To begin with, it should be noted that globalization nowadays is an overwhelming world trend. Evidently, multinational corporations manufacture various products in many countries and have consumers with similar ideas and preferences worldwide. It means that technology, money, and raw materials move ever more swiftly and intensively across national borders. It is important to mention that along with finances and products, cultures, and ideas circulate even more freely. As the result, economies, laws, and social movements are constantly forming at the international level (Globalization,2014).
A close look on the data indicates that globalization has become a regularly used buzzword since the latest decade of the twentieth century. Obviously, it is often used by those people, who wish to emphasize the benefits of economic interdependencies or global business. Moreover, it has also been used by various sociologists who argue that globalization of the media sources is responsible for a steady homogenization, or sometimes even Americanization, of cultures worldwide and has reduced the worlds’ global cultural diversity.
However, there is nothing qualitatively new in the phenomenon of globalization. History shows that it has been happening since humanity first learned to trade. When the Romans built their famous roads as they marched across Europe, they were engaging in a form of globalization. When Marco Polo traced new trade routes from central Asia to Europe, he was promoting globalization of trade. According to these and many other facts, globalization does not mean that all people around the world will all eventually act and look the same, as some anti-globalization protestors argue. Thus, while there is no doubt that globalization seriously impacts local cultures, the effects are usually unpredictable and complex and in some cases can create a stronger sense of local identity. It is important to make a scientific analysis of the current problem in order to understand the consequences of this global process, because in case of the destruction of local cultures, it would be important for countries to think about new laws and regulation in this sphere.
The data yielded by this study provides convincing evidence that what the twenty-first and twentieth centuries have added to the story of globalization seems to be qualitative rather than quantitative. It means that people have seen a new kind of globalization, when the telephone, the internet, air travel, and many other new achievements and innovations have all made it possible for all people worldwide to feel next to each other. AS the result, in the 60s, there appeared the term “global village”, which was referring to the unification of media, the colonization of people’s imaginations by ideas and images from distant places at a rate that has never before occurred (Stiglitz, 2002).
As the result, various experts and many common people believe that this form of media globalization could lead to a homogenization of culture as similar news, language, images, music, films, and much more are broadcasted daily around the globe (Lechner, 2012). Furthermore, some companies such as the U.S. Internationals like Starbucks and McDonalds usually represent a dark side of globalization, which means the loss of local difference in a wash of trade and global ideas. Therefore, due to the fact that consumer goods are becoming homogenous worldwide, advocates of anti-globalization claim that the whole world is being homogenized in the new era. Evidently, people use the same kind of things: from cars and computers to dishes. Thus, homogenization is basically something imposed on humanity by market forces. Obviously, such situation leads to a consumerist way of life and changes the system of values that begins to concentrate on physical comfort and on the material world. The opinion is that globalization treats people as objects.
However, it is important to mention that even while people use various market goods, they do feel themselves as individuals with their own way of life. Some researches show that people are not passively accepting all the things, coming from other countries, as they have great freedom to select their own way of life (Miller, 2012). In this sense, individuals could choose their own favorites, despite of the external factors. Thus, the global tendency could not eliminate local culture diversity, because people still have the right to stick their cultures. It means that every culture is fighting for its existence, as it happens in social world.
It should be highlighted that as well as homogenization, modern theories have also identified trends of hybridization and polarization in various cultures. They mean the clash of local and global, which can also give rise to some new, unique cultural identities, as it happened in America, or some colonized countries. Without any doubts, this process has been going all over the world for many centuries. Thus, when the Roman has left British islands they left behind a cultural legacy that included Christianity. Brazilian and Argentine cultures cannot be said to be absolutely Iberian, neither do they truly belong to the indigenous races, populated the lands before the first colonists. It seems fair to suggest that one culture does not steamroller another, furthermore, cultures clash, fracture, interact, breed, and ultimately form some new cultures distinct from the sources from which they were formed.
The modern examples of the complicated process of cultural globalization can be shown by some Asian countries, as China and Russia. Thus, despite the fact that Russia was born from the totalitarian USSR, which had closed borders, this country nowadays has a big variety of different influences from Japan, American, European cultures. At the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, it is possible to notice various restaurants with foreign dishes. The Operas and theatres present different plays of authors from all over the world. It is possible to visit Fashion weeks, where the models show the dresses from France or Italy. Undoubtedly, Russian cultural life is fueled by the achievements of global culture. The same situation is in China, where the communistic regime is still present. Obviously, this country is influenced by the economic relations with western world, and step by step, some cultural tradition are assimilated by local citizens. It can be proved by the fact that many rich Chinese children are studying in American universities, because they think that western education is better than local one.
Taking everything into account, it should be concluded that globalization is neither a new phenomenon nor an oppressive homogenizing force. Without any doubts, throughout history, cultures have evolved and clashed and they will constantly continue to do so into the further decades and beyond. Thus, globalization does not mean the end of local cultural diversity and can indeed promote it, because people will search harder for their own ways of identifying themselves in this qualitatively new global village.
Globalization.2014. Stanford University. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/globalization/
Lechner, Frank, Boli, John. (2012).The globalization reader. Chichester Wiley-Blackwell Pubs. 542.
Miller, David. (2012).National responsibility and Global Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 248.
Stiglitz, Joseph. (2002).Globalization and its Discontents. Norton and Company. 304