Globalization, understood by critics to result in the homogenization of difference through gradual economic (and thus political) assimilation, is neither as ubiquitous nor as omnipotent as those who decry it believe. Indeed, as if countering one generalization with another somehow resolved the issue, globalization is often declared as one of, if not the greatest threat to cultural diversity. There is no doubt a grain of truth in this, as is often the case with such generalizations. Perhaps the most flagrant error with so sweeping a claim, however, is its overestimation of the actual geographical reach of current patterns of globalization. In Africa alone, certain internecine conflicts have effectively sealed off their victims and perpetrators from all outside influence, globalization included. A second overestimation made by the above claim concerns the capacity of globalization and assimilation to extinguish cultural difference. Once again, internecine conflict is a far more efficient leveler of difference than any influence from without, be it a colonial presence or northern pressures to ‘democratize’, to open markets, to conform to Human Rights accords, etc. Such conflict foments its own type of leveling by violently reducing different forms and expressions of cultural life to the same base and dehumanizing level whereby survival alone becomes a daily risk, a daily struggle.
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