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Week 8 Lecture 1 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

Page1Week 8 Lecture 1 Globalizing CultureGEOG 2200 2012The current wave of globalization in markets governance and communications has increased interconnectedness between companies states and peoples worldwide Indicators of structural changes affecting the role and autonomy of the nationstate touched upon two weeks ago range from the proliferation of international NGOs and the expanding power of agencies like the European Union and United Nations to the rise of multilateral agreements regulating trade human rights and environmental protection The sovereignty and autonomy of the nationstate has been eroded a process that has perhaps gone furthest within the European Union But how has the public responded to these developments Many assume that the rise of global governance may have weakened traditional national identities for good or ill but skeptics suggest there are few grounds for this beliefMost studies of globalization have tended to focus on changes occurring in the economic and political spheres considering three questions Has the rise of global governance transformed national identities so that more people have come to see themselves as part of their continent or world community rather than say Americans Russians or British or at a more local level as Bostonians Muscovites or Londoners How far do the public have confidence and trust in the institutions of global governance including multilateral associations and international organizations such as the United Nations European Union the Organization of African Unity and ASEAN And how far do the public support economic policies leading towards greater globalization such as approving of free trade and labour migration The Cultural DimensionThe question are we moving towards a global citizen has been touched upon already What was the role of the consumer in postFordism We also mentioned the idea of the global consumer and the global shopping mall Certainly two weeks ago we touched upon the idea of a stateless world or at least the emerging tensions between the State and global and regional forms of governance And last week we talked about the idea that world cities are often more connected to each other than to other cities and communities of the national hinterland But what about culture Are we moving towards a global culture Are we moving towards that global consumer Are we moving towards a global citizen What makes a Canadian a CanadianDo we need to be told by some beer corporation who we are I am CanadianThe dramatic changes brought about by globalization have forced policymakers to respond to public pressures in many areas other than the economic and the political Observers of globalization are increasingly recognizing that globalization is having a significant impact on matters such as local cultures matters which are less tangible and hard to quantify but often fraught with intense emotion and controversy Jeremy Rifkin a prominent critic of globalization writes thatThe powers that be have long believed that the world is divided into two spheres of influence commerce and government Now organizations representing the cultural spherethe environment species preservation rural life health food and cuisine religion human rights the family womens issues ethnic heritage the arts and other qualityoflife issuesare pounding on the doors at world economic and political forums and demanding a place at the table They represent the birth of a new civilsociety politics and an antidote to the forces pushing for globalizationPage2One of the reasons that culture is often set to one side in debates over globalization is in part because cultural issues are more subtle and sensitive and often more confusing Is globalization good for culture Does it have a positive impact on local cultures Certainly there are differing opinions David Rothkopf in his article In Praise of Cultural Imperialism Foreign Policy June 22 1997 writesThe homogenizing influences of globalization that are most often condemned by the new nationalists and by cultural romanticists are actually positive globalization promotes integration and the removal not only of cultural barriers but of many of the negative dimensions of culture Globalization is a vital step toward both a more stable world and better lives for the people in it On the other hand Maude Barlow in her article The Global Monoculture Earth Island Journal Autum 2001 writesMany societies particularly indigenous peoples view culture as their richest heritage without which they have no roots history or soul Its value is other than monetary To commodify it is to destroy itWhat constitutes cultureCulture consists of the beliefs behaviours objects and other characteristics common to the members of a particular group or society Through culture people and groups define themselves conform to societys shared values and contribute to society Thus culture includes many societal aspects language customs values norms mores rules tools technologies products organizations and institutions This latter term institution refers to clusters of rules and cultural meanings associated with specific social activities Common institutions are the family education religion work and health care Sociologists define society as the people who interact in such a way as to share a common culture The cultural bond may be ethnic or racial based on gender or due to shared beliefs values and activities The term society can also have a geographic meaning and refer to people who share a common culture in a particular location For example people living in arctic climates developed different cultures from those living in desert cultures In time a large variety of human cultures arose around the world Culture and society are therefore intricately related A culture consists of the objects of a society whereas a society consists of the people who share a common culture When the terms culture and society first acquired their current meanings most people in the world worked and lived in small groups in the same locale In todays world of 6 billion people these terms have lost some of their usefulness because increasing numbers of people interact and share resources globally The question of culture and its importance to human life is embodied in the deep appreciation of cultural diversity described in the first three articles of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted in November 2001Article 1 Cultural diversity the common heritage of humanityCulture takes diverse forms across time and space This diversity is embodied in the uniqueness and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies making up humankind As a source of exchange innovation and creativity cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature In this sense It is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations
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