Tradition Vs Modernity Essay
The term ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ are expressions of values which helps us in observing the process of social and cultural transformation in societies as they pass from the ‘primitive’ to ‘pre-industrial’ to ‘industrial’ and ‘post-industrial’ phases of social development.
Modernization is a conceptual tool which social scientists have widely used in analyzing the process as well as the quality of social change. All societies have tradition, but what we describe as ‘traditional societies’ refers to a specific historical phase of social and cultural development.
Traditional societies have substantial degree of differentiation of social strata, divisions between village, town and city, relatively higher level of technology that depends upon wide use of animal energy; have an evolved written literary tradition along with oral cultural tradition. Such societies also have organized systems of polity with differentiation of political, military and religious offices of specialized elite, and a fairly advanced system of trade, commerce, money and banking. The values, beliefs, ways of life, aesthetic and symbolic standards and forms of the society constitute its tradition which maintains continuity with the past. It is this element of continuity which characterizes a social or cultural attribute or value in a society as being traditional. The passage from traditional to modern stage of society initiates major social and cultural transformation.
As society passes from traditional to modern phase of development, the closure of opportunities to status mobility is rendered more and more open. New institutional measures and social forces emerge in society that makes the social system more open. These measures are both cultural and social structural.
Science and technology play an important role in this process, which revolutionizes the outlook of people and also basically alters its production system and economy. These developments coincide, as they did in India, with basic changes in the political system. Traditional Indian society which was anchored on the institutions of caste ‘feudalistic and other-worldly outlook and values on life underwent major changes through the rise of national movement for freedom.
The establishment of the democratic Indian republic cherishing the values of secularism, socialism and democracy challenged the traditional values of caste inequalities. The key to this process is the exposure of Indian society and its elite to the culture of science, technology and democracy in the West. The new institutions of education, law and justice, industry and commerce, health and medicine, transport and communication etc. were introduced. They ushered new processes of social and cultural changes in society. These came into contact with Western values of rationalism, science and technology which the British colonial administration introduced in India mainly for the consolidation of a colony, but which had new and unexpected outcome in the rise of cultural renaissance in India and the national freedom movement.
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Soyinka’s Views of Modernity and Tradition in The Lion and the Jewel
1022 Words5 Pages
A common post-colonial struggle shows itself in Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel between modernity and the traditional, seen both in a transparent manner as the Western World clearly and gradually influences the play’s village of Ilujinle as well as a deeper way between two of its central characters—Lakunle representing modernity while Baroka represents tradition. However, although the struggle is brought to fruition throughout the course of the play, it seems rather evident for which side Soyinka himself is more of a prominent advocate, obvious by the way he portrays both Lakunle and Baroka, and how they conclude their roles in the play. Lakunle’s follies in the play become his undoing, whereas Baroka’s strength and titular power as the…show more content…
Given the sudden freedom to choose how their country would be run, Nigerians were faced with the fact that much of the New World had its advantages, but it came at the price of affecting (or even potentially nullifying) their cultural traditions. It seemed difficult to recognize some advantages of one culture when advocating for the other. This led much of the villagers (in both Nigeria and the play’s town of Ilujinle) to be either for modernity or tradition almost exclusively. In the beginning of The Lion and the Jewel, both Baroka and Sidi seem to be strong supporters of keeping with tradition, while Lakunle is the obvious supporter of modernity, seen as he attempts to be a “Western gentleman” by offering to help Sidi carry her pail of water. However, Sidi refuses his proposal of marriage because Lakunle will not pay the bride-price, a very traditional outlook on the situation. While Lakunle is a strong proponent of a Western romantic engagement, Sidi finds his offers of marriage without a bride-price offensive, saying she does not wish to be “a cheap bowl for the village to spit” (Soyinka 896). Later in the play, however, Sidi seems to change her tune when she discovers her own beauty. Finding her picture on the cover of a magazine causes her to rethink her position and refuse Baroka’s offer of marriage, suddenly rejecting the traditional thought of the importance of marrying the