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Globalisation and cultural homogeneity Essay


Introduction

Globalisation is the aspect of integrating political, economic and social systems across the world. Globalisation has its pros and cons. However, the view regarding its role differs depending on the side of the divide one belongs. Proponents argue that globalisation has led to opening up of more opportunities for the peoples of the world while critics perceive globalisation as a tool for perpetuating inequality.

Critics further argue that globalisation is an act of westernization or Americanization of the globe. Whether, one sees globalisation as a tool for exploiting the developing world or not, it is noticeable that it has played a leading role towards cultural homogeneity.

Culture is so dynamic (Van Krieken, 2010). Despite the high level of dynamism, each culture has a personality. As such, different cultures although similar in certain ways do exhibit certain deviations. This forms the idea upon which cultural diversity is grounded. One important aspect that pins culture is based on how it is learned.

Culture is not transferred genetically. Instead, culture is handed down from one generation to the next. Although it is alleged that language plays a crucial role in the transmission of culture, several other factors such as economics, politics, ethnicity, etc also contribute significantly. It is worth mentioning that culture is an ongoing process that gives communities a sense of dignity, identity, continuity and security. Such aspects are important in binding societies together.

Ethnic and cultural demographics

The number of ethnicities across the globe is not clearly determined. However, it is evident that ethnicities are too many even when viewed within individual countries. However, different demographic aspects are available. As an example, major world religions and languages are easily identifiable.

Based on the United Nations, (2010), in 2009, the world population was split across these religions Christian 33.45% (Anglican 1.27%, Orthodox 4.04%, Protestant 6.07%, Roman Catholic 16.84%), Muslim 22.44%, Hindu 13.77%, Buddhist 7.12%, Sikh 0.36%, Jewish 0.22%, Baha’i 0.12%, other religions 11.20%, non-religious 9.43%, atheists 2.03%. On the other hand, languages spoken include Japanese 1.8%, Russian 2.12 Portuguese 2.62%, %, Javanese 1.25%, Standard German 1.33%, Bengali 2.66%, Hindi 2.68%, Arabic 3.25%, English 4.83%, Spanish 4.85%, Mandarin Chinese 12.44 % (the languages relate to native speakers statistics).

It should be noted that globalisation has contributed to the alteration of these statistics. It should not surprise people that most English speakers are not native speakers. In addition, China has opened several centres in the developing world aimed at spreading its culture and language to these parts of the world.

Effect of globalisation on culture

With the emergence of the phenomenon of globalisation, cultures have changed significantly (Kull, 2001). By way of illustration, culture has had immense effects on behaviour in different ways among various societies. Globalisation has influenced the living ways as people ape others from different parts. The most significant effect of globalisation rests on the notion that it has hugely affected the economic institutions of all countries in the world.

For keen observers, it is easy to draw the connection between the economic institution and the other institutions such as the polity and the social institution. It is perhaps critical to mention that with globalisation, the concept of free trade has gained unmatched preference across the globe. The effects of the opening up of the economies or trade liberalisation have definitely influenced the culture of people in unimaginable proportions.

The demands of globalisation are wide-ranging. As the phenomenon of globalisation takes centre stage, countries find themselves in unknown territories (Van Krieken, 2010). As such, each country seeks measures that are helpful in remaining relevant globally. This demands that each State adopts certain approaches that help enhance its competitiveness. At other levels, countries such as the developing ones have been forced to take certain steps geared towards the promotion of global trade and development.

As an illustration, the developing nations were required to adopt the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) in order to attain economic growth and development. By developing these programmes, the developing world was in effect replicating the development culture of the developed world. Thus, this presents movement of the world towards a common developmental culture.

In this regard, the governments of the developing countries were encouraged to cede ground in service provision. This would allow the private sector more room to control the economy. In the process, it was expected that the developing countries would move towards the elimination of undesirable inefficiencies associated with government involvement in business.

Due to globalisation, economic problems have increased (Hartungi, 2001). This has forced a sizeable percentage of women to look for employment opportunities outside their homes. Apparently, this development is a direct response to the declining earnings that men are entitled. As such, women are pursuing alternatives to supplement what their spouses earn. This has an adverse effect on family life. Family life is no longer the way it used to be.

This view holds since, women were initially relegated to household duties as men sought paid employment. However, with increasing globalisation, both sexes have been forced into actively looking for paid jobs. The family unit has experienced a number of adverse effects based on the fact that women are also seeking employment.

As an illustration, the incidence of family instability has soared. In addition, the role of caregivers within society has gained dominance. This new culture is almost present in every society as women move out of homes to find jobs. An aspect of homogeneity is visible in regards to the idea that women are entering the job market across the globe.

Proponents of globalisation thought it would help reduce the aspect of inequality (Kull, 2001). Based on the theory of globalisation, all participants, women or men, poor or rich would be affected in equal measure. The theory also presumed that windows of opportunity would open equally both to the small-scale and the big-scale entrepreneurs. It does require a genius to point out that players are unequal at the global level.

As such, opening up trade and allowing all players the same opportunities amounts to unfairness to the small players. In a nutshell, global opening up of trade facilitates the collapse of livelihoods in the poor regions.

As an illustration, the transnational players such as multinational corporations have huge resources unlike the local based industries which are unable to offer anything of note. Concisely, it is unfair to allow two unequal players the same field to operate. The effect of allowing unequal players has led to the collapse of poor industries as multinational corporations take control.

Tools of globalisation are different. However, the internet plays a key role in the integration process (Kull, 2001). The internet has profoundly affected how people relate. It is no longer necessary to have a face to face engagement. Rather, people are able to communicate more freely. The internet is also useful in aiding the dissemination of information. Since the advent of the internet, the society has changed in unprecedented ways.

As an illustration, it has interfered with the cultural demands of meeting physically. This implies that the internet has contributed towards an increase in the distance between members of a family or a community. Further, people are encouraged to work outside since they are able to communicate from any corner of the world. Consequently, this has contributed towards the tampering of the social fabric of society.

Globalisation plays a role in the creation of class cleavages within societies. As Kull, (2001) observes, globalisation creates classes of the rich and the poor. This is achieved through opening up of economies. In poor States those people who loose on economic grounds find reasons to form ethnic alliances.

This is based on the notion that forming united approaches within States is an important step towards securing resources through gaining political power. It is thus not surprising that the emergence of splinter and rebellious groups within societies has coincided with the expansion of globalisation within the society.

Kull, (2001) further holds the view that globalisation has played a leading role in devaluing the concept of citizenship. As Kull, (2001) reckons, citizenship is a prerequisite that plays a facilitating role to a proper functioning society. This view holds great relevance in democratic nations. However, globalisation hinders the growth of democracy. As globalisation spreads its tentacles, members of societies become mobile.

Additionally, as competition heightens, individuals are forced to move to different places to secure employment. Such mobility implies that people cannot occupy distinct political spaces. Hence, these individuals are transformed to world citizens. This group of individuals rarely bothers to find out what goes on at their countries of origin. This clearly illustrates that globalisation alters cultural practices of people towards a commonality.

With globalisation, individuals become more independent in terms of economic wellness. Based on this, individuals no longer depend on their extended families since they become socially independent. This leads to primary isolation of individuals from their families. Social isolation may lead to the emergence of disorders. Isolation is even worse when viewed in regards to the older generation. This group suffers since their incomes are reduced and solely relies on the younger generation.

The aspect of cultural bereavement is closely connected with globalisation (Ardalan, 2008). Globalisation undermines the social fabric of different societies. This results from the intrusion of the Western cultures which are seen as superior. When people migrate to look for greener pastures, they are forced to adopt new ways of life. This basically underscores the attributes of uprooted individuals who struggle to fit into new environments and alien obligations.

Globalisation has contributed towards the democratization process (Dalpino, 2001). As an illustration, a host of nations across the world have incorporated the human rights doctrine into their constitutions. Apart from incorporating the human rights doctrine, States are required to observe the provisions of the doctrine. In addition, the development of international organisations such the International Criminal Court indicates that the world is moving towards a culture of accountability.

Tensions attributable to globalisation

Globalisation has led to the emergence of three main tensions. The first tension is based on the impasse between individual and societal choices (Harrison, 2007). As an illustration, this tension emerges when an individual is restricted in terms of the choices s/he can make. At times individuals find it difficult to exercise their rights regarding lifestyles or thoughts as they are likely to encounter conflicting demands put forth by the society.

As an illustration, an individual interested to purchase a certain product may be put off due to the perception a society holds regarding the product in question. More specifically, globalisation has pushed society o adopt certain behavioural issues which individuals may not like but may have to follow in order to suit in the society. As an example, individuals are expected to fasten safety belts although they may be unwilling to use the belts.

Another example of the spread of American culture is reflected in preference of entertainment programs. The American and European dominance is of particular concern. This has led some countries such as France to regulate both radio and television content. However, in most cases, the predominant western cultural entertainment has taken over world airwaves.

The second tension rests on the notion that there is a contention regarding free market enterprise and government intervention (Harrison and McMillan, 2007). This tension draws upon the previous one since free market enterprise is based on individual freedom of choice while market regulation presents an attempt to limit or restrict individual choices.

Governments are given authority by the society and as a result, what they implement is seen as societal actions. Based on this, free market enterprises allows individuals or entities to freely decide on what to produce and consume while the government interventions limit these provisions. It should be clear that with the emergence of globalisation, State control has been on a steady decline. This reflects itself in the manner in which individuals and private entities are in positions to decide economic operations.

Although the government measures continue to decline as the mantra of the private sector continues to expand, it is clear that government interventions have not been completely dealt away with. As an illustration, the inability of the private sector to regulate certain aspects of business has forced governments to step in and provide direction.

In addition, the unattractiveness of some services such as social services has forced the governments to also chip in and thus influence resource allocation. In the latter case, the role of governments in checking the problem of global warming presents a good example.

Additionally, the actions of private healthcare providers have made health services so expensive thereby forcing governments to intervene. However, poor people across the globe continue to perish as healthcare remains expensive among the poor nations of the world (Schmukler, 2004).

The third tension is based on the idea that local authority is in conflict with extra-local authority (Harrison and McMillan, 2007). This rests on the realization that decisions are made at these levels. There is a feeling across the globe that distant organisations are making decisions that have far-reaching effects on their lives and yet they are not offered the opportunity to offer individual views.

As an illustration, decisions made by the IMF and the World Bank are often ill-received in the Latin American, Asian and African continents (Weber et al, 2007). Despite the disgruntlement emanating from the role of supranational bodies, it is evident that they hold much power and they are influencing the way people live across different nations.

Conclusion

Based on the evidence gathered in the essay, it is discernable that the globe is moving towards a convergence. Several aspects such as economic and political systems are moving towards a common end. As an illustration, democracy as a leadership approach is gaining dominance across the world.

In addition, globalisation seems to lead to related consequences over the globe. As an illustration, globalisation has contributed towards the spread of a culture of class differentiation within different societies across the world. In conclusion, it is easy to see that globalisation has reduced the gap among world populations.

Reference List

Ardalan, A. (2008). Globalisation and culture: four paradigmatic views. New York: Poughkeepsie Press.

Dalpino, C. (2001). Does globalisation promote democracy? An early assessment. The Brookings Review 19, 4.

Harrison, A. & McMillan, M. (2007). On the links between globalisation and poverty. J Econ Inequal 5, 123-124.

Hartungi, R. (2001). Could developing countries take the benefit of globalisation? International Journal of Social Economics 33, 728-743.

Kull, S. (2001). Culture wars? How Americans and Europeans view globalisation. The Brookings Review 19, 18.

Schmukler, S. (2004). Financial Globalisation: Gain and Pain for Developing Countries. Economic Review 89, 39.

United Nations (2010). World Statistics Pocketbook 2009. Geneva: United Nations Publications.

Van Krieken, S. (2010). Sociology, (Edition4). Sidney: Pearson Education Australia.

Weber, S. Barma, N. Kroenig, M. & Ratner, E. (2007). How Globalisation Went Bad. Foreign Policy 158, 48.

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