THE IMPACT OF EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION ON NIGERIAN CULTURE WITH EMPHASIS ON DRESSING

Abstract

An important features of modern society is the presence and manifestation of modernization and globalization concepts on the indigenous/native community (traditional society), characterized by the interchange of ideas, clash of cultures and spread of materialistic values. The impact of these on traditional/native society cannot be over emphasized, as they possess enormous influence on how people think, act, behave. Hence, this study examines the impact of European civilization on Nigerian culture. Effort is made on the ways Nigerian culture, norms and values, belief are impacted as a result of modernization and globalization under the disguise of modern society, as well as the means of protecting them from further impediments as a result of forces of modernization and globalization which are currently exerting influence among Nigerian.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the study

No man is an island to himself. Likewise, no nation or society is an island to herself. Global culture, a part of modernization and globalization in the name of modern society, has not only transported the good side of the economic and social development across the globe but has also changed in the culture of host communities. Some changes include the mode of production and the way things are done, while others include the symbolic interaction or the appreciation of how social facts are to be seen and appreciated. This is to say, in the process of national and international interactions, there is an interaction of culture and thus, a borrowing and diffusion of cultures amongst societies and nations. This is in itself not unusual. But the unusual and unfortunate is the domination of one culture over the others. This is an evil, an evil of forced acculturation (Ekwuru, 1999). This is true of modern society that is characterized by modernization and globalization that have generated a lot of controversy with regards to the rise of global culture/modern culture in which western life style is being adopted as the normal way of life. It is important to know that in the assessment of the impact of modern society characterized by modernization and globalization on individual, nations, and the global world, many scholars, opinion leaders and political analysts e.t.c. have expressed divergent and dissenting views. While they all agree that modernization and globalization as major features of modern society, have a political, economic, cultural and even religious impact on individuals, nations and the world at large, they however, disagree on the nature and extent of these impact. While some argue that it is all positive, some believe that it has nothing but negative impacts. Yet others see it as being both positive and negative (Kwame, 2007). Be that as it may, focus in this paper is on impact of the modern society (modernization and globalization) on African indigenous society with particular reference to Nigeria. Also, with regards to the nature and extent of the impact of modern society, this paper is not oblivious of the positive effects; rather it argues that the negative effects of the modern society has been much more than its positive effects on Africa‘s indigenous society in general and that of Nigeria in particular. Personal observation and assessment reveals here that, if pressing measures are not taken, perhaps African culture in general and that of Nigeria in particular will soon run into extinction. However, an effort has been made in this paper to strategize on how to stem the tide of cultural atrophy of the Africa culture and values in the midst of a rising global culture of modern society made possible by modernization and globalization. If the various nuances and interpretations of the term modern society as made possible by modernization and globalization reveals interaction and integration of the people and nations into a common system; if the central ideal of modernization and globalization is interaction and integration, then the terms modernization and globalization are not new to Africa and Nigeria. At various times and in various circumstances, Africa including Nigeria has interacted with the rest of the world. That was in the historical moments of trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonialism, post-colonialism and the present age of current imperialism. At these various times and circumstances, Africa‘s and Nigeria‘s experiences in economics, politics, religious and culture have been worrisome, particularly her cultural and economic experiences.   Globally the importance of heritages to countries and even in developing nations like Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. This is due to its economic, historical, tourist, aesthetic, educational and research significance. For a critical and comprehensive understanding of Nigerian Cultural heritages, the approach adopted in this chapter is anthropological, archaeological, and historical and the pattern of presentation is purely descriptive. Heritages are cherished characteristic features of a society passed down from generation to generation through conscious preservation. Heritages refer to the riches of extinct and extant societies which are of historic, educational, recreational, and economic importance, preserved and handed over from one generation to another. Put differently, heritages are significant endowments emanating from man and nature. Following from the above, heritages could be categorized into two, based on their sources namely: ecological/natural heritages and cultural heritages. Nigeria is endowed with both types of heritages. “Nigeria is a country located in the Eastern part of West Africa”, (Aremu, 2008, p. 175). Geographically Nigeria occupies a space of 923,768 square km. It is the most populated (over 140 million based on the 2006 census figures) multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country in Africa, with over 250 ethnic groups. It has the Igbo to East, the Yoruba to the West and the Hausa-Fulani to the North as major ethnic groups among other perceived ‘minor’ ethnic groups. Ecological or natural heritages emanate from nature and environment. Ecological heritages can be defined as the relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with its wild plants (flora) and animals (fauna) and its geomorphic features (caves, rivers, lakes, hills, mountains, cataracts) conserved for the specific objectives of studying, admiring, and enjoying the scenery which it affords (Duke in Aremu, 2008; Eluyemi, 2002). Nigeria is endowed with ‘about  game reserves, 1129 forest reserves, game sanctuaries, strict nature reserves and 8 national parks’ (Marguba, 2008, p. 37). It is pertinent to state that ecological heritage is outside the scope of this paper, therefore we are going to concentrate on the second type of heritage mentioned above which is cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations Cultural heritages evolve from man’s ingenious activities, preserved and transmitted through oral traditions or in written concrete forms across generations of human societies. Oral tradition is the body of information concerning history, culture and environment of a people at any given time and space. This information is often obtained through the words of mouth. It is also a set of verbally transmitted pieces of information about the experiences and worldviews of a people. These experiences and worldviews are preserved in the memories of the group of people and are transmitted from one generation to another (Ogundele, 2000, p.14).

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Western civilization and culture began to creep into African socio-cultural milieu, first, with the contact of Europeans with Africa, a consequence of Berlin conference in the quest for imperial pilfering of African resources and, later, consolidated by the unstoppable wave of globalisation. It is important to stress that colonialism distorted and retarded the pace and tempo of cultural growth and trend of civilization in Africa. One of the most profound consequences of colonization has been how the political and economic rape of the colonies has also led to what sometimes seem to be an unbridgeable cultural gap between the nations that were the beneficiaries of colonization and those that were the victims of the colonial assault. The era of colonial pillage and plunder led to the relative stagnation and often precipitous decline of traditional cultural pursuits in the colonies.

 

  • OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of European civilization; but to aid the completion of the study the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

  1. To ascertain the impact of European civilization on Nigerian culture with emphasis on dressing
  2. To examine the effect of European civilization on western culture
    • RESEARCH QUESTION

To aid the completion of the study the following research question were formulated by the researcher;

  1. Is there any impact of European civilization on Nigerian culture with emphasis on dressing?
  2. Does European civilization has any effect on western culture
    • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that the study will be of significance in addressing traditional beliefs to a large extent influence social and moral behavior. The extent to which religious beliefs exert strong impact on social and moral behavior is accounted for by the sociological and religious composition of man. Sociologically speaking, man as a social animal is a gregarious being. Living in physical and moral isolation is alien to his nature. He seeks company with other men and fellowship with others because as a social being he does not want a solitary life. Human beings everywhere want wholeness, solidarity and tenacity of purpose. The study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on studies in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further study

  • SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the impact of European civilization on Nigerian culture with emphasis on dressing, but in the cause of the study there were some factors that militate against the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. c) Finance: Limited Access to the required finance was a major constrain to the scope of the study

1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

 Civilization

A civilization or civilization is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification imposed by a cultural elite, symbolic systems of communication, and a perceived separation

Culture

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies.

Dressing

A dress is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice. It consists of a top piece that covers the torso and hangs down over the legs. A dress can be any one-piece garment containing a skirt of any length

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on European civilization and Nigeria culture. Chapter four concentrate on the historical development of Yoruba dressing culture and chapter five covers summary conclusion and recommendations

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Author: SPROJECT NG