Today I think there is a large quantity of people in the world who are aware that media technologies have created a means for cultural walls to break down and for every corner of the world to communicate with each other very easily. While that may be common knowledge, the question of whether this ‘globalisation’ is positive or negative has not yet been definitively answered or agreed upon.
Academics have tried to answer the question, but when it comes to globalisation there was bound to be a clash in opinions.
In the eyes of Marshall McLuhan globalisation has formed a ‘global village’ which suggests that we are now able to communicate with each other all across the world. He believed that not only were the people of the world now able to communicate because of globalisation, but they could also share information and express their opinions.
Globalisation is also considered beneficial in many other ways, some outlined in the following video by David Dollar.
While McLuhan and Dollar have very positive views of globalisation, others have very negative views in comparison.
According to O’Shaugnessy and Stadler, with globalisation comes the threat of cultural imperialism.
“The globalisation of communication results in the domination of traditional cultures and the intrusion of Western culture and values such as consumerism.”
Klein (2000, p.131) shows an example of cultural imperialism with his term ‘coca-colonisation’, which refers to the spread of Coca-Cola commodities and brands across the world.
The term ‘coca-colonisation’ reminds me of my trip to South Africa in 2012. I remember quite clearly a lot of Western culture that seemed to have been enforced or at least was out of place in the small traditional town I was visiting. Coca-Cola advertising was a common form of this cultural intrusion.
This is one of my original photos taken in South Africa with a little bit of bad editing added by me. I didn’t take a photo of the original Coca-Cola sign that I saw on my trip but this is how out of place the sign seemed.
While I believe that globalisation can be negative in the way of cultural imperialism and also some other ways, I also believe there are many beneficiary aspects of globalisation as well.
If we didn’t have globalisation I wouldn’t be able to keep in contact with the friends I made in South Africa.
We can’t un-invent media technologies and go back to the time before globalisation, so we may as well make the most of it and try to understand it. After we understand globalisation, we can accept it and try to better it. As a globe, for now, that is the best we can do.