Thursday, 21 November 2013


  • The process of transformation of local or regional phenomena into global ones. It can be described as a process by which the people of the world are unified into a single society and function together. This process is a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural and political forces.

  • The elimination of state enforced restrictions on exchanges across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has emerged as a result.
  • Covering a wide range of distinct politics, economical, and cultural trends, the term globalisation has quickly become one of the most fashionable buzzwords of contemporary political and academic debate.
  • In popular discourse, globalisation often functions as little more than a synonym for one or more of the following phenomena: the pursuit of classical liberal policies in the world economy, the growing dominance of western forms of political, cultural, technological.
  • If we are talking about the cultural, we are concerned with the symbolic construction, articulation, and dissemination of meaning.
  • George Ritzer coin the term 'McDonaldization' to describe the wide-ranging socioculture processes by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world.
Marshall McLuhan
  • 'Today, are more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned' (1964: p3)
  • Rapidity of Communication echoes the senses
  • We can experience instantly the effects of our actions on a global scale
  • Global Village Thesis - 'As electrically constructed, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at brining all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree' (1964: p5)
  • This global embrace has not happened - almost desensitised
  • McLuhan says: We live mythically and integrally...In the electrical age, when our central nervous system is technologically extended to involve in the whole of mankind in us.
Centripetal forces
  • Bringing the world together in a uniform global society
Centrifugal forces
  • Tearing the world apart in tribal wars
Three problems of Globalisation
  • Challenges to the idea of the nation-state
  • Transnational forces & organisation: who controls them?
  • Who are we? Nation, group, community
  • Multi-national businesses can act outside of the control of the government - laws may be passed in one country but not apply in other countries.
  • 'Does globalisation make people around the world more alike or more different?...A group of commentators we might call 'pessimistic hyperglobalisers' argue in favour of the former. They suggest that we are not moving towards a cultural rainbow that reflects the diversity of the worlds existing cultures. Rather we are witnessing the rise of an increasingly homogenised popular culture underwritten by a Western culture' (1964)
Global Imperialism
  • If the global village is run with a certain set of values then it would not be so much an integrated community as a assimilation of one
  • Rigging the 'free market' - media conglomerates operate as oligopolies (giant clusters of businesses in the control of one central business/individual)
  • Effectively around 5 or 6 multinational oligopolies are controlling the worlds media, all of which are American.
  • One company controls the cultural output of a percentage of the worlds media, e.g. Time Warner
  • Focus their attention on the areas where they can make the most money - e.g. concerns for North America instead of concerns for Africa shown in the media/magazines - the values of american capitalism are spread
US media power can be thought of as a new form of imperialism
  • Local cultures destroyed in this process and new forms of cultural dependency shaped, mirroring old school colonialism
  • Schiller - dominance of the US driven commercial media forces US model of broadcasting onto the rest of the world but also inculcates US style consumerism in societies that can ill afford it.
  • E.g. Big Brother - repackaged commodities to different markets to make money
Chomsky & Herman (1998) 'Manufacturing Consent'
Argues that the entire media system can be thought of as propaganda for the western life - constant lesson that it is the way of life etc.
5 basic filters
  • Ownership
  • Funding
  • Sourcing
  • Flak
  • Anti Communist ideology
All combine to make a propaganda for the western world

Rupert Murdoch, selected media interests
  • News of the World
  • The Sun
  • The Sunday Times
  • The Times
  • NY Post
  • BSkyB
  • Fox TV
  • The stuff that is reported is the stuff that is only allowed to be
  • Political input
  • They are there as businesses - advertisers will withdraw their money if certain stories are printed in the media outlet
  • All bias and representative of big businesses
  • US based Global Climate Coalition
  • Compromising fossil fuel and automobile companies such as Exxon, Texaco and Ford. The GCC was started up by Beurson-Marsteller, one of the world's largest public relation companies, to rubbish the credibility of climate scientists and 'scare stories' about global warming
  • Flak is characterised by concerted and intentional efforts to manage public information
Al Gore, (2006) 'An Inconvenient Truth' dir. Davis Guggenheim
  • The media is a powerful way of influencing the consciousness
  • Retreat of Glaciers
  • Since 1880 temp of the rise
  • Keeling of CO2
  • The way to save the planet is to release CO2
  • Plant more vegetations
  • Try to be CO2 neutral
  • Recycle
  • Buy a hybrid car
  • Encourage everyone you know to watch the film
  • Buy more stuff - more money for the big businesses
'Flat Earthers' - denying global warming
  • Jim Inhofe
  • Nigel Lawson
  • 'Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' Brundtland Commission, 1987, 'Our Common Future'
  • Needs (Particularly of the worlds poor)
  • Limitations of technology
Erin Balser, 'Capital Accumilation, Sustainability and Hamilton, Ontario: How technology and capitalism can misappropriate the idea of sustainability'
  • BIOX Biofuel plant, Canada
  • Alternate clean fuel
  • Renewable
  • More expensive to produce
  • Not a model thats going to interest large oil companies as there isn't as much profit in it
  • Situated in the poorest area of Ontario, Hamilton
  • Negative social and environmental outcomes
  • Exploiting the fact that everyone is concerned about environmental destruction
  • Companies create 'green' products
  • Make everything eco friendly
  • People buy the products because they feel they are saving the planet
'Most things are not designed for the needs of the people but for the needs of the manufacturers to sell to people' Papanek, 1983, p46.

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