INTRODUCTION AND THEORY
In recent decades, many regions of the world have seen a marked increase in economic development due to the process of globalization as states have opened their borders to international markets, allowing for multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, and foreign state actors to have an increasingly powerful influence over traditionally domestic matters. With this development and the advance of technology, media and communication have had the ability to reach regions of the world, which may have never been exposed to other cultures in the past. Undoubtedly, this has had an impact on the culture and societal norms of countless cultures as dominant world cultures expand their realm of influence through such media as TV programs and the internet. This report will examine to what extent dominant world cultures’ impacts are on what will be termed ‘traditional cultures’ - a unique culture, which up until recently has been relatively unaware of and influenced by other outside cultures. Furthermore, it will examine whether this trend of globalization will advance the creation of a singular global culture.
The debate of whether the erosion between traditional culture and the strengthening of a global culture is of particular concern as within recent history many groups, who are often termed minorities to the more dominant cultures, are concerned with the loss of their individuality, way of life, and even their national sovereignty. To pro or hyper-globalists, this loss of sovereignty is viewed as progress as the process of cultural homogenization will inevitably be responsible for the decay of conflict among differing cultural groups. However, to the ‘minorities’ or traditional cultures opposed to this form of cultural transformation, this theory poses a threat to their unique values and it is not likely that traditional cultures will likely submit to the notion that a growing global culture is an unavoidable fact.
As most agree that media and communication technologies have been a predominant factor in influencing culture, not all theorists agree with how media influences culture. Hyper- globalists, such as modernity theorist Martin Albrow (1996), argue that the homogenization of culture is a result of globalization and therefore this compliments the theory that globalization is inevitable. However, as a more skeptical Arjun Appadurai (1996) points out, Albrow may be oversimplifying the process of cultural transformation among traditional cultures. In fact,
Appadurai argues that not only do cultures fail to homogenize, but they grow even more jaggedly opposed to such a concept; thereby attempting to ground themselves within their own culture more distinctly. ppadurai’s argument is further supported by the fact that the role of one’s gender, experience, perception, language, and other individual traits filter media communication differently - especially among varying cultures. It is then reasonable to conclude that although some cultures may lose distinctive elements of their own traits to more dominant ones, many traditional cultures could be either incompatible with or outright defiant toward a form of globalized culture. It should be noted that many traditional cultures in defiance toward globalization, perhaps mistakenly, equate this globalization process with Westernization. However, that is not the view of this report.
Therefore, a simple global homogenization of cultures is unlikely. As a result, traditional values among certain cultures will either strengthen or they will alter into a new form while remaining distinct from other dominant world cultures. To add to the argument that cultures will drastically defy homogenization by creating their own ‘super-traditional’ set of values, John Tomlinson (2003) points out that globalization tends to create an upsurge “in power of local culture that offers (albeit multi-form, disorganized and sometimes politically reactionary) resistance to the centrifugal force of capitalist globalization.” This indicates that globalization is not merely a force which automatically transforms one’s culture but instead influences decision-making based on that culture’s already established values.
INDI ’S INDIGENOUS CULTURES
As Karunakar (2011) points out in an article titled Threat of globalization to indigenous peoples’ culture and identities in India, indigenous peoples, or tribes, in India are continuously bombarded by Western globalization that results in a loss of their cultural identities and cultural distinctiveness. More specifically, the advance of Western-influenced globalization has affected these groups socio-economically, culturally, and politically. As Karunakar argues, these various indigenous groups are scattered throughout regions of India and are largely discriminated against. This is perhaps because of the extreme conditions in which they must face economically and their desire for isolation among others.