‘Mcdonalds in Moscow and Coke in China Will Do More to Create a Global Culture Than Military Colonization Could Ever Do' Benjamin Barber.

Topics: Culture, Globalization, Cultural studies Pages: 7 (2031 words) Published: August 7, 2006
‘McDonalds in Moscow and Coke in China will do more to create a global culture than military colonization could ever do' Benjamin Barber.

While it is clear that a peaceful introduction to another culture through trade and commercial enterprise will always be better accepted than a military imposition of a foreign culture, it is not true to say that any culture will bend to another influence by an action as simple as eating a hamburger or drinking a soft drink. The increase in globalisation in the world has already begun a pattern of recognition and strengthening of cultural identity. The anti-globalisation movement is very vocal in criticising the western (or more specifically, American) of cultural imperialism, but studies provide evidence that the West is developing a respect and understanding of other civilisations in order to protect its economic standing in global politics. Differences among cultures are not easily resolved, as culture plays an intense role in the identification and functioning of various civilizations. Culture is a vital element of globalization because it is through cultural understanding and empathy that national relationships grow.

In 1884, Karl Marx wrote "In place
of the old local and national seclusion and self sufficiency we have exchanges in every direction, leading to the universal interdependence of nations". Globalization has become a widely recognised term in the new century, and has many important interpretations. Among the most significant are the following. According to Robertson (1992) globalization suggests a single unified world where people are conscious of their responsibilities to the world as a whole, of sharing the planet with others (Gaia awareness) and of the consequences of our actions in the worldwide arena. Giddens (1990) interprets Globalism as Western modernity that has extended globally; he describes a fourfold level of modernism that consists of a system of nation states, global capitalist expansion, global media and information networks, and a system of military alliances, each of which now has global reach. Another widely accepted theory of globalization is the fear that global media networks and capitalist consumerism are producing a homogeneous global culture. A "McWorld" according to Barber, 1992. This Western Cultural Imperialism accusation is sometimes counterbalanced by arguments about increasing heterogeneity and difference. Traditional Nationalists say that claims for globalization are excessive and that culture remains deeply national. From this view, cultural imperialism is seen as overstating external structural forces and undervaluing local and human agency and overstating change.

On a global level it is undeniable that the world is becoming a smaller place. We are all interdependent and it is not possible to regard any single nation as self-sufficient. Even the U.S relies on resources from other parts of the planet (such as oil) (Barber, 1992) Travel, internet, media and business interactions between people of different cultures are constantly increasing, with the flow of ideas and concepts matching the flow of goods and money. These interactions with other cultures increase the awareness of similarities and differences between the civilisations of the world and also the sense of individual culture in each nation or group (Huntington, 2002). In order to achieve a truly global culture, there would need to be communication, co-operation and understanding between different cultures or civilisations. This process of increasing interaction leads to civilisation-consciousness and often as a result of that, a "them versus us" attitude (Skidmore, 1988). When interacting with other civilizations, people tend to identify with their native culture as being in the right, and all other cultures as being enemies. This self-righteous stance is difficult to overcome when idealising a global culture (Sato 1997). It is easier to find compromise in...

References: Barber, B. R., 1992. Jihad vs. McWorld. In Berndt and Muse (Eds) Composing a civic life (pp. 370-380). Pearson/Longman. NY.
Giddens, A., 1999. Runaway World. How Globalisation is reshaping
our lives
Gienow-Hecht, J., 2006. A European Considers the Influence of American Culture.
Huntington, S., 2002. The Clash of Civilizations? The Next Pattern of Conflict" International Relations: In the Post-Cold War Era. Pp 45-66.
Pells, R., 2002. American Culture goes Global, or Does it? The Chronicle Review.
Radhakrishnan, A., 1992. in Nationalisms and Sexualities. Routledge, London
Rao, S., 1996
Sato, S., 1997. "The Clash of Civilizations: A View from Japan" Asia Pacific Review. Pp. 1-15.
Tomlinson, J., 1991. Cultural Imperialism: A critical introduction. Johns Hopkins University Press, Maryland.
Watson, J.L., 2000, May/June. China 's Big Mac Attack. In Berndt and Muse (Eds) Composing a civic life (pp. 370-380). Pearson/Longman. NY.
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