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MMC101 INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION Globalization, culture and media.

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Presentation on theme: "MMC101 INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION Globalization, culture and media."— Presentation transcript:

1 MMC101 INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION Globalization, culture and media

2 Defining globalization As a concept, globalization refers to both the time-space compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole (Robertson, 1992) The concept of ‘time-space compression’ refers to the processes that change the qualities of space and time that we experience and our conceptions of it By compression is meant, the speed-up in the pace of life and the overcoming of spatial barriers This compression of the world has been understood in terms of the institutions of modernity, that is the globalization of modern economic and cultural practices. Mass media is one of these institutions of modernity

3 Modernity and globalization Modernity is a historical period following the Middle Ages Institutions of modernity according to Anthony Giddens are, capitalism, industrialism, surveillance, the nation-state and military power Therefore, globalization is generally grasped in terms of –The world capitalist economy –The nation-state system –The world military order –The global information system

4 Modernity and globalization continued… In this view, modernity is a ‘post-traditional’ order marked by change, and dynamism The institutions of modernity are said to be globalizing The reasons for this globalization of these institutions of modernity are noted as –Separation of time and space and –The disembedding of social relations developed in a locale and their re-embedding in different places These are made possible through the commodification of time and the developments in the form of communications

5 Globalization and modernity Anthony Giddens has argued that modernity is an uncontrollable engine of enormous power which sweeps away all that stands before it However, we have to realize that this view of the relationship between modernity and globalization is ‘Eurocentric’ It envisages only one kind of modernity – that of the west Perhaps, we need to see modernity not only as an epochal social transformation but rather as spatial and relational process This means that different places of the globe have become modern in their own different ways Therefore, we should perhaps speak of global modernities (plural_

6 Globalization and modernity continued… For example, Mike Featherstone argues that Japan does not fit neatly into the pre-modernity- modernity-postmodernity linear development Because, Japanese technological development puts western modernity into question If the West is modern, Japan should be pre- modern, or at least non-modern But what Japan has done is to call to question the supposed centrality of the West as a cultural and geographical locus for the project modernity

7 The economic implications of globalization The processes of globalization are clearly economic in character A relatively small number of transnational corporations dominate global networks of production and consumption Therefore, globalization refers to economic activity on a planetary scale creating a ‘world economy’ This world economy has grown in an uneven way In this sense, globalization refers to a set of related economic activities which are specifically to be understood as the practices of capitalism

8 Globalization and culture Globalization is not experienced only in economic terms Therefore, we cannot explain/understand globalization solely in terms of economics Globalization also concerns cultural meanings People, today, are increasingly involved in networks which extend beyond their physical locations This does not mean however that we can speak of a unitary world culture connected to a world state Rather, under the rubric of globalization we can talk about integration and disintegration of different cultures

9 Globalization and culture continued… We have to understand that we cannot conceptualize culture as a bounded, tied-to-a- place, and inward looking phenomenon Rather, culture should be seen as an outward looking, translocal learning process Patterns of population movement and the developments in telecommunications technologies have now enabled an increased cultural juxtapositioning, meeting and mixing This means that we have to escape from the model of culture as a locally bounded ‘whole way of life’

10 Globalization and culture continued… In the contemporary global era, all locales are subject to the influences of different places Mass media play a crucial role in this process because the institutions and products of mass media have increasingly been subject to the processes of globalization

11 What kind of globalization? The question we pose is what sort of culture is globalization creating? Some critics argue that it is a culture of western domination and the production of homogenization across the world While for others, the image of the globe that is forming is more unpredictable, chaotic, and fragmented in cultural flows

12 Globalization as homogenization One strand of arguments on globalization indicates a process of cultural homogenization Within the scope of this argument, it is stressed that the capitalist consumerism now has a global reach Mass media or global media is seen as the vehicle par excellence in this process According to this argument, the principal agents of cultural synchronization are seen as transnational corporations

13 Globalization as homogenization continued… This perspective highlights a loss of cultural diversity and the growth of ‘sameness’ There is a negative connotation attached to these processes The reason for this negative connotation emerges from the argument that cultural homogenization refers to cultural imperialism

14 Globalization as homogenization continued… Central to the concept of cultural imperialism is the domination of one culture by another Cultural imperialism, thus, is understood as the imposition of one national culture upon another Media are seen as central to this process Because media are seen as carriers of cultural meanings which penetrate and dominate the cultures of subordinate nations

15 Globalization as homogenization continued… Cultural imperialism is also seen as a set of economic and cultural processes which are implicated in the reproduction of global capitalism One scholar, for example argues that, “global capitalism has in reality been about westernization – the export of western commodities, values, priorities, ways of life” (Robins, 1991:25 This argument suggests that global media are in the service of American capitalism This argument draws attention to the domination of the international communications industries by US controlled corporations

16 Problems with globalization as cultural imperialism thesis There are three central difficulties with the ‘globalization as cultural imperialism’ argument –It is not necessarily the case that the global flows of cultural discourse are any longer constituted as one- way traffic from the ‘west-to-the-rest’ –In so far as the predominant flow of cultural discourse is from west to east and north to south, this is not necessarily to be understood as a form of domination –It is unclear that globalization is simply a process of homogenization since the forces of fragmentation and hybridity are equally as strong

17 Uneven development of globalization Contemporary accelerated globalization is increasingly less one directional We have to think of globalization as an uneven, disorderly flows As Stuart Hall argues – The system is global, in the sense that its sphere of operations is planetary. Few places are beyond the reach of its destabilising inter-dependencies. It has significantly weakened national sovereignty and eroded the ‘reach’ of the older Western nation-states without entirely displacing them. The system however, is not global, if by that we understand that the process is uniform in character, impacts everywhere in the same way, operates without contradictory effects or produces equal outcomes across the globe. It remains a system of deep, and deepening global inequalities and instabilities (2000: )

18 Uneven development of globalization continued… Arjun Appadurai suggests that when talking about globalization, we can’t speak of centre- periphery models or west and the rest models He says, –“for people of Irian Jaya, Indonesianisation may be more worrisome than Americanisation, as Japanisation may be for Koreans, Indianisation for Sri Lankans, Vietnamisation for Cambodians, Russianisation for the people of Soviet Armenia and the Baltic Republics” (1990: 6).

19 Uneven development of globalization continued… Appadurai claims that globalization is far from an even process of western expansion driven by economic imperatives He says, –“Globalization involves the dynamic movements of ethnic groups, technology, financial transactions, media images and ideological conflicts which are not neatly determined by one harmonious ‘master plan’; rather, the speed, scope and impact of these flows are fractured and disconnected” (Appadurai,1999: 40)

20 Globalization as chaos culture Appadurai gives the following example, –As Turkish guest workers in Germany watch Turkish films in their German flats, as Koreans in Philadelphia watch the 1988 Olympics in Seoul through satellite feeds from Korea, and as Pakistani cabdrivers in Chicago listen to cassettes of sermons recorded in mosques in Pakistan or Iran, we see moving images meet deterritorialized viewers (2000: 4)

21 Globalization as chaos culture continued… Globalization and global cultural flows should not necessarily be understood in terms of a set of neat linear determinations We should view them as a series of overlapping, over-determined, complex and ‘chaotic’ conditions This understanding leads not to an ordered global village but rather to the multiplication of points of conflict, antagonism and contradiction We have to understand however that we are not talking of a condition of either homogenization or heterogenisation We are emphasizing how both of these tendencies have become features of global life

22 The global, the local and the reverse flow The global and the local are mutually constituting Which is considered to be local and counterpoised to the global is the outcome of translocal processes Robertson uses for example, the term glocalization to refer to the global production of the local and the localization of the global Modern and postmodern ideas about time, space, rationality, capitalism, consumerism, sexuality, family and gender are placed alongside older discourses, setting up ideological competition between them The outcome of this competition is usually a range of hybrid forms of identity

23 The global, the local and the reverse flow continued… The reverse flow is about the impact of non- western ideas and practices on the west For example, the global impact of Reggae, Hip- Hop, telenovelas from Latin America, the influence of non-western religions on the west, and the commodification and sale of ethnic food and clothing These examples subvert the claims that globalization is a monolithic one-way flow from the west to the rest Rather, these are examples for the deconstruction of homogenous national cultures as a result of globalization

24 Rethinking globalization However, these criticisms of the cultural imperialism thesis should not lead us to abandon its core concern – ideas of power and inequality We have to keep in mind when thinking about globalization that “some people are more in charge of it than others; some initiate flows and movements, others don’t” (Massey, 1994: 149)


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