Reconstruction of identity
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Any society aims to sustain its identity in that its practices and beliefs remain passed on from generation to generation. This however proves to be difficult with time due to numerous changes in society and thus changes the cultural identities. Pressures are felt on all side on the need to change or adopt new ways which are in line with the new aspects in life (Tan, 2005). In the reconstruction persons modify their identity that can be seen in their daily routines; in this process the individuals change some or most of their cultural behavioral patterns but retain some of them. The ethnic behaviors reflect the society way of life but are normally affected by different social pressures acting in society (Tan, 2005). Most cultural identities in the society can overlap with other social arrangements such as politics where the changes occur at similar time.
The need to reconstruct a new identity to society comes due to numerous changes in gender, races, language, religion, and nationality. Due to these changes the society must then find a new cultural identity to fit in the wheels of time and create history (Hall, & Du Gay, 1996). This means that society must then undergo a process where the persons in the culture will contribute to the changing ideas that are aimed at changing historic events. Culture is however not lost in the process but reconstructed it is preserved but sheds of practices in the society that are seen not to coincide with time and place. This will definitely lead to new realities in the social setting (Hall, & Du Gay, 1996). Obviously, people do not just manipulate their own symbol systems, but may also try to place others into their own preconceived view of things despite all evidence to the contrary.
Describe the conflicts that you saw in John Marshall’s last film titled “Death by Myth”, and explain why the Ju/’hoansi were never allowed to control their own destiny.
John Marshall’s last film titled “Death by Myth”, attempts to describe a social reconstruction that society is being forced to adopt to have a new structure. The pressures from outside the community have changed the perspective of their cultural practices and are forced to adopt wildlife management and cultural tourism (Death by Myth, 2010). In his view John Marshall view this as a breakdown of the Ju/’hoansi culture where the individuals are adopted to farming.
In the film he talks of different myths developed in the 1930s to defame the death of the Ju/’hoansi culture and the tainting of the culture by painting it as evil. This has however changed to view them as cultural static. They have upheld their traditions and practices despite numerous attempts and pressures to change and manipulate; in their plea in the movie they are seen as objects to suit the present interests of certain individuals however they have remained steadfast in their farming culture. The death by myth is figurative to describe that the culture has only died according to propaganda but not a reality. It has described a new identity of society where the Ju/’hoansi reconstruct a new identity but still maintain the staunch cultural beliefs (Death by Myth, 2010).
The films show the change of the myths in the Kalahari family who are considered Bushmen and thus hunt and gather. This is disputed by John Marshall. They are then considered as animals in view of the fact that in the conservation of wildlife through international aid they are included in the program (Death by Myth, 2010). John Marshall however conflicts with the ideas of these programs and delivers home the message that the Kalahari family still upholds it farming culture despite the external pressures of civilization. According to Death by Myth, 2010 the films like ‘gods must be crazy’ have clearly indicated Ju/’hoansi as such and this is considered the death of the Ju/’hoansi culture by myth.
Global culture has with time experienced the shift from subsistence economies to wage economies. It is very clear that change is inevitable especially with the advances in the modern world (Lavenda, & Schultz, 2002). The forces of change have been so intense that even the staunchest are left to wonder the unusual revolution to modernize. Culture has been continuously influenced through capitalism where individuals and communities have engaged in the quest to improve their economic aspects. Culture has also been view as static but even the most static ones have a turning point in that their resistance to change is overshadowed by the quest to explore new ideas (Lavenda, & Schultz, 2002).
The lifestyles of many societies have changed reflecting in the economies where persons abandon culture and search different aspects of life. The Arab world has been known for its strict cultural traditional rules which for along time remained static with numerous laws enforced to protect culture and individuals from deviating (Hilden, 2004).
Saudi Arabia is one of the Arabian countries known for the strict rules and being home to the nomadic traditions it has upheld them with a passion. As indicated earlier change is inevitable and the Bedouins have adapted change and given rise to a revolution. Saudi Arabia has mainly maintained the cultural orientation mainly because the country has not had foreign colonization or war activities in their territories (Hilden, 2004).
Colonizers can also be seen as the main drive to change in that they colonize and introduce the concepts of capitalism which impact of the social structure thus changing the culture. Nomadic lifestyles have in recent times been abandoned in the Arabian Peninsula because of the indirect or direct impacts of oil in the region since 1930s (Abu-Lughod, 1999).
Before the revolution the Arabian Peninsula was a desert and controlled by kings and warring tribes. The place was a huge desert that had no economic importance; this translated to uninformed and uncivilized populations. They were poor with no facilities of education, health and food supplies. With the introduction of education and health services and food rations the populations became informed and this resulted to change (Al-Eisa, 1997).
The changes in the Bedouins were detected in labor alignment, grazing systems, patterns of consumption and the use of motor vehicles in the transportation of goods and people (Pessate-Schubert, 2003). The Saudi Arabia environment is harsh and not accommodative in view of the fact that the rangelands are harsh with very limited resources, however they contribute to the economy of the nation (Al-Eisa, 1997). The Bedouins have now adapted the settlement life and abandoned the traditional nomadic life though others still follow the traditional lifestyle.
The Bedouins traditionally had attachment to the pastoralist life but they have adopted motorized transport to move across the rangelands (Hilden, 2004). Many who abandon the pastoralist culture find solace in the new systems of economic development that help them evade the traditional system and join the world in civilization.
Marx’s concepts of dialectical relationship between the infrastructure, structure and superstructure have explained the major changes in the society today. The Bedouin culture can be said to be affected by these concepts in that the society adapts to systems of economies and capitalism (Al-Eisa, 1997). Marx in his theory explains that societies made of humans are made up of two elements which are the base and the super structure. The base is responsible for the factors and production aspects, technical and property issues (Haralambus, & Holborn, 2002).
The production aspects include the conditions of workers and the technical deal with division of labor. All the above aspects are needed by societies to produce for their wants in life. The relations of the factors make society have a certain structure or tradition which is followed and adapted by majority of the individuals in the society. This translates to a superstructure which is inclusive of all the practices and norms that are followed by the societies (Haralambus, & Holborn, 2002). This superstructure describes the society’s culture, political structure institutions, rituals, state and roles.
As in the Marxist theory the Bedouins have been affected by the same base and superstructure which controls the activities of the society. Bedouins have found the new ways of meeting the economic needs where the nomadic lives can not them. This makes them change the base to other issues such as divisions of labor where they are employed. In this case the employment makes them settle in permanent places and abandon the nomadic life (Al-Eisa, 1997).
After settling they have to form new structures of governance, culture, political power, roles, culture, state, and rituals. This leads to the superstructure which then reflects a new beginning (Al-Eisa, 1997). This change is not sudden but it is gradual in that the society only notices after adopting the changes and are already in the revolution of change.
To the Bedouins the change has been opposed by many traditionalists and culture addicts yet as Marx states the need and search for new modes of production changes the present structure due the occurrences of new orders (Haralambus, & Holborn, 2002). The base and superstructure works alternatively to form a cyclic revolution in that after the establishment of a superstructure the society then seeks another base leading to yet another superstructure.
Culture does not just die and the Bedouins have done their part to sustain their culture where they have continued to graze in seasons of adequate rainfall and continued to maintain herds of livestock though they have decreased in number. They have also continued to purchase barley that has assisted them in their nomadic pastoralists’ life. The roles have also been maintained with the women and men fighting to maintain the culture rest it is eroded by civilization.
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