With the integration of culture and nationalities, the movement of people and the adaptation of foreign behavior almost seeming like a positive concept, globalization poses as a negative one. According to Nederveen Pieterse (2004) ‘globalization invites more controversy than consensus, and the areas of consensus are narrow by comparison to the controversies’. To myself, globalization invites both a utopian view and dystopian. A utopian view is considered a positive and inspiring view and dystopia reflecting the opposite- negative and frowned upon. Among these so-called controversies is the worldwide domination of global media empires. Their presence can be identified as a negative aspect and is very much evident in our every day life. Unknowingly, many of us have adapted to the spread of media empires, either simply buy purchasing the latest apple IPhone or securing a Facebook or Twitter account. With the strong power of the media, Pieterse (2004) states that ‘globalization involves more intensive interaction across wider space in shorter time than before’. This is when I question the force of globalization and become mindful of its presence and nature within our everyday lives. Is globalization controllable or is it just the beginning for a radical change in society in the future years to come?
Thompson (2005) refers to globalization as ‘the growing interconnectedness of different parts of the world, a process which gives rise to complex forms of interaction and interdependency’ (Rantanen, 2005, pg.7). With the process of interconnectivity taking place, globalization encourages facets such as information, media and cultural flows to move beyond original boundaries and land themselves in a foreign, as they both contribute to the supremacy of media empires. Through the worldwide spread and easy access to information around the world, mass media empires are free to grow and dominate, for example Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Broadcasting. Other global companies such as Apple, Coca Cola McDonalds have placed themselves on the tip of the media empire iceberg, as they are recognized and experience worldwide. According to Steven (2003) ‘the dominant media have the power to set political agendas and shape the cultural landscape’. To an extent, this theory suggests that globalization invites the mass media to control what we believe and say. Unconsciously, we are exposed to this theory via the simplest form, such as advertisements and news reports, which are all designed to send out one particular main message to selected audiences. This links the concept of globalization and the media to the process of hegemony. Steven (2003) states that ‘hegemony is achieved when the power of the dominant groups in a society appears natural’. This notion is ultimately successful through the process of globalization as subconsciously, society has adapted to the ways of dominant groups. Steven (2003) further goes on to discuss hegemony as ‘it works within everyday culture and seems to provide a frame for understanding experience’. It is in the media empire such as Facebook and Apple that everyday culture has adapted to.
Consumers of media empires, especially those that utilize social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, would argue that globalization has a positive influence upon every day behavior and allows us to be connected to others around the world, in a matter of minutes. It is this interconnectedness of the world that people depend on, for simple things such as news, information and connecting with family or friends all over the world. From these experiences, people ultimately enjoy integrating themselves among the global media, making globalization, as a whole, a utopian concept. With this access and ability, due to the advancement in technology, global media has been able to secure itself in our everyday lives as a positive movement and ultimately replaced present day activities. Without the media’s influence and presence, the matter of time and space becomes irrelevant, as globalization allows the convergence of culture and people. According to Albrow (2005), ‘globalization refers to all those processes by which peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society, global society’ (Rantanen, 2005, pg. 7). This interconnectedness of the world caused by the media can threaten the present social structures that have one been taken for granted, for example talking on the telephone and conversations happening face to face. This is when the concept of convergence can come out as a controversial outcome from globalization. With the growing technological advances, the convergence of culture and social media has proven to be an uncontrollable force throughout generations.
One of the ways that people and culture have converged is the rising popularity of social media sites, a virtual soapbox where people can share beliefs, opinions and thoughts on different issues. According to Kissmetric statistics (2012), the average Facebook user spends 700 minutes per month on Facebook. This is immediately alarming, as this is just an average statistic, and has not taken into account the amount of time spent on other social media sites. This is where dystopian views are created against the concept of globalization. People begin to realise the dominance global media empires have upon their everyday life and are unable to conform to such lifestyle. The supremacy of media empires also evokes the conflicting views between what is valued local and global. These two concepts ultimately clash, resulting in a dystopian view of globalization, as what was once considered to be local becomes valued as global. A prime example of this is the diasporic nature of culture, as it crosses national boundaries; people are exposed to different ways to life. Religion, food, fashion, music and film are among many things that are made locally, are then projected into the process of globalization. Pieterse (2004) believes ‘economic, political, cultural and social dynamics are not simply different facets of a single globalization; rather they are prisms through which globalization takes shape and is experienced’. This applies to today’s society, where we are able to enjoy foods from different cultures, be Indian; Japanese or Italian and we are able to practice in different religions and ways of life. These are just some of the ways that the process of globalization can make people feel almost suffocated by the integration of the media and everyday lifestyle. It is in the influential role of the mass media where people are able to mix culture and adapt to certain types of lifestyle, once of the many characteristics of globalization. This becomes a negative concept to some, rather than positive, as local values seem to diminish and the line between local and global disappears. This limits the originality and the uniqueness of some cultures, therefore posing globalization as a negative force within the media.
With both the utopian and dystopian views in mind, it quick to judge the world as easily influenced, naïve and content with the control that the mass media has upon on us, hence globalization becoming a concern rather than concept and matter of life. Many could argue that globalization encourages the uncontrollable and forceful flow of information, culture and capitalism. Pieterse (2004) addresses a radical view, stating that ‘globalization means the onset of a borderless world’. This poses a threat to maintaining the control upon globalization, as everyday more people are becoming connected and alert to social media. It would be hard to believe ten years ago, that it was socially acceptable to be on your smart phone mid conversation, Facebook and Twitter replaced face-to-face interaction and it was possible to be aware of the news to a global extent. This just goes to show how dominant the power of the media truly is and proves the fact society are turning a blind eye to the force of globalization by embracing it’s presence, rather then reject it. From this we are ask ourselves the question, is globalization controllable? Can the boarders that once existed between nations and cultures be rebuilt and culture be refined to its original state?
Nederveen Pieterse, J 2004, ‘Globalization: consensus and controversies’, Globalization and culture: global mélange, Rowan & Littlefield, Lanham, Md., pp. 7–21
Rantanen, T 2005, ‘Theorizing media globalization’, The media and globalization, Sage, London, pp. 1–18
Steven, P 2003, ‘Political economy: the howling, brawling, global market place’, The no-nonsense guide to the global media, New Internationalist, Oxford, pp. 37–59