Devaluing Culture

I have to say that I think this article was harder for me to read than the cyborg one from last week. To me it seemed like a lot of repetition, reemphasizing the devaluing of Chulucanas culture through the mass production of their ceramics. I don’t think that needed to be thirty pages long to be effective (which in my opinion it was not). In my research on the author Chan and the book the chapter comes from, it seems like she directly addresses the One Laptop Per Child initiative that we talked about (however not in the chapter we read). The conclusions I can draw to bring the two topics together comes in the form of  a question. Based upon OLPC it would seem that we feel a need to connect with the rest of the world. Why is that? In our culture there always seem to be a need to move forward, develop newer and better things and we have a reached a plateau in technological development (or so it would seem to me). The new iPhones seem to be the same with very little changes, Windows and Android are still catching up, devices are so thin they bend, screens are the perfect size, and computers run incredibly fast and can store more information. Are we just bored technologically and need projects, such as bringing rural areas along on our technology ride?

I have been to Disneyland about a million times, but when I go there with someone who has never been there before it all seems new to me when I can see it through their eyes. Are we doing the same with with still developing nations who have little to no technology? Are we getting to experience technology again by bringing it to those who don’t already have it. What is the cost of that though? This particular chapter talks about that cost in terms of the “native product” and how the mass production of it changes it so it no longer represents that culture. Instead of making the ceramics by hand they now have molds and machines. Instead of pricing it at what they think it should be valued the price is reduced. It even created competition between the different ceramic artists. Oh no!… wait… why is that a bad thing?  I would like the author to elaborate more on how competition turned these people against each other and not their own basic human nature and personalities. I felt like there was never enough in depth evidence or examination, just a bunch of redundancy within this article that just scraped the surface. Is she trying to say that if we had a better grasp on the Chulucanas culture we wouldn’t have mass produced their ceramics? or done it in a better way that respected their culture more?  Then wouldn’t we be going against our cultural norms by not interfering? Why is theirs better than ours? Why is ours better than theirs? Who decides?

“…all too oft-repeated mistake of presuming that the knowledge of the world’s most elite engineers is sufficient to conquer any and every global problem or situation.”

This quote from Chan that I found from an online interview perfectly sums up what I think she was trying to say in this chapter. We threw a bunch of money and laptops that didn’t take into consideration the cultures they were being presented to. The barrier between America and the more rural countries can be breached with a sharing of cultures (the ceramics) and with the integration of technology into their society. This is just our point of view which isn’t how other cultures see things. This is how I chose to interpret the reading, but I found it to harder to get through so I could be wrong.


One thought on “Devaluing Culture

  1. I really like the analogy that you gave of going to Disney Land with a Disneyland-virgin. I think there is some truth to the analogy that you did make. Yes technology advances amazingly fast that is until it hits a plateau. In that plateau the technology become more accessible. Through sharing the technology that we viewed as plataeud to other nations we gain a sennse of seeing it for the first time again.


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