This paper advocates for minimizing culture conflicts in Nsukka town of Enugu State, Nigeria, as a way of fostering peace and development in the place in the 21st century. It attempts to describe the types of conflict that occur as a result of contacts between two or more cultures in an urban town: the social tensions resulting from the struggle for dominance when two or more cultures come in contact. It notes that culture conflicts sometimes lead to physical conflicts. For its methodology, the researcher adopts the relational theory as the theoretical framework of analysis. In addition to x-raying factors that give rise to culture conflicts, the paper gives an insight into what led to the series of culture oppositions and conflicts in Nsukka town, including conflicts in the pre-colonial and colonial periods. Further the paper suggests that in order to minimize culture conflicts there is the need to embrace cultural accommodation, cultural relativism as well as cultural pluralism. This way, cultural chauvinism will be diminished while social tension will be reduced to the minimal. This, no doubt, will enhance global peace, development and progress.
Nsukka Asadu Ideke Alumona (so called because of its genealogy) is the town where the famous University of Nigeria is located. The town had a very rich culture beginning from its origin. This continued throughout the pre-colonial era. During that time the culture was pure and undiluted. This, to a large extent, was because only the natives occupied the town then.
At the early part of the 20th century, the town had contact with the colonial administration and things started to change (Asogwa, 2011). First the town was made the administrative headquarters of the then Obollo Division in 1926. This led to increase in population, urbanization, migration, money economy, introduction of foreign culture, etc. Initially, the natives opposed the alien cultures being introduced in the town, giving rise to the initial culture conflicts. These alien-cultures were contradictory to the culture of the natives hence the opposition and subsequent culture conflicts. The opposition and conflict later disappeared because the people later accepted reluctantly the new cultural elements because they were higher and more sophisticated. This acceptance marked the initial dilution and modification of the culture of the natives. The people’s cultural heritage, traditions, values, ways of doing things, particularly, language, folkways, norms, music, dresses, traditional institutions, etc. were all changed in favour of other alien cultures, especially the western values (Onah, 2014).
In the post colonial era there are many people from different cultural backgrounds in Nsukka town. This has given rise to more culture contradictions and conflicts brought about by pressure exerted on the town by a combination of factors such as ethnocentrism, contra-culture, culture shock, etc. Apart from this, the culture of Nsukka town is now massively diluted and modified thus undergoing cultural change. There is still continued struggle for dominance among the various cultures. This sometimes leads to social tension and physical conflicts especially where there is no cultural accommodation. Under this situation, peace and development appear to be elusive in the town. This in the long run may not only affect national peace and development but equally global peace and development. We, however, advocate for cultural relativism and cultural accommodation so as to enhance peace (Ijomah, 2008).
Meaning of Culture
The word culture is derived from the Latin word “cultura” which means to cultivate or cultivating the mind. The word culture has not been easy to define; different scholars see it from different perspectives. To social scientists, culture is associated with human society. Society learns its culture through socialization process. To the anthropologists the definition of culture should involve everything about a people. It is in this regard that Taylor (1871) posits that culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, customs and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”. Taylor actually noted the wholeness of human societies but was quick to differentiate between material culture (or artefacts) and non-material or adaptive culture transmitted by teaching and tradition. Only material culture is accessible to archaeology while adaptive culture is the subject of history, sociology and anthropology (Scott and Marshall, 2005). Culture can however be seen as the aggregation of the whole of man’s material civilization (examples, tools, clothing, technology, handicrafts, houses, etc.); all of non-material civilization (examples, institutional –political, social, legal and economic structures, etc.); as well as the philosophical aspects of culture (examples, ideas, beliefs, religion, morality, laws, etc.).
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