Westernization  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Westernization or occidentalization (from occident, see wiktionary) is a process whereby societies come under or adopt the Western culture in such matters as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, language, alphabet, religion or values. Westernization has been a pervasive and accelerating influence across the world in the last few centuries. It is usually a two-sided process, in which western influences and interests themselves are joined by a wish of at least parts of the affected society to change towards a more westernized society, in the hope of attaining western life or some aspects of it.

Westernization can also be related to the process of acculturation and/or enculturation. Acculturation refers to the changes that occur within a society or culture when two different groups come into direct continuous contact. After the contact, changes in cultural patterns within either or both cultures are evident. In popular speech, Westernization can also refer to the effects of Western expansion and colonialism on native societies.

For example, natives who have adopted European languages and characteristic Western customs are called acculturated or Westernized. Westernization may be forced or voluntary depending on the situation of the contact.

Different degrees of domination, destruction, resistance, survival, adaptation, and modification of the native culture may follow interethnic contact. In a situation where the native culture experiences destruction as a result of a more powerful outsider, a "shock phase" often is a result from the encounter. This shock phase is especially characteristic during interactions involving expansionist or colonialist eras. During the shock phase, civil repression using military force may lead to a cultural collapse, or ethnocide, which is a culture’s physical extinction. According to Conrad Phillip, the westerners "will attempt to remake the native culture within their own image, ignoring the fact that the models of culture that they have created are inappropriate for settings outside of western civilization" (Phillip, Conrad. (2005). Window on Humanity. New York: McGraw-Hill).

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Westernization" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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