Introduction Due to the increasing compression in space and time enabled by telecommunications infrastructureand their associated forms of media – especially the Internet, mobile phones and the new media,globalisation is becoming a prominent theme running throughout many areas, including politics,economics and culture. At the same time, in the new era of digitalisation, globalisation is stronglyinfluencing all aspects of media production, distribution and consumption. This relationship betweenthe media and globalisation can be positive in many respects, and negative in others.
The purpose of this essay is to critically analyse the dominant theoretical paradigms in attempt tounderstand various global phenomena, including the importance of communications and media inglobal economy and culture. This essay is also aimed at analysing the reasons why globalisation isbecoming an intensified concern, what will our world is constantly transforming into under theimpacts of globalisation, and the complexities involved in studying the media in a global context. Globalisation: Definition and major dimensions Though many scholars have established the notion of globalisation and introduced it recently, aswell as placing the origin of globalisation in modern times, globalization indeed has a long historydating back to the 16th century, to industrialisation & colonisation in the 17-19 centuries. Otherscholars have even traced origins of globalisation long before the discovery of Europe and voyagesto the New World, some even to the third millennium BC.
Large-scale globalisation began a few decades before the late nineteenth and early twentiethcenturies, when the connectivity of world’s economies and cultures increased rapidly. The termglobalisation is recent established with its present meaning during the past economic liberalisationprocess in the past decades. In short, globalisation is a process in which economic, political andcultural activities take place in a global space, are deliberately organised on a global scale, and areglobally interdependent.
Some examples: Global companies, global products, global sourcing ofinputs, global currencies, global banking, global foreign-exchange markets, global governanceagencies, global civic organisations, global consciousness etc. The accompanying, however, is a conceptual matrix with similar concepts which are often used butare not conclusively characterized the nature of globalisation. Some notable concepts include: o “Internationalisation” – the growth of interaction and interdependence between people indifferent countries. In economics, it can be considered as the process of increasing theinvolvement of enterprises in international markets. o “Liberalisation” – the process of creating an open, “borderless” world economy through theremoving or loosening of political restrictions on transboundary movements of resources. o “Universalisation” – the process of spreading materials, tangible or invisible objects andexperiences from one place to all over the world. 2 o “Westernisation” – the process of homogenisation by Western culture and values of non-Western countries.
This concept will attach to a topic that this essay discusses further whenanalysing the term globalisation – “a global village”. Observing in an overall point of view, due to advances in transport (such as steam and jet engines aswell as container ships) and in communication technologies and telecommunications infrastructure(including the rise of the telegraph, the Internet and smartphones), the interdependence of economicand cultural activities has increased and formed globalisation as the creation of a process ofdeterritorialisation – the growth of trans-border relations: the traditional territory is significantly lessimportant, giving way to the rise of a single place or a trans-border space (Scholte, 2000). Globalexchange is now trans-bordered without distance; not cross-bordered over distance. In conclusion, globalisation is the increasing interaction, or exchange in respects of economy andculture, of people through the growth of international transferability of money, ideas, experiencesand cultural values.
Globalisation often comes in as an economic process of integration – involvinggoods and services, and the economic resources of capital, technology and data – that has noticeablesocial and cultural effects. From this definition, this essay also subdivides and discussesglobalisation into two major dimensions: economic globalization and cultural globalisation. o Economic globalisation refers to the growing economic integration and interdependence ofnational, regional and local economies through the intensified free movement of goods, capital,services, technology and information. Economic globalisation primarily comprises theglobalisation of production, finance, markets, technology, organizational regimes, institutions,corporations, and labour. The expanding of economic globalisation has been largely supportedby developed economies integrating with majority world through foreign direct investment andlowering operation costs, reduction of trans-national trade barriers and cross-border migration. Economic globalization can make huge impacts on global economic growth and povertyreduction, labor unions, capital flight, tax havens etc, even inequality and raising voices fromdeveloping countries, including both emerging and frontier markets. o Cultural globalisation refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values around theworld in ways that expand and strengthen social relations.
This process is marked by theconsumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, pop culture media and massinternational tourism. Individuals now are allowed to engage in extended social relations thatare crossing the national and regional borders. Cultural globalisation includes the formation ofcommon norms and the knowledge in which people associate their individual and collectivecultural identities. The concept of a global village, Westernisation and key perspectives of cultural globalisationsuch as hybridization and homogenisation will be discussed below.
3 A global village The infamous Marshall McLuhan, who was celebrated as the man who foresaw many tremendousand transformative impacts that the Internet poses to us, coined a catchy, influential phrase related toglobalisation: “a global village”. Advanced media technologies – satellite technology and the Internet – have transformedimmigrants’ relations with their sending and receiving societies. According to McLuhan, thisliberating force known as global media is paving the way for the rise of a “global village”, in whichpeople understand and interact with each other in the most profound and extreme ways. In the”global village”, differences and conflicts are eliminated and replaced by mutual understanding andresponsibility for cooperation, thanks to the same approaches to shared imagery and products onmedia as well as democratic participation and debate in a universally and equally accessible publicsphere. This cooperation is also supported by a new concept of imagined communities: sinceimmigrants are now enabled to “imagine” their native national communities from afar, almost as ifthey never left their homelands, new trans-national typologies of immigrants are created as a result:the sojourner, the member of an ethnic community and the long-distance national. There are many ideas that unify the concept of a global village with a Westernised village, or evenan Americanised one.
It comes from the forward pattern and dominant trend of the cultural shiftfrom the developed Western countries to the rest of the world. Within Western countries, culturalproducts flow from United States to other countries. There are not so many players in this field but afew transnational media corporations to possess a wide range of media products.
An example since2000s, the golden age of exploded digital content and services, AOL – Time Warner has ownedAOL, Home Box Office, New Line Cinema, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, Turner BroadcastingSystem, The CW, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Cartoon Network and CNN at the same time.Currently when humanity is approaching a digitalisation era in which start-up companies appearconstantly and M&A processes also happen with a dense frequency, this trend becomes more andmore obvious. Technology giants like Google and Facebook own many subsidiaries: companies likeYoutube, Android, Google, Maps etc. by Google; or Facebook with successful acquisitions(Occulus) as well as failed ones (Snapchat). Together with this transformation, some Western cultural values are being promoted and causingloss of cultural diversity and cultural autonomy, such as materialism, consumerism andindividualism.
In terms of business, organisations now operate with profit-making motives and”more out of less” business strategies: there are no global regulations to force them to cater for theinterests of less affluent ”villagers”. However, no subscription to the dark sides only, all cultureswill avoid to insert incompatible cultural traits and have selective adaptation to outside efforts ofcultural invasion, then form a cultural hybridization process instead. For example, the rise ofBollywood in European countries, online information flow from the developing world to targetedaudiences in the developed world, and non-US media outlets still serve American audiences e.g. 4 American users account for 73% of unique users at Independent.co.uk, 39% of FT.com andGuardian.
co.uk, 36% of Scotsman.com (Thurman, 2007). There are a series of different reasons why an interest in globalisation has intensified The development of the modern nation-state has been closely linked to the broadening ofgeographical reach of industrial capitalism: the exploitation of resources, the exploitation of labor,the creation of cross-border international markets and the spread of cultural practice from the West.The idea that we are in a world that interlocks, that has elements of transnationalism is not a newone.
However, as Robertson (1997) points out, the emergence of global economic systems in the1970s and 80s brought a new level of concern and intensity to the globalisation problematic. Thesedevelopments have been observed and analysed by many critics and sociologists, most notablyMcLuhan, and principally focused on two phenomena which are related to two dimensions ofglobalisation: o Economic globalisation: considering trans-national corporations through the globalisation ofcapital and production, involving technology and data.o Cultural globalisation: the transformations in the global scope of the mass media with deepinfluences to the way people create and exchange ideas or experiences. The reasons will be organised into two groups: economic reasons and cultural reasons too. Economic reasons: increased economic interdependence; trans-national labour flows andmigrations; global trade agreements; global brands and worldwide corporate enterprise and multi-continental flows of capital, services, manufacture, goods, data, & telecommunications.
Globalisation is becoming more important than ever when all the business strategies of transnationalcorporations consider this factor. Multinational companies have applied strategies such asintegrating hyper-local (linguistic, cultural and political) elements into global products to serveunique geospatial entities, such as McDonald’s or KFC with numerous menus and dishes in differentcountries. Another example is global F brands such as Coke or Nestle have flavours that satisfythe tastes of indigenous peoples: pomegranate soft drinks in the Egypt country in which this fruit iscommon, or matcha flavored Kit Kat in Japan. In addition, the “corporate social responsibility”projects (the ethical duty to make the world a better place) are increasingly upheld by corporationsto meet with pressures from anti-globalisation movements, also to build an activist brand andgenerate goodwill. Cultural reasons: trans-border passage of social movements; common patterns of material andcultural consumption; mass tourism; deregulation and reregulation of broadcasting systems globalgenres (soap operas and reality shows) and the most notable one: converging media technologies.
5 Central to many of the attempts to draw significance from changes caused by globalisation has beena study of technological and information flows in media and communications industries. Again, themedia and telecommunications have operated on an increasingly global scale for a long time e.g. thefilm industry has distributed its products on an international basis since the First World War, withHollywood enjoying its ‘Golden Age’ in the 1930s; or simultaneous television broadcasts have beenwith us since the 1960s. In the 2000s, there are also great changes in people’s social lives with theincreasing use of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace; later Instagram, Snapchat andonline dating apps which changed the way we meet and interact with new people in such a profoundway that we call 2010s the “Tinderization” era. Enabled by new communication technologies,especially the Internet, the lifestyle and relationships of human is now more interactive, temporallyand spatially independent, more instant and decent. Also, as mentioned in the introduction, the media – as the major vehicle for transmitting culturalvalues – are ”the shock troops of (a) global cultural revolution” (Curran & Seaton, 1997, p.
245).Global media have contributed to the re-organisation of space and time in our everyday lives toproduce shared cultural practices, in a process one sociologist, George Ritzer (1993), has termed’MacDonaldization’ (uniform packaging, standardized methods of service, and everything organisedin terms of a model). This leads to an emerging global citizenry that based on cultural consumptionin the global marketplace e.
g. E-commerce, the ordering of goods from the Internet, has become partof our lives and online shopping offer a marketplace in which private people and big businessesalike can choose the cheapest prices. This electronic world is not only transforming organisationssince a new set of rules for business is developed, but also results to some consequences:unemployed labours, job losses, disappearances of whole areas of business, since all parts of thecompany can be done quicker and cheaper via new technology: administration, logistics, sales andacquisitions – everything. There is also a new definition of “prosumers”: the group of users who no longer merely consumeproducts but also produce media content that bring advocacy benefits to brands, such as bloggers,online forum participants or personal website authors. Conclusion In the past two decades, the globalising process has developed with an unimagined speed andflexibility. To look at both the dark and bright sides of its economic and cultural impacts,globalisation have been hailed as bringing us more diversity, more possibilities for participation incommunication; new structures and legal requirements in the media and communications industry,and furthermore, consequences for the whole of society.
A good knowledge of the various theoretical approaches to globalisation will promisingly to be thebasis for those who highly involved in studying the media and internet to strategically establish thevery first initiatives of opportunities and hopes for the future.