It’s been centuries that the people from the traditional societies mourn over the declined social values and cultural collapse, barely observe and study the very nature of cultural transition or the sociological processes which constitute cultural change.
The culture was formerly considered as a way of living of a particular group of people, speaking the same language, practicing the same customs, art, music, and religion that explains culture as a social characteristic of a particular population living within a defined geographical area. It was a powerful definition of culture but several sociological explanations after the enlightenment era have been furnished which have changed a general explanation of culture.
The era of enlightenment has redefined culture. Prior to enlightenment, religion played a leading role to determine the actual meaning of culture. Modern scholars have re-explained the major forces that contribute to cultural change.
Religion or the religious fundamentals revolve around the almightiness of God and have rigid beliefs, roles, statuses, and laws that are not subjected to be questioned or challenged by the material forces. Whereas enlightenment is the era of Reason, Rationality, and Almightiness of the human mind and his intellect that led humans to evolve, invent, innovate, and reform. These aspects including globalization have a profound influence on cultural innovation. The intercourse of different societies gives birth to a large number of major cultural transformations that can be witnessed in material symbols as well as in non-material elements.
The center of knowledge in the pre-modern era was entirely religious. The structure of that society was solely built on the concept of God. The only source of knowledge was the holy book manifested by the messengers. Eventually, the social norms were determined by religious institutions run by sacred men like pop. Under the dominance of religious institutions like the church, the laws and family (social) norms were established.
On the contrary, the scientific revolution brought about the material revolution that the new social structure replaced the former characteristics of the society. The scientific involvement, investigation, and inventions worked to enhance human’s pre-existing status, re-adjusted the established center of human society which further modified the meaning of culture.
Before the respective readjustment, the society went through the fundamental social processes like cooperation among masses based on common interests, conflict against the pre-existing monopolist religious lobby and imperial forces eventually formed a new social system based on human almightiness. (French revolution is the best example). The new social system was open to every human and accommodating.
This accommodation carried the message of reduction of intolerance for other races, religions, and languages and promoted cultural exchange. People were more likely to borrow other cultural traits and incorporate them into their own. The revolution of the modern era associated with scientific advancement, based on secular objectives, allowed societies to openly engage with each other, as a result, societies became more likely to adapt and merge other cultural aspects.
According to the Marxist conflict theory, culture is formed by the economic structure as it sees history on material grounds. It further argues that the diverging economic interests generate struggle among people, create conflict among social classes and result in the emergence of new social and cultural norms. Thus, the economy determines the cultural superstructure, norms, and ideologies.
The new norms under modernism produced worth admiring socio-economic contributions, however, it empowered the role of capital over human beings. The almightiness of humans has been transformed into the almightiness of “Capital” in the post-modern era. The structure of the postmodern society is changed; now the center of the social structure is “Capital”. The capital controls a government that forms laws and social norms that include family, religion, and media.
For the capital expansion, post-modern history has witnessed the worst human status, abundant with the brutal and exploitative examples of WWII and colonialism.
The capitalist states have formed their economic system “Liberal Market Economy”, set up the economic laws via the World Trade Organization for a so-called liberal global market operation.
To expand the almightiness of capital, states have legitimized the economic competition and have been engaged in it. In the name of a liberal market economy where each one has a so-called equal opportunity to participate within the world economic sphere, even the evil businesses reserve legal rights to contribute to the global market which includes war industry and pornography.
This economic system oppressed the weak states and the developed states contain the weak ones to operate in the open market economy through different sanctions. This act creates a sense of deprivation among the weak states. This globalized economic interaction among states has established a particular social system that has a deep effect on individual societies and their institutions and so as on cultures.
It is repainting the esthetics of postmodern societies. The loud, frustrated music indicates the inner hollowness and anxiety of human beings, shallow poetry on one-night stands, movies on sexual seduction, the craze of competition to acquire advanced technologies in no time but not the new ideas. People are crazy enough to get cell phone selfies but not self-recognition.
The situation is growing worse and worse. Humans even in the name of individuality losing their capacities, suffering from self-alienation. On the other hand, capital expansion is misleading human beings. They prefer enjoying animal-like drives or a temporary peace against their intellect and creative labor that are the ultimate peace for themselves because this ultimate peace carries an inhuman workload in a capitalist society.
These aspects apparently enter into the cultural traits and the weak cultures are more prone to either resist against these aspects or absorb. The weak states, as through natural operations, absorb all the aspects of the powerful cultures, alongside they resist with the hard force of rigid and orthodox approaches. These attitudes of the weak societies subsequently invite several destructive conflicts and destroy the humans’ social and mental progression.
As a result of the natural process, the material change causes non-material progress, but the power of capitalism contains the natural process of social change for the hegemony of capital. It has contained human creative energy and employed it for its destructive expansion. Such as technological advancement is the peak of human creativity but it’s being used to multiply capital. The features of the technological inventions are disguising the generations and keeping their creative energy at sleeping mode.
An example is TikTok that is misleading and destroys human intellect and creative force. The worst of this era is that the weak states are adopting all the advanced material objects from the powerful cultures but are contained to move forward non-materially. They are deliberately kept unaware of social change and the traditional sacred culprits, capital funded, create an artificial alliance with the selfish governments to serve their vested interests, are playing the role as “containers against development” using the names of sacred norms and beliefs. These sacred forces are playing a prime role to maintain the “Supremacy of Capital” in the weak states. Therefore, these societies are unable to progress, serving as slaves of the developed world and suffering from socio-economic dilemmas.
Thus, the cultural norms and values aren’t declined here, instead, the natural process of social growth is artificially controlled and contained and as a result, the violence, hypocrisy, and crimes are growing far and wide. It is true that if the societies are contained against the natural process of social change, they will move toward barbarism and vanish.