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Culture and globalization

Liliya Kiriyanova
The View on Cultural Change from
Globalization Frameworks
Hyperglobalizers: homogenization of world
under American popular culture or
Western consumerism. Global civil society
Sceptics: thinness of global culture
relative to national cultures.Clash of
civilizations: Cultural differences and
conflicts along geopolitical faultlines.
Transformationalists: intermingling of
cultures and peoples: hybrids, glocalities
and new forms

What is culture?
An order of life in which people construct
meanings through the practice of symbolic
representation. This symbolic
representation revels in values, images,
notions, ideas, and behaviors. Culture
cannot be meaningfully extracted from the
economic, political or social realms and it
is also ordinary in so far as it is
describes a whole way of life and includes
all manner of everyday social practice
(Jones A., 2006)
What is culture?
Social construction, articulation ad reception of
meaning (Held, et al 1998):
The arts
Commodified output of the culture industries
(Film, TV, Music)
Spontaneous expressions of everyday life
Complex interactions between all of these
Other forms of Identity
Local culture
is a system of shared values, views, style
of life, behavior models, attitude to the
environment which belongs to a group of
people existing in a more or less defined
bounded space and time.
National culture
Non existent before 18th century: Treaty
of Westphalia
National cultures invented and developed
over time
Cultural preconditions:
National histories, myths and rituals,
Importance of state powers of taxation and

National culture
Task undertaken by diverse institutions
Official language
National schooling system
Postal service and Communications structures (NBC,
ABC etc.) National press
Standing army
Suppression or eradication of competing
identities and peripheral nationalisms
Key factors
Role of land/landscapes/places:
National Parks
sites of battle

Cultural globalization
the transmission of culture globally
Facilitated by the movement of people,
objects, signs and symbols.
Movement of books and cultural artifacts
Key factors: new forms of communication
and transportation

Diverse encounters:
Cultural Globalization: Historical
World Religions
Modern national cultures
Transnational secular ideologies
Contemporary cultural globalization

Global culture as universal culture
Since ancient time some philosopher
consider people as a single humankind
current globalization processes are
objective tendencies on the path to the
formation of a common culture based on
universal values
global culture is interpreted as universal
culture common for all humankind,
neglecting the base of cultural conflicts
Do universal values exist?
Asian collectivist conception of human
rights vs European and American
individualistic conception
freedom vs liberty
the right to life in western cultures vs
right to worthy death in some Eastern
(hara-kiri ritual, euthanasia)

universalism is one of the least useful and
indeed most dangerous aspect of the western
intellectual traditionthe metaphysical faith that
local western values are authoritative for all
cultures and peoples (Grey J.)
following the traditions of Enlightenment western
cultures understand their mission to promote
universal values Rights of Man and democracy.
These values andpromotion of the individual
against the constraints of prejudices, beliefs and
the loyalties of traditional societiesallow the
foundation of universal peace (Latouche S.)
Global culture is?
Global technologies and global flows (of
images, people, goods, symbols)
penetrate local cultures and make them
more open to each other
This common global cultural space and
aggregate of global cultural forms can be
considered as global culture
Globalization determines world-wide
dissemination of similar set of values,
images, aims, ideologies
Global culture content
Global culture is common global cultural
space constituted by global flows of global
cultural forms. Bat what is inside? What is
the content of these global flows?
Can we consider global culture as
mosaic of elements of different local
cultures where each culture has equal
opportunity for representation?
In theory, each local culture has chance to
be globally dissemenated
Americanization, westernization,
one particular local culture plays leading
role in global processes, and this
particular local culture is American one.
The content of cultural flows mostly have
American provenance
Global Graph of Starbucks and McDonald Monopolies
the USA is an indisputable leader of the
modern global media market
The bulk of the worlds production of
signs is concentrated in the US or made
according to its rules and methods.
19 of top 40 global audiovisual companies
have the US origin.
The USA is also a leader in media content
production and export. 44% of overall
television programming in the EU
countries is the US import; in Latin
America it runs up to 75%.
Global consumer culture
The main share of the global consumed
goods produced in the US, or by the
corporation with US HQ, or according to
their standards.
These are not just material goods; these
are strong images and brands which bring
certain values, style of life, behavior
Universal values
systems of socio-political values which are
disseminated all over the World via global
institutions and organizations
(governmental and nongovernmental) and
which considered as universal (human
rights, democracy, liberal market) have
western culture provenance. The USA is
the main articulator and promoter of these
The USA has the great power in world economy
and politics. Many cultures and individuals
attribute such position with the corresponding
system of values and deliberately follow them.
American culture has greater technical
capacity: greater information, communication
and social technologies, which make American
cultural goods much more competitive.
Most of modern TNC have the US origin. The
level of American economy and effective
management give much more possibilities to
transformed local companies into global
Why do they need it?
Logic of capitalistic production (effect of scale of
production) needs mass production which can
only be based on similar demand. For creation of
this similar demand the West (with a help of
global mass media) has to create similar tastes,
needs, and values.
Cultural expansion can be determined by the
certain geopolitical purpose. Culture has become
more potent than armaments. Commonalities in
tastes make it easier to find common ground
Is it so? Do this mean that other
cultures are passive participants?
Inflowing cultural elements do not meet
cultural tabula rasa, but meet existing
system of cultural values, traditions,
views, practice and experience.
Cultural interaction always involves
interpretation, translation, mutation,
adaptation and indigenization as the
receiving culture brings its own cultural
resources to bear upon cultural imports
Cultural flows come from many directions.
It is not just one way flows of images,
values and traditions from the West to the
rest; non-western cultures are also
disseminate their cultural goods all over
the World
We can wear American jeans with Arabic
ornaments, we can watch BBC after
Brazilian serials, we can dine at Chinese
restaurant in New York, and so on. As
Robertson said it is globalization of local
Culture cant be reduced to material goods.
When we consume mass products it does not
mean that it always more then just simple
presence, but has deeper cultural ideological
When consumption of goods become a usual
every-day practice (such as drinking coca-cola,
wearing jeans) this consumption become non-
concerned. Hamburger is just hamburger.
When goods cross borders, then the culture they
substantiate is no longer the culture in which
they circulate

we have to distinguish between
technologies, functional facilities and
International airports, hotels, offices,
internet network do not make all place the
same, it is just functional proximity
There are a lot of but concerning the
above-mentioned facts
Western culture has a lot of very strong
and fetching cultural patterns which save
their meaning even after adaptation to
local context.
Some of cultural products are consumed
with out any adaptation at all.
It is not one way flow of information and images,
but flow from the West to the rest is totally
Even in the EU more then 70% of films have the
US origin, and only about 2% from the rest of the
Most world-wide elements from non-western
cultures (Indian food, Arabic dances, Chinese
New Year) are usually consumed as simulakrs,
people dont go to the deeper meaning of this
events or traditions