Social Scientist. v 4, no. 42 (Jan 1976) p. 25.


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SUSANTHA GOONETILAKE

Colonial Culture

CULTURAL COLONIZATION is emerging as one of the dominant factors in the social situation of colonial and neo-colonial countries. Colonial artefacts as well as world outlooks tend to be among the most pervasive influences to persist after formal decolonization. This article attempts to examine the global structure whereby colonial culture is generated, transmitted and received, with special attention to the process of its legitimiza-tion.

Long before the days of imperialist expansion, cultural contacts existed between peoples far and near,equal and subordinate. The Egyptians transmitted rudimentary concepts of building, writing and irrigation to surrounding regions in the millennium before Christ.' Similarly, river "valley civilizations like those of the Indus and Sumer exchanged cultural artefacts as is evident in the archaeological remains of the two regions.

At a less known but equally dramatic level there were cultural transactions across the Indian and Pacific Oceans with people of Malay-sian and Polynesian stock carrying cultural artefacts like outrigger canoes to regions extending from East Africa to the Pacific Islands. At a more sophisticated level, there was the transmission of the mathematical knowledge of India, mainly algebra, to the European nations through the Arab intermediaries in AD ninth or tenth century. Similarly at an



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