Cultural Globalization

Cultural Globalization

Cultural globalization refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values around the world in such a way as to extend and intensify social relations. This process is marked by the common consumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture media, and international travel. Cultural Globalization This has added to processes of commodity exchange and colonization which have a longer history of carrying cultural meaning around the globe.

The circulation of cultures enables individuals to partake in extended social relations that cross national and regional borders The creation and expansion of such social relations is not merely observed on a material level. Cultural Globalization Cultural globalization involves the formation of shared norms and knowledge with which people associate their individual and collective cultural identities. It brings increasing interconnectedness among different populations and cultures.

Cultural globalization, phenomenon by which the experience of everyday life, as influenced by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, reflects a standardization of cultural expressions around the world. Cultural Globalization Propelled by the efficiency or appeal of wireless communications, electronic commerce, popular culture, and international travel, globalization has been seen as a trend toward homogeneity that will eventually make human experience everywhere essentially the same. This appears, however, to be an overstatement of the phenomenon. Although homogenizing influences do indeed exist, they are far from creating anything akin to a single world culture.

The international “faculty club”

The globalization of cultural subgroups is not limited to the upper classes. Expanding on the concept of Davos culture, sociologist Peter L. Berger observed that the globalization of Euro-American academic agendas and lifestyles has created a worldwide “faculty club”—an international network of people who share similar values, attitudes, and research goals. Cultural Globalization While not as wealthy or privileged as their Davos counterparts, members of this international faculty club wield tremendous influence through their association with educational institutions worldwide and have been instrumental in promoting feminism, environmentalism, and human rights as global issues. Cultural Globalization Berger cited the antismoking movement as a case in point: the movement began as a singular North American preoccupation in the 1970s and subsequently spread to other parts of the world, traveling along the contours of academe’s global network.

Cultural Globalization

Nongovernmental organizations

Another global subgroup comprises “cosmopolitans” who nurture an intellectual appreciation for local cultures. As pointed out by Swedish anthropologist Ulf Hannerz, this group advocates a view of global culture based not on the “replication of uniformity” but on the “organization of diversity.” Cultural Globalization Often promoting this view are nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that lead efforts to preserve cultural traditions in the developing world. Cultural Globalization By the beginning of the 21st century, institutions such as Cultural Survival were operating on a world scale, drawing attention to indigenous groups who are encouraged to perceive themselves as “first peoples”—a new global designation emphasizing common experiences of exploitation among indigenous inhabitants of all lands. Bry sharpening such identities, these NGOs have globalized the movement to preserve indigenous world cultures.

Transnational workers

Another group stems from the rise of a transnational workforce. Indian-born anthropologist Arjun Appadurai has studied English-speaking professionals who trace their origins to South Asia but who live and work elsewhere. Cultural Globalization Cultural Globalization They circulate in a social world that has multiple home bases, and they have gained access to a unique network of individuals and opportunities. Cultural Globalization For example, many software engineers and Internet entrepreneurs who live and work in Silicon Valley, California, maintain homes in—and strong social ties to—Indian states such as Maharashtra and Punjab.

The persistence of local culture

Underlying these various visions of globalization is a reluctance to define exactly what is meant by the term culture. During most of the 20th century, anthropologists defined culture as a shared set of beliefs, customs, and ideas that held people together in recognizable, self-identified groups. Cultural Globalization Scholars in many disciplines challenged this notion of cultural coherence, especially as it became evident that members of close-knit groups held radically different visions of their social worlds. Cultural Globalization Culture is no longer perceived as a knowledge system inherited from ancestors. As a result, many social scientists now treat culture as a set of ideas, attributes, and expectations that change as people react to changing circumstances. Cultural Globalization Indeed, by the turn of the 21st century, the collapse of barriers enforced by Soviet communism and the rise of electronic commerce have increased the perceived speed of social change everywhere.

The term local culture is commonly used to characterize the experience of everyday life in specific, identifiable localities. Cultural Globalization It reflects ordinary people’s feelings of appropriateness, comfort, and correctness—attributes that define personal preferences and changing tastes. Given the strength of local cultures, it is difficult to argue that an overarching global culture actually exists. Jet-setting sophisticates may feel comfortable operating in a global network disengaged from specific localities, but these people constitute a very small minority; their numbers are insufficient to sustain a coherent cultural system. Cultural Globalization It is more important to ask where these global operators maintain their families, what kind of kinship networks they rely upon, if any, and whether theirs is a transitory lifestyle or a permanent condition. For most people, place and locality still matter. Even the transnational workers discussed by Appadurai are rooted in local communities bound by common perceptions of what represents an appropriate and fulfilling lifestyle.

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