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Indigenization is a term that is used in a variety of ways depending on the context. It is the fact of making something more native; transformation of some service, idea, etc. to suit a local culture, especially through the use of more indigenous people in administration, employment, etc.[1]

The term is primarily used by anthropologists to describe what happens when locals take something from the outside and make it their own (e.g. Africanization, Americanization). [2]

In world politics, indigenization is the process in which non-Western cultures redefine their native land for better use in agriculture and mass marketing. Due to imperialism and the impetus to modernize, many countries and cultures invoked Western values and ideals of liberalism, democracy and independence in the past. But now, along with experiencing their own share of cultural confidence, they desire to revert to their traditional cultures and values.

Since the 1980s and the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of Islam and "re-Islamization" in Muslim societies. In India, Western forms and values have been replaced in the process of "Hinduization" of politics and society and in East Asia, Confucian values are being promoted as part of the "Asianization" process. Japan has also had its share of Indigenization in the form of "Nihonjinron" or the theory of Japan and the Japanese. In the New Asian Hemisphere, Kishore Mahbubani says:

"The mindsets of the largest populations within Asia- the Chinese, the Muslims, and the Indians- have been changed irrevocably. Where once they may have lived happily borrowed Western lenses and Western cultural perspectives to look at the world, now, with growing cultural self-confidence, their perceptions are growing further and further apart."[3]

However, the word indigenization is also used in almost the opposite sense, it means: to increase local participation in or ownership of, to indigenize foreign-owned companies, or to adapt (beliefs, customs, etc.) to local ways.[4]

Types of indigenization[edit]

  • Zimbabwean Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2008: indigenization is a policy where the local people of a state take part in ownership of companies or industries in their state, or the local residents are given part of the profits which are used to develop their area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Indigenization". wiktionary. 
  2. ^ "Indigenize: Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Mahbubani, Kishore (2008). The New Asian Hemisphere: The irresistible shift of global power to the east. publicaffairs. p. 131. 
  4. ^ "Indigenize: Define Indigenize at". Retrieved 23 October 2014.