In the text Anthropology: The Human Challenge, 12th Edition, globalization is defined as “Worldwide interconnectedness, evidenced in global movements of natural resources, trade goods, human labor, finance capital, information, and infectious diseases.” (Haviland, 2008, p. 657) and modernization is stated to be “The process of political and socioeconomic change, whereby developing societies acquire some of the cultural characteristics of Western industrial societies.”(Haviland, 2008, p. 657) Both of these processes can easily be seen at work in nearly all the cultures and corners of the world in some way. Some of their effects are small and inconsequential, while others can transform the very being and essence of a people and its culture, essentially making it unrecognizable. These changes and alterations can occur anywhere in the world, but today, for the purposes of this paper, the focus will be on the non-western world. To be specific, the aim will be to examine the impact of globalization and modernization on India. We will also take a look at Nigeria and what conditions were in each country before and after the events that have caused globalization to occur.
Both the people of Nigeria and India have been heavily influenced by the powerful forces of globalization and modernization, which act like a tidal wave in the present-day world. Traditional Nigerian culture placed great emphasis on kinship, community, oral literature, respect for their elders, rituals, indigenous religion, authority of the husband, arranged marriages, and hard work. The importance of being generous to the other individuals in the community, as well as their own kin-group, could not be overly stressed (Falola, 2001, pg. 26.). Farming was the most common occupation, and the crops that were grown were food crops, which yields mainly stayed in the country in order to feed it residents (Falola, 2001, pg. 25.). These things are the basis of Nigerian culture, and although many of these things still carry significance in Nigeria, most because of the profound effects of oil export, now have been westernized and changed to some extent. Nigeria has seen great influences from globalization since the first export of oil to London in 1958; it was also right about this same time that Nigeria became independent from the British. Nigeria is an African country whose populace equals right around one-hundred and fifty million.
Since the start of their oil exportation, oil has made up about ninety to ninety-five percent of the whole of their foreign exports; not to mention the fact that it also totals around eighty to eighty-five percent of governmental income, and is the 8th leading exporter of all. Oil has made the Nigerians six-hundred billion dollars, with eighty-three billion dollars being earned in just one year. One would assume that all of the money generated from oil would have dramatically improved the country, but this does not seem to be the case; half of the revenue created from oil has vanished because of theft and corruption (Watts, 2009). Only a small amount of headway has been made in decreasing Nigeria’s rates of impoverishment, joblessness, and inequalities, especially when measured against other countries in the area (Nnadi, 2008, p. 1). So much money has been made by this country since the first export of oil, and yet the citizens of this country live less than a single dollar per day (Watts, 2009); they continue to be forced to deal with disease, malnourishment, illegal drug distribution, sex trades, as well as poverty wars. There are vast inequalities between rich and underprivileged, and these oil revenues have only seemed to add to this problem (Nnadi, 2008, p. 1).
The life expectancy for Nigerians since the seventies, has gone down rather than up, and is now only forty-five years old (Watts, 2009). When I heard this fact, it made me consider, I am 25 years old, which in their country, would make me slightly higher than middle age, and that unfortunate statement about their prospects. The effect of globalization caused by that first export of oil and all the exports that have come since, has not helped these people; instead this oil has led to politics and leadership that have brought about immense plant closures, bankruptcies to enterprises, and layoffs when it was deemed that global trade was more important than the people (Nnadi, 2008, p. 3). At least sixty-six present of the money earned from each barrel of oil goes directly into the pockets of the Nigerian government (Watts, 2009). The event that led to this modernization has changed this country into one whose government’s main concern and focus is on oil and has led to the sacrifice of other areas of the economy. India is a country that has found itself undergoing massive changes to its culture and core since 1991, when their economy opened up and the IT/outsourcing boom began.
The demands for tech support and such, are transforming India due to this outsourcing; the IT boom has caused a multitude of United States companies to move to India, and call centers now are abundant in almost all of their major cities (Ahluwalia, 2002). The U.S directly and intentionally influenced the modernization of India by these actions. This was easy to do since the majority of the Indian people speak English and there are so many young workers who are ready for employment, at dramatically lower cost than it would have been in the U.S (Levis, 2011). The rate of economic growth in India from 1991 to 2001 was approximately six percent; this makes them among the most rapidly expanding developing countries of the nineties (Ahluwalia, 2002). Before this boom, there were very minute amounts of foreign investments, and the Indian people were restricted in their capability to use capital outside of the country, due to currency controls (Crabtree, 2012, p. 133). Now, it is unquestionable that their economic growth has completely changed the major cities of India, into modern areas with most of what we Americans consider “basic” comforts.
The outsourcing boom has had a profound effect on Indian people, at least in the major cities. As many as 245,000, mainly young Indians, have been able to find employment at these call centers that started appearing after 1991. Although there are countless call centers, obtaining these jobs can be very competitive, with only six percent of applicants actually being hired. These jobs have allowed these youths to earn more money and therefore spend more (Levis, 2011). Spending and consumption have switched into some of the chief powers of social change, instead of production and creation (Ishwar, 2012, p. 247). Globalization has caused India to become a more consumer driven, materialistic culture, with brand names and things becoming ever more important (Ishwar, 2012, p. 252). The call centers have changed some basic cultural norms as well; young women will work and move out of their parents homes into their own little apartments without being married. This would not have occurred previously, but this career path has increased these young people’s confidences, self-esteem, dignity, and independence. The call centers have also allowed these Indians to be able to afford to go to college and obtain higher educations, and go on to find even better prospects (Levis, 2011).
There have also been changes in food preferences, with fast food, non-vegetarianism, alcohol consumption, and other westernized diet choices becoming ever more popular (Ishwar, 2012, p. 250). The use of modern cosmetics, soaps and detergents have also been increased, as well as the importance of body imagine and westernized fashion (Ishwar, 2012, p. 252). Whether these changes are seen as positive or negative, kind of depends on what generation you ask. For the youth of India, it has provided them with opportunities and dreams that would have never been possible before, which they are very grateful and happy about; while the older generation seems to be much more suspicious and wary of these changes and feel that this move towards modernization has caused their children to lose some respect for the their parents, old ways, rules, and customs; as well as causing the upcoming generation to become more westernized (Levis, 2011). It is important to note that in the present day, India continues to be an improvised country; especially in the rural areas where most of the people go without basic sanitation, electricity, and healthcare (Crabtree, 2012, p. 133).
In fact, a person just has to travel one hour outside of most of the major cities to see the old third world India in evidence, where everything is trailing nearly one hundred years behind. Here in these areas, where most children have never even seen a toilet, many Indians worry that this globalization is actually taking away opportunities from the impoverished village people, thereby hurting them. Some Indians are also concerned that modernization could be eroding the rural lifestyle, since many have moved to seek out new possibilities in the thriving cities (Levis, 2011). Globalization and modernization touch many aspects of the current human experience, and this is no exception for the people of India and Nigeria. Each of their cultures has seen changes that have been brought about by these processes long reach. The events that caused these transformations have been met with mixed feelings by the Indian people; some warmly welcome the opportunities and possibilities that it presents, while this globalization scares and worries others, because it is changing basic pieces of their culture. Growth and progress do not equal a negative outcome for any culture, but great lengths have to be taken to preserve those things that define each civilization
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