Culture, music, encounters

/ 19 December 2010

Ethan Zuckerman has a fascinating post up about a presentation at the Berkman Center on “nu world music.” The whole thing is definitely worth reading, but I was caught by this excerpt:

    They suggest that four things might happen when we encounter media from another culture: 

  • We might embrace it and it could overwhelm our local culture. (This is a fear often cited with regards to the spread of US culture – the fear of the McDonaldization of the world – and used to justify cultural protection legislation.) 

  • We might violently reject the other culture and ban it, as the Taliban has done with aspects of western culture 

  • We might embrace the outside influences and incorporate them into a hybrid culture, creating something new and interesting, like the majestic Bánh mì sandwich, in my opinion, the tastiest byproduct of European colonialism yet discovered. 

  • We might encounter the other culture, acknowledge it as different and choose not to incorporate or reject it. </ul></blockquote>

    I was interested in part because this aligns in some ways with Richard Shweder's suggestions about "seeing through cultures" (about which I've written numerous times).