According to Nederveen Pieterse, it ignores both the local reception of Western culture and the role that non-Western cultures play in influencing each other. He points instead to the existence of a global melange where ‘centuries of South-North cultural osmosis have resulted in an intercontinental cross-over culture. ‘ (1994, p169) How else could be explained, ‘Thai boxing by Morroccan girls in Amsterdam, Asian rap in London, Irish bagels, Chinese tacos and Mardi Gras Indians in the United States. ‘ (1994, p169)A third approach to globalisation of culture is reception theory. This hypothesizes that audiences respond actively rather than passively to mass mediated news and entertainment and that different national, ethnic and racial groups interpret the same materials differently. (Crane 2002, p4) From this perspective globalised culture does not present a threat to national identities and multiculturalism rather than monoculturalism exists.
It emphasizes the role of the audience in receiving and reacting to media rather than the role of the conglomorates who produce such media.It contends that people’s interpretation of the text depends on their social characteristics. This has been reinforced by studies such as Salwen (1991) who found that gender affected responses to Western television programmes. Similarly a study by Liebes and Katz found that different aspects of the American television series Dallas were salient to different ethnic groups in Israel and the United States. (Crane 2002, p10) A final approach which Crane outlines focuses on ‘the strategies used by nations, global cities, and cultural organisations to cope with counter or promote cultural globalisation.’ (Crane 2002, p4) That is, those strategies aimed towards protecting national identities and national culture and resisting cultural globalisation. Examples of such policies exist in European countries such as France which imposed a quota on the percentage of non-French film and television programs. This has contributed to a certain extent to the flourishing French film industry.
Similarly in Brazil, India and Iran, limits have been placed on the amount of imported programming.(Chadha and Kavoori 2000) However, whilst such policies may protect indigenous programming, it does not necessarily follow that other mass media products which are imported will have a lesser effect. The question must be asked therefore, to what extent products of global culture actually damage indigenous or native culture? Central to this question is the idea of culture as something which is static. Critics of globalisation argue that the culture of less powerful countries will be somehow corrupted by the onslaught of what Schiller refers to ‘ homogenised North Atlantic cultural slop.’ (1985, p19) However, there are also those who argue that culture is something which is constantly changing and evolving. New influences therefore combine with the existent culture to produce a new culture. This is what Nederveen Pieterse refers to as hybridisation.
It has been conceptualised as a process of creolisation of global culture where, ‘cultures exposed to powerful outside influences are not simply swept away but appropriate certain ‘foreign’ elements’, transmuting these into their own culture. (Carruthers 2001, p227) One aspect of the debate on cultural globalisation is rarely mentioned in the literature.That is, how ‘global’ globalisation is. When Tomlinson (1991, p82) describes westernisation he does so as, ‘the spread of European languages (particularly English) and the consumer culture of ‘western’ capitalism…
also styles of dress, eating habits, architectural and musical form, the adoption of an urban lifestyle based around industrial production, a pattern of cultural experience dominated by mass media, a set of philosophical ideas, and a range of cultural values and attitudes-about personal liberty, gender and sexuality, human rights, the political process, religion, scientific and technological rationality and so on.’ However, globalisation is not as far reaching as it supposed to be. It is easy to forget that global imbalances mean that not everyone inhabits the ‘global village. ‘ For example, New York has a population of 7. 3 million people and has more telephones than all of Sub-Saharan Africa, population 650 million. Britain contains more televisions than Africa and 95% of the world’s computers are found in the 29 wealthiest OECD countries which themselves are home to a mere fifth of the world’s population.85% of the world’s population do not own a phone and over half have never made a phone call.
As Carruthers concludes, ‘bearing in mind that an estimated third of the poorest countries populations is illiterate, the ‘wired world’ looks decidedly less global. (Carruthers 2001, p214) Having examined cultural globalisation from a variety of approaches, it is obvious that the process is far from a one way imposition of culture from ‘Westernised’ societies onto peripheral ones. On the contrary, many elements of ‘Western’ culture can be attributed to eastern and southern influences.That said, the prevalence and power of American culture around the world as it is manifested through Hollywood films and a fast food consumer culture is certainly an indicator of how far the reach of globalisation is. Whether this influence is regarded as positive or negative however is a highly subjective matter.References Albrow M, (1990) Globalization, Knowledge and Society.
London: Sage Carruthers S (2001) ‘Media and Communications Technology’ in Issues in World Politics 2nd Ed. Ed. s White B, Little R, Smith M. London: Palgrave Crane D, Kawashima N, Kawasaki K (2002) Global Culture: Media, Arts, Policy and Globalization London: Routledge Giddens A (2001) Sociology (4th Edition) Cambridge: Polity Press Hartley J (2002)Communication, Cultural and Media Studies: The Key Concepts 3rd Ed. London: Routledge Nederveen Pieterse J (1994) ‘Globalisation as Hybridisation’ in International Sociology Vol 9, 2 pp161-184 Rowe W, Schelling V (1991) Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America. London: Verso Tomlinson J (1999) Globalization and Culture Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Websites Accessed