Social Structure Essay

1179 words - 5 pages

American Intercontinental University
Social Structure
HUMA 215 – Topics in Cultural Studies
9/8/12

Abstract
Cultural syncretism has transformed and shaped our world today; because of encounters years and centuries before our time we have religion and even art. Our modern culture was contributed to by the happenings of yesterday.

Social Structure
Introduction
The legacies of cultural syncretism in the Americas and Africa can be compared and contrasted with the resistance to cultural change that westerners experienced in China and India. These encounters have left many legacies of change and differences in the culture today. Had syncretism not occurred or if syncretism had taken ...view middle of the document...

As for China and India, they had gunpowder, cannons, and muskets. Westerners brought with them diseases that practically wiped out the natives because their immune systems were not able to fight off the disease. China and India on the other hand easily resisted invaders and thought no harm could come to their country.
The cultural backgrounds of China and India were also similar in the way that these two cultures were richer than the culture of Africa and the Americas which allowed them to grow rapidly. The Americas and Africa were just beginning to develop whereas China and India has established themselves and these countries had a deep history.

Cultural Factors & Outcome Differences
Because of so many similarities and differences in these cultures there were a number of factors that played a role in the cultural differences between Africa, the Americas, China, and India to make up the cultural syncretism. This is especially true for Africa and the Americas who were resisted by the population of Asia and India from the arrival of the Europeans (Sayre, 2013). The rituals performed in Africa was the primary source of culture which is why there are differences between the Westerners and non-Westerners process of thinking (Sayre, 2013). The transformation of the Americas and African culture was widely influenced by Europe, but Europe had no effect on China and India.

Legacies of Cultural Change Left Today
To understand the legacies that have been left behind and have had an effect on cultural change by different encounters throughout history an individual must have an understanding of syncretism. Syncretism is described by the Dictionary of Race, Ethnicity, & Culture as a term being derived from Greek words; the first meaning was used to describe overcoming internal political differences. It later took on a religious meaning. Religious syncretism is merely a dominant religion taking precedence over a smaller religion.
The biggest legacy that syncretism has left today would be the Christian religion. Christianity can be considered a legacy that was left upon slaves. Slaves were forced to accept the moral laws and ethics of an alien religion and see their own beliefs reduced to the status of animism, superstition and magic (not only as a mark of defeat), while the conquering religion assumed the spiritual light of ecumenical redemption. (Syncretism, 2003)

Syncretism & Modern Culture
The legacies of syncretism play a huge and very important role in our society and the modern culture of today. Roles, beliefs, and expectations have stemmed around the people of today’s modern culture. When different groups of people migrate to...

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