Culture Wars And Cultural Democracy Essay
Culture Wars And Cultural Democracy
Given that culture wars is a conflict of different cultures for example the traditional and the progressive, it is therefore safe to say that it has been present for a long time and will continue to be present for a long time to come. This is because there will always be conflicting cultures based on the various aspects of society like age, background and so on. It is important that people learn to deal with the culture wars for them to be able to live together despite their differences. Culture wars are a social problem and cultural democracy is required to deal with them.
The major issues causing the culture wars currently will be discussed expansively and the various ways that they can be dealt with. Cultural democracy will also be discussed and how it will assist tin the future in the culture wars. As time progresses, the way in which the society deals with the cultural differences changes and the concern they have in the society changes with each generation. In the past, religion was a major issue alongside class and race. Although these are still issues of concern, there has been a shift towards other areas (Nolan 1996).
Currently there are cultural wars based on politics, different denominations when it comes to religion, technology and its impact on the society, politics and how it deals with the social problems, the media and what should be allowed for general viewing and also the moral values of the people to name but a few. Cultural democracy allows people to practice what they believe in whichever society they are in and hence may tend to be seen as the only solution to the wars that are present in all societies of the world.
Religion, technology, gender, media and the morality concept are very interesting and will be discussed in this paper and their role in the present day culture wars. Initially, the religion factor was based on whether one was a protestant or a Roman catholic but it has changed to which denomination one belongs to. However despite the denomination one may belong to, the value of religion has diminished over time especially among the developed countries whereby few people belong to any religion.
This has led to bans in certain areas on the use of religion in schools and other public institutions (Zimmerman 2002). Religion is also being used to determine who is a terrorist and who is not especially in America since the bombings that occurred. Since the terrorists were Muslims, anyone belonging to the Islamic faith became a suspect since then. It also determines whether one will get into political office as was demonstrated in the campaign for American presidency with President Barrack Obama having his opponents propagate that he was a Muslim so that he may lose some followers.
To avoid losing the seat he had to clearly show that he attends a Christian church and is not a Muslim. When it comes to technology, there is a conflict of how much technology is safe to use and how much is not. The major bone of contention is the issue of privacy since people no longer have privacy because all their data is stored somewhere in government files from medical records to the daily activities. While some people are against so much intrusion in their lives, others argue that it assists in keeping the society safe in view of the increased rate of crime.
Although crime would reduce if it were possible to keep constant reliable surveillance, not many people would prefer the safety if it costs them their privacy especially in the homes. The media is another aspect of culture that has been a source of much conflict. When it comes to providing information, the media is the major informant of the society. However, some of the media sources will provide false information or speculated information in order for their form of media to make sales.
This is therefore misleading the general population on what is happening in order to make profit. They betray the trust of the people and make the lives of others very difficult if the information provided is about an individual especially the prominent figures. The media especially the television is blamed for the many vices currently in the society. A lot of violence is depicted in the television and the children tend to think it is real and may actually go ahead and imitate what they see with the result being tragic outcomes.
Constantly viewing the horrific scenes with blood, fatal wounds and constant death tend to diminish the horror of it thus desensitizing people on such issues. It becomes almost normal for someone to shoot another and wound them without being affected in any way. The media is also used in spreading culture and it usually shows western culture as superior to other cultures (Trend 1997). The younger generation is easily influenced to copy what they see as modern and this more often than not brings about a conflict between them and the older generation.
One generation tries to conserve the culture as it has always been while another is trying to imitate what they tend to see as progressive. This disregard of culture brings about much conflict between the two generations. Gender is another important aspect of culture wars. The role of a woman in society in particular has led to a lot of conflict with the changing times and the women liberation. Women were initially supposed to be subject to men and their wishes and do everything to make the men happy.
They would stay at home to nurture the family while the men provided everything that was needed and therefore the women were at their mercy. Nowadays, women do not stay in the house waiting for the men to provide and instead go out and get employment from which they earn and provide for the family. This change in roles brings about conflict when a man still expects the woman to play the role of a nurturer and cater to all his needs while the woman has been out working just as hard as the man.
The woman in such a situation is therefore expected to play the role of a provider and that of a domesticated worker and nurturer. In other situations it is completely forbidden or the woman to try and take over the role of a man and should stay at home and show a good image of a man who is able to provide for his family. This is not acceptable to a woman who has gone through rigorous education and training to get to where she is and this causes conflict in the society.
The final aspect of culture wars to be discussed here is the issue of morality and how it’s meaning changes with time. The most interesting issue her is the same sex marriages and relationships. In most traditional cultures and religions, homosexuality is forbidden and to practice it is going against all laws of nature and society. In present times however, some churches are even conducting wedding ceremonies and appointing church leaders who are homosexuals and this has caused a great division especially in the churches.
The homosexuals are busy trying to get accepted in a society that is busy condemning them and their way of life. This causes conflict between the two groups of people that at times leads to physical harm individuals from either side. Cultural democracy therefore is seen as the only way to solve these problems. Taking its meaning to be the acceptance of the differences in culture, (Trend 1997), then it becomes obvious that for all people to be able to live with each other comfortably in the future, cultural democracy has to be embraced.
It allows all people to practice what they believe in without fear that they will be punished or criticized for doing so. People are also more accepting to others when others are accepting to them without trying to change their way of life. Since it is impossible to get all the people to think alike especially in America where there are many different cultures represented in the society, there has to be a way that all people are able to live together and accept each other.
Cultural diversity is to be celebrated and not ridiculed while attempting to change those from other different cultures. The only way this can occur is by embracing cultural democracy which allows all people to live in harmony while giving each other space to practice the culture that they have embraced. With increased technology that makes it possible for culture to travel far and wide, acceptance is the only way for the future (Nolan 1996). Although the position is that cultural democracy is the only way for the future, there are misgivings about it.
As explained by Langa (2004), it started a long time ago and is oftentimes used to mask what is really going on. In the case of gender, very few women are given positions of leadership when compared to the men. People will change according to the situation as was seen during the world wars with women taking up the work of men but when the men came from the war everything was expected to go back to what it was before. Egocentrism is assumed to be ingrained in an individual and thus it is hard to assume that people will just ignore what they have been taught.
However since these differences cannot be ignored, the only way that the society will be able to resolve these culture wars is by accepting each others presence without trying to change their way of life. The acceptance allows people to recognize the good in other cultures and appreciate the differences without necessarily trying to imitate or change it. Therefore, the only way for the future is to embrace cultural democracy and by so doing reduce the culture wars because there is no competition of cultures.
References 1. Langa H. , 2004, Radical Art: Printmaking and the Left in 1930’s New York, University of California Press, California 2. Nolan J Jr. (ed), 1996, The American Culture Wars: Current Contests and Future Prospects, University of Virginia Press, Virginia 3. Trend D. 1997, Cultural Democracy: Politics, Media, New Technology, State University of New York Press, Albany 4. Zimmerman J. 2002, Whose America: Culture Was in Public Schools, Harvard University Press, Cambridge