Cultural syncretism

Cultural syncretism

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Cultural syncretism

Syncretism refers to the “merging of cultural forms or practices from different cultures to produce a new cultural product (Alexander & Rucker, 2010 pp.264).” syncretism does not involve wholly submerging into the other culture, but it means that different elements of both cultures remain. One of the best areas to study this is in Africa. When the Europeans and other settlers came to the continent, they found people with their own unique cultures, religion, and practices (Oduyoye & Vroom). They introduced education, medicine and new forms of religion. Although the Africans accepted this, they did not abandon their way of life. They incorporated their traditional practices with the new practices. This produced a new blend of culture as some of the practices lost their strong foothold on the people. In some countries, such as China, syncretism was not as deeply held as it was in other parts of the world. The people were advanced in many areas of life, and in some cases, their technology was superior. They resisted European influence and they largely maintained their traditionally held beliefs. Had cultural syncretism taken a strong hold in China, the people would have had a different view concerning religion and they would have developed language in a different way.

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