Cultural Globalization
The View on Cultural Change from
Globalization Frameworks
• Hyperglobalizers: homogenization of world
under American popular culture or Western
• Political Sceptics: thinness of global culture
relative to national cultures. Cultural differences
and conflicts along geopolitical faultlines.
• Transformationalists: intermingling of cultures
and peoples: hybrids and new forms
What is Culture?
What is Culture?
• Social construction, articulation ad
reception of meaning (Held, et al 1998)
– The arts
– Commodified output of the culture industries
(Film, TV, Music)
– Spontaneous expressions of everyday life
– Complex interactions between all of these
What is Culture?
Other forms of Identity
• The importance of forms of Communication
Cultural Globalization-concepts
• Cultural globalization: the transmission of
culture globally
• Facilitated by the movement of people,
objects, signs and symbols.
– Travel
– Movement of books and cultural artifacts
• Key: forms of communication and
Cultural Globalization-Concepts
Deepening: wearing the groove deeper
Diverse encounters:
Cultural Globalization-Concepts
• Is it all Coercion?
– Proselytism
– Evangelism
– Empire
• Better: “Modes of interaction”
– Imposition
– Emulation
– Diffusion: hierarchical, contagious, relocation
Cultural Globalization-Concepts
• Infrastructures and Institutionalization:
regularized and embedded change
– Transportation and communication
– Social organization and systems: shipbuilding,
mapmaking, shipping companies, international
satellite companies, regulatory regimes, TV
– Languages: educational systems, training of
Cultural Globalization: Historical Perspective
World Religions
Modern national cultures
Transnational secular ideologies
Contemporary cultural globalization
Cultural Globalization: Historical Perspective
• World Religions: Christianity, Islam,
Confucianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhismnone is present everywhere
• Some odd pockets
– 1 million Japanese Shintoists in Brazil
– Goan Catholics on west coast of India
• Religious/Political/Military Power
– Christianity
– Islam
• No proselytizing: Confusionism/Hinduism
African Religious Diaspora
African Religious Diaspora
Cultural Globalization: Historical Perspective
• By 3 C. bce: Buddhism and Hinduism had their
contemporary spread
• 700 ce: Islam in core regions
• 16th/17th C. :Christianity reaches global presence
• World religions have given religious and political
elites immense power and resources, ability to
mobilize armies, and “governance”
Dominant Religious Traditions
• Role of cultural power in creating and
maintaining political empires
– Difficult to enforce rule at a distance
– Armies and governments are expensive
– Indirect rule: Universal ruling class
• Kinship, belief, religion
• Political divisions become vertical between classes
– Diffusion of culture provides cohesion
Roman Empire
• Capacity to deploy political power.
• Accomplished through innovations:
Logistical capabilities and civil engineering
Political community
Class solidarity
Shared cultural beliefs, rituals and aesthetics
• Literacy was key among ruling class
• Drama and poetry were used to build allegiance
The British Empire
• Most global of any formal empire: “the sun
never sets on the British Empire”
• Imperial educational policy
– English medium schools in India, etc.
– Elites went to Oxford and Cambridge
• Imperial communications infrastructure
– Telegraph to India by 1870
Modern National Cultures
• Nation: cross-class community, whose shared
sense of identity, solidarity and interest is rooted
in an national identity ad common historical
experience (real, imagined or interpreted) and
whose central political project is the possession of
a distinctive state in a bounded territory.
• Nationalism: Psychological and cultural affiliation
creating a connection with the community of the
– Ethnic nationalism
– Civic nationalism
• National culture: complex bodies of real and
imagined practice, belief, ritual and attitude
Modern National Cultures
• Non existent before 18th century: Treaty of
• National cultures invented and developed over
• Cultural preconditions:
– Literacy
– National histories, myths and rituals,
– Importance of state powers of taxation and conscription
National Cultures
• Task undertaken by diverse institutions
– Official language
– National schooling system
– Postal service and Communications structures (NBC,
ABC etc.) National press
– Standing army
• Suppression or eradication of competing identities
and peripheral nationalisms
• Key factors
– Memories/histories/myths
– Role of land/landscapes/places:
• Monuments
• National Parks
• sites of battle
Transnational Secular Ideologies
• European modern culture is secular
• Socialism and Marxism
• Enlightenment ideologies:
– Modern scientific worldview
– liberal political discourse:
• civil and political rights
• Limited government
• Self-determination
– Capitalism
• Globalism?
World Languages
Language Tree
Cultural Globalization/Global Culture
• Technologically driven
• Economic liberalization driven: mergers and
acquisitions,deregulation, free trade barriers
reducedconcentration of ownership
• Dominated by US, but Japanese, UK, and
others are present (see chart)
Global Media
• Radio and the music industry
– Political instrument: Voice of America, Radio
– Instrument of Localism
– Major source of communication in developing
countries for community/political/entertainment
– Music is highly compatible with globalization: no need
for translation
– Musical diaspora: religious, African, American
– Modern forms are more mixed: Orquesta de Luz, El
Vez, World Music
Cinema and Television
US Dominates Film
Increasing growth of new film industries
Other industries: see chart
Television: more recent, higher level of
individual capital investment
• Public quality initially, now Satellite and
Cable have changed control to private.
• Issues:
Expanding Awareness
Sex Tourism
Ecotourism and Rural Tourism: Contradictions?
Cultural Survival:
• Who controls the production of culture?
• Tourism as an economic generator
• 1950: 25.3 million tourists/$2 Billion
• 1995: 561 million tourists/$380 Billion
• International Tourists:
• Country
% of Tourists
Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Korea)
Middle East 1.2%
South Asia .6%

Cultural Globalization - University of Colorado Boulder