Globalization And Culture Cultural Studies Essay

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The Global World

Globalization has been described as an ongoing process by which regional economies, societies and cultures have become integrated through a globe-spanning network of communication and trade. It is a process to develop or be developed as to make possible international influence or operation. Besides economies, societies and cultures, globalization has made an impact on the design world as well.

The globalization of design appreciates equality among cultures and respect for people across the globe. As a result, the global market is more likely to be satisfied and even likely to cater to the wants and needs of various users from different cultures. Generally speaking, globalization takes the best out of every culture and mixes them together to achieve better solutions for the problems that the world is facing. And after all, it is a fundamental part of human nature to appreciate beauty, no matter your cultural origins. There are, as you might say, international standards for what makes an object attractive.

On the other hand, globalization has attributed to the loss of cultural diversity across the globe, as if the world has become smaller and smaller in a psychological sense. Globalization acts towards standardization and homogenization, and thus kills variation. Globalization causes designs to look the same, even though the designers come from different places across the globe.

In view of the fact on what globalization has caused, we have to distinguish ourselves from the rest by emphasizing what makes us different from them. So there is a turn to heritage, or tradition - the designer's cultural identity.

Local Identity

Local design shows the unique characteristics of one particular culture. It possesses the unique qualities and attributes of the local community. The local identity and culture provides something that is unique and distinctive that others do not have. In the globalized world, it is essential for a designer to assert oneself and to strengthen one's identity.

"People do tend to like things that they're not going to experience somewhere else. They are looking for things that are not homogenized." - David De Petrillo, Rhode Island's Tourism Director.

Cultural Identity As Design Tools

Culture and Cultural Diversity

In archeological term, culture is being define as a particular society at a particular time and place. Its the attitudes and behaviors that are being the characteristic of a particular social group or organization. An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning.

On the other hand, american anthropology defines culture as 2 different definitions:

a. The evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, to act imaginatively and creatively

b. The distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences and acted creatively.

Albeit of all different definitions of culture that has been stated above, UNESCO's explanation of culture seems to be the most appropriate in the design world. UNESCO defines culture as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.

With a lot of different cultures that the world has, variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole can be called as a cultural diversity. And as an individual that lives within societies that are themselves plural, we have to acknowledge not only otherness in all its forms but also the plurality of his or her own identity. We have to accept and recognize the cultural diversity that is happening around us, as cultural diversity is a driving force of development (CITATION). Cultural diversity should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity that was adopted in 31st Session of the General Conference of UNESCO, in Paris 2 November 2001 stated some very important points about cultural diversity.

Article 5: Cultural Rights As An Enabling Environment For Cultural Diversity.

Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible and are interdependent. All persons have the right to express themselves and to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice, and particularly in their mother tongue. (CITATION)

As stated in the article above, we, as designers, have the right to express our own cultural identity and even to make it to become widely known. We have the power to choose wether to use our cultural identity as a tool to provides something that is unique and distinctive that others do not have. In the globalized world, it is essential for a designer to assert oneself and to strengthen one's identity.

ARTICLE 7: Cultural Heritage As the Wellspring of Creativity.

Creation draws on the roots of cultural tradition, but flourished in contact with other cultures. For this reason, heritage in all its forms must be preserved, enhanced and handed on to the future generations as a record of human experience and aspirations, so as to foster creativity in all its diversity and to inspire genuine dialogue among cultures. (CITATION)

Cultural heritage can be the source of designer's idea and creativity. There are a lot of things that can be utilize from culture, especially in architecture and spatial design field. For example, location or context, tradition, local material, and essence of cultural philosophy that will be explain further in the later section.

To acknowledge and recognize each individual cultural identity and to draw ideas and thoughts from it is the only way that cultural diversity can be preserved (CITATION). With this way, we also be able to enhanced and handed on our cultural identity to the future generations. It is also one way to explore and increase one's understanding of a particular culture and the only way to preserve one's identity. Designers that are able to draw ideas from his or her cultural identity will be able to add something special to the world.

Globalization in The World of Architecture

Globalization is a reality that we have to face. The process of it, facilitated by the rapid development of new information and communication technologies, though representing a challenge for cultural diversity, creates the conditions for renewed dialogue among cultures and civilization. Globalization is the reason why exchange of ideas between different culture and continent is possible. Globalization has opened up opportunities and prospect for new creation and innovation.

Modernism is one example of globalization. In the early 19th century modernism can simply be described as modern thought, character, or practice. But in more specific definition, modernism is both a set of cultural tendencies and an array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to western society in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The term, modernism, encompasses the activities and output of those who felt that the "traditional" form of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. (REPHRASE)(CITATION)

Modernist architecture is an architectural aspect of modernism. It can be characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building, driven by technological and engineering developments.

Modernist architecture can be characterized by the simplification of the architectural form, stressing on the horizontal and vertical lines . It also emphasized on the rejection of ornament, and was driven by technological and engineering development.

There was an important Museum of Modern Art Exhibition back in 1932, the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture, curated by Phillip Johnson, that marked the formation of the Internation Style. In that exhibition, Johnson and collaborator, Henry-Russel Hitchcok drew together many distinct threads and trends, identified them as stylistically similar and having a common purpose, and then, consolidated them into the International Style.

The International Style architecture identified, categorized and expanded upon characteristics common to modernist architecture across the world. As the result, the focus was more on the stylistic aspects of modernism. The main reason why the style was called the International Style was because the design solutions were indifferent to location, site and climate. The style made no reference to local history or natural vernacular. Basically, International Style architecture aims to both use the new materials and to satisfy society's new building needs.

The characteristic of International Style architecture are equal to the characteristic of modernist Architecture which are the simplification of form, rejection of ornament, and adoption of new materials that were achieved by new technologies.

In 1950s postmodernism movement started to arise. It was an intentional departure from the modernist approach because of the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative. The postmodernism is a rejection of strict rules set by the early modernist and showed by the return of ornament to the facade, replacing the aggressively unornamented modern styles. Postmodernist architecture reintroduce ornament and decoration for its own sake. Form was no longer to be defined solely by its functional requirements, but it could be anything that the architect wanted.