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IS 401 Culture and Globalization

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Graham Burningham

on 28 September 2012

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Transcript of IS 401 Culture and Globalization

Globalization and Culture Jihad vs. McWorld
... "culture is an extremely difficult concept to define. There is little if any consensus on a definition."
(Archer et al.)

In fact there are now over 300 definitions of culture.

This is just one example:

1)"culture has been defined in a number of ways, but most simply, as the leared and shared behavior of a community of interacting human beings" - Useem, J. & Useem, R. (1963). Human Organizations. What is culture? Agenda:
1. Defining Culture and Globalization
2.Reading overview
3. Themes
4. Our Argument
5. Discussion Questions . "Hybridisation" Argument:

•Globalization interpreted as a homogenization of societies and cultures in fact argues that globalization is a process of Westernization.

•This interpretation is problematic because it identifies the West as modern and the rest of the world as lagging behind, resulting in a skewed, Eurocentric view of globalization.

•Further, identifying globalization as Westernization is a narrow view of the varied, simultaneous processes occurring that make up globalization, and of the long history of globalization. "Hybridisation" Main Points:

•Globalization is not one-directional
•Globalization as Westernization implies that globalization is only as long as the history of the West
•“Glocalisation” - globalization reinforces local affinities, resulting in hybrid identities
•Globalisation understood as hybridization creates opportunities for a vibrant global society and government, as well as for collective emancipation What is Globalization?
"...faulty premise that we know and understand what we mean by the twin concepts of 'globalization' and 'culture'.." (seminal reading)
There are a large number of definitions of globalization, depending on which discipline you are studying.
"The intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occuring many miles away and vice versa" - A. Giddens Analysis of Pieterse:

•Avoids historical inevitability, does not undermine the power of cultures to withstand homogenization/westernization
•Ultimately ignores the obvious power-differential between the global North and South and the unequal spread of globalization Thesis:
The power differential between the global North and South has led to the unequal spread of globalization, and as such the impact of Western culture has been unduly felt around the world. However, this phenomenon has not left other cultures devoid of any power and agency to decide their own futures. Globally, cultures have absorbed aspects of Western and non-Western cultures and adapted them to create vibrant new hybrid cultures. Reading #3
Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." Atlantic Magazine. 1992. seminal reading article - the article is a collaboration between 4 different authors
- it tries to present both sides of the culture/globalization debate

- we operate under the "faulty premise" that we all know and understand what we mean by the concepts of 'globalization' and 'culture', we assume that we share similar views when we deploy these concepts (seminal reading pg 1) argument 1 "cultural capitalism"/ "culture of globalization - idea that culture is increasingly subject to commodifcation
(ie. through profit making institutions) - belief that culture is being used to deepen capitalist tendencies and to displace its inherent crisis tendencies - cultural capitalism as a "carnival for the elite" - globalization of culture as something out of the control of citizens, in this perspecive argument 2 "globalization of culture"/ "global turn" - accepts that easily mass-produced forms of culture (music, TV, films, advertisements, fast food) are globalized - however, cultural flows are not unilinear or top-down; they require interpretation, translation, and adaptation - in other words, people have the agency to create, and be involved in, a dynamic cultural experience Barber takes a much different stance then Pieterse. He argues against cultural hybridization. Instead, Barber suggests that cultural globalization is essentially a conflict between two opposing forces: Jihad and McWorld. They do not see eye to eye and are not meant or able to peacefully co-exist. So what are Jihad and McWorld? ? ? ? ? ? ? ..."a retribalization of large swaths of humankind by war and bloodshed: a threatened Lebanonization of national states in which culture is pitted against culture, people against people, tribe against tribe—a Jihad in the name of a hundred narrowly conceived faiths against every kind of interdependence, every kind of artificial social cooperation and civic mutuality."

"rebellious factions and dissenting minorities at war not just with globalism but with the traditional nation-state. Kurds, Basques, Puerto Ricans, Ossetians, East Timoreans, Quebecois, the Catholics of Northern Ireland, Abkhasians, Kurile Islander Japanese, the Zulus of Inkatha, Catalonians, Tamils, and, of course, Palestinians—people without countries, inhabiting nations not their own, seeking smaller worlds within borders that will seal them off from modernity."

(Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." Atlantic Magazine. 1992.) According to Barber: Jihad is... These are groups which try and resist the ever encroaching presence of globalization and more importantly try and push back against the influence of western culture.

Because:
-
Globalization and its cultural spread is viewed as threatening to their way of life. So they must defend it... The goal of Jihad then becomes to preserve cultural independence. Essentially Jihad is anti-globalization at its finest! According to Barber, this push back is often violent and quite harmful to national unity. It is a process that by nature fractures states and people. "The mood is that of Jihad: war not as an instrument of policy but as an emblem of identity, an expression of community, an end in itself. "

(Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." Atlantic Magazine. 1992.) McWorld is an, "onrush of economic and ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity and that mesmerize the world with fast music, fast computers, and fast food—with MTV, Macintosh, and McDonald's, pressing nations into one commercially homogenous global network: one McWorld tied together by technology, ecology, communications, and commerce."
(Barber, Benjamin. "Jihad vs. McWorld." Atlantic Magazine. 1992.) McWorld and its Global Influence Jihad opposes globalization while McWorld promotes it: Jihad vs. McWorld discussion questions - Do you think that the McWorld phenomenon is creating Jihad? are the "McWorld" and "Jihad" categories still relevant? Market Imperative:

Cultural capitalism is a driving force of McWorld. Global markets are making inroads throughout the world spreading common values:

"Common markets demand a common language, as well as a common currency, and they produce common behaviors of the kind bred by cosmopolitan city life everywhere. Commercial pilots, computer programmers, international bankers, media specialists, oil riggers, entertainment celebrities, ecology experts, demographers, accountants, professors, athletes—these compose a new breed of men and women for whom religion, culture, and nationality can seem only marginal elements in a working identity. " McWorld has 4 imperatives:
Four aspects to Globalization - Do cultures need to Westernize in order to be considered "modern"? Resource Imperative:

"Every nation, it turns out, needs something another nation has; some nations have almost nothing they need."

Put simple, we live in a world dominated by markets and trade. This is a world in which McWorld flourishes. When we need something on a personal or national level we trade for it. Information-Technological Imperative:

"Business, banking, and commerce all depend on information flow and are facilitated by new communication technologies. The hardware of these technologies tends to be systemic and integrated—computer, television, cable, satellite, laser, fiber-optic, and microchip technologies combining to create a vast interactive communications and information network that can potentially give every person on earth access to every other person, and make every datum, every byte, available to every set of eyes."

-The internet and other communication technologies are drastically shrinking the world. News, information and ideas now spread more quickly then ever before facilitating a global awareness and a type of cultural homogeneity.

-However, it is a cultural homogeneity that is heavily influenced by the western world.

"What is the power of the Pentagon compared with Disneyland? Can the Sixth Fleet keep up with CNN? McDonald's in Moscow and Coke in China will do more to create a global culture than military colonization ever could. It is less the goods than the brand names that do the work, for they convey life-style images that alter perception and challenge behavior. They make up the seductive software of McWorld's common (at times much too common) soul."

Hollywood plays its part too: Many of the world's most popular films come from the USA. When the Dark Knight can reach from the Philippines to Norway, one cannot deny the influence the film industry has worldwide. Analysis of Barber: -Barber recognizes that power relations are at play, and the spread of cultural globalization unequally favours the West.
-His argument is Eurocentric, and assumes that cultures that don't Westernize are "anti-modern".
-Though Barber touches on the cultural aspect of McWorld and the resistance to it, with Jihad, he focuses his article more on how both these world's impact democracy.
-Since the article was written right after the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union some of the issues he addressed are no longer as relevant. We are not seeing the infighting and fragmentation of states due to the Jihad vs. McWorld conflict as much today. The focus of the conflict today is arguably more focused on the market and information imperatives of McWorld. Ecological Imperative:

This imperative is directly tied to trade and resources. MNC's operating globally can influence ecosystems have way across the world.

Ecological problems are no longer isolated to local areas they are now global problems. According to Barber: Jihad is...
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