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Chapter 5 GS101.docx

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Global Studies
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Ali Zaidi

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GS101 Chapter 5-The Cultural Dimension of Globalization Week 7 -Cultural globalization refers to the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe -Culture is frequently used to describe the whole of human experience -If we are talking about the ‘cultural’ we are concerned with the symbolic construction, articulation, and dissemination of meaning -Given that language, music, and images constitute the major forms of symbolic expression, they assume special significance in the sphere of culture -We focus on three things: the tension between sameness and difference in the emerging global culture, the crucial role of transnational media corporations in disseminating popular culture, and the globalization of languages Global Culture: Sameness or Difference? -Does globalization make people around the world more alike or more different? -Pessimistic hyperglobalizers suggest that we are not moving toward a cultural rainbow that reflects the diversity of the world’s existing cultures -The spread of American popular culture seems to be unstoppable -American sociologist George Ritzer coined the term ‘McDonaldization’ to describe the wide-ranging sociocultural processes by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world -The generally low nutritional value of fast-food meals – and particularly their high fat content – has been implicated in the rise of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and juvenile obesity -In the long run, McDonaldization of the world amounts to the imposition of uniform standards that eclipse human creativity and dehumanize social relations -A popular hyperglobalizer is American Benjamin Barber. He warns his readers against an ‘ethos of infantilization’ that sustains global capitalism, turning adults into children through dumbed down advertising and consumer goods while also targeting children as consumers -Global inequality contributes to stifling the growth of markets and of capitalism -Optimistic hyperglobalizers agree with their pessimistic colleagues that cultural globalization generates more sameness, but they consider it to be a good thing -Sociologist Roland Robertson contends that global cultural flows often reinvigorate local cultural niches. -Cultural globalization always takes place in local contexts -Such processes of hybridizat
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