MIT 1700 Lecture: Globalization and the Digital Divide

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2200F/G
Kane Faucher

MIT 1700 Lecture “Globalization and the Digital DividMarch 29, 2011 Globalization and the Digital Divide Globalization - is a force that has had impact on our economic, social, technological lives that began with the dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991. - No more worlds of Democracy, Communism, everyone else (1, 2, 3rd world) No such thing as these todays - This notion of american capital and the soviet union is gone, no longer the polarity by which the world operates. Everyone else was caught between Democracy and Communism - Now the polarities are different. More between the North and South, the haves and have-nots - The new axis - Globalization has resulted - Increased disparity between rich and poor. Highlightenflict between dwindling natural resources. Economy - Mobilized capital. The ability to relocate labour. - Global reach of capital - The diffusion of goods, values and tastes on a global scale - More people recognize the McDonalds arches than the Christian cross - global semiotic/language. these symbols are everywhere - Migration from industrial labour to service and info economy jobs - Job spaces become flexible and can go wherever you go - Cheaper ICTS allow individuals to circumvent government control over info - Global diffusion of commodities - Global branding. Dominant corporate brands begin displacing religious and national symbols - Does cultural blending flatten ethnicities to their commodifiable traits? I.e. fashion and cuisine? - Does the decreasing power of central authorities such as Church and State lead to a loss of civil guidance? - Is postmodernity simply a mashup or is it a pluralist utopia? - Two predominant definitional flavours of globalization: optimistic and pessimistic - Optimists - Globalization is good. An integration of all social, economic and cultural systems facilitating cooperative growth and more equality - Pessimists - Globalization is bad: a flattening, hegemonic system that privileges cultural imperialistic tactics which reinforces … (?) Cultural Imperialism “ A pillar of emergent imperial society. Messages in “Made in America” radiate across the globe and serve as the ganglia of national power and expansionism” - Herbert Schillar - What associations do you make of McDonalds? - franchise, fat, greasy plastic food, market domination, cheap, etc. MIT 1700 Lecture “Globalization and the Digital Divide” March 29, 2011 - It does carry these meanings. McDonalds was founded by Ray Crock and transformed it with principles of mass production - to lower costs - increase standardization so it tastes the same wherever - Made an empire for itself. One of many corporations that are like this. What happens when it is transported to other countries? What’s the impact of McDs on developing nations? What messages does it carry? - optimists: dissolution of distance between nations is a good thing since it exposes us to multicultural content - pessimists: despite the ideal of equality, some nations are more successful at this than others - nationalism is on the rise - question comes down to how cultures see themselves - Glut of american media condescends to them and tells them what to do, buy, etc. because identity construction happens through shopping. status is pegged to commodities. Mike Featherstone - US imperialism is a spent force and no longer exists - the new global civic society has emerged and is forming alternative networks that help the creation of new cultural environments - even if info and media sources is dominated by one nation or region, it no longer matters because the individual will adapt these to their own tastes and needs - We're just seeing cosmetic changes in the world, no fundamental change with globalization (David Harvey's view) David Harvey - The Postmodern Condition - Are the changes in our world simply cosmetic? - If we were told to fight the enemy, resist the ideological domination of our lives, we might be confused in identifying who the enemies are. These myths are the prisons from which we see the world. But what if we were being dominated culturally? Do we have a way of findi
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