You are on page 1of 6

Cultural turn in the discourse of globalization One of the reactions against economic determinism leads the debate to the

‘cultural turn’. Other factors than material one have come to the stage of globalization debate and played a significant role. Culturally embedded global cogitation could go back to McLuhan’s significant formulation of the ‘global village’ (McLuhan !"#$. %ccording to &aters ( !!'( )$ ‘McLuhan *as possibly the first to notice that the ‘industrial’ media+ transportation and money are being displaced by electronic media that can restore the the collective culture of tribalism but on an e,pansive global scale’. -oland -obertson’s role of inserting the cultural aspect into the globalization talk is regarded significant in a sense that he ‘emphasizes the meaningful and interpretative aspects of social life+ including the *orld images in *hich globalization is represented’ (.olton+ !!/( '$. 0n relation to culture the focal problem of current global processes seems to be ‘the tension bet*een cultural homogenization and cultural heterogenization’ (%ppadurai+ !!1$. 0n the homogenization argument+ instantaneous images brought by communication technology such as 23 and global media+ and spread of symbolic representations throughout the *orld are seen as ma4or forces of homogenization. 2hese images and e,periences shared by global population could formulate a collective identity. .o*ever+ people *ho hold the position of capitalist *orld system or neoliberalism may argue that economic globalization causes its version of the cultural globalization+ regarding the cultural globalization as a by5product of the economic globalization. .omogenization of culture often means cultural dominance of a specific culture. One of several popular arguments relating to cultural dominance is that globalization is in fact &esternization. &esternization suggests that ‘global processes function to impose &estern cultural imperialism on the non5&estern *orld. 6uch &estern traits are taken to include capitalism and the profit5centred market economy+ democratic politics+ secular thought embodied in scientific reason+ individualism+ and human rights’ (.olton+ !!/( "7$. 2he critics contend that the dominance of &estern culture significantly destroys the diversity of local culture. 2he reaction to the cultural dominance often render local people look for the alternative values and sometimes it could lead to religious fundamentalism. %dditionally in the discourse of the ‘&esternization of non5&estern *orld’+ the diversity of ‘non5&estern *orld’ is reduced to 4ust ‘not being &estern’ and the differences bet*een countries are often overlooked. % more specific version of &esternization might be %mericanization of global culture. 2his argument is partly built on empirical evidence of 86 dominance in the cultural industry in both &estern and non5&estern countries such as film+ ne*s

olton !!/( "9$.olton+ !!/( "9$.o*ever+ %mericanization is not limited to the cultural industry.ay and Marsh ()111("$ suggest to ‘vie* globalization not so much as a process or end5state+ but as a tendency to *hich there are counter5tendencies’. %n attempt to understand t*o contradictory streams *as made by -oland -obertson. 2here are salient e. &hile this may highlight the comple. 0n this *ay the studies on globalization *ould be ‘to reveal the dynamic and contingent articulation of .broadcasting+ television programme+ etc. -egarding these seemingly conflicting phenomena+ -oland -obertson introduced the practical term+ >glocalize? *hich coined by @apanese and used mainly in business area (-obertson !!)( 97$. in general but 0t might be *orth to mention more about the last point made above. 2he criticism of %mericanization could be( 0t is capitalism rather than %mericanization that is becoming globalized although many aspects of capitalism may be seen as having %merican origin< 2he global field is multicentred rather than dominated by a single centre (%ppadurai+ !!1$< 2he global culture is not %mericanized or homogenized heterogenized+ decentralized+ localized+ and retribalized. 0t includes life style+ structure of economy and *ay of thinking (.pect+ instead they are continuously gro*ing. ‘Mc:onaldization’+ captured by .eorge -itzer e.plains the penetration of %mericanization into many cultures in the *orld (-itzer !!7 cited in .amples( migrant ethnic groups+ keeping their o*n language and cultural practice instead of assimilating into the local culture< the separatists’ movements in many different places in the *orld< the rise of fundamentalism< any form of effort to protect their o*n identity against the homogenized global culture. -ecognizing the importance of ‘the counter5trend to*ards fundamentalism in beliefs and lifestyle’+ =ilminster ( !!/( 1$ cites that ‘this counter5current has arisen in opposition to the intermingling of &estern and traditional attitudes and behavior. .e argues that ‘*e are+ in the late t*entieth century+ *itness to A and participate in A a massive+ t*ofold process involving the interpenetration of the universalization of particularism and the particularization of universalism’ (-obertson+ !!)( 11$. 2he heterogenization or the cultural divergence of the *orld has sho*n its strength since the end of Cold &ar. 0ssues like ethnicity+ nationalism+ religion or specific local cultures are far from *ithering a*ay as some ‘homogenizer’ *ould e. 0t is likely to be prominent in nations that find themselves+ through no fault of their o*n+ structurally at the lo*er end of the international stratification ladder *hich is dominated by the &estern and &estern5oriented nations’.ity of globalization+ . .

%ccording to them this ‘insertion of sub4ect (certain space and certain time$’ *ould help to account the phenomenon often recognized as ‘globalization’+ instead of searching general causation of globalization.olton+ !!/( #5'$. -ecognizing this problem there has been effort to link bet*een economic and cultural aspects.istence and forms of identity that the *orld’s inhabitants e. Moreover there is a risk of ‘separating the inseparable’ (Coster5Carter !!"( 1 $.olm and 6orensen indicate the importance of ‘ho* simultaneously to dra* attention on the development of the *orld as a single society+ *hile doing 4ustice to evidence of differentiation in the conditions of e.uman rights could be regarded as the global culture.processes in certain spatial conte. Synthetic approaches 6o far 0 have discussed the various arguments of globalization *ith emphasize the economical and cultural aspects respectably. Bo* 0 *ill look at the attempts of several commentators *ho take multi5dimensional approaches or rather holistic approaches to globalization.press’ (cited in . . 0t can be argued that the e. Once one enters the field attempting to correct+ via ‘culture’+ for the ‘material’ emphasis of *orld5system theory+ then one has automatically reproduced the cultureDstructure dualism and its correlates (=ilminster !!/( 19$.planation of the global process ‘via culture’ is too much of cultural determinism 4ust as the neo5Mar.ian or the neoliberal vie* of globalization is to economic determinism. Bgai5Ling 6um posits the ‘need for a ne* ‘cultural political economy’ sensitive to the comple. 0n this sense it *ould be possible to avoid the causal process *hich the ‘logic of necessity and inevitability so *idely associated *ith the notion of globalization’ (.ay and Marsh+ )111("59$.o*ever+ it is controversial because on the one hand some could argue against the universality of human right in the favour of the relativistic notion of human rights or the specific character of a certain culture such as Muslim or Chinese but on the other hand there are human rights activists in these countries (or cultures$+ trying hard to raise issues on human rights and to dra* attention of *orld citizen. %ckno*ledging the controversial nature of globalization *ith centripetal and centrifugal forces+ *hich bring about convergence and divergence of culture at the same time+ searching for the ‘global culture’+ *hich transcends homogenization of culture+ is one of the current topic of globalization debates. . 2here is even fuzzier concept of ‘cosmopolitan’ culture+ *hich is moving into the globalization debates. 0n the same line .ts at certain moments in time to yield effects *hich might be understood as evidence of globalization’ (.ay and Marsh+ )111("$. and dialectical interplay bet*een discursive5 cultural dynamics on the one hand and economic5institutional factors on the other’ .

changes+ and commodity speculations< Mediascapes( the distribution of electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information and images created by these media< 0deoscapes( the political and ideological comple.(.iddens+ !!1$.haustively in terms of the other’ (.iddens’s vie* of globalization as ‘a conseEuence of modernity’ is inappropriate to account comparative interaction in globalization+ especially in relation to the global5human condition.ay and Marsh+ )111( )$.ity of images by states and its opposite movements. 0n an effort of integrating those approaches Malcolm &aters suggests three regions of social life through *hich globalization is traced (&aters+ !!'( 9$( .o*ever+ -obertson argues that . Cour dimensions contended by . . 2hey include tourists+ immigrants+ refugees+ e. 0n another attempt to approach globalization in a multi5dimensional *ay %ppadurai identifies five dimensions of global flo*s (%ppadurai+ !!1$( Fthnoscapes( the landscape of persons *ho constitute the shifting *orld in *hich *e live.iddens are( &orld capitalist economy< Bation5state system< &orld military order< 0nternational division of labour. Cor -obertson globalization involves the interplay of four ma4or aspects of global field( national societies< individuals or selves< the *orld system of societies (or relationships bet*een national societies$< humankind (-obertson+ !!)()'5"$.iles+ guest*orkers and other moving groups and persons< 2echnoscapes( the flo*s of technology and communication *hich moves across boundaries< Cinanscapes( the landscape of global capital movement such as currency markets+ national stock e.iddens+ criticizing &allerstein’s much too mechanical model of globalization+ suggests other dimensions such as the political dimension+ are eEually important+ since the *orld capitalist economy and the nations5state system are ‘connected in various *ays+ neither can be e.$ On the other hand . 2his rather interdisciplinary or even post5disciplinary analysis of globalization is *ell presented by Bigel 2hrift’s term+ ‘cultural circuit of capitalism’ (ibid.plained e.

2his approach attempts to ‘starts from the structured process of inter*oven interdependent people in the plural’ (ibid. 2en years after his argument it seems to me that his anticipation became true.pression of symbols that represent facts+ affects+ meanings+ beliefs+ commitments+ preferences+ tastes and values.change and e. %long *ith the multi5dimensional approaches there is another group of people *ho look more closely at the effect of globalization on identity building.aving discussed various globalization talks some emerging tendencies become obvious.change+ distribution and consumption of land+ capital+ goods and labour services< 2he polity( social arrangements for the concentration and application of po*er that can establish control over populations+ territories and other assets< Culture( social arrangements for the production+ e. -obertson ( !!)(''$ argues that ‘the problem of globality is very likely to become a basis of ma4or ideological and analytical cleavages of the t*enty5first century’.$ and at the same time to overcome the abstract analytical social spheres+ regions+ or dimension. 2he use of the term ‘global’ and the image of ‘globe’ have become a part of daily life for many people. 0n almost all kinds of social science disciplinary the sheer amount and . Ciguration approach involves the recognition that the social processes increasingly take place above the level of nation5state+ and ‘the macro sociological concepts such as social system+ social structure and total society H *ere non the less effectively synonyms for ‘nation’’ (Flias+ !"/ citied in =ilminster+ !!/( 17$. %ccording to =ilminster ( !!/(!"$ Flias made more synthetic approach+ *hich is kno*n as ‘figuration’. %lso -obertson ( !!)(/$ in his definition of globalization highlights ‘the intensification of consciousness of the *orld as a *hole’. Conclusion .2he economy( social arrangements for the production+ e. 6ome argues that the a*areness of economical and environmental danger in global level *ill form the people’s identity of ‘*e’ as potential victims (Geck )111( )$. %mong these tendencies 0 may arguably identify the follo*ings( 2he tendency that single cause thesis of globalization is avoided< 2he tendency that more efforts is made for searching multi5dimensional approaches or synthetic approaches to globalization< 2he tendency to comprehend the contradictory (convergence and divergence$ directions of social process< 2he tendency to emphasize the particularity of global social process *ith consideration of time and space sub4ectivity rather than universal globalization.

.scope of discussions has considerably increased+ *hile their implications spreading all different+ and sometimes conflicting+ directions. 2he phenomena identified as globalization processes in many parts of the *orld are not likely to stop in any near future and so is not the discourse of globalization.lobalization has clearly become a site of political contestation. :iscourses of globality have long been utilized by policy makers+ business people+ anti5globalists+ economists and social activists to their tastes. %s -osamond notes these notions of globalization are obviously not value free( Conceptions of globalization carry *ith them not 4ust understandings of *hat the *orld is like+ but also *hat can be done. . . the hegemonic liberal narrative of globalization is being increasingly challenged by a cosmopolitan progressive leftism and a recidivist autarchic conservatism (-osamond+ )111$...