Skip to main content

29 Ways to Cultural Change According to Raimon Panikkar

In his paper "Indic Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism" (K. Pathil (ed), Religious Pluralism, ISPCK, 1991, pp. 252-299), R. Panikkar points out 29 ways in which cultural change can be brought about. Below is a short outline of them:

Cultural change can be brought about by:

1. Growth. It comes from a natural exchange with the surrounding cultures. Growth comes from within, but it is nourished from the outside.
2. Development. Its meaning extends from a shared belief generating compulsory practices transforming "social relations and nature into commodities to be bought and sold on the market" (Gilbert Rist) to any type of social progress according generally to modern Western standards.
3. Evolution. It implies a change promoted by a more or less natural selection of cultural values. The fittest culture, that is well adapted, will survive.
4. Involution. It expresses the retrieval from more recent changes, in one particular society, because the latter changes are seen as a denial of the own cultural identity. It is a resistance to the extrinsic pressure of allegedly foreign cultural values.
5. Renovation. It is the attempt at renewal from within the culture itself.
6. Reconception. It is re-interpretation or creative hermeneutics by means of which the culture enlarges its own interpretation so as to be able to include other forms which until then seemed incompatible with orthodox ways.
7. Reform. It implies that something has gone wrong with the culture and stresses the need for reform. The impulse is generally endogenous, although a "prophet" is normally needed in order to trigger the reaction.
8. Innovation. It relates to the former with an emphasis on exogenous factors bringing about the renewal. While renovation looks back to the sources of a culture, innovation is more sensitive to the present.
9. Revivalism. It attempts to revive some aspects of a particular culture that are thought to have died through the passing of time.
10. Revolution. It entails an upside down of the cultural values produced generally by some small "party" of either endogenous or exogenous character.
11. Mutation. It implies a certain rupture in cultural patterns (brought about by revolutions or other causes like wars, catastrophes, etc).
12. Progress. It refers to a somewhat peaceful cultural change with a positive value.
13. Diffusion. It is used to express the inner vitality of a particular culture which by its own dynamics tends successfully to penetrate into neighbouring cultures.
14. Osmosis. Almost synonymous with the previous one. It is a physical name suggesting that the cultural influence proceeds in one particular direction due to the superior or more powerful character of the influencing culture.
15. Borrowing. Relates to the two previous ones and suggests an adoption of foreign cultural values because they are found "useful" to the borrowing culture. The impulse is from within and unrelated to external pressures.
16. Eclecticism. It generally denotes a choice (eklego, I select, choose) of different ideas or practices belonging to different systems, religions or cultures.
17. Syncretism. It implies a fusion similar to the previous one, but not by virtue of a conscious choice but as a result of historical inertia or a fruit of the spontaneity of the spirit.
18. Modernization. It particularly refers to the adoption of the present day "modern" values which, having originated in one particular culture, are presented or seen, with or without reason, as capable of bringing the host culture "up to date".
19. Indigenization. It goes in almost the opposite direction to the previous one. It involves a culture's getting rid of its customary garb and adopt the indigenous cultural forms of the culture in which it happens to live.
20. Adaptation. It is a kind of adjustment to the host culture for different motives like survival, influence, merger, etc.
21. Accommodation It connotes a certain acceptance of the foreign value for the sake of a peaceful co-existence or simply tranquility.
22. Adoption. It connotes a conscious introduction of the external idea, symbol or practice for the benefit of the host culture.
23. Translation. The transforming powers of cultural change brought about by literary translations.
24. Conversion. Cultural change brought about by religious conversion.
25. Transformation. It refers to the internal change of the basic structure of a culture.
26. Fecundation. It suggests an internal cultural change due to an external seed which has been introduced into the host culture and given birth to a new type of self-understanding and ultimately of culture.
27. Acculturation. Overtaken popularity after the failure of the word enculturation. In its most general sense it is used when a particular cultural group lives in constant contact with another one. Or it can also indicate a conscious effort at producing such a homogenization.
28. Inculturation. Used in preference to the above. Panikkar suggests to reserve this to indicate the conscious effort at adopting another culture.
29. Interculturation. The word was introduced in 1980 by Bishop Joseph Blomjous. The very word underlines a two-way traffic, and underscores partnership and mutuality.


Popular posts from this blog

Couplets (Dohas) by Rahim and Kabir With English Meanings

Khanzada Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana(17 December 1556 – 1626) (Hindi: अब्दुल रहीम ख़ान-ए-ख़ाना, Urdu: عبدالرحيم خان خانان), also known as Rahim (रहीम, رحیم) was a poet who lived during the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar. He was one of the nine important ministers (dewan) in his court, also known as the Navaratnas. Rahim is known for his Hindi couplets and his books on astrology. The village of Khankhana, which is named after him, is located in the Nawanshahr district of the state of Punjab, India. (Wikipedia)
Couplets (Dohas) of Rahim जो रहीम उत्तम प्रकृति, का करी सकत कुसंग,
चन्दन विष व्यापत नहीं, लिपटे रहत भुजंग.
A person of excellent nature cannot be corrupted by bad company.
Sandalwood is untouched by the poison of a serpent coiled around the tree. बिगरी बात बने नहीं, लाख करो किन कोय.
रहिमन फाटे दूध को, मथे न माखन होय.
A million attempts cannot mend a spoiled matter,
As much churning can't turn spoiled milk to butter. रहिमन देखि बड़ेन को, लघु न दीजिए डारि.
जहां काम आवे सु…

Fight Against Corruption

Denmark ranks as the 1st among the world's least corrupt countries. Singapore ranks 8th. India ranks 65th. North Korea and Somalia rank 149th.

A study of these systems reveal the following facts.

1. An Anti-corruption agency, independent of the police and executive is crucial to check corruption. Countries having multiple anti-corruption agencies don't seem to have much success. One cannot remove dirt with dirt; one has to use an agent that is intrinsically anti-dirt (soap-water). Singapore's "anti-corruption agency, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), is well resourced and independent. It is empowered to investigate any person, even police officers and ministers, and conducts public outreach to raise public awareness and shape social norms." (Lee Hsien Loong)

2. In countries like Singapore, the high-level officials are paid well and corruption is kept at bay at that level. The idea is that anti-corruption begins from top to bottom. "There i…

The Call of Moses: The First Excuse (Exodus 3)

Exodus 3 and 4 record God's call of Moses to deliver the people of Israel and lead them into the Promised Land.

BackgroundHebrews 11:23 tells us that the parents of Moses were strong believers.

Hebrews 11:24-26 tells us that when the time came for Moses to choose, he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Heb 11:24-26)

In other words, Moses was a person who made a honest choice to follow Christ and His path of suffering. It is wrong to imagine that if Moses would have been patient and not killed the Egyptian he would have become the next Pharaoh. The Bible says that He actually made the choice to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. It seems that Egyptian politics was deeply tied with their polytheistic religion that in a way also dei…