A Global Crisis: The loss of culture through commodification

Shaped by a homogenous, community desire and with the aim to instantaneously connect people together in ways that transcend conventional means of communication. Globalisation is the new trend hitting the contemporary world.

However, for the case of globalisation, many flaws emerge in this utopian ideal. Despite increasingly easy to access forms of media, and an ever-growing virtual community, globalisation is characterised with a loss of meaningful interpersonal communication between communities, as well as a loss of culture, language and values.

But what does the term ‘globalisation’ actually entail?

According to Michael O’Shaughnessy in ‘Media and Society’, “globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political and military interactions. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in independence, interactivity, interconnectedness and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information. Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism”.

Essentially, globalisation is the medium, which connects people all over the world together via similar interests, views, cultures, nationalities, beliefs, and simply an objective desire to remain interconnected.

Although, as Spanish sociologist Manual Castell states “While the media have become indeed globally connected and programs and messages circulate in the global network, we are living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed”. His views follow, globalisation as a whole is far worse than mass production, homogenisation and a loss of culture this ideal has backfired from a desire to become interconnected and independent, to the poor becoming ever dependant on the rich as this economical gap widens. And regardless of this economic crisis, the individual maintains the need for unnecessary commodities and upgrades. 

Take for example, a recent article in ‘TechinAsia’, mentions one man, when asked why he was buying the new iPhone 5, despite having recently lost his job, replied with “because it looks fancier”.

This notion of cultural imperialism, places a higher value and promotion and commodification of the individual. Another example of this is the brand bootlegging which occurs in Vietnam. The Apple sign has become more than simply a logo for Steve Jobs’ multinational company, rather, splashed across everything and anything, from t-shirts, shorts, underwear and shoes to motorbikes, pseudo tech stores and anything else the marketing world can get its hands on, despite no correlation what so ever with the actual company.

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This proliferation of homogenisation has lead to a lack of cultural diversity, with only the commercial interests of corporations, many of which side within the Western Culture, at heart. Todd Gitlin states, “If there is a global village, it speaks American” and it would have a robotic culture of Facebook and twitter updates, on mediums, idealistically aimed at connecting people, but rather transforming them into Internet profiles and mindless consumers. 

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