Global village is perhaps the most widely used definition in the context of globalization. The term is especially used to explain the meaning of globalization in simpler terms, at least to laymen. In order to have a clear understanding of the term global village, it is essential to have a prior understanding of the globalization concept itself. In this regard, there are many definitions that have been formulated, in an attempt to explain globalization. In simpler terms, however, globalization can be termed as increased interconnectedness among nations. However, this definition suffers some deficiencies, as it does not specify the manner, in which countries are interconnected. It is, therefore, necessary to embrace a comprehensive, yet clear definition. In this definition, globalization is regarded as the reduction and the subsequent removal of economic, political and cultural barriers among nations. It is this definition that yields three forms of globalization, viz economic globalization, political globalization and cultural globalization. Cultural globalization will be of utmost interest in the foregoing discussion, while economic and political globalization may be mentioned once in a while, to create a clear understanding (Waterman 17).
The above definition for globalization is an essential point in the definition of the term global village. The term itself suggests that global village simply refers to the act of virtually transforming the whole world into a village. This implies a hypothetical reduction in geographical distance from one corner of the world to another. By coining the term “global village”, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian theorist, argued that the advancement in transport and communication technology had compressed the world into a small village. Marshall’s argument was that a trip from a certain place to the furthest place in the world could take less than a day; just like a walk from one corner of a village to another. He also observed that, with the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW), and the internet, people from different parts of the world could interact face-to-face, rendering geographical distance between them as meaningless. It is this interaction that removes cultural barriers among people, thereby creating a homogenous/common culture. In fact, sociologists seem to have unanimously agreed that, in the midst of globalization, differences of unique cultures are difficult to maintain. As stated earlier, the scope of this study will be limited to cultural globalization, and more specifically, factors that facilitate the formation of a homogenous global culture. Such factors include spread of ideologies like feminism and anti-smoking drives, international chains and brands or restaurants and the act of the media sending homogenous messages to different people.
Spread of Ideologies, Like Feminism and Anti-Smoking Drives
The spread of different ideologies is one key thing that has facilitated the formation of a homogenous culture in the world. This is partially because such ideologies are viewed in arguably the same manner, in the whole world. Fundamental to this discussion is how ideologies like feminism and anti-smoking drives have led to the formation of literally a single culture in the whole world.
Feminism can be defined as a theory, a doctrine and an ideology, which advocates that women should enjoy the same socio-political rights as men. This ideology is based on the perception that, in a typical society, women are oppressed to men, and this oppression is illegitimate. In this regard, women are usually viewed as inferior to men in various spheres of the society life. Feminism ideology is thought to have started in France, later spread to China and then other parts countries worldwide. In fact, the concept has presently gained much importance in almost all societies of the world. At this point, it is decisive to analyze the correlation that exists between feminism ideology and cultural globalization. It is possible to show this correlation by analyzing, how different cultures in the world have been changing their perception towards women (McLuhan, Marshall, and Bruce R. Powers 22).
In the advent of feminism, it is argued that capitalists took undue advantage of the feminists’ ideologies. This can be illustrated by referring to an article authored by Hester Eisenstein in 2005, titled A Dangerous Liaison, Feminism and the corporate world. In the article, Eisenstein reports that when feminism ideology began, American capitalists exploited the idea that women desperately needed financial autonomy, by sending them into the workforce. The American society was finally characterized by women working in the Export Processing Zones (EPZ). This phenomenon became so common that it was referred to as feminization of the workforce. Concurrently, similar feminism ideology spread to all other parts of the world, where poor women were sent to the EPZs, to gain financial independence. Eventually, the whole world was characterized by a common culture of working women, and ironically, feminism ideology had created a homogenous global culture (Ezra Yoo-Hyeok Lee 11).
The role of feminism ideologies in the formation of a homogenous culture can also be analyzed from a different dimension. In this regard, it should be noted that women from all over the world have been pursuing their rights aggressively. Many women movements have been formed as platforms through which women can have their rights accorded to them (Waterman 13). Existing empirical literatures argue that women movements have begun to be formed at the grassroots level, then to the national level, and finally, to international level. For instance, between 1975 and 1985, women organizations from all over the world came together, with the aim of making women more powerful in fighting for their rights. Presently, this period is called The International Women Decade. It is arguably true that, after this period, women from all over the world became conscious of their rights. This led to the formation of a global homogenous culture that observes women’s rights. From this discussion, it is clear that globalization enabled women from all regions of the world to interact and form the organization that helped them gain much bargaining power.
The spread of anti-smoking ideologies has also helped create a homogenous culture in the world. In a global village, various countries have come together to seek joint solutions for the problems they face. This can best be portrayed through the formation of the United Nations, which is an umbrella body for powerful organizations like World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is a body that deals with health issues that affect countries-members of this organisation. The body has realized that smoking is the cause of lung cancer, which claims many lives globally. As such, it required that each member country embarked on an anti-smoking campaign. The move was aimed at creating a smoking-free world. It is worthwhile noting that this campaign has led to the formation of a homogenous worldwide culture, where smoking is regarded as a hazardous activity. In fact, UN members have created laws that require the manufacturer of cigarettes to disclose the fact that smoking is harmful to a person’s health, while advertising. As such, virtually every person in the world knows that smoking is harmful, courtesy of globalization.
Besides, globalization has facilitated the spread of other ideologies other than feminism and anti-smoking ideologies, which have also made the world one homogenous culture. Some relevant ideologies are political in nature. This can be viewed from the dimension that with the paradigm shift from a hereditary system of leadership to elected leadership, many societies in the world seem to embrace democracy. As such, it is fair to claim that the world has become culturally homogenous, as it embraced democracy. The concept of globalization has been extremely influential in the spread of these ideologies. This is because such ideologies start from one county in the world before spreading to other countries. This is similar to admitting that, in the absence of globalization, a homogenous culture would be impossible to attain.
The late McLuhan, a communication theorist, described “global village” as a phenomenon, where the world’s culture expands and shrinks while concurrently following pervasive technological advancements that facilitate instantaneous sharing of culture. The belief that there is a possibility of integration of cultures to lead to a global village is contradictory, in nature. It is strongly believed by people that if there is this continued trend, cultural globalization will bring about to a global market where countries of all economic opportunities are shown, and where the developed countries come to the aid of less developed associated with humanitarian efforts.
Technology is a factor that cannot be overlooked in globalization discussions. This is because, in the absence of the modern technology, any form of globalization would be difficult to attain. In the context of cultural globalization, technology has played a central role. The invention of the internet and the World Wide Web has enabled people from various corners of the world exchange their cultural experiences. The most observable effect of technology in creating a homogenous culture can perhaps be looked from the perspective of social media like Facebook and Twitter. Notably, most cultural interactions take place in these social sites.
Media can be referred to as instruments through which information can be relayed between a receiver and a statement. It can be categorized into electronic, audio-visual and print media. A discussion pertaining to the development of media will always erupt, wherever there is any conversation touching on “globalization”. Are national identities destroyed by globalization? Is the culture of individuals suppressed by globalization of the media? It is worth noting that most of human acting and thinking is largely influenced by the media. Most of knowledge among people is acquired purely through media and connectivity, and networking of individual concerns controls the universe (Ezra Yoo-Hyeok Lee 12).
Globalization of media cannot be traced to a certain date, but it is proposed that it begun in the late 15th century. With industrialization in most parts of the world, communication networks became a crucial agenda in most nations. The languages that people speak are their media, metaphors are composed of the media, and these metaphors manage what constitutes the culture. In the present world, it is not possible to conceive culture without media. A number of appearances are meant in life with culture, not taking into consideration if they concern science or education, art, working world, religion or the day-to-day life matters.
Culture and media have a strong correlation, and to a large extent are inseparable, especially in the recent world. Media as an industry communicates cultural norms and hand down values. Through global networking, values and norms are hard elements to restrict to any part of the world any more. With continued use of the media, cultures of the respective individual are changing, thus, has the role of the media come up (National Association for Foreign Student Affairs 21).
In the recent past, people have enlarged their essential nervous system in a global perspective, ignoring both time and space as far as the whole world is concerned, following the massive electric technology. Senses of sound and sight have been particularly extended though electric technology. The radio and telephone can be viewed as a long distance ear while the computer and the television can be viewed as a long distance eye. It is courtesy of electric technology that people get to know of things that are beyond their range, without necessarily changing their current positions. The terms of “global culture and “global village” signifies the world that coalesces to a single culture and consequently village via electronically networking today. Through media, the communication of the people in the whole world is enhanced without any physical efforts.
The speed at which the information is relayed in the world has an enormous impact on a person’s life today. It is through media that people can connect with each other around the world as promptly as it would have taken to connect to each other within incredibly short distances. It is the technology that comes with this electronic media that allow us to react and act to global issues at a speed similar to face to face communication.
Media globalization intensifies the degree of individual awareness and helps appreciate that he is not alone in this world, and an extensive care is needed to be taken about others just like about himself. Individuals should develop global responsibility and strive to promote unity through media. Though there is a non-uniform allocation of internet access and television, it is paramount to note that almost everybody benefits from the modern media in one way or the other. The culture that is formed is based on some patterns of individuals who use certain media. With the advance of technology and increased speed of internet leading to a global village, a common culture is more likely going to be created.
With the standardization of services and products, which influences the lifestyle and experiences of generations, a global culture is gradually erected. Since culture and media are correlated, there arises a danger of the two melting together in an unfavorable way. Every culture will fade away, while individuals wish make way for a common culture, which meets the world’s standards. With media of every selection, variety will be destroyed, and the media will homogenate all cultures. Media creates diversity in the sense that it acts as a process of learning from each other through the narrowed gap between nations.
The philosophical changes of the media have a global aftermath as well as a local one. Just like the everyday performance is affected, political conditions and international economic conditions are affected, as well. Culture is a gradual process of development and invention of media, raging from cave drawings to the electronic media.
In a nutshell, it is the perception that matters, but in my own opinion the world in which culture and media are hosed, benefits strongly from the globalization. It can be noted that the world has been growing together with media globalization. Courtesy of the television news, the radio and more so the internet implies that people are able to know what is going on at the other end of the world at any given moment. The images displayed on computer and television screens are suggestive of experiencing the event directly. This experience leads to a lot of closeness, and bond of togetherness is encouraged.
With the globalization of the media and turning of the world into a global village, it becomes particularly easy to help when something happens in another part of the world. For example, the Tsunami in parts of Africa and Asia, in 2004; it was during the Christmas season that the news on screens showed everything that happened there: acutely fatal seaquake killed not less than 240,000 people. Before Tsunami happened most people if not all knew about it, however, the television sets that made it dreadful and many people felt sorry for the victims after seeing live how they ran screaming. It is through the internet and television that everyone in the world became aware of the incident, and within a merely short period, appeals for funds were everywhere. Through globalization of the media, the Tsunami turned out to be a painful event for almost every person in the world, and it was made possible to rescue the victims from hunger, as well as provide for hospital bills and any assistance that they needed. It is evident that a common culture is created in the sense that people live like neighbors despite their separation by long distances.
The idea of global culture and global village raises a number of questions as pertains to reciprocal sharing, mutual understanding, enriched diversity and equal representation. Facebook, instant messenger and “My space” are outstanding examples of instant communication. It is evident that countries with high economic influence may, in the long run, control the standards of culture by which all the rest parts of the world will have to live. Economies with powerful influence, like the United States of America, are the prime victims of the immense progress in the technology, and hence, the reason as to why the developing countries will follow the culture of the developed nations.
America is mostly blamed for its imposition of mass media and culture; however, other developed nations in Europe and China are also to blame for aid in reinforcing American culture around the globe. Hollywood and MTV are influential primary examples of avenues, through which America extends their influences far away from the American boarders. Permeation of music in the global market supersedes the proposed diffusion of cultures that America claims to inspire. There is rampant increase of fast food restaurants belonging to America in almost all parts of the world, which is an implication of the economic power of America as a nation. This power enables America to have enormous influence on other foreign nations and consequently the global culture is created (Herod 17).
The influence of the economies with high economic power puts a number of languages at the risk of extinction. It is argued that half of all the languages in the whole world are in danger of disappearing, following the creation of the so called ‘world language’. Losing the languages posses a tremendous challenge in the sense that the aspects of smaller cultures are ignored, since they are not in a position to articulate their knowledge and beliefs as a result of the language extinction. Some culture are already lost forever, as an implication and, therefore, with the world taking the form of a global village a global culture is created, without any doubt. The world becomes increasingly mundane, besides the risk of losing a number of cultures forever.
A number of individuals address the westernization phenomenon or expansion of customs and products from the developed countries in the West, not in its sense of imposition of culture, but as a major opportunity for the developing country to incorporate their culture with the Western culture. The developed countries make use of words like cultural fusion and integration in justifying the global culture. Therefore, global culture is viewed as a natural progression and evolution of how individuals interact with one another. Many possibilities could be associated with globalization especially for literature and music works, in the near future. They, as indicated by the trend, are going to be accessed by a huge number of individuals.
International Brands and Chains of Restaurants
The ongoing globalization, leading to the formation of a global village, is channeled at forming a cultural uniformity in all parts of the world without ignoring the aspect of diversity. A common culture is likely going to be imposed in all parts of the world. Globalization itself has its own dominant culture, which is the foremost reason as to why it tends to homogenize.
American based restaurants have begun selling their food items and espresso to the increasing number of countries, and in this sense increasing the sprouting of American food habits. It is worthwhile noting that it is the first time in history that globalization is being felt. Most individuals find the adverts through media, tastes the food and finally becomes a loyal customer of the goods and services. The identity and traditional culture of the most industrialized nations (U.S.A) are in danger, which generates fear and resentments (National Association for Foreign Student Affairs 19).
Culture is not static and must grow out of a gradually encouraged reverence for selected habits and customs. Globalization leads to cultural homogeneity, but this must take place through certain aspects in the society and the economy. Goods sold in restaurants and many chain stores bring a number of vales and ideologies of the world capitalist system with them.
Globalization fosters the creation of consumer culture, which does not simply imply solely the consumption. In the human history, people belonging to the same society are influenced by the habits of consumption of the other societies. Increased mobility has enhanced these influences, which have continued to become increasingly powerful. The consumption of goods and services is no longer an issue of the ability to pay for basic needs, but the bundle to be consumed is highly determined by the eyes of the peers’ as social status merits.
Customers in the globe constantly seek predictable services that support their capacity to move extremely fast and with ease in different parts of the world. Indeed, lifestyle and businesses of these travelers has been tailored mightily by globalization. The increased demand is gradually alluring the concept of an international brand in the economy. Nevertheless, uncertainty about the acceptability of the international brand in the global market continues to exist, in response to a unique condition at the local level.
A number of sellers sought economies of scale in coming up with international products and brands, and making them available to almost all the markets in the globe. There is a general belief that international travelers, who are constantly on board whether for recreation or business, usually prefer an international brand that is uniform, since they want the comfort and convenience of predictability, and the level of service they demand is high.
Evolution of a global village, on the other hand, may cause disintegration of culture, raise misunderstanding between cultures, or lead to domination of cultures by the developed countries, which can lead to hybrid cultures.
From the above discussion, it is clear that, in a global village, different and unique cultures can hardly exist. Furthermore, it is clear that technology plays the most influential role in cultural integration. First, without technology, a global village would not exist. Secondly, technology provides a solid platform, over which people from different parts of the world can exchange their cultures. It is this exchange in cultural experience that destroys cultural barriers between different people. In this manner, cultural integration is said to have occurred since people from all over the world share a common culture. However, it is essential to acknowledge the fact that perfect cultural integration is difficult to attain. As a concept, cultural integration has contributed a lot to a shift from traditions to modernity. Finally, cultural integration should not always be considered to be positive. This is because people can have a common negative culture. A multidimensional analysis of this concept is thus indispensable, whenever seeking to identify its effects.