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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 303-312

Globalization of culture: Impact on Indian psyche

1 Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, New Jersey, USA
2 Department of Psychiatry, Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India
3 National Academy of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
5 Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Date of Web Publication19-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Rama Rao Gogineni
410 Baird Road, Merion Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 190-66
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_81_18

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Industrialization, urbanization, modernization, and globalization have contributed to significant changes in the culture of the world, more in the non-Western third world since the end of the colonial period, and the Second World War, contributing to some progressive, undesired changes. Some of the major changes include weakening of extended family, nuclearization of family, two parents working family, changing roles of women and men, increased immigration, Westernization of arts, music, day-to-day living, changing child-rearing practices, globalization of language, and influence of multimedia. As a result of many of these changes, social psychology, family psychology, and family relationships drastically transformed the family and individual psychology. Before these mega changes, family and individual psychology were shaped by extended family, traditional Indian value system, and child-rearing practices. With the radical changes in the socioeconomic structures, the traditional “we self and familial self” is evolving into more a Western “I self,” and a “multinational/global self”. Women are enjoying an increased sense of independent self and work-related self esteem. Traditional Indian developmental stages may be yielding to more Western individualistic social structures. In additon, we are too forced give up some of the traditional, cherished values and relational patterns. Reshaping the development of a new self (bicultural and multicultural self), a new sense of autonomy, and newer sense of individuation. All these, in turn, are contributing to development of an evolving new culture, with hope of preparing us better for a new, better world.

Keywords: Culture, Indian psyche, impact

How to cite this article:
Gogineni RR, Kallivayalil RA, Sharma S, Rataemane S, Akhtar S. Globalization of culture: Impact on Indian psyche. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2018;34:303-12

How to cite this URL:
Gogineni RR, Kallivayalil RA, Sharma S, Rataemane S, Akhtar S. Globalization of culture: Impact on Indian psyche. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Feb 25];34:303-12. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2018/34/4/303/245662

  Introduction Top

The purpose of this paper is to examine the globalization and understand its influence on globalization of culture, with emphasis on India and ultimately how these changes might be contributing to an evolving, changing Indian psyche. This paper is divided into three sections: (1) globalization and its impact on various aspects of economy, science and medicine, and culture; (2) globalization of culture; and (3) impact of the globalization on Indian psyche. Each section highlights the salient features of globalization.

Merriam Webster encyclopedia defines globalization as “The process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation technologies and services, mass migration, and the movement of peoples, a level of economic activity that has outgrown national markets through industrial combinations and commercial groupings that cross national frontiers and international agreements that reduce the cost of doing business in foreign countries. Globalization offers huge potential profits to companies and nations but has been complicated by widely differing expectations, standards of living, cultures and values, and legal systems.”[1]

  Ingredients of Globalization Economic Top

A crucial aspect of globalization is the nature and power of multinational corporations.[2] Combination of multinational monopolistic corporate economy and development of advanced telecommunication, computer technology have contributed to an increasing interconnectivity between societies, increasing the effects on people and societies. The process has both negative and positive aspects. It has become a unifying force for the global village. The United Nations reports globalization opened international borders to increased flow of goods, services, finance, people, and ideas. Many countries have profited from globalization including China, India, Uganda, and Vietnam. A downside of globalization is an increase in increased drug abuse/trade, increased firearm use/trade, counterfeit production, increased crime, smuggling of immigrants, trafficking of women, and terrorism. Some who love traditions have been experiencing much anxiety about changes with grief reactions of “giving up” some of the valued, adored traditions, at times contributing to ethnocentric reactions.

  Science and Medicine Top

Building of the international space station, completion of the genome project and the development of new drugs, devices, and vaccines are just some of the efforts being conducted by the global scientific enterprise. However, the downside is the public health epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tobacco use, illegal use of drugs, pollution, new viral diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, global warming, and mad cow Disease. Another downside of globalization is an increase in human rights violation, crime, delinquency, violence, anxiety and depressive disorders, and addictive disorders. These epidemics do not respect national boundaries and require a global effort for success. Multinational businesses are moving employees to foreign locations where the concern for quality health care became paramount. There is an increasing flow of physicians and skilled as well as unskilled labor force between countries. Greater interaction between physicians and health care agencies of many countries brought the concept of a global profession of medicine, which in turn is contributing to an increase in globalization of economy and culture.

  Culture Top

“Sociology understands culture as the languages, customs, belief, rules, arts, knowledge, and collective identities and memories developed by members of all social groups that make their social environments meaningful. Sociologists study cultural meaning by exploring individual and group communication; meaningfulness is expressed in social narratives, ideologies, practices, tastes, values, and norms as well as in collective representations and social classifications.”

“Cultural globalization”, a phenomenon by which the experience of everyday life is influenced by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, reflects a standardization of cultural expressions around the world. Propelled by the efficiency or appeal of wireless communications, electronic commerce, popular culture, and international travel, globalization has been seen as a trend toward homogeneity that will eventually make human experience everywhere essentially the same.[3]

The sudden burst and power of globalization has swept like a flood tide through the world's diverse cultures, destroying stable localities, displacing peoples, bringing a market-driven, “branded” homogenization of cultural experience, thus obliterating the differences between locality-defined cultures which had constituted our identities and homogenization of cultures. The communications technologies – television, mobile phones, E-mail, and the Internet transformed us to have an international music, food cultures, and fashion designs.

  Changing Culture Top

Industrialization, urbanization, modernization, and globalization have contributed to significant changes in the culture of the world, more in the non-Western third world since the end of the colonial period, and the Second World War. “A vacuum is created between the traditional society and the modern society, due to modernization, industrialization and urbanization, and globalization” contributing to some progressive, some undesired changes.[4] Some of these changes will be highlighted below.

Family South Asian countries have predominantly traditional societies with an extended family system. “Joint family system is considered as one of the three fundamental institutions of Indian society among the village and caste. The extended family no longer exists due to physical, social, and economic environments, particularly in the urban settings.”[5] Families become more dispersed.[6] “Young and older adults, spouses, and other relatives who might otherwise have shared home are now more likely to live apart.”[7] The Indian family system has undergone a transitional phase after the Indian independence in 1947 due to the impact of consumerism and media. The effects are more seen among the traditional extended families that mostly depend on traditional agriculture-based economic activities. “This leads to adjustment problems and feelings of insecurity and alienation and created problems of caring for children, older persons, and the sick.”[8] “The traditional family system and culture of Indian society have experienced, including the aspects of shopping, eating, and clothing habits of the middle class.[9] The nuclear family with its parents and children has become the model of society and replaced the traditional, extended family usually constituting three generations. According to 2001 census, data have been growing rapidly not only in urban areas but also in rural India. “The disappearance of emotional ethos has affected the sociophysiological environment of individuals. A person feels alienated. The community is disappearing. Modern progress brings individualistic way of thinking; this causes increasing frustration and low tolerance level among the younger generation.”[10] However, the advantages of nuclear family are “increased personal freedom and space to grow, expression, much-needed privacy to the couples and avoidance of unnecessary meddling by others, financial stability, ease of adjusting to the work, educational demand, and thus reduction in the levels of stress and dependence.”[11]

Two parent working family

Even though this is very common in working-class Indians, this is a newer phenomenon in the middle and upper-middle class families. Children being cared for by nonfamily members while both parents are working may influence attachment and individuation issues. Fortunately, most of the studies do not show any significant ill effects in children of single parents and working mothers. Dr. Ashwani Kumar discussed the issue of double income/double working nuclear family the effects of child-rearing, parenting, and disciplining.[12]

Increase in divorce and separation rate

Divorce and separation are on the rise in many Asian countries. In the last decade, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka reported an increase in the proportion of divorced women. This contributes lowering of financial stability, increased stress, increased parenting burden, anxiety, depression, and alcohol use. Children may suffer more in broken families.[12]

Single parent households

There has been an emerging trend of single person households. “Over the last few years in Nepal the proportion of single person households increased from 3.2% to 4.0%.”[13] The highest proportion of female-headed households in South Asia can be observed in Sri Lanka where the figure increased from 19% in the 1990s to 20% in 2000 and is believed to be strongly associated with the nucleation of the household unit along with a significant reduction infertility.[7]

  Increase in Widowhood Top

“Bangladesh reported the highest proportion of widowed women in the age group 45–49 in the 1990s and has shown further increases. The lowest proportion is reported in Nepal. India also reported an increase in the incidence of widowhood.”[14]

Changing role of women

“The economic system has facilitated the freeing of women from household chores and their entrance to the labor market.”[14] In Europe, 53% of women were working outside of the home in contrast with 62% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 48% in the Caribbean, 36% in South Asia, and 29% in North Africa and 69% in East Asia (United Nations, 2010). The declining ability of men to earn a “family wage” along with the growing need for cash for family maintenance has resulted in an increasing number of female members (particularly the wife) in the family engaging in economic activities.[6]

This “feminization of the labor force” (29%–72% in various parts of the world) along with the rising divorce rate and out-of-wedlock births (for example, out-of-wedlock births now equal to 41% in the US) are two of the reasons for the shift in role of women in the marriage. It is shifting the concept of marriage as women are able to earn their own living, they are less likely to stay in destructive and abusive relationships or they may choose not to marry at all. As women's roles are changing, diverse family structures are becoming more common even in places such South Asia and the Middle East, where cultural beliefs about traditional roles in families have long played a significant role in preserving certain aspects of those societies.[15] Between Islamization and Globalization, Ali Akbar Mahdi writes Iranian women were caught between Islamization, that is, moving back to its roots, traditions, and culture to its Islamic past and of globalization with growing participation of women in nongovernmental organizations, public activities aimed to increase women's consciousness and social groups established in order to protect women's rights.[15] As per https://hubpages.com/@hamzasohail07 “Increasing globalization has increased the influence of Western culture in Pakistan, specifically to the affluent, who have easy access to television and other forms of electronic media, western products and food.”[16] In India, increased education of women not only in the South but also in North due to increased role of private sector and increase in the number of multinationals has facilitated a slow but definite rise in number of women managers and entrepreneurs in the corporate sector. The emergence of service sectors such as tourism, hospitality, media, entertainment, and business process outsourcings is witnessing an increased role for urban female employees. An educated middle class family allows female members to work outside the boundaries of the household. “A few years back, it was usual for South Indian families only but due to globalization the trend is clearly visible among the North Indian families as far as our survey revealed.”[9] “Females of middle-class families these days working with the multinational companies specifically in the computer-related industries outside their caste for the marriage and ready to break the traditional barrier of inter-caste marriage.”[9] “It solves their problem two-way relaxation in dowry and better broom for the daughter. Shadi (marriage) and divorce websites report that the intercaste marriage offers are happily being accepted by the middle class families in urban areas. This presents a never-seen-before opportunity to Indians who are looking to get remarried to individuals who have been through and understand similar.”[9]

Changing roles of men

Many Indian and Western media and some surveys document that many of the Indian men still struggling to give up traditional patriarchal role in their role with women and family. As an example, according to a survey, India ranked 132nd out of 148 countries on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index.[17] On the other hand, some writers highlighted changing, evolving role of Indian mother and father. For example, Nona Walia reports “The dad picture is changing. The new generation of men, modern fathers don't spend time with their children because they have to; they do it because they want to. Today's daddies are more hands-on; they are changing diapers, feeding babies, and taking them on stroller walks. The dads babysit when the moms go out to have a girls' night out. The modern-day man can easily find his way around the kitchen and wardrobe. The new dad struggle the most because they want to be involved with their children's lives, but have difficulties finding the right balance between work and family. They try to be full partners. They view their wives' careers as important as their own. Not only do they manage their work around their children but they also manage work around their spouse's job. A recent Pew report suggests that dads are spending more time than ever with their kids, but still feel it's not enough.”


Indian migrants moved to Africa, the Caribbean, and within the Indian subcontinent itself. Some of the top destinations of Indian migrants in more recent decades include Persian Gulf countries, North America, and Europe. India is the top source of international migrants, with one-in-twenty migrants worldwide born in India. As of 2015, 15.6 million people born in India were living in other countries. India is also one of the world's top destinations for international migrants. As of 2015, about 5.2 million immigrants live in India, making it the 12th largest immigrant population in the world. Even though the country is the top source of the world's migrants in total numbers, India has one of the world's lowest emigration rates. Only about 1% of India's birth population lives outside of the country, a similar emigration rate to that of the US India receive more remittances from migrants than any other country. About $69 billion was sent by Indian migrants to family and friends in India in 2015, amounting to roughly 3% of the country's gross domestic product, according to the World Bank estimates.

Recent migration of professionally and technically qualified persons in search of employment overseas, particularly to the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia has led to a new type of family form, known as transnational families. Transnational families are characterized by retaining roots in their home societies, and simultaneously also creating new ties in their host countries.

The newest wave of global migration pertains to the significance of female labor. As employment opportunities have opened up, an increasing number of women are migrating in order to take advantage of these prospects. According to the United Nations statistics, approximately 49.6% of all migrants now are women. In the process of migration, many of these women leave their families, and specifically their children, behind in their home areas. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “transnational mothering.” Unfortunately, many of these women often face criticism both at home and abroad due to the perception that they are “abandoning” their families even though the decision to seek employment in other places is for the collective good of their families and to provide better opportunities for their children. All these socioeconomic factors have strong cultural, familial, and psychological implications.


“Children makeup one-third of the world's population and are arguably the most physically, economically, and socially vulnerable group.” “Currently children under the age of 18 makeup nearly 48% of the population in the world's least developed countries, in comparison to 21% in the world's industrialized nations.” In both the industrialized and the developing World, the rate of child poverty is abysmal. “Problematic is also the issue of child labor.” Current statistics indicate that child labor may actually be on the increase “United Nations Children's Fund estimates that approximately 158 million children ages 5–14 are engaged in child labor” “Statistics on child labor do not highlight which children around the world live on the street and participate in a wide range of legal or illegal activities or are involved in prostitution.”[13]

Changing child-rearing practices, obedience to parental rules, respect, and acceptance of the decisions of elders, and helping children to develop a sense of identity are a few values that have been attributed to South Asian parents. In South Asian cultures neighbors, family members play an important role in helping parents. South Asians generally come from a collectivist culture that tends to organize its members' subjective experiences around one or more collectives, such as the family, religious group, or kinship network and emphasizes the internalization of group values, norms, and roles. They also give importance to religion and culture, group values, such as respect for elders and their authority; and of transmitting a sense of belonging to a cultural group. With Westernization, nuclearization of family, mothers working outside home activity schedules many South Asian families are practicing a bicultural approach even to child-rearing practices. Some tend to agree globalization is resulting in inappropriate domination of the Western market-economic approaches to child-rearing practices and may be contributing to over emphasis on individuation early on. “Cultural invasions,” cultural pluralism, and clashes between cultures are inevitable consequences on individualism and undermining traditional value system and ways of child-rearing.

  Other Social Aspects Top

The new middle-class families who live in modern houses and apartments, own luxury vehicles and other status symbols, and educate their children in international colleges[4],[18] are a major catalyst in reshaping the culture and challenging old class-based cultural practices.

Caste system has played a significant role in shaping the occupations and roles as well as values of Indian society, contributing to unfortunate discrimination, segregation, violence, and inequality. Caste continues to play an important role in the dynamic of social and political interactions within India. However, the relationship between caste and hereditary occupations has become less significant now, and there are fewer restrictions on social interaction among castes, especially in urban areas.[19] “The present Indian society is moving from its closed systems toward a state of change and progression marked by the assertion of the human spirit irrespective of castes and creeds.”[20]

Multimedia such as television, movies, and radios which drive them in the direction of consumerism, “the new trend is marked by the emergence of a new urban middle class, stimulated by the trends in globalization and information technology.”[4] “The new middle-class families live in modern houses and apartments, own luxury vehicles and other status symbols, engage in overseas traveling, educate their children in international colleges, shop at modern supermarkets with credit cards, seek private hospitals, and services for maintaining health care.”[4],[18]

Globalization and language

Globalization is influencing mother-tongue education to different extents in different countries. Multilingualism has been the fabric of Indian societies for centuries and India's pluralism manifests in its linguistic diversity. India's linguistic diversity poses complex challenges but also a range of opportunities. Indian 2001 census reported 57 languages with more than a million speakers and in some areas children speak three or four languages even before going to school. Globalization brought about more awareness of the values of indigenous cultures and mother tongues. It also has brought about the challenges such as the place of English. These cases suggest that it is essential for educators and policy-makers in each nation to reshape the evolution of national language policies in such a way that the rights of all citizens to education in their own mother-tongues should be respected, and the social, cultural, and linguistic resources of multiethnic and diverse societies can be sustained and preserved. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and other international and national organizations need to further investigate the patterns of language education in countries and develop programs that help them to tap their rich linguistic and cultural heritages for betterment societies and nations in the global era.

“The ‘golden age’ of dialects was associated with an essentially rural society, where the local community was central and permanence the rule, where mobility across geographical and other boundaries was the exception.”[21]

“In a globalized world, Indians are fast losing touch with the charm and beauty of regional languages and dialects.” “Urban Indians have for decades urged their children to acquire fluency in English in a bid to secure admissions to highbrow educational institutions, and to further professional careers. Moreover, now increasingly the rural population of India is following suit.” “In such a situation, genres that relied heavily on literature and poetry such as the ghazal have taken a severe beating.” Ghazals, which not long ago enjoyed massive popularity, today face a bleak future.[22]


Globalization of economy and culture contributed to internationalization of cuisine. In most of the world's metropolitan areas including New York, London, and Mumbai multiethnic foods including Indian, Italian, pizza, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, Vietnamese, French, and others have become popular. It is possible that the pleasure of ethnic food promotes global culture and global harmony. These ethnic foods are also creeping into kitchens and dining rooms of homes, which can enhance global flavors to culture.

Festivals, art, entertainment, and globalization did not spare celebration of festivals, music, art, and entertainment. Holidays such as valentine's Day, christmas, diwali, Chinese new year, and others celebrated much of the world with spread of multiculturalism.

Traditional forms of classical, folk, and tribal forms dance and music enjoyed niche and regional following. However, they are now slowly being edged out toward extinction. Even the West, which not so long ago revered traditional Indian arts and music, albeit for their perceived spirituality and exoticism, is now increasingly becoming a consumer of Bollywood music. “The impact is starkly evident in India today where most other forms of music find themselves marginalized and pushed either into regional corners or, worse still, abandoned.” Evolved is “the emergence and success of rock and fusion bands who play rock music as it would be played anywhere Rock musicians donning turbans, jackets, kurtas, and vest is made of handloom cloth; skirts or lehengas and other items of ethnic clothing as costume; Kathakali face paint or kutchi ghodi, work hard for sounding as ‘international’ as possible.”[22]

“Cultural identity involves at its core a sense of attachment or commitment to a cultural group and it has both cultural and psychological phenomenon.”[23] A psychological identity relates to self-image (a person's mental model of him or herself), self-esteem, and individuality. The term “identity” refers to the capacity for self-reflection and the awareness of self, while sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role-behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Psychologists most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Eriksonian framework rests upon a distinction among the psychological sense of continuity, known as the ego identity (sometimes identified simply as “the self”). The collection of social roles that a person might play, known as either the social identity or the cultural identity, a concept which lies at the heart of our contemporary cultural understanding.

  Culture and Psyche Top

As per Margaret Mead, “culture means the whole complex of traditional behavior which has been developed by the human race and is successively learned by each generation. A culture is less precise. It can mean the forms of traditional behavior which are characteristics of a given society, or of a group of societies, or of a certain race, or of a certain area, or of a certain period of time.”[24]

Recent cultural psychology, cross-cultural psychology, genetics and epigenetics, neurobiology and neuropsychology, cultural neuroscience, cultural-historical psychology research, classical developmental, psychoanalytic, learning theory and systems thinking shows culture influences human brain and mind.

Sigmund Freud[25] is one of the first to document that culture played an influential role in the development of psyche, particularly Superego. According to Freud, the struggles between nature or biological drives and parental values, cultural prohibitions, and + inhibitions contribute to develop the superego. The present, past, culture, the tradition of the race contributes development of superego. Gouriou[26] described an “ethnic unconscious” developed in specific ethnic groups due to specific defense mechanisms, personality traits the culture contributes to their development. Franz Alexander's writings added to understanding the role of race, class, nation, moral code in the development of human psyche. Erik Erikson, a major contributor, described in his Society the role of communal identity, relationship between culture and self, and conflict between senses of self-identity and community. He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts.[27] According to Erikson, the ego develops as it successfully resolves crises that are distinctly social in nature. These involve establishing a sense of trust in others, developing a sense of identity in society, and helping the next generation prepare for the future. In “Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence”, Erikson reconstructed Gandhi's psyche based on Gandhi's early years in Kathiawar on the Arabian Sea and his years of exile in London and South Africa. Karen Horney reformulated Freudian thought and presented a holistic, humanistic perspective that emphasized cultural and social influences, human growth, and the achievement of self-actualization.[28] Object relations theories added role cultural influences in separation/individuation, formation self, and autonomy. Karl Jung was considered a friend of Indian psychoanalysis incorporated the concepts of Yoga, atman, citta, tapas, samskara, and Mandela into his writings.[29]

  Culture and Indian Psyche Top

The following quotes and excerpts from various authors who studied and written about variations to Indian psyche due to role of extended family, child-rearing practices, family structures, role of religion, spirituality, socioeconomic factors, and gender differences highlight variations to Indian psyche in comparison to Western psyche.

The earliest roots of Medicine are found in ancient civilizations which conceptualized health broadly and holistically. Examples are found in Eastern (Ayurvedic, Chinese) and Western (ancient Greek) medicine. Ayurveda (“Science of Life”) in India focused on patient's health rather than disease and envisaged a harmonious frame work of health and life. It was a highly personalized approach in treatment which aimed at enhancement of the quality of life. Ayurveda fostered “Guru-Chela” (Teacher-Disciple) like relationship between patient and doctor. Charaka Samhita in the 1st century AD can be considered to be an ancient Indian code of medical ethics. One of the principles was to relieve suffering with compassion even at the cost of discomfort or risk to oneself.

Girindrasekhar Bose, who formed the Indian Psychoanalytic Society in 1922, pointed out in his correspondence with Sigmund Freud cultural variations in psychoanalytic concepts he had encountered in his Indian patients. Bose pointed out differences in the castration reactions of his Indian and European patients and the desire to be a female is more prevalent in Indian male patients than in European.[30] Bose had written the role of Maternal-Feminine in Indian male Children growing up naked till age 9–10.

Roland[31] describes that the “familial self” or the “we self” that predominates in Indian and Japanese psyches is rooted in the subtle emotional hierarchical relationships of the extended family. In contrast, strongly Western “individualized self” is rooted in nuclear family relationships that promote autonomy from infancy. Roland describes the emotional problems that occur in immigrant Indians and Japanese can be due to this split self. When they successfully integrate, new patterns of self evolves resulting in “expanding self” or “bicultural self.”

Due to Indian family structure, certain aspects of powerful mother (goddess) have great impact on development of male child.[29] This influences development of sense of self. He also writes “most Indians have remained true to the traditional Indian identity in which the maternal cosmos of infancy and early childhood is the inner world.” “The preconscious system of beliefs and values associated with concepts of moshka, dharma, and karma forms a meta-reality for Hindus.”[32] Sudhir Kakar beautifully describes in his “modernity and female childhood” role of modernity, changing Indian childhood due to demographic, societal evolutionary aspects. Kakar writes that parental discrimination between sons and daughters was declining, lessened restriction of girls' freedom, less protective of “purity” of girls.[29] Fathers have been spending more time with daughters. Nuclearization contributed to greater autonomy of children. Many of these changes contributed to formation of more autonomous, less dependent female child with an ever increasing sense of self, self-worthiness, and self-esteem.

Durganand Sinha illustrates that there is a value ambiguity among the young Indians due to the poverty of links between historical role models and role models in real life, culture gap between them and the parental generation, and the value conflicts with fast-changing world.[33]

Das and Cave[34] in her “reflections on the social construction of adulthood” points out that the conceptual system of South Asia, the individual is seen as constantly being transformed by his transactions with others sine he can convey the essence of his nature and receive the essence of others by entering into relationships of transaction. B.K. Ramanujam writes an Indian adult “subordinating one's individual needs to the interests of the group, be it a family, a kinship group, a clan, or a class, is upheld as a virtue. The self-assertion becomes selfishness, independent decision-making is perceived as disobedience.” These phenomena are very different than Western ways.

Ajit Avasthi writes “for an average Indian, the inner self is lodged in a ‘circle of intimacy’ or the family.” Unlike the Western man whose selfhood is confined to his own body, the Indian self-diffuses into this intimate circle, with bond, bondship, and kinship becoming the fulfilling elements of life. From childhood, social relationships in Indians are spread over several people like grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and siblings, and hence, parents are not the sole guardians or regulators of the child. With the growth of the individual, a series of similar relationships of varying intensity and duration develop and at no point of time do Indians assume full individual responsibility. Even marriage marks the development of a new set of relationship instead of independence. Hence, unlike the singularity, self-sufficiency, and independence of Western selfhood, the core Indian psyche is based on intimacy, family security, and stability. Under these circumstances, the boundaries between “me” and “not me” tend to get blurred, and for Indians, “we” rather than “I” becomes important. The early Indian psyche is also based on the fear of separation from the cosmic one which is integral to the Hindu philosophical beliefs of transmigration of soul, rebirth, and fatalism.[35]

Guzder and Krishna[36] write “India has an unbroken tradition of Devi (mother goddess) for over 5000 years. The Indian feminine is shaped within a gendered hierarchy of extended family life, consciously preoccupied with purity, restraint, and honor. Ancient and dynamic realities coexist in modernity, motherhood remains the central identity of the Indian women, and even though contemporary Indian women have become prominent politicians, Bollywood stars, astronauts, activists, artists, and businesswomen.”

“Cultural identity involves at its core a sense of attachment or commitment to a cultural group and is thus both a cultural and psychological phenomenon.”[23] A psychological identity relates to self-image (a person's mental model of him or herself), self-esteem, and individuality. The term “identity” refers to the capacity for self-reflection and the awareness of self, while sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Psychologists most commonly use the term “identity” to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic things that make a person unique. Eriksonian framework rests upon a distinction among the psychological sense of continuity, known as the ego identity (sometimes identified simply as “the self”). The collection of social roles that a person might play is known as “social identity” or “cultural identity,” a concept which lies at the heart of our contemporary cultural understanding.

  Globalization of Culture–impact on Indian Psyche Top

Growth of consumerism in India, this sudden acceleration contributed to a perception of the loss of traditional Hindu culture and promoted Western individualism. “Affluent Indian women were celebrating women's independence.” “Affluent Indians increasingly embraced dating and love marriages as real possibilities.”[37] “There was transformation of family and gender arrangements, but nonelite Indian men rejected these new cultural maps because globalization has failed to transform the structural realities novelties face.” “A change in the material world has been accompanied by a change in the mental world of thoughts and feelings.”[37]

One of the results of some of these rapid changes with modernization, globalizations, was formation of “bicultural or hybrid or multicultural identity,” that is, part of one's identity is rooted in the local culture while another part stems from one's relation to the global world. A good example of bicultural identity is among the educated youth in India who despite being integrated into the global fast-paced technological world, may continue to have deep-rooted traditional Indian values with respect to their personal lives and choices such as preference for an arranged marriage.

  • Identity confusion: Instead of becoming bicultural, they may feel isolated and excluded from both their local culture and the global culture, truly belonging to neither. It may result in an acute sense of alienation and impermanence as they grow up with a lack of cultural certainty. Identity confusion among young people may be reflected in problems such as depression, suicide, and substance use
  • Spread of emerging adulthood: The timing of transitions to adult roles such as work, marriage and parenthood are occurring at later stages as the need for preparing for jobs in an economy that is highly technological and information based is slowly extending from the late teens to the mid-twenties. As the traditional hierarchies of authority weaken and break down under the pressure of globalization, the youth are forced to develop control over their own lives including marriage and parenthood. The spread of emerging adulthood is related to issues of identity. Where a period of emerging adulthood is present, young people have a longer period for identity explorations in love and work before they commit themselves to long-term choices. By experiencing different love relationships, different educational possibilities, and different jobs, they learn more about themselves and they clarify their preferences and abilities.”

  Summary of Some of the Changes in the Indian Psyche Top

  1. Changes in the formation of self have two major changes. First is loosening of familial/we self of East and introjections of Western/I self and second is the emergence of bi/multicultural self. The familial/we self Alan Roland described that develops in Eastern Psyches due to the presence of extended family, has been yielding to Western Individual self due to nuclearization of family. Globalization has been contributing to evolution of bi/multicultural self with identities of both a traditional ethnic self-combined with an international/multinational self
  2. Changes in individuation and autonomy – The changing role of real and internalized Indian mother in the formation of autonomy. Role of nuclearization of family is in development of individuation and autonomy. There is increased role of peer group in formation of self and autonomy. Increased influence media in the development of social networks and their influence on psychic formation including social brain, self-esteem, identity
  3. Special changes in women's psyche – With industrialization, modernization and globalization, women earned opportunities to study and become a bread winner, thus giving them an economic freedom. This is contributing for women to develop more a sense of independent self, which in turn has influenced family structures and hierarchies
  4. Men – Indian men are struggling to give up traditional patriarchal role but evolving into the dad in new modern generation of men. The new dad struggle the most because they want to be involved with their children's lives but have difficulties finding the right balance between work and family. This struggle contributes to intrapsychic, interpersonal, familial conflicts, and changing child-rearing practices
  5. Changes into adulthood – A slight modification to Eriksonian view of developmental stages – Growth is continuous and surgent (developmental phases). This is true of cultures and psyches and Indian psyche. Modernity and globalization continue to impact second individuation or intimacy versus isolation phase of adolescence and young adulthood, third individuation or generativity versus stagnation phase of middle age, and ego integrity versus despair phase of older age. With the changes due to globalization and modernization, the traditional Indian developmental stages that were based on extended family may be yielding to a more Western individualistic societal norm
  6. Family – As the nuclear family is replacing the extended family, emotional ethos has affected the sociopsychological environment of individuals. A person now feels alienated but at the same time experiences and hopefully enjoys the increased personal freedom and space to grow. The changing ethos and environment also grants enhanced privacy to the couples and decreased intrusion by others, perhaps at the cost of sacrificing some benefits of the extended family and the larger society
  7. Social – All the above changes in men, women, family, and autonomy/individuation perhaps are changing societal structures, social psyche, and maybe social brain.

  Globalization of Non-west and Psychiatric Clinical Practice Top

The World Psychiatric Association stated that “increased ethnic and cultural diversity of service users has led to a wider range of attitudes and beliefs in relation to mental illness” and “increased ethnic and cultural diversity of service providers has led to a wider range of approaches and beliefs in relation to mental health care.”[38] “In developed countries, increased rates of inward migration have led to increases of migration-associated mental disorders.” “In rapidly developing countries, socioeconomic changes and life events have led to increases in rates of mental disorders.” “In all countries, the development of technology has led to increased information on a range of health-care services, resulting in increased demand.” “Finally, globalization has contributed to an increased emphasis on the implementation of international protocols in psychiatric training, mental health policy, and the protection of human rights of mental patients.” “It has also resulted into a thorough examination of the concept of social capital and its influence on the mental health of populations.”[38]

  Conclusions Top

Globalization, modernity, industrialization of economy, science, and medicine contributing to major shakeups in the traditional non-Western cultures with loss of old traditions, changing roles for men, women, and children, child-rearing practices, work habits, and traditional social structures such as the caste system. Class variables are evolving to a newer, hopefully a better social systems. “The “cultural identity” was something people had cherished as an undisturbed existential possession, in which there is an inheritance of continuity with the past.”[23] This contributed to the globalization of culture causing visible changes in both individuals and group identity, reshaping the development of a new self (bi-cultural multicultural self), a new sense of autonomy, and newer sense of individuation. All these, in turn, are contributing to the development of an evolving new culture, with the hope of preparing us better for a new, better world.

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