Humanistinen tiedekunta, 2008
Englannin kielen laitos
Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Studies in Communication and Administration
Does modernization mean Westernization? Some countries may be more Westernized than others without any of them being engulfed by these influences, instead they are struggling to maintain their own identities. The thesis examines various degrees and dimensions of Westernization in the pursuit of modernization in both Igbo and Chinese societies and illustrates different attitudes and practices towards the advent of the West and modernity by comparing the two novels׃ Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Ch\'ien, Chung-shu\'s Fortress Besieged, under the conditions of colonialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Comparative literature is adopted as the methodology when studying the three dimensions of the novels: Christianity, education and individual consciousness.
Achebe shows how Igbo society takes cultural Westernization as the access to modernization. Though Igbos are trying to maintain their collectivist tribal culture without overall replacement by Western civilization, Westernization is conducted to the extent that indigenous culture is downgraded and Igbos are increasingly losing confidence of their own cultural identity. In China, as described in Fortress Besieged, however, modernization is not identical to Westernization. Elements of Western culture are adopted on the surface and enhance social modernization, yet the position of Confucianism as the ruling ideology is unshakable and remains superior in Chinese minds. Westernization helps to obtain certain elements of modernity in the early stage, but development should be motivated by people’s confidence and pride of their own cultural heritage instead of the subordination of indigenous culture to an alien one.
Modern, modernity, modernization, the West, Westernization, colonialism, missionaries, Igbos, Christianity, Chinese, Confucianism, collectivism, education, individual consciousness.