BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Igbo people dwell in Nigeria’s eastern region. The Efik and Ibibio, who appear to have some cultural similarities with the Igbo, border them to the east. The Idoma and Igala ethnic groups live in the north, while the Benin, Urhobo, and Isoko ethnic groups are in the west. In the south, you’ll find the Ogoni and the Ikwere. The majority of Igbo people live in Nigeria’s states of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi. Others reside in the Delta and River states, as well.
The rich cultural history of the Igbo is explained by the aforementioned geographical context. The Igbo family system is one of the cultural institutions being addressed. Despite countless years of education and the impact of western culture, tracing the origins of the Igbo family system is challenging. This might be due to a variety of conventional worldviews, external influences, and cultural implications. One may conclude from names like Ahudie, which means husband’s body, Nkem, which means mine, and Enyidie, which means husband’s buddy or companion, that it is as ancient as man or began with the origin of man. It is a sociological reality that the Igbo family was created to bring Igbo cultural values, customs, and traditions together in a web of relationships. As a result, in Igbo society, one is linked to another through blood or marriage.
The father, mother, child (ren), or ward of an Igbo family is therefore regarded as the basic social, religious, economic, and political unity of the larger community (s). Individualism is considered to be outlawed in the Igbo family. The extended family system exemplifies this reality.
Extended family members include patrilinial and matrilinial uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws, as well as patrilinial and matrilinial uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. They have a say in Igbo family issues and have always made moral, social, economic, and religious commitments to the Igbo family system’s progress.
They have yearned for and nurtured their family members’ traditional values, and their tight hold on their relatives has fostered the traditional Igbo way of life. Igbo people follow their culture’s rules and customs. This helps to explain why some characteristics of the Igbo may be expected. The Igbo people, for example, are hard workers who believe in the dignity of labor. This is because agriculture was their primary source of income, and everyone, including children and women, worked in it. In the traditional framework of Igbo family life, the requirement for greater labor and agriculturally enhanced production justifies the necessity for more than one wife, according to Igbo custom. It was also because they didn’t have any beggars and couldn’t relate to idleness. The elderly are respected by Igbo families because they think the elderly are the closest link to the representatives of the ancestors. They believe in the improvement of life, which is why they do not engage in violence. In Igboland, this augmentation of life has increased the value of the unborn and the living dead. Thus, there appears to be an ongoing contact between the worlds of the spirit and the world of the living through the unborn and the living dead. They could be able to reincarnate into their family as a result of this.
Every member of an Igbo family is affected by the value system. Every member of the family is regarded as a brother by the other members of the family. As a result, they prefer to serve rather than be served. They despise envy because it may lead to one person harming another. “Onye bebe nwanne ya ebebe” is a phrase that depicts the spider web relationship that exists among the Igbo (when one cries, his relatives cry also).
The aforementioned spider web relationship has fostered Igbo religious morality, which has influenced everyone in the family to act morally. They also establish taboos and punishments that act as a moral compass in Igbo family life. In traditional Igbo life, this socio-religious moral framework provided a bearing, a direction, and a principle on which people’s whole life activities were based. Traditional Igbo people value self-effort and success, which are still recognized with traditional titles or merit prizes like Ogbuagu, Ikemba, and Dike.
Celibacy has no place in the Igbo family system. Life is viewed as a never-ending series of events that revolve around the family. Every member takes an active role in the group. In marriage, the bridegroom approaches the bride indirectly through an “onye aka ebe” (witness) or “onye ajuju” (intermediary) (an inquirer or middleman). The three parties, the bridegroom, the bride, and the mediator, are supposed to keep the matter secret. If a bridegroom mismanages his marital approach and the problem becomes a public talking point in the village before the official announcement, the intended marriage may fail. This might be due to the actions of evil or wicked storytellers whose goals are to misinform and misrepresent matters affecting the people and families involved. They’re known as ndi agbugba or ndi emu (the gossippers). Despite these aspects of the Igbo family pattern of life, the Igbo family institution also has certain detrimental marriage customs.
In Igboland, colonialism and missionary efforts ushered in western education and civilisation. This meant that, in Chinua Achebe’s words, “things broke apart and things are no longer at peace.” There were significant shifts in authority and in every aspect of Igbo society. However, the researcher’s worry is about the consequences of modernity on Igbo families; respect for the elderly appears to be harmed as a result of individualism. Worldly desires, consumerism, and luxury are all influenced by modernity. In today’s Igboland, they are at odds with Igbo cultural norms and values like diligence, respect, honesty, hard work, patriotism, patience, truth-telling, and responsibility. The rejection of patriotic activities has had a severe impact on Igbo cultural institutions, such as family life. Because materialism appears to confuse their sense of objectivity to the values and ideas upon which the Igbo family is built, less emphasis is placed on the moral integrity of spouses. Some parents, particularly moms, insist that it’s either the man of their dreams or no marriage at all. The men at issue may be of dubious character, but they consider giving their daughter in marriage as an expression of gratitude to such guys, who may be as elderly as their spouses, owing to money and material pleasure. In a few instances, such a spouse must have been courting their future mother-in-laws. To avoid losing them, they transfer such a connection to their daughters under the guise of marriage. To get their children to accept the connection, these moms employ a variety of tactics, including begging, threatening, and caressing. This is especially true when the moms are widows who have resorted to business. The support they get from such prospective in-laws is not quickly forgotten; in fact, it is used as a benchmark, with the promise of more if the marriage is successful. When such a marriage occurs in the family, the in-laws are known to go to bed with their mother-in-laws.
In contemporary times, the Igbo family has experienced cultural clashes. The poison of modernity not only pollutes the Igbo system, but also appears to cause irresponsibility and disdain for Igbo values. A closer examination of what defines the issue statement would shed more light on the effects of modernity on the Igbo’s socio-religious activities as they are experienced in the home.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study’s backdrop indicates that there is a cultural interaction between Igbo and western civilizations, resulting in a major cultural clash. The spread of western culture among Igbo families has undermined the Igbo family’s basic socio-religious values. Although a predilection for and adherence to western culture has certain advantages, its consequences for Igbo families are mixed. In Igboland, is modernism a burden or a blessing? This has not been addressed by religious sociologists, but it has been discussed by literary and historical luminaries such as Achebe and Afigbo. People, institutions, and relationships are all transformed by culture.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY OBJECTIVE
The overall goal of the research is to critical investigate the evolution and its socio-religious impact of on Igbo families
1. To assess how the traditional value system of the Igbo people can be revived.
2. To assess how Igbo morality can be restored.
3. To assess how evolution came to be among the Igbo people.
The following research questions guide the objective of the study.
1. How can the traditional value system of the Igbo people be revived?
2. How can Igbo morality be restored?
3. How did evolution come to be among the Igbo people?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The thesis is noteworthy because it is the most current study of the socio-religious impacts of modernity on Igbo families. This study will aid in the development of policy guidelines on the effects of modernity on Igbo families. The research is important in fostering balanced knowledge, social cohesion, and peace in the entire society as a reference point for individuals and institutions on the Igbo family structure. Society is in a better position to reflect the family’s image. Our future generations will have a better understanding of their forefathers’ worldview as a result of this research. This will help them to develop their value system. Through mutual tolerance, accommodation, and respect for human dignity, the study challenges the church and the family in Igboland to talk so that peace, security, and unity can rule in Igboland.
This research will also add to the current body of literature on this subject and will also act as a resource for academics, researchers, and students interested in conducting future research on this or a similar topic.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study’s scope refers to the area in which it will be conducted. The aim of this study is explained by the research topic: Socio-Religious Analysis of the Effects of Modernity on Igbo Families. In Igbo states like Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi, the conflict of cultures between traditional Igbo families and modernization in Igbo family structures is being investigated.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
The study was limited to the Igbo culture only. As that was the basis of the study, other cultures were not considered for the study.
METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY
The researcher followed the accepted rules of the historical method in order to offer a high-quality work. The usual, analytical, and critical examination and description of historical evidence was used in the qualitative method. The researcher began the study by examining and studying the facts in the secondary sources that were pertinent to the study’s problem. Notes were meticulously taken during the data collection course to allow the researcher to understand the major ideas and important elements of the materials gathered, as well as the perspectives and conclusions of authors whose works were indispensable to the study.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
EVOLUTION: the gradual development of something.
SOCIO-RELIGIOUS: Sociology of religion is the study of the beliefs, practices, and organizational forms of religion using the tools and methods of the discipline of sociology. This objective investigation may include the use of quantitative methods and qualitative approaches.