Does Globalization Diminish Cultural Differences

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Giorgia Frizzi, 23rd July 2010
''Globalization, Localization, Glocalization''
Research Paper.

Does globalization weaken cultural diversity or does it foster it? Effects of Globalization in Cultural differentiation

1. Introduction.

As some of us may know, the term “globalize” started being used in the modern times. However globalization as an idea has been brought up since even before the 1500’s when people started forming connections between communities, and therefore creating forms of communication, migration and such between these. And it is probably from these examples that in the modern era we came to call it Globalization which is known for being a process of integration between cultures, societies, economies, etc. Nonetheless, there have been, and there still are, many debates about the real cultural benefits of such global process.

There is no argument that when it comes to globalization, culture is indeed a concept of complex controversies. There are many different points of view about how globalization affects cultures and many competing perspectives of cultural homogenization versus cultural differentiation. The positive perspective of cultural globalization is that cultural diversity gives people ample choices and enrichment of learning from different cultures and traditions. We get the chance to choose between globally produced goods, besides local products, without being bound by their geographical location. Critics instead state that there is a depletion of cultural diversity through processes like ‘‘Mcdonaldization’’. Scholars who dislike cultural globalization believe that there is no such thing as ''Globalization'' but there is instead a process of cultural imperialism, where the only values and life style spread are the American ones; hence the use of the term ''Americanization''. In these regards, Joschka Fischer, a German politician, claimed I never use the concept, multipolar. I use multilateral. Because we have only one global power: whether you like it or not, this is the United States.

The objective of this paper which I am presenting to you is to give a better understanding of the impact that globalization has on multiculturalism or cultural diversity through the use of analysis of the concept of culture and cultural diversity and by measuring facts and indicators that have changed since globalization has started, and to come to the conclusion that even though globalization gives the world some sort of homogenization when it comes to economical matters, the strongest effect is the one that actually enhances cultural identity.

1.1 Understanding culture in the era of globalization.

Human societies across the world have always tried establishing closer contacts with each other, but in the era of globalization this has increased a lot , thanks to innovations and science which have made the world interdependent , and multi-national companies which have made the world one global market.

When trying to understand Globalization , one of the first issues to solve out is the lack of a universal terminology. In other words, there's no common acceptance of a unique meaning of the concept of Globalization.

As in this paper I will try to identify relations between globalization and cultural diversity and the effects of such relations, it would be appropriate to take the concept of culture as a starting point to try and explore the process of change of such concept between certain social groups, caused by globalization. Everyday we hear about cultural and religious conflicts in the world, because people are indeed looking for their cultural roots. Globalization and cultural diversity is strongly discussed among scholars because the situation is more complex than it sounds and it will be helpful to look at it more analytically so on the one hand, we need to understand globalization but on the other, we need to have a clear idea of the concept of culture we're here talking about....
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