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Worldwide, non-Western cultures faced fundamental challenges to their cultural identities

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Analyze and interpret the following quotation: Worldwide, non-Western cultures faced fundamental challenges to their cultural identities not so much a recentering of culture but a decentering of culture.

In the later nineteenth century and early twentieth century, what would a decentering of culture have meant for a given cultural group? Select from Native American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, or African and research the impact of Western or European cultures on that group.

What was the selected non-Western culture like prior to the late nineteenth century? How did it change as a result of European expansion? How is this change representative of what Sayre calls a decentering of culture?

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Dear Student,

Hello and thank you for using Brainmass. The topic in question is a broad one but not so complex that it cannot be understood. It's just a matter of breaking it down to small parts and then digesting it from there. May I advise reviewing your current class materials as well? This will be important as while the ideas offered here directly answer the questions, it is important to add certain ideas from your class materials to make your final answers specific to what you discussed in class. I have attempted to simplify and shorten the discussion this solution as much as possible for you. You can also use the listed references for further studies. Good luck!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Decentering of Culture

What is a 'decentering of culture? It is "the shift of focus from an established center to another, caused by varied influences and elements brought over from continued globalization, acculturation and assimilation of new observed standards and practices from other cultures outside one's own" (Jones 2010). It means that due a host of factors, what was of central importance, of fundamental value to a particular culture previously has lost that sense of centrality, making people feel as if the 'essence' of a particular culture has been lost, with its axis coming askew. The philosophies, traditions, practices and history of a particular culture seem to be disconnected to the present version or practice of a particular social culture in an individual or a social group. An example of this would be the second generation immigrant children. While they and their parents will still see them as members and practitioners of a particular culture (i.e. Chinese), being second generation and living in another country where they are under the influence of another hegemonic culture, their own practice of their unique ethnic culture has been 'decentered'. as such, Chinese-American are still Chinese but not as 'centered' as their fellow Chinese in mainland China or Taiwan being that they are exposed to American and Western practices as well. So to re-center, one has to 'go back' to that 'lost center'.

Hence, if a Chinese-American wants to re-center his/herself into the culture he/she believes they are truly a part of and need to 'find and achieve' being that without it their identities are not complete (this is according to personal conviction), they can choose to take up certain practices and actions to immerse themselves more in that part of their culture which they feel they have lost. For example they can go to a pilgrimage back to their homeland, to familiarize themselves with their 'mother culture', learn more about their history, traditions and way of life. Above all, they will take up certain worldviews and philosophies unique to their mother culture to 'see the world' from that culture again. Due to the advent of globalization and the number ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides insight, information and advise in tackling the problem set (see above) on the topic of social culture and cultural and social change over the decades. As an example, the solution provides a study of Chinese culture in relation to the topic of decentering. References are included for further studies. A word version is attached.