Cultural Erosion and the Crises of Development in Nigeria
AbstractThe paper explores the dynamics of cultural change and the erosion of cultural heritage vis-à-vis the consequent developmental crises that have enveloped the Nigerian nation for several decades. It is divided into five sections. In the introductory section, the concept of culture is defined, described, and contextualized within a general theoretical discourse. The second section discusses the essence of cultural heritage and identities and stresses the impracticality of conceptualizing development in any sphere of a nation's life without a thorough understanding of the cultural experience. The inevitability of cultural change is the focus of the third section. Yet, change, it is argued and illustrated, can be significantly premeditated, planned, and implemented to suit variously defined purposes. The fourth section gives ample examples that are illustrative of the erosion of cultural heritage in Nigeria. Supported by data from an extensive field research, it depicts how the youths especially are abandoning the various elements of their heritage (indigenous languages, clothes, music, festivals, arts and crafts, work ethics, religion, etc., for foreign, especially western, materials and values. Yet, the predominant modes of living in the country are far from being modern. The result, it states, is the pervasive `molue' culture that now characterizes every sector of the nation's life, and makes intellectual, socio-political and economic development a mirage. The paper, in the last section, is concluded on the note that a national cultural rediscovery and rebirth is not beyond the capability of any determined nation. Hence, it proffers various strategies of exploring national development in the context of premeditated, planned and thoroughly implemented programmes of cultural engineering.
(J Cultural Studies: 2002 4(1): 1-55)