Globalization has become a household term in nearly every society across the globe. As a result, the need to understand the concepts that forms the building blocks of globalization has continued to increase in the society. Whereas globalization has continued to be exemplified as an avoidable process in the society, there are different questions that have risen in the past on its role in enhancing the lives of human being. This is particularly when different cultures across the world are factored in. In line with this, this research paper will examine the concepts involved in cultural globalization and how it has affected the lives of human beings especially in regard to the negative societal norms.
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Cultural Globalization can be defined as the swift traversing of values, ideas and attitude across the globe among different societies or rather societies with varying cultural backgrounds. In other words, cultural globalization refers to the integration of perceptions that are held by different societies from different regions across the world towards the universe in terms of trade and industrialization, culture, the general outlook of life and the value that one attaches to these factors. As has been defined by Moghadam (2005), Cultural globalization ‘refers to worldwide cultural standardization - as in ‘Coca Colonization’ and ‘McDonaldization’ - as well as to postcolonial cultures, cultural pluralism, and ‘hybridization’. The various aspects of globalization that have promoted growing contacts between different cultures, leading partly to greater understanding and cooperation and partly to the emergence of transnational communities and hybrid identities (36).
It is important to note that the end of the 20th century recorded a rise in interaction of various societies across the globe through trade and industrialization, technology, education, fashion, etc. As a matter of fact, the development of technology such as the internet, the radio and television increased the rate at which people from these societies interacted with each other. In this regard, technology can be cited as an important component in the growth or rather enhancement in cultural globalization. The media in particular has been found to play a critical role in the development of cultural globalization concepts across the globe in terms of sharing and integration of different cultures.
There are various schools of thought that have emerged in the past to support the standardization of culture across the world. In other worlds, there are arguments that have arisen in the past on the role or rather importance of cultural globalization in the modern society. These arguments have been far and widely discussed with each school of thought preparing its evidence to support their position. Among these schools of thought on globalization, there are those that have affirmed that cultural globalization is an important process and a prerequisite in unifying the global society. On the other hand, there are those schools of thought that have asserted that cultural globalization has negative effects on the general society across the globe and inasmuch as it is a unifying factor, its effects far much outweighs the unity of different societies (Capsioglu 11).
Consequently, cultural globalization played and continues to play an important role in the general society across the world. There has been an increase in the ability to access different goods and services around the globe as a result of cultural globalization or simply globalization. People from different regions have been able to access medical services and other social amenities with ease. In addition, the integration of various cultural groups has increased the rate of survival of human beings as a result of integrating different survival tactics from different cultures. From the general outlook, life has been enhanced as a result of cultural globalization. However, it was observed by Barber (2005) that whereas globalization supports the prosperity or rather development of people’s lives materially, this comes with a high cost of spiritual and cultural degradation in the society (8). In this regard therefore, while cultural globalization has been found to increase the rate at which people across the world interacts and share on ways to improve their lives, it has contributed to a rise in the level of negative norms in society.
This research came up with various findings on the role of cultural globalization in promoting the welfare of the society. To begin with, it was found out that there is a continued process of integration of different cultures across the world, with no signs of slowing down this process. The need to trade and develop in terms of technology and other important infrastructure continues to necessitate the need of various societies across the globe to interact. It is an amazing observation in the society around the globe that there is no single society that hs everything it requires for its survival such that it does not need to interact with others (Akande 2002).
The media, especially the internet, the television and the radio were also found to be the channels that are widely explored by cultural globalization in furthering its effects or rather its influence across the globe. The ability to reach societies in remote region was enhanced by the fact that there was a medium that could be explored whose costs of use were very low, yet could cover a wide geographical region. The media was also found to promote both positive and negative values in regard to cultural globalization. As a result, it acted both as a weapon of societal development and destruction, depending on how it was used (Lizardo 154-158). Whereas the aim of cultural globalization relied on promoting or rather enhancing the societal structures and formation across the world, it was difficult to sieve out negative influences that were attached on this process. Therefore, inasmuch as the corporate world celebrated in its development of complex business structures throughout the world due to cultural globalization, the societal structures had to come to terms with the fact that their foundations were at risk of being dismantled.
This research also came across the fact that there were tremendous changes that occurred in the language world in the sense that there has been an increased interest in the learning of new languages around the globe (Kumaravadivelu 167). In spite of this increase in interest in learning new languages, there are various languages that face the risk of extinction due to their limited use on the global scene. Among the languages that have received widespread promotion are French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, German and Latin. This was also found to pose a threat to existence of certain cultures across the globe that can only exist when they are promoted through their native languages.
The need to prosper has continued to necessitate the need to look for diverse markets by economies across the globe. As a result, learning of new cultures and people’s behaviors across the world has been on the rise. This has been due to the fact that for one to be able to market an idea, a product or service in any particular culture one needs to learn concepts of this culture. Such an understanding has been found to provide a channel that can be explored to introduce this product, idea or service. On the contrary, there is also the need for one to promote his or her culture that utilizes the idea, product or service in question. For example, it is not every society across the world that uses rice as its stable food. Therefore, when one society whose economic activity is cultivating rice produce large quantities of rice more than they need, instead of letting it go at a waste, they have to market it (Akande 2002). This would require learning the language and culture of the targeted marketing and introducing the culture of rice eating in this targeted market. According to Capsioglu (2008), the free exchange of goods and services has no signs of coming to an end in the world that is characterized with the current trends in technological and business development (11).
In spite of the fact that different societies across the world have worked on marketing their culture with the Chinese being the oldest of these culture, the current cultural trends have focused more on either Americanization whereby the American culture is seen or rather perceived as the most civilized culture and therefore the need to adopt it or McDonaldization which involves a culture of fast foods (Capsioglu 11). To begin with, the American culture has been promoted around the world as the ultimate culture or rather the most civilized culture. For instance, the hip hop culture has continued to create a niche for itself in nearly every society around the globe including among non-English speaking societies such as the Japanese society (Condry 205).
In spite of the promotion of Americanization as the right and the most civilized culture across the globe, there are various negative effects that this culture has had on people from other cultures that have adopted it. To begin with, it is important to note that the level of moral decay in the American culture have risen tremendously. Despite these alarming levels of moral decay in this society, negative behaviors have continued to be adopted in the society as the right behavior (Capsioglu 10-14). This is mostly based on the fact that the American policies have relied on promoting freedom of expression as one of the most important element in this society. As a result, the American culture recognizes behaviors such as homosexuality as the right of a person rather than moral decay. In line with this, the societies across the world that have adopted the American culture have found themselves embracing such behaviors within their boundaries.
On the other hand, McDonaldization has also found its way into other ssocieties across the world as a result of globalization. This is whereby people, especially teenagers and young adults consume foodstuffs that are rich in fats while lacking other nutrients that are important for body development. In line with this, normal and recommended eating habits have continually faced a threat of being eliminated across the world. In this regard, any society that has been affected by the McDonaldization culture is characterized by obese people who are less productive and are vulnerable to diseases such as the heart disease (Capsioglu 10-15).
The media too was found to be the largest and the most effective promoter of cultural globalization. The media in this case refers to the internet, the television, the radio, newsprint, etc. Sharing of ideas, values and cultural norms was found to thrive well under the media banner since this was a perfect channel that had the ability to penetrate into the interior societies across the globe. However, it must be noted that the media possessed the ability to propagate both positive and negative social norms. For instance, whereas businessmen are able to determine business conditions of their respective markets from the comfort of their home via the internet, most young people have been found to ape vice such as pornography by watching this content on the internet. On the other hand, insurgency groups have utilized the media in recruiting and stirring up insurgency behavior in the society. For example, Muslim fundamentalists have utilized the internet to communicate and impart hate messages in their recruits (Lizardo 155-158).
In this respect, governments across the world have developed mechanisms to ensure that the content that is received or rather information consumption in their respective regions is monitored to protect their citizens from negative information. However, the billions of internet networks across the world have continued to pose a challenge to the government on how to monitor contents on each of these networks. For instance, there is no machinery that has been developed that can be used to monitor every email that gets in and out of a country. In line with this, whereas it is important for the government to promote the interaction of its citizens and other people from around the world in regard to business and social activities, it must realize that not every form of interaction is healthy (Lizardo 154-159).
The issue of language too was found to promote cultural globalization. It is important to note that different societies across the globe have different cultures and languages. However, recent trends on the global scene reveal that there is an increase in the number of classes of certain language that people perceive as important languages. Among the languages that have witnessed the greatest increase in the number of classes around the globe is English. It is however worthy to note that once a person has learnt a new language, especially that which he or she thinks will benefit them financially and socially, there is a tendency of dropping the mother tongue. Dropping of the native language on the other hand promotes separation of such a person from his or her people, a factor that contributes to lack of knowledge on the native language and culture. In line with this, there is a danger that most native cultures and languages will become extinct in a near future (Kumaravadivelu 168).
The development or rather the adoption of a new language also promotes the understanding of new cultures. For example, the understanding of the hip hop culture among the Japanese resulted from the understanding of English by a few Japanese who then brought this culture into their society. However, there is no guarantee that one will be able to access to the right idea, culture and value on learning a new language. Some cases that have been cited in history show that learning a particular language may have a negative intention behind it. This is the case for insurgency groups, who use Arabic in most cases to train and implement their terrorist plans in the society (Kumaravadivelu 174).
In this regard therefore, whereas cultural globalization has been found to increase the rate at which people across the world interacts and share on ways to improve their lives, it has contributed to a rise in the level of negative norms in society. Irrespective of the fact that societal developments depend heavily on cultural globalization, there are different negative issues that have been imparted on different societies across the globe thus altering the smooth flow of the society and introduced negatively norms that affects the society. For instance, the development of media technology was done with an aim of promoting new ideas in the society by keeping it informed. As far as cultural globalization is concerned, studies show that the media has been used more than often promote negative vices in the society. To further on this, there is a threat to native culture and language as people get more and more knowledge on other cultures across the world.