A Cultural Paradigm Shift in Central Africa: Sociocultural Determinants and Cultural Dimensions
Michieka, Waya R
Otieno, David J
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Human beings have evolved to coexist via a transformational context that incites constant adaptation of culture to social, environmental, and economic developments in order to sustain existence. This study aims to characterise the paradigm of culture in Central Africa by assessing emerging sociocultural determinants (SCD)—land tenure systems, religion, globalisation, government regulations, monetisation of the economy, biodiversity patterns, and climate change—and their contribution to cultural dimensions (CD)—power distance, uncertainty avoidance, femininity, collectivism, long-term orientation, and restraint. In addition, it determines if the paradigm has shifted by evaluating community life—traditional practices and livelihoods—from 1967 to 2017. Ethnographic research took place in 2016 and 2017 within the indigenous communities of Akono and Ntem in the Congo Basin forest of Central Africa. This included survey questionnaires with 248 participants and interviews with two elders in each community. Regression analysis of the survey questionnaires revealed a strong correlation between SCD and CD. In Akono, biodiversity patterns, land tenure systems, globalisation, religion, and government regulations contributed to 21.6 percent, 39.9 percent, 58.2 percent, 38.1 percent, and 41.7 percent of variation in CD, respectively. In Ntem, biodiversity patterns, globalisation, and monetisation of the economy contributed to 51.8 percent, 32.6 percent, and 38.6 percent of variation in CD, respectively. Moreover, the interviews with the elders revealed a significant decline in traditional practices and an increase in livelihood activities in both communities since 1967. The transformational context of Central Africa exposes indigenous communities to the influence of emerging SCD that drive changes in individuals’ attitudes and behaviours; thus, shifting the cultural paradigm.
CitationR. E, W. MR, Otieno DJ. "A Cultural Paradigm Shift in Central Africa: Sociocultural Determinants and Cultural Dimensions." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies. 2019;14(1):19-37.
University of Nairobi
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