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Changing Identities and Culture

Terminologies related to the concept 

Culture: Culture denotes ‘the way of life’ of a society or group of people. It is a paradigm that filters our ability to interpret the world. We can easily distinguish between British and Indian cultures by spoken and body language, beliefs, habits and cuisine.  Culture can be defined as the set of shared and inherited ideas, attitudes, values, goals, practices, beliefs and cumulative deposit of knowledge and experiences that determines social action, sense of individual identity and people’s attitude to interpret and making sense of the world.

Cultural traits: denote the features or characteristics of a culture, recognized in terms of language, customs, traditions, beliefs or faith, dress, music, images, food, festivals and even appearance.

Cultural ethnocentrism:  is the belief that one’s own culture is superior to that of other cultures. It is a form of reductionism that reduces the “other way” of life by interpreting it from one’s own perspective.

Cultural hybridization:  denotes mixing or blending of different cultural traits and elements of different cultures and the consequent emergence of a new, unique culture. Language and music are the most common examples of hybridization in the globalized world.  Many African countries speak french and mix it in with their native language, creating new lexicon. US pop music mixing with South Korean music such as K-pop group, South Korean boy band BTS symbolizes cultural hybridization.

Cultural diffusion: It is the process of spreading of one mainstream culture from it’s origin to another place. Cultural traits can be diffused both in real or virtual space (cyberspace) in a number of ways such as mass tourism, movement of workers or migrants, through trade and spread of transnational corporations. For example, Indian restaurants in London or New York. Two of the popular Hollywood films in the U.S. “Hidden Dragon” and “Mulan” were originally adapted from China.

Cultural dilution: signifies the weakening of the mainstream cultural traits as a result of diffusion and contact with other cultures.

Cultural homogenization or convergence: is the mixing of different cultures that results in the rise of single-common global culture. It refers to the reduction in cultural diversity.

Cultural imperialism: imposition of one culture upon another with articulated purposes such as capturing of market by spreading consumerism or reshaping of popular consciousness to establish hegemonic control. ‘Americanization’ is recognized as a kind of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism can also take the form of neo-colonialism or cultural colonialism.

Cultural differences betweens Brits and Americans

Miss Universe 2019 defined the new concept of beauty

Parasite: Best movie Oscar for 2020

South Korean K-pop Brand going global

Cultural diversity at the national scale

Processes and Sources of Cultural Diffusion (how does culturural diffusion occur?)

Historic Exploration and discoveries of the land.

Establishment of trading link and search of the raw material sources

Diffusion through expansion, mainly using hard powers or military forces (spread into new areas other than the original core or source of the culture)
Economic Trade relationship and expansion of market.

Labour movement and search for better opportunities - Migration

Foreign direct investment and outsourcing

Advertising and role of the global media.

Both expansion and diffusion through relocation (People or migrant workers spread the culture along with them)
Socio-cultural International Tourism

Global social media
Diffusion through conduction of cultural traits in the virtual world (with out direct contact but through news, music, movies, advertisement)
Post-modern phenomenaNeo-imperialism

Diffusion through expansion but without force, mainly using soft powers.

Turkish diaspora in Germany

Turks in Germany then and now

Historical routes of American diaspora

Chinese diaspora in USA


Diaspora denotes the stream of scattering or large scale dispersal of a community of people sharing a common cultural and/or geographic origin from its original homeland to other parts of the world. The term was originally related to the historic dispersal of the Jewish people after the expulsion from the Kingdom of Israel in in 733 BCE. Jews are largely concentrated (refer to the Pew Research centre report) in North America (44%) and in the Middle East and North Africa region (41%). Most of the remainder of the Jewish population was found in Europe (10%) and the Latin America-Caribbean region (3%).  Irish Diaspora is another significant historic diaspora in the world   peaked up during the great famine in 1845. Nearly 70 million people worldwide claim Irish descent today (much more than the total population of the Republic of Ireland). In the United States, Irish is the second most common ancestry after German.

Forced Diaspora: Another major example of historic diaspora is related to the slave trade of around 12 million Africans to North and South America including the Caribbean region by the European colonizers to work in the sugar and cotton plantation. This diaspora is related to the emergence of the concept of racial inferiority between the slave owing elite colonizers and the victims Africans.

With 17.5 million migrants in 2018, Indian diaspora is the world largest. Read the recent report to analyze the extent of Indian diaspora.    

Indian diaspora in USA

Indian diaspora in UK

The Role of Diaspora: How diasporas influence cultural diversity and identity?


Ethnic Villages: Shaping up the cultural landscape of the world cities

These are the evidences of the minority groups residing in certain location marked by their own cultural traits in terms of shops, schools, places of worship etc. For example, the German school in Richmond and the nearby German bakery in London have become the key reference point for the German community in London.

Best known China Towns of the World

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