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THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON THE IGBO CULTURE: EXAMINING FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SELECTED TEN IGBO NOVELS.

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.2 Background to the study

                Globalization has been the era of cultural enstranglement (Chibuzo 2013). The Igbo in particular and Africa in general, today live in a cultural crippled era. The Igbo have found themselves in a cultural erosion mess prepared for them by the global village framework founded on western cultural hegemony, propaganda and arrogance (Ekwensi, 2004). Today most Igbo and African values in general are on a fast lane to obliteration. The Igbo values which are expressed in their language, arts and craft, ideas, beliefs, wisdom and values observed in marriages, moral life, dressing, chastity, sanctity for blood and life and so on, have all been sacrificed on the altar of globalisation. Traditionally, prior to marriage in Igboland, enquiry, parental consent and approval are core steps. It is the Igbo belief that ”he who finds a good wife finds something precious”. A good wife for the Igbo in line with what the biblical book of proverbs say, is more precious than rubies. Here lies the foundation of basic primary steps in marriage. In the past chastity was highly revered in traditional Igboland. Young ladies kept their virginity as a pride and dignity for themselves and their families. Married women remained faithful to their husbands. Rampant sexual uncleanliness, consumption and smoking of hard drugs; recruitment of young girls as sex workers and prostitution among married women were hardly seen or heard of as is the case today. In the traditional Igbo society too, blood is sacred. People avoided the abominable act of shedding human blood. Today people have no regard for human life.  Kidnapping, robbery and ritual murder for wealth are acts in vogue. Human blood is seen as a source of wealth and people kill to make money. The values the Igbo treasure highly as a people, the Igbo pride and  identity, their uniqueness as a people, and all the traits that which mark them out from the crowd have all been eroded by globalisation (Cyprain Ekwensi, 2004). In the words of Ekwensi, ”mankind [the Igbo] is walking into cultural logjam”. The people’s values which provide the building blocks of identity and belongings are under the siege of globalisation. Globalisation unwinds the cultural clock of the people. ”The Igbo are today suffering irredeemable cultural erosions with the people at cultural crossroads” (Ezeomeke, 2013). Ezeomeke recommends that the Igbo culture, their heritage which is their pride and identity demand the best of preservation.

Today, many Igbo novels embellished with Igbo cultural elements abound. There are Igbo novels that focus on the impact of globalisation on Igbo ideas of morality, dressing and dietary habits, their belief system, marriage, chastity, sanctity of blood, etc. However, only few critical works have been done on these novels especially the ones selected for this study which are Onye Chi Ya Akwatughi(OCHYA), A Chowa Ijide Oke Ehi (ACHIOE), Oja Dufuo Dike (ODD), Isi Kote Ebu Ogbakasia Ya (IKEO), Oke Soro Ngwere (OSN), Onye Kpara Nku Ahuhu (OKPNA), Anu Gbaa Ajo Oso (AGBAO), Opi Dufuo Dike (ODD), Nke Onye Metara (NOM) and Ezinwanne Di Uko (ENWDU). This research intends to examine the extent of the impact of globalisation on the following Igbo cultural issues: marriage, chastity, and sanctity of blood as portrayed in the Igbo novels selected for the study. The investigation will be in two parts. On the one part, it will investigate the novels from the perspective of the Igbo culture before globalisation and on the other, the culture under the influence of globalisation.

1.3    STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The Igbo are a people with rich cultural values. Their culture is expressed in their language, arts and crafts, festivals, clothing, dietary habits (dishes), religion, morality, ethics, marriage, values, and a host of other cultural observances. In the traditional Igbo society, chastity and sanctity of blood and life are highly revered. The traditional observance of the first and core steps in marriage is esteemed high. Worth stating here is that loss of culture amounts to loss of root and identity. Destroy a people’s culture; you destroy their identity, pride and personality. Unfortunately, today Igbo cultural values are on a fast lane to obliteration in the name of globalisation-the making of the world a global family or village. We have Igbo novels that are repositories of the Igbo cultural values, the Igbo morality and mores, sense of wisdom, justice, philosophy, beliefs, obedience, honesty, hard work, marriage, chastity and Igbo sanctity of blood.  Since globalisation, little or no critical work has been done to determine the extent of the erosion of the Igbo cultural issues like marriage, chastity and sanctity of blood by globalisation in the selected Igbo novels for the study. No doubt, the Igbo marriage system, chastity and sanctity of blood and life have suffered erosions and estrangement in the hands of globalisation. The filling of this lacuna is the concern of this study.

1.4    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

This work aims at enquiring and investigating into the following:

  1. The Igbo novels’ portrayal of undiluted Igbo cultural elements of marriage, sanctity of blood, and chastity.
  2. The extent of the erosion of the above Igbo cultural practices and values of (marriage, chastity and sanctity of blood) by globalization as portrayed in the selected Igbo novels.

 

1.5    PURPOSE OF STUDY

This work seeks to do an exploration of the Igbo culture as presented in selected Igbo novels with a view to unearthing or discovering the extent of the erosions and estrangement of the Igbo cultural values in the name of today’s globalization. It is no doubt that globalization has a lot of positive impact on the human society specially through the promotion of free flow of information and ideas in the world, nevertheless, the institution has left unfold toll of damages on the culture of nations and peoples. Therefore, this study seeks to determine from selected Igbo novels the quantum of damage done to some Igbo cultural values by the said homogenization of the world’s system into a single society, a single village, in the name of globalization.

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

It is hoped that this work will be of immense benefit to the scholars of Cultural Studies, Arts and Humanities. It will give them and the general public some insights into how globalization has eroded the Igbo cultural values and identity.

The study will also help students of other allied disciplines to reasonably appreciate the centrality of the Igbo culture to the Igbo life and existence, culture being the root and building block of a people’s identity.

The work is also expected to be of invaluable benefit to policy makers, curriculum planners in the country and the Igbo people as a whole especially in the planning and making of cultural policy for Nigeria. It may cause the people to preserve their culture and check any further erosion.

The study will help to increase the popularity of the Igbo novels used in this study as well as their writers.

1.7    SCOPE OF STUDY

The focus of this study is on Igbo novels. Its focus is specifically on the Igbo culture as portrayed in the novels under enquiry. It examines how globalization has affected the Igbo cultures of marriage, chastity, and sanctity of blood as shown in the selected Igbo novels. The Igbo novels are novels which have been written in Igbo language. The Igbo cultural landmark of the study covers the present five Igbo states of south eastern Nigeria: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. Nevertheless, water tight delimitation is not being proposed. References transcending the study area will be made as the need arises.

1.8    LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

Efforts were made as much as possible to see that the impact of globalisation on the Igbo culture was grasped. The choice of these novels was based on the fact that they portrayed well the Igbo culture and the impact of globalisation. The study focuses on the impact of globalisation on the Igbo culture as portrayed in the selected Igbo novels.

1.9    RESEACH QUESTIONS

This research intends to provide answers to the following research questions guiding the study.

  1. What is culture?
  2. What is globalisation?
  3. What is Igbo novel and how have Igbo novels been able to portray the Igbo culture?
  4. How have novels been able to portray the negative impact of globalisation on the Igbo culture?

 

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