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The boom in the global media in the recent years owes much of its success to the integration it has made possible on the cultural levels. The paper tries to gauge the extent to which media has become global with special references to the web based media and then takes up the Americanization that the social fabric of the world has become enmeshed in. The paper also seeks the reasons for these phenomena.
“A Literature Review is a systematic examination of knowledge available on a topic”. It is further opined that as far as academic literature review is concerned “it involves the use of appropriate peer-viewed articles” (Dawidowicz, 2010). The paper therefore examines and categorizes various texts that fall under the purview of global media studies and analyses the context and magnitude of influence of Americanization on the media in particular and the general masses in general.
Today, in the wake of globalization, the world is no longer a discreet entity but is to be taken as an organic whole. The metaphor of a “melting pot” could have aptly described the situation (Storey, 2000). People across the world are in a state of constant drift and are trying to become world players.
Still, the indigenous cultures of these people and their roots can never be entirely annihilated and hence the world has become a “salad bowl” implying that though people from various cultures reside in a particular area, they still retain their individual characteristic features as in a salad bowl the various vegetables, though mixed, can be separately identified (Campbell & Kean, 1997).
At the same time, one cannot deny the fact that people are more akin to see the world as a single stage and this has been made easy with the help of the proliferation of the media under the garb of globalization. This, in turn, has been possible because of the advancements in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) throughout the world and the leading contributor being America.
The proliferation of world markets was perhaps understood couple of decades back when Prof. Levitt opined that the “Globalization of Markets” is about to take place at hitherto incredible rates (Levitt, 1983). This has been supported by another stalwart of the field Prof. Ohmae who has proposed the concept of a “borderless world” (Ohmae, 1989). So it is highly likely that we, as a people, are converging rather than diverging with time and the day is not far when we would be actually able to do without borders and boundaries.
But this phenomenon could never have been successful without the role of the global media. The boom in use of computers and the internet and eventually becoming a necessity rather than being a luxury has led to increased connectivity among people across the borders and has contributed meaningfully to the growth and sustenance of globalization.
But this has been accompanied by various other changes in people who have given in to the advances made by globalization and the global media. Changing lifestyles and attitudes, lingua franca, desires and aspirations, more reliance on digital platforms and ultimately a general tendency towards Americanization characterize today’s youth all over the world. The paper reflects upon these issues and tries to highlight the impact of global media and the extent to which Americanization has given global media the much acclaimed thrust.
ICT and its influence
The world has become globalised because of the boom in ICT, as mentioned above. But the impact of ICT on our daily lives has made us more technologically oriented Huizinga (2006: 37). Nowadays, it is rather difficult to imagine a world and trade and commerce without computers and the internet.
The unprecedented growth in ICT has also led to make these technologies easily available and affordable as well. Other digital platforms are equally important and foster the life we currently lead. Our needs, desires and aspirations are heavily dependent on the information provided by these digital platforms – be it the internet or the satellite channels we watch on television.
Moreover, as per Lester (2002: 124), ICT has been instrumental in changing the way we learn and communicate since reaching out to other parts of the world at almost no cost and no time has become a reality. As far as education is concerned, Couldry (2007: 253) opines that the introduction of digital learning methodologies in school has only bettered the way students across the world learn. This has also led to the integration of global learning in the true sense of the term.
Classroom pedagogy is being supported by digital learning objects and this integration is thought to be more conducive to increasing the concentration of students and therefore advancement in pedagogy as a whole. Marjorie (1992: 69) is also of the same opinion when he suggests that the increase in international web based pedagogy has been possible because of consolidation of data on websites and subsequent facilitation of various tutorials and other learning programs.
The impact of ICT on education has been recorded by many a scholar and Hafez is no exception. Hafez (2006: 67) feels that the latest integration of knowledge forums and the ICT has helped facilitate the transformation of public libraries into digital learning platforms wherein knowledge can be accessed globally and by individuals across borders.
Also the use of web browsers as a part of acquiring knowledge has slowly but surely seeped in to the education system. Hafez sees this as a cultural transformation – one that has made us more prone to technology and ultimately let us break ourselves free of the shackles of borders and frontiers.
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On the other hand, trade and commerce is also deeply influenced by the advent of ICT. Huizinga (2006: 39) has noted that global commerce is deeply rooted in information technology. E-commerce has come up as a pertinent measure that traders and MNCs are opting for in order to maintain ties and trade relations with clients and customers throughout the world.
In comparison, Eric (2005: 679) has opined that ICT has helped increase the international cohesiveness and accord in society. On the one hand, there has been an integration of the world on various fronts like education and business and on the other, the cultural diversity has also been comprehended and that too successfully via the ICT and various digital media. The various cultural aspects of the world have been enmeshed into an organic whole through a common system of knowledge-based experiences as a result of globalization.
Today’s age is also known as the age of information. This has also been made possible through the proliferation of ICT. As per Boyd-Barrett (2006: 64), the way various data is stored and incorporated as well as used has helped the world prosper more than ever. Meta data storages and other technologies has been instrumental in increasing access to information across the various regions of the world and thus has successfully enhanced togetherness in almost all social and other aspects.
But the most astounding fact that has surfaced is in the research of Huizinga (2006: 39) is that the more global economies are being integrated, ICT is more and more becoming an inevitable strategy. Moreover, media and its globalization in terms of developments in ICT have now taken the driver’s seat since a lot depends on technological superiority.
Couldry (2007: 255) is of the opinion that global digital media has been instrumental in augmenting internationalization. This process has been carrying on for quite some time and international or global media has created a global platform for the masses who nowadays share common values and beliefs to a great extent.
Authors like Baym (2007: 347) take the point further when they talk about the social networking websites – ones that have changed the world for good and obviously the way we communicate with the rest of the world.
Social networking websites act as a very popular medium in today’s world and that they conjoin multicultural aspects across the continents is known to all and sundry. But what is more important is that these websites like Facebook or Orkut are bridging the gap between the cultural diversities and creating a multicultural society – one that relies heavily on Americanization.
Also, there are hundreds of satellite channels operating in all countries and most of these channels can be accessed from other parts of the world as well. Moreover, these channels are also reason enough for the internationalization of media and its being transnational.
Eric (2005: 572) in his seminal text reveals the impact of global media on lifestyles throughout the world. Especially the web media has changed the way we lead our lives. More than any other media, the web media is all the rage and it has patronized multicultural interaction at a hitherto unseen rate and that too on a global level.
The discourse on global media and its effects on society would not be complete until we discuss the impact of Americanization on the media and society at large. Of course there are various reasons for such a huge impact of Americanization on society and the media. 80% of the US citizens are computer literate and operate computers on a regular basis Huizinga (2006: 37).
Moreover, the global hub of computers is undoubtedly the US. And so is the internet. Since both the computer and the internet stems from the US and have flourished in that country, the effects of Americanization on the computer and anything related to the internet is verily evident.
As noted by Baym (2007: 349), the impact of America is immense since the massive usage of integrated global media has been momentous in the way world’s previously diverse knowledge has been incorporated into a common form of acquaintance. Particularly, the American culture has become widespread largely, since there have been a cohesiveness in communication among the people.
As mentioned earlier, that the latest media is trying to create a single lingua franca throughout the world – a language that is spoken or atleast understood by majority of the web media users. This common medium of communication happens to be English – the language used by Americans. The reason for this is obvious – most of the companies that are known to be successful in the web business hail from America and therefore keen on the usage of English.
Global Media and its subsequent proliferation as well as its impact on the social fabric of the world are not only inevitable but also desirable. It has helped the world integrate on a common platform and has been instrumental in reducing the problems associated with such integration. Furthermore, what was found that the most potent form of media in today’s world is indubitably the web media.
The web media has actually crossed borders and created a platform wherein all other digital and media converge, to the extent that our social lives converge – irrespective of our nationality, culture, creed, values and needs as well as aspirations.
In this context the impact of Americanization cannot be ignored and requires proper and individual attention. As mentioned earlier, most of these companies that have thriving businesses either on the media or on the web are from America. Naturally, the inclination to Americanize not only the websites but the entire experience is obvious.
Nonetheless, we are on the verge of cultural integration via the global media in general and the web media in particular. One cannot ignore the fact that America is one of the foremost and most formidable economies to reckon with. The influence they can wield on trade and commerce is immense and like no other. So the impact of Americanization on media is but obvious.
However, the way in which various authors have interpreted the flourishing of global media is different and this is of paramount importance. The reason is that these differences in perception or reason can be taken for as varying points of views that accumulate to form the entire experience or set of causes and effects that is known as global media or to be more specific – Americanized global media in today’s world.
- Baym, N. 2007. The New Shape of Online Community: The Role of the Media in Cultural Transformation. Social Integration Review, 12(3): pp. 341-359.
- Boyd-Barrett, O. 2006. “Chapter Four: Cyberspace, Globalization and US Empire” in, J. Libbey. Communications Media, Globalization and Empire, (pp 53-79). Eastleigh, Indiana University Press. UK.
- Campbell, N., & Kean, A. 1997. American Cultural Studies: An Introduction to American Culture. Routledge. Oxon. p. 65.
- Couldry, N. 2007. New Media for Global Citizens? The Future of the Digital Divide Debate. Journal of World Affairs; 14(1): 249-261
- Dawidowicz, P. 2010. Literature Review Made Easy – A Quick Guide to Success. Information Age Publishing Inc. America, p. 2.
- Eric, G. 2005. Revolutionizing the Society through the Media. Journal of Information Systems, 35(1): 672-684.
- Hafez, K. 2006. “Film and Programme Imports – Entertainment Culture as the Core of Media Globalization”, in The Myth of Media Globalization (p 57-89). Polity Press. Cambridge.
- Huizinga, J. 2006. The Role of ICT in Culture Transformation. Routledge Publishers. London. pp. 34-52.
- Lester, B. 2002. Building a Sustainable Society: The Digital Divide. Norton & Company. New York. pp. 123-141.
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- Marjorie, F. 1992. The Mythology about Globalization. European Journal of Communication, 7: 69 – 71.
- Ohmae, K. 1989. Managing a Borderless World. Harvard Business Review, 53, May/June, p. 152-162.
- Storey, J. 2000. Cultural Studies: The Politics of an Academic Practice; an Academic Practice as Politics. The Future of Cultural Studies. Leuven University Press. Leuven. p. 142.