Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Globalization as Meta-Axiological Dilemma: The Sociological Implications of Rational Choice Criteria for Local Cultural Deep Structure

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Globalization as Meta-Axiological Dilemma: The Sociological Implications of Rational Choice Criteria for Local Cultural Deep Structure

Article excerpt

The world has become infinitesimally small. National boundaries and the endemically societies they circumscribe have become increasingly porous. Non-western societies since the 1970s have entered into intensive neo-colonial efforts to incorporate their localized subsistence patterns into an ever reorganizing global economy which at its core is fundamentally changed and functionally unstable. Thus, a weltanschuung of international economic reorganization subordinates national independence and sovereignty for the greater neocolonial good as it moves to integrate what is perceived as socially disruptive and marginal. And second, prescriptive stabilizing policies and structural adjustments strategies order equilibrating contributions to a new global economy, displacing non-market indigenous social institutions with "free market" mechanisms and supporting institutional practices that reproduce non-local patterns of economic agency.

This article considers the global displacement of an axiological set indigenous to traditional African societies as a divestiture of a cultural deep structure that undermines local subsistence modalities. This global process of cultural divestiture is argued to disengage a highly intricate local axiological set from subsistence behaviors that are regenerative to local cultural deep structure and its support of uniquely African patterns of social interaction. In this context, globalization (as was colonialism before it) appears to be a process that divests the local of its model for human development, and thus encourages iconoclastic social praxis.

Cultural Deep Structure

Despite its conceptual promiscuity within popular and academic discourse, culture boasts a logistical arrangement of interpretative axioms of existence grounded in the cosmological and ontological orientations of "deep structure". Hence, deep structure organizes the scope and nature of the surface level of culture, which consists of a vast array of manifest behaviors and practices, including symbols, language and customs. These deep structural axioms superintend society's functional organization and reproduction of praxis conditions that cultivate balanced human development as the basis of cultural deep structure, cosmology and ontology conflate to hew out its distinctive axiological framework. Thus, philosophical conceptualizations of the origin, structure and mechanics of the universe buttress collective self-conceptualizations that confer purpose and direction to human existence; and through this conflation of perceived environmental relations emerges a set of behavioral parameters that are simultaneously prescriptive and evaluative of moral conduct.

Constructively, behavior or conduct becomes moral to the extent that it is cosmologically and ontologically consistent and social institutions as habitual behavioral patterns actualize the cultural model by transforming its cosmogony and ontological axioms into ordered societal praxis that communicate, reinforce and propagate interpretations of physical and metaphysical realities. Socialization, then, would involve participatory processes of enculturation that entrench and sustain societal initiates through human development. Culture, then, models an idiosyncratic horizontal and vertical progression of human development in existential purpose and thus functions across layers of perceived reality. (1)

Global Axiological Set

Grounded in neoclassical economics, globalization equates human subsistence with material accumulation, and has implicit in its behavioral assumptions about (1) the ontological belief that subsistence concerns itself with the provision of material goods that satisfy unlimited biological and social wants; and (2) the cosmological belief that the insatiability for human material want to impose scarcity in a resource-poor natural environment.

Central to the neoclassical globalization paradigm are the concepts of "economy" and "economizing" wherein economy is an adaptive behavior to: ecological constraints that shape the direction of socio-cultural organization; and a mode of subsistence amid scarcity imposed by expanding human want. …

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