Losing The National And Cultural Identity Essays

The unification of Europe in which Lithuania now takes part is in fact, much awaited, though not an easily manageable project.

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So it is naturally cautious of the pitfalls of globalising trends that threaten the fragile and ambivalent content of its national culture.

It is no wonder that questions of national identity during recent years have been articulated openly and heatedly, occasionally even desperately in academic and public discourses.

In many local settings the meaning of such terms as globality, globalisation, globalising, etc., are treated from different perspectives, depending on how local societies and cultures feel and identify themselves in the shifting world-systems, how the changes in center-perifery relations have influenced their own images of themselves and what were their past experiences in regard to external powers and relationship to larger nation-states.

Obviously the Lithuanian society is not “tax-exempt” from the pressures of globalisation.

The networks of international and supra-national market forces, financial institutions and business corporations that take over local bodies are sometimes seen as almost invisible, but extremely powerful institutions offering new forms of dependence, inflicting unified recipes of development, even those projects and practices that have compromised themselves in other continents and for different reasons.

It should be further added that Lithuanian society itself is undergoing a social transition; accordingly many layers of its social strata feel insecure since some of its social groups have neither economic nor intellectual means to tune to the new rhythm of social life of this “brave new world”.I’m no anti-globalization activist or anything, in fact, I’m totally for globalization, economically and industrially speaking, but we can’t neglect the negative effects it has on culture and society.In this globalized world, cities are becoming clones of each other, and people are converging into fake stereotypes; gone are the unique cities that carry so much history and culture in every corner, lost are the enriching cultural differences and specificities that make a society uniquely what it is; London looks like Paris which looks like Madrid; Restaurants serving this or that country’s traditional food are drowned out by the huge fast food chains, beautiful traditional clothing is lost between the new bulk-made looks created by the big brands, people look alike, eat alike and dress alike whether they’re in New York, New Delhi or Cairo.In the academic and intellectual Lituanian debate, globalisation and Europeanisation is often regarded as a deadly threat to the national culture, an “evil mission”.Almantas Samalavicius looks at the arguments and proposes a completely diffent concept of identity.Post-Soviet Lithuania, like many other countries that shifted from a close to an open society is now being subject to global forces operating in the contemporary world no longer divided and dismembered by competing political and economic systems and their militant ideologies – the two opposite poles that demarcated former “East” and “West” that shaped the post World War II era until the spectacular and truly epochal events of the 1990’s.Researchers into present global pressures and interactions mostly agree that it is no longer possible to neglect or ignore the most essential processes of globalisation operating in the world linked to the vast extensions of market relations, economic, political and cultural interactions and cycles of production and reproduction shaped under the completely new conditions of capitalism and new world order: expansion and multiplication of gigantic world-wide business structures, multinational corporations, transnational communication and media channels, entertainment industries and the like.Having in mind that after half-century’s enforced relationship with the “Big Brother”, i.e.the Soviet Union and all the ill-effects this period of foreign oppression had upon Lithuanian society and its culture, it is not easy for the country to accommodate itself in new geo-political setting.Its is also obvious and noted on many occasions by researchers and critics that these development have been accompanied by the waning of communal bonds and communal spirit that were so strong during the upheaval of 1990 when the country won back its national independence.Contemporary social discourse in this country more often than not speaks more of differences than common denominators: citizens are opposed to the power of the state, employed versus unemployed; the rural population in opposition to urban; nationalists with cosmopolitans; etc.


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