‘Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism’ (Khorana, 2014)
This statement delivered to us in our second lecture of BCM111 expresses the benefits, disadvantages, concerns and welcoming of globalisation. And the media plays a big part in this global change. Khorana defines globalisation as ‘an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information’ (Khorana, 2014). This is illustrated through multi national companies like McDonalds, Dior, HSBC and Barbie.
There are 5 cultural flows which contribute towards globalisation and some argue, towards cultural homogenisation, where cultures become increasingly similar or ‘Americanised.’
- Ethnoscapes – the movement of people/politics
- Mediascapes – the movement of images/news
- Technoscapes – the movement of technology
- Financescapes – the movement of capital (currency/stock)
- Ideoscapes – the movement of content/ideas
Globalisation is usually viewed as a one way movement, from America to the rest of the world, which is known as cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is ‘how one culture spreads its values and ideas culturally, (for example) the global reach of Hollywood films’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012). O’Shaughnessy and Stadler reference a media theorist, John Thompson, who explains how it can be detrimental and play a homogenising force within the world by ‘the globalisation of communication being driven by the pursuit of commercial interests of large US-based transnational corporations, often acting in collaboration with Western political and military interests; and this process has resulted in a new form of dependency in which the traditional cultures are destroyed through the intrusion of Western values’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012). In this regard, it is believed that globalisation of media leads to homogenisation.
However, this view disregards multidirectional media flows, such as those coming from Asia, which influence American and the rest of the worlds cultures. For example, Japanese anime is becoming increasingly popular as well as K-Pop (Korean Popular Music) and Hong Kong films. The view of cultural hybridisation refers to the fact that different cultures will adapt certain aspects from other cultures that will benefit them. People will also hold on to cultural traditions like religion, dress, rituals, food, etc because it is so embedded in their everyday life, a few Hollywood movies won’t affect that.
Globalisation is often associated with the domination of McDonalds and Coca Cola, however, think about the types of media you consume and the products you use. Yes you might use a Mac computer, but where was it made? Globalisation from all cultures is all around us if you look closely enough.
Khorana, S 2014 International Media and Communication, BCM111, University of Wollongong, Delivered 6 August 2014
O’Shaughnessy, M. & Stadler, J.M. 2012, Media and society,Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic