Steger, Globalization, chap. 5
Global East Asia so far Chap. 1 Globalization: a contested concept Chap. 2 Globalization in history: is globalization a new phenomenon? Chap. 3 The economic dimension of globalization Chap. 4 The political dimension of globalization ***Chap. 4 Recitation Wed. March 28***
Steger Chap. 5: The cultural dimension of globalization —Wed. April 4 Chap. 5 Recitation —Chap. 5 Response paper due: Tues. April 3,
Chap. 5 reading March 29 Thurs. lecture: Social convergence and the appeal of pop culture — Reading: Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin, “Japanese Popular
Culture in East and Southeast Asia: Time for a Regional Paradigm?” japanfocus.org (2008)
Electronic devices OFF
What is culture?
—An aspect of social life
What is culture?
—Concerned with the symbolic construction, articulation, and dissemination of meaning
Major forms of symbolic expression
—Language —Music — Images
Culture: 3 meanings 1. Human culture: symbolic expression,
universal to all human societies (Steger) 2. Cultural sphere: symbolic expression in one
group of societies that separates it from another group — “Western culture,” “Asian culture” “Islamic
culture” 3. National culture: symbolic expression in one
society that separates it from other societies — “Chinese culture,” “Japanese culture,”
Symbols of “Chinese Culture” —Chinese cuisine —Chinese writing system & calligraphy —Great Wall of China —Panda bears
China’s symbol of “soft power”
Homo sapiens—modern humans —Anatomically modern humans emerged
about 315,000 years ago —Behavioral modernity arose about 40,000
years ago, with evidence of symbolic thought —Language, figurative art, religion, music
— These behaviors are thought to have built unity in the group and helped early homo sapiens to survive
Vulture bone flute: 35,000 years old
Lascaux cave paintings 20,000 yrs.
Homo sapiens vs. Neanderthals
—Neanderthals died out less than 30,000 years ago
—Hypothesis: they were eclipsed by the social & cultural prowess of growing groups of homo sapiens, made possible by symbolic thought
Neanderthal symbolic thought 50,000 year old shell necklace (Spain)
Chapter 5: Steger’s 3 important themes: Theme 1 1. The tension between sameness and
difference in the emerging global culture.
2. The crucial role of transnational media corporations in disseminating popular culture —Global cultural flows are generated and
directed by global media empires that rely on powerful communication technologies
3. The globalization of languages —Some languages are increasingly used in
international communication while others disappear
Theme 3: Shifting global patterns of language use —The globalization of languages is a process
by which some languages are used more in international communication while others decline or disappear
Theme 3: Five key variables 1. Number of languages is shrinking 2. Migration and travel spreads languages 3. Foreign language learning disperses
languages beyond borders 4. Language use on Internet is sign of both
dominance and variety 5. Scientific publications impact intellectual
communities differently depending on language of publication
Language extinction is parallel to species extinction: Globalization creates “environmental” pressures that impact languages and life- forms similarly
—Human cultural ecologies —Earth natural ecologies
—Chapter 6: Ecological dimensions of globalization.
Three Hypotheses 1. As a few languages achieve global dominance
(English, Chinese, Spanish), other languages will decline and even disappear.
2. Even as global languages emerge, local languages will survive.
3. The powerful Anglo-American culture industry will make English (“Globish”) the dominant global language of the 21st century. — As of 1990, English used by only 350 million native
speakers, 400 million speakers of English as a second language; but 80% of Internet content is in English.
Despacito’s breakthrough — Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee in Spanish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQP7kiw5Fk 4.41 — With Justin Bieber in Spanish and English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72UO0v5ESUo 3.49 — Despacito in six different languages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEWpyfAiXFw 4.01
Group discussion: Which do you think is the most likely outcome? Hypothesis 1: A few languages achieve global dominance (English, Chinese, Spanish); other languages will decline and even disappear. Hypothesis 2: Global languages emerge; local languages will survive. Hypothesis 3: English becomes the dominant global language of the 21st century.
Q: Which do you think is the most likely outcome? A. Hypothesis 1: A few languages achieve global
dominance (English, Chinese, Spanish); other languages will decline and even disappear.
B. Hypothesis 2: Global languages emerge; local languages will survive.
C. Hypothesis 3: English becomes the dominant global language of the 21st century.
Theme 1: Tension between sameness/difference
Does globalization make people around the world more alike or more different? —Cultural rainbow (differences maintained) —Cultural melting pot (leads to sameness)
—Globalizers argue that globalization makes people more alike, or “homogenous” and therefore leads to cultural sameness
According to Steger’s discussion in chapter 5, which group thinks cultural sameness is undesirable? A. Globalization skeptics B. Optimistic globalizers C. Pessimistic globalizers
—Globalizers argue that globalization makes people more alike, or “homogenous” —Pessimistic globalizers see cultural
homogenization as undesirable —Optimistic globalizers see it as desirable
—Optimistic globalizers see cultural homogenization as a good thing, leading to expansion of democracy and free markets, and key to achieving a global imaginary
Criticism of cultural imperialism Global spread of American culture is a form of cultural imperialism — Power of Western/Global North “culture
industry” based on New York, Hollywood, London, and Milan
— Cf. Despacito and Justin Bieber’s contribution to its global success
Globalization is not a vertical hierarchy
Globalization is a horizontal relationship, but there is a power asymmetry
“McDonaldization” and sameness
Coined by George Ritzer, refers to principles of fast-food that dominate more and more sectors of global society —Rational, efficient, predictable ways to serve
Can globalization create diversity?
Roland Robertson is a globalization sceptic and rejects the idea that cultures become homogenized in globalization —Globalization leads to new forms of cultural
Glocalization Global and local cultural elements interact and produce cultural hybridity —This cultural hybridization is most visible in
fashion, music, dance, film, food, and language — Chap. 2 Allen & Sakamoto “Sushi reverses
course” — Despacito; Rivers of Babylon line dance
Steger: Globalization has a contradictory impact on culture
Globalization may lead to BOTH — loss of traditional symbolic expression AND — creation of new symbolic expressions
Steger: Three effects of cultural interaction
1. Sameness, homogenization 2. Hybridity, glocalization 3. New cultural expression
Pieterse: Three effects of cultural interaction (2009) 1. Homogenization (=Steger: sameness) 2. Hybridization (=Steger: hybridity,
glocalization) 3. Polarization (⌿Steger: new cultural
Pieterse: Awareness of difference = function of globalization
— “Growing awareness of cultural difference is a function of globalization. Increasing cross- cultural communication, mobility, migration, trade, investment, tourism, all generate awareness of cultural difference.” Pieterse, p. 60