internal factors of a country while assuming that with assistance, "traditional" countries can be brought to development in the same manner more developed countries have been. Modernization theory was a dominant paradigm in the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s, then went into a deep eclipse. It made a comeback after 1991 but remains a controversial model.

Westernization traces it roots back to Ancient Greece. Later, the Roman Empire would take on the first process of Westernization as it was heavily influenced by Greece and created a new culture based on the principles and values of the Ancient Greek society. The Romans emerged with a culture that would lay the new foundations of Europe[ anachronism ] and grow into a new Western identity based on the Greco-Roman society.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided into a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Anachronism chronological inconsistency

An anachronism is a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of persons, events, objects, or customs from different periods. The most common type of anachronism is an object misplaced in time, but it may be a verbal expression, a technology, a philosophical idea, a musical style, a material, a plant or animal, a custom, or anything else associated with a particular period that is placed outside its proper temporal domain.

Westernization can also be compared to acculturation and enculturation. Acculturation is "the process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between cultural groups and their individual members." [3] After contact, changes in cultural patterns are evident within one or both cultures. Specific to Westernization and the non-Western culture, foreign societies tend to adopt changes in their own social systems relative to Western ideology, lifestyle, and physical appearance, along with numerous other aspects, and shifts in culture patterns can be seen to take root as a community becomes acculturated to Western customs and characteristics – in other words, Westernized. Westernization can include Christianization, Americanization and Europeanization, with historical versions including Romanization, Hellenization, Francization, and Germanization.[ citation needed ]

Acculturation process of cultural and psychological change

Acculturation is a process of social, psychological, and cultural change that stems from the balancing of two cultures while adapting to the prevailing culture of the society. Acculturation is a process in which an individual adopts, acquires and adjust to a new cultural environment. Individuals of a differing culture try to incorporate themselves into the new more prevalent culture by participating in aspects of the more prevalent culture, such as their traditions, but still hold onto their original cultural values and traditions. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both the devotee of the prevailing culture and those who are assimilating into the culture.

Enculturation Process of acquiring values from a neighboring culture

Enculturation is the process by which people learn the dynamics of their surrounding culture and acquire values and norms appropriate or necessary in that culture and worldviews. As part of this process, the influences that limit, direct, or shape the individual include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values, and rituals of the culture.

Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages. Often the conversion of the ruler was followed by the compulsory baptism of his subjects. Some were evangelization by monks or priests, organic growth within an already partly Christianized society, or by campaigns against paganism such as the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches or the condemnation of pagan gods and practices. A strategy for Christianization was Interpretatio Christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses, due to the Christian efforts at proselytism (evangelism) based on the Great Commission.

The phenomenon of Westernization does not follow any one specific pattern across societies as the degree of adaption and fusion with Western customs will occur at varying magnitudes within different communities. [4] Specifically, the extent to which domination, destruction, resistance, survival, adaptation or modification affect a native culture may differ following inter-ethnic contact. [5]

Definition

Countries part of the West

The "West" was originally defined as the Western world. Ancient Romans distinguished between Oriental (Eastern, or Asian) cultures that inhabited present-day Egypt and Occidental cultures that lived in the West. A thousand years later, the East-West Schism separated the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church from each other. The definition of Western changed as the West was influenced by and spread to other nations. Islamic and Byzantine scholars added to the Western canon when their stores of Greek and Roman literature jump-started the Renaissance. Although Russia converted to Christianity in the 10th century, the West expanded to include it fully when Peter the Great deeply reformed the country's government, the church and modernised the society thanks to the ideas brought from the Netherlands. [6] Today, most modern uses of the term refer to the societies in the West and their close genealogical, linguistic, and philosophical descendants, typically included are those countries whose ethnic identity and dominant culture are derived from European culture. However, though sharing in similar historical background, it would be incorrect to regard the Western world as a monolithic bloc, as many cultural, linguistic, religious, political, and economical differences exist between Western countries and populations.

Western world Countries that identify themselves with an originally European shared culture

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world. It is often correlated with the Northern half of the North-south divide.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in the northeast corner of Africa, whose territory in the Sinai Peninsula extends beyond the continental boundary with Asia, as traditionally defined. Egypt is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Western civilization is commonly said to include the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European Union (and at least the EFTA countries, European microstates). [7] [8]

The definition is often widened, and can include these countries, or a combination of these countries:

Countries significantly influenced by Westernization

The process of Westernization comes when non-Western societies come under Western influence or adopt Western culture in different areas such as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, clothing, language, alphabet, religion, philosophy, and values. [10]

The following countries or regions experienced a significant influence by the process of Westernization:

Widening the definition of countries influenced by Westernization may cause controversies.

Different views

Kishore Mahbubani and Westernization

Kishore Mahbubani's book entitled The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World (Public Affairs), is very optimistic.[ why? ] It proposes that a new global civilization is being created. The majority of non-Western countries admire and adhere to Western living standards. However, he warns us that this newly emerging global order has to be ruled through new policies and attitudes. He argues that the policymakers all over the world must change their preconceptions and accept that we live in one world. The national interests must be balanced with global interests and the power must be shared. Mahbubani urges that only through these actions can we create a world that converges benignly.

He states there is conflict between "the West and the Rest." and offers three forms of general action that non-Western civilizations can react toward Western countries. [17]

  1. Non-Western countries can attempt to achieve isolation in order to preserve their own values and protect themselves from Western invasion. However, Huntington argues that the costs of this action is high and only a few states can pursue it.
  2. According to the theory of "band-wagoning" non-Western countries can join and accept Western values.
  3. Non-Western countries can make an effort to balance Western power through modernization. They can develop economic, military power and cooperate with other non-Western countries against the West while still preserving their own values and institutions.

The End of Westernization
Mahbubani counters this argument in his other book, The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. This time, he argues that Western influence is now "unraveling", with Eastern powers such as China arising. He states:

…the 5.6 billion people who live outside the West no longer believe in the innate or inherent superiority of Western civilization. Instead, many are beginning to question whether the West remains the most civilized part of the world. What we are witnessing today…is the progressive unwrapping of these many layers of Western influences. [18]

He goes on further to explain the decline of Western influence, stating reasons as to the loss of Western credibility with the rest of the world.

  1. There is an increasing perception that Western countries will prioritize their domestic problems over international issues, despite their spoken and written promises of having global interests and needs.
  2. The West has become increasingly biased and close-minded in their perception of "non-Western" countries such as China, declaring it an "un-free" country for not following a democratic form of government.
  3. The West uses a double standard when dealing with international issues.
  4. As the biggest Eastern populations gain more power, they are moving away from the Western influences they sought after in the past. The "anti-Americanism" sentiment is not temporary, as Westerners would like to believe – the change in the Eastern mindset has become far too significant for it to change back.

Samuel P. Huntington and Westernization

In contrast to territorial delineation, others, like the American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington (see The Clash of Civilizations), consider what is "Western" based on religious affiliation, such as deeming the majority-Western Christian part of Europe and North America the West, and creating 6 other civilizations, including Latin America, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu and Slavic-Orthodox, to organize the rest of the globe. [19]

Furthermore, Huntington claims that after the end of the cold war, world politics had been moved into a new aspect in which non- Western civilizations were no more the exploited recipients of Western civilization but become another important actor joining the West to shape and move the world history. [20]

Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines. [21]

Edward Said and Westernization

In Orientalism Edward Said views Westernization as it occurred in the process of colonization, an exercise of essentializing a "subject race" in order to more effectively dominate them. Said references Arthur Balfour, the British Prime Minister from 1902–1905, who regarded the rise of nationalism in Egypt in the late 19th century as counterproductive to a "benevolent" system of occupational rule. Balfour frames his argument in favor of continued rule over the Egyptian people by appealing to England's great "understanding" of Egypt's civilization and purporting that England's cultural strengths complemented and made them natural superiors to Egypt's racial deficiencies. Regarding this claim, Said says, "Knowledge to Balfour means surveying a civilization from its origins to its prime to its decline – and of course, it means being able to...The object of such knowledge is inherently vulnerable to scrutiny; this object is a ‘fact' which, if it develops, changes, or otherwise transforms itself...[the civilization] nevertheless is fundamentally, even ontologically stable. To have such knowledge of such a thing is to dominate it." The act of claiming coherent knowledge of a society in effect objectifies and others it into marginalization, making people who are classified into that race as "almost everywhere nearly the same." Said also argues that this relationship to the "inferior" races, in fact, works to also fortify and make coherent what is meant by "the West"; if "The Oriental is irrational, depraved (fallen), childlike, "different..." then "...the European is rational, virtuous, mature, normal." Thus, "the West" acts as a construction in the similar way as does "the Orient" – it is a created notion to justify a particular set of power relations, in this case the colonization and rule of a foreign country.

Personal

A different view on the Western world is not defining it by its territory, but by its people group, as these tend to differ in an increasingly globalised world. This view highlights the non-Western population in countries with a Western majority, or vice versa. The Boers for instance can be regarded as Western inhabitants of South Africa.

Process of Westernization

King Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan attempted to Westernize his country in the 1920s, but tribal revolts caused his abdication. King Amanullah of Afghanistan.jpg
King Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan attempted to Westernize his country in the 1920s, but tribal revolts caused his abdication.

Colonization (1400s–1970s)

Europeanization

From 1400s onward, Europeanization and colonialism spread gradually over much of the world and controlled different regions during this five centuries long period, colonizing or subjecting the majority of the globe. The two World Wars weakened the European powers to such extent that many people in the colonies strove for independence, often inspired by nationalistic movements. A period of decolonization started. At the end of the 1960s, most colonies were autonomous. Those new states often adopted some aspects of Western politics such as a constitution, while frequently reacting against Western culture.[ citation needed ]

Westernization in Asia

General reactions to Westernization can include fundamentalism, protectionism or embrace to varying degrees. Countries such as Korea and China attempted to adopt a system of isolationism but have ultimately juxtaposed parts of Western culture into their own, often adding original and unique social influences, as exemplified by the introduction of over 1,300 locations of the traditionally Western fast-food chain McDonald's into China. [22] Specific to Taiwan, the industry of bridal photography (see Photography in Taiwan) has been significantly influenced by the Western idea of "love". As examined by author Bonnie Adrian, Taiwanese bridal photos of today provide a striking contrast to past accepted norms, contemporary couples often displaying great physical affection and, at times, placed in typically Western settings to augment the modernity, in comparison to the historically prominent relationship, often stoic and distant, exhibited between bride and groom. [23] Though Western concepts may have initially played a role in creating this cultural shift in Taiwan, the market and desire for bridal photography has not continued without adjustments and social modifications to this Western notion.

In Korea, the first contact with Westernization was during the Chosun Dynasty, in 17th century. Every year, the emperor would dispatch few envoy ambassadors to China and while they were staying in Beijing, the Western missionaries were there. Through the missionaries, Korean ambassadors were able to adopt the Western technology and culture. In 19th century, Korea started to send ambassadors to the foreign countries, other than Japan and China. While Korea was being Westernized slowly in late 19th century, Korea had the idea of "Eastern ways and Western frames (東道西器)", meaning that they would accept the Western "bowl", but use it with Eastern principles inside.[ citation needed ]

In Japan, the Netherlands continued to play a key role in transmitting Western know-how to the Japanese from the 17th century to the mid-19th century, as the Japanese had opened their doors only to Dutch merchants before US Navy Commodore Matthew Perry's visit in 1852. After Commodore Perry's visit, Japan began to deliberately accept Western culture to the point of hiring Westerners to teach Western customs and traditions to the Japanese starting in the Meiji era. Many Japanese politicians have since also encouraged the Westernization of Japan using the term Datsu-A Ron , which means the argument for "leaving Asia" or "Good-bye Asia". In Datsu-A Ron, "Westernization" was described as an "unavoidable" but "fruitful" change. After Japan's surrender to the United States and its allies ended World War II, the Westernization process of Japanese culture was further intensified and today, Japan is notably among the most Westernized countries in Asia.[ citation needed ] However, in contrast, despite many advances in industrial efficiency, Japan has managed to sustain a culture of strict social hierarchy and limited individualization. [24]

In Iran, the process of Westernization dates back to the country's attempt to westernize during the beginning in the 1930s, which was dictated by Shah Rezā Khan and continued by his son during the Cold War and agitated the largely conservative Shia Muslim masses of the country, was partly responsible for the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[ citation needed ]

In Turkey, the process of Westernization dates back to the 19th century, known as the Tanzimat (reorganization) period. The Ottoman Empire began to change itself according to western science, practice and culture. The Empire took some innovations from the West. Also, by the contribution of foreign engineers the Empire repaired its old arm systems. Newly-found schools, permanent ambassadors, and privy councils were essential improvement for the Empire. All these reformations had good impact at the point of collapse. Also, the innovation brought from European countries shaped the Empire as a nation run along modern lines.[ citation needed ] The Westernization efforts continued under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with the adaptation of the Latin-script alphabet and the French concept of secularism. As a result, Turkey is one of the most Westernized majority-Muslim nations.

Globalization (1970s–present)

Westernization is often regarded as a part of the ongoing process of globalization. This theory proposes that Western thought has led to globalisation, and that globalisation propagates Western culture, leading to a cycle of Westernization. On top of largely Western government systems such as democracy and constitution, many Western technologies and customs like music, clothing and cars have been introduced across various parts of the world and copied and created in traditionally non-Western countries.

However, Westernization has been also reversed in some countries following wars or changes in regime, for example: China excluding Taiwan after 1949, South Vietnam after Communist takeover in 1975, Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion and Iran after the 1979 revolution.[ citation needed ]

The main characteristics are economic and political (free trade) democratisation, combined with the spread of an individualised culture. Often it was regarded as opposite to the worldwide influence of Communism. After the break-up of the USSR in late 1991 and the end of the Cold War, many of its component states and allies nevertheless underwent Westernization, including privatization of hitherto state-controlled industry.[ citation needed ]

With debates still going on, the question of whether globalization can be characterized as Westernization can be seen in various aspects. Globalization is happening in various aspects, ranging from economics, politics and even to food or culture. Westernization, to some schools, is seen as a form of globalization that leads the world to be similar with Western powers. Being globalized means taking positive aspects of the world, but globalization also brings about the debate about being Westernized. Democracy, fast foods, and American pop-culture can all be examples that are considered as Westernization of the world.

According to the "Theory of the Globe scrambled by Social network: a new Sphere of Influence 2.0", published by Jura Gentium (the University of Florence), an increasing role in Westernisation is ruled by Social Media. The comparison with Eastern realities, who decided to ban the American Social Medias (as Iran and China with Facebook, Twitter), marks a political desire to avoid the process of Westernisation of own population and way to communicate. [25]

Consequences

Due to the colonization of the Americas and Oceania by Europeans, the cultural, ethnic and linguistic make-up of the Americas and Oceania has been changed. This is most visible in former settler colonies such as the United States of America, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cuba, Brazil and New Zealand, where the traditional indigenous population has been predominantly replaced demographically by non-indigenous settlers due to transmitted disease and conflict. This demographic takeover in settler countries has often resulted in the linguistic, social, and cultural marginalisation of indigenous people. However, even in countries where large populations of indigenous people remain or the indigenous peoples have mixed (mestizo) considerably with European settlers, such as Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador, relative marginalisation still exists.

Due to colonization and European immigration, the prevalent native languages in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Asia and part of South Africa and Central Asia, are now usually European languages or creoles based on them:

Many indigenous languages are on the verge of becoming extinct. However, some settler countries have gone to lengths to preserve indigenous languages; for example, in New Zealand the Māori language is one of three official languages, the others being English and New Zealand sign language.

See also

Related Research Articles

Cultural imperialism Cultural dominance in imperialism

Cultural imperialism also called cultural colonialism comprises the cultural aspects of imperialism. “Imperialism” here refers to the creation and maintenance of unequal relationships between civilizations, favoring a more powerful civilization. Thus, cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting and imposing a culture, usually that of a politically powerful nation, over a less powerful society; in other words, the cultural hegemony of industrialized or politically and economically influential countries which determine general cultural values and standardize civilizations throughout the world. The term is employed especially in the fields of history, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory. It is usually used in a pejorative sense, often in conjunction with calls to reject such influence. Cultural imperialism can take various forms, such as an attitude, a formal policy, or military action, insofar as it reinforces cultural hegemony.

Levant Geographic and cultural region consisting of the eastern Mediterranean between Anatolia and Egypt

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

Clash of Civilizations Published hypothesis of Samuel P. Huntingdon about cultural geography

The Clash of Civilizations is a hypothesis that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures. It was proposed in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", in response to his former student Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures

Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures are subcultures and communities composed of people who have shared experiences, backgrounds, or interests due to common sexual or gender identities. Among the first to argue that members of sexual minorities can also constitute cultural minorities were Adolf Brand, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Leontine Sagan in Germany. These pioneers were later followed by the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the United States.

Eurocentrism is a worldview centered on or biased towards Western civilization. The exact scope of centrism varies from the entire Western world to only Europe or even just Western Europe. When applied to history, it may refer to an apologetic stance towards European colonialism and other forms of imperialism.

Cultural area region with one relatively homogeneous human activity or complex of activities

In anthropology and geography, a cultural region, cultural sphere, cultural area or culture area refers to a geography with one relatively homogeneous human activity or complex of activities (culture). These are often associated with an ethnolinguistic group and the territory it inhabits. Specific cultures often do not limit their geographic coverage to the borders of a nation state, or to smaller subdivisions of a state. Cultural "spheres of influence" may also overlap or form concentric structures of macrocultures encompassing smaller local cultures. Different boundaries may also be drawn depending on the particular aspect of interest, such as religion and folklore vs. dress and architecture vs. language.

Culture of Asia

The culture of Asia encompasses the collective and diverse customs and traditions of art, architecture, music, literature, lifestyle, philosophy, politics and religion that have been practiced and maintained by the numerous ethnic groups of the continent of Asia since prehistory. Identification of a specific culture of Asia or universal elements among the colossal diversity that has emanated from multiple cultural spheres and three of the four ancient River valley civilizations is complicated. However, the continent is commonly divided into six geographic sub-regions, that are characterized by perceivable commonalities, like religion, language and relative ethnic homogeneity. These regions are Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia.

Asian Century

The Asian Century is the projected 21st-century dominance of Asian politics and culture, assuming certain demographic and economic trends persist. The concept of Asian Century parallels the characterization of the 19th century as Britain's Imperial Century, and the 20th century as the American Century.

East Asian cultural sphere Grouping of countries and regions that were historically influenced by the culture of China

The East Asian cultural sphere, or the Sinosphere, consists of nations in East and Southeast Asia that were historically influenced by the Chinese culture, including literary traditions and religions. Other names for the concept include the Sinic world, the Confucian world, the Taoist world, and the ancient Chinese cultural sphere, though the last name is also used to refer particularly to the Sinophone community.

Globalization has been internalized in Arabic as “awlaama:العولمة” and refers to the spread throughout the globe of ideas, customs, institutions, and attitudes originated in one part of the world which are usually Western in origin. For this reason it has often been perceived as largely equivalent to Westernization and is still widely regarded as an external threat rather than as an opportunity. In the Middle East the decade of globalization was marked by endless wars, intrusive US hegemony, renewed economic dependency and continuing insecurity. Globalization was ushered into the Middle East by a war which gave the Western victors excessive power over the region and created a violent anti-globalization struggle. As some authors argue, it has strengthened Islamic fundamentalism and, due to its ambiguity created a contradictory and tension filled situation. Globalization thus often acted as an obstacle rather than an impetus to democratization.

Eastern world Countries and cultures east of Europe

Eastern world is an umbrella term for various cultures or social structures, nations and philosophical systems, which vary depending on the context. It most often includes at least part of Asia or, geographically, the countries and cultures east of Europe, the Mediterranean region and Arab world, specifically in historical (pre-modern) contexts, and in modern times in the context of Orientalism. Africa may rarely be included. It is often seen as a counterpart to the Western world, and correlates strongly to the Southern half of the North-South divide.

East Asia Subregion of Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. People indigenous to the region are called East Asians. China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam belong to the East Asian cultural sphere.

Ethnic groups in Asia Modern ethnolinguistic groups in the continent of Asia

The ancestral population of modern Asian people has its origins in the two primary prehistoric settlement centers - greater Southwest Asia and from the Mongolian plateau towards Northern China.

East–West dichotomy cultural, historical and political divide

In sociology, the East–West dichotomy is the perceived difference between the Eastern and Western worlds. Cultural rather than geographical in division, the boundaries of East and West are not fixed, but vary according to the criteria adopted by individuals using the term. Historically, Asia was regarded as the East, and Europe was regarded as the West. Today, the "West" usually refers to Australasia, Europe, and the Americas. Used in discussing such studies as management, economics, international relations, and linguistics, the concept is criticized for overlooking regional hybridity.

Anti-Western sentiment

Anti-Western sentiment, also known as Anti-Atlanticism, or Westernophobia refers to broad opposition, bias, or hostility to the people, Western Culture, Western Values, or policies of the Western World.

Cultural globalization

Cultural globalization refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings, and values around the world in such a way as to extend and intensify social relations. This process is marked by the common consumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture media, and international travel. This has added to processes of commodity exchange and colonization which have a longer history of carrying cultural meaning around the globe. The circulation of cultures enables individuals to partake in extended social relations that cross national and regional borders. The creation and expansion of such social relations is not merely observed on a material level. Cultural globalization involves the formation of shared norms and knowledge with which people associate their individual and collective cultural identities. It brings increasing interconnectedness among different populations and cultures.

The March to Modernity, coined by Kishore Mahbubani in his book, "The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East", refers to Asia's modernization using and adapting the seven pillars of Western ideology to cause Asia’s rise to become the new global power. Asia’s modernity was first achieved by Japan and India. Japan's success was emulated by the four economic tigers: South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. China followed soon after by launching its "Four Modernizations" program. China's past three decades success in turn inspired the rise of India. Asians are marching to modernity.

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Further reading