Globalization and Culture
What is the Globalization of Culture?
Culture and globalization: "Cultural globalization refers to the intensificaition and
expansion of cultural flows across the globe" (Steger, 71). How does culture "flow"?
more people in the world studying elsewhere from where they were
variety of foods available
o Media (television, film, internet)
Thesis 1: Cultural Homogenization
Globalization is increasingly producing a homogenous global culture
Optimistic Hyperglobalizers: Fukuyama and the "End of History"
o world progressively moving towards a set of global values that are superior
to the previous values
o they think it is a good thing
o Fukuyama argues in his book "end of history" that with the end of
communism we are all moving towards neo capitalism
o Two drivers of Human History
Desire for well-being and technological means to satisfy
well-being = material well-being
technological advance necessarily adopted broadly and
transforms economic organization towards capitalism
Fukuyama argues this is a good thing
Desire for Recognition (Hegel)
all human beings have a fundamental desire to be equal to
other human beings
o throughout history society has been one group of
people dominating another
o French Revolution: self-mastery of the slaves (popular
sovereignty) and rule of law / individual rights individual rights: we all have the same rights
Fukuyama and the End of History
History as the "coherent and directional transformation of human societies"
Triumph of economic and political liberalism marks the end of history (of ideological
conflict), because "we cannot picture ourselves a world that is essentially different
from the present one, and at the same time better."
o However, China is not liberal capitalism
Not the end of conflict but the end of ideology
The Global Rise of Liberal Democracy
Liberal democracy is the dominant global political system
Thesis 1: Cultural Homogenization
o believe we are moving towards a homogenous culture, but think it is a bad
American capital flows, embodied in transnational corporations
(coke, Disney, McDonald's, Nike, etc.) form the conduits for a cultural
colonization of the globe: the commodity is in the culture and the
culture is in the commodity
commodities dominating the culture
What is the Role of the "Communications Industry"?
From competition to monopoly:
o In 2006, 8 TNCs (Yahoo, Google, AOL/Time Warner, Microsoft, Viacom,
General Electric, Disney, and News Corporation) controlled over 2/3 of the
revenues generated by the communications industry
"The crucial cultural innovators of earlier decades - small,
independent record labels, radio stations, movie theatres,
newspapers, and book publishers - have become virtually extinct"
o Advertising: manufacturing demand via identity formation
they manufacture demand for products by shaping the way people
think about themselves 3 of every 4 women in the U.S. between 25 and 45 have an
eating disorder; annual cosmetic surgeries in the US have risen
from 7 million in 2000 to an estimated 55 million by 2015 and
90% of patients are female
o advertising has affected how women feel and think
about themselves in the role of society (sexual objects)
o South Korea leads the world in cosmetic surgery
Modes of Resistance: Culture Jamming
people use forms of western media to make critical messages
Thesis 2: Cultural Hybridization
term from botany: crossing of 2 distantly related strains to produce a new plant with
novel properties produced by the genetic mixing
Roland Robertson: "Glocalization"
o these global iconic cultural symbols are taken and adapted by each local
o Local transformation of western consumerist forces
take different forms in different countries
Hybridization from the bottom up?
The case of Otavalo, Ecuador:
Korovkin asks: "... what is the fate of ethnic culture in