Using Comparative Management Research Cultural Studies Essay

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The term Globalization is widely used to describe a variety of economic, cultural, social, and political changes that have shaped the world over the past 50- odd years, from the much celebrated revolution in information technology to the diminishing of national and geo-political boundaries in an ever-expanding, transnational movement of goods, services, and capital (Guttal, 2010). Globalization is solely seen as an institutionalization of the world market. Globalization is a three dimensional term, encompassing political, economical and cultural aspects (Kongar, 1997).

Globalization hasn't alone affected the multinationals but also of the cultures of different countries. Before the era of globalization, there existed local, autonomous, distinct and well-defined, robust and culturally sustaining connections between geographical place and cultural experience. These connections constituted one's - and one's community's - 'cultural identity'. This identity was something people simply 'had' as an undisturbed existential possession, an inheritance, a benefit of traditional long dwelling, of continuity with the past. Identity, then, like language, was not just a description of cultural belonging; it was a sort of collective treasure of local communities. But it was also discovered to be something fragile that needed protecting and preserving that could be lost. Into this world of manifold, discrete, but to various degrees vulnerable, cultural identities there suddenly burst (apparently around the middle of the 1980s) the corrosive power of globalization. (Szeman, 2003)

Economics is the most important dimension of globalization, which affects politics, and politics in return affects economics, and both of these affect the cultural dimension of globalization. The cultural trade of goods and services between countries is conducted within the framework of a global economic system (Ornek, n.d.)

Multinational corporations are able to profit from and intervene in local production through agricultural technology schemes which create dependency on expensive inputs. As postcolonial countries are pressured to export more to earn foreign exchange to pay their debts and to open their markets to imports, farmers simultaneously become dependent on volatile world prices while losing access to formerly protected, stable national markets. The same international trade system that promises 'cheap food' for the hungry and whose major players advertise their technologies and practices as absolutely essential to the task of feeding the world, in fact undermines national food production. The companies who make those promises undercut local producers with subsidized imports. As a result, nations lose food security and control over domestic food policy. Simultaneously, the WTO's SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary) agreements undermine local value-added production by imposing sterilization and packaging standards which only multinational food corporations can afford. Mean- while, artisans and craftspeople are undercut by low-quality mass-produced baubles whose only cultural value is a desperate scrap of Western style (Starr, n.d.).

Culture has long been intimately related to geography. Even though it has also always been clear that culture must be understood as fluid and unbounded, as something able to travel and exert its force cross boundaries, culture has nevertheless been understood primarily as something that exists in fixed, determinate spaces, whether this is the space of the nation and the region, villages, groups, or subcultures.

Cultural globalization theorists sense a change in the public, which they claim is partially due to the media's attention on global events and the emphasis on the inter-dependency of humanity. Research increasingly focuses on how "the world horizon opens up in the cross-cultural production of meaning and cultural symbols" (Beck, 2000)

One of the major effects of globalization is the creation of a new and identifiable class of persons who belong to an emergent global culture. The impact of globalization is having on the obsolescence of national cultures around the world and the associated convergence of these national cultures into one commonly accepted global culture.

Over time, there has been a significant decrease in the total number of languages spoken worldwide. Linguists conclude that around 10,000 spoken languages have existed. Around 1900, it was estimated that the world's population of 1.5 billion people spoke approximately 6000 native languages, whereas today's world population of almost 6 billion speaks less than 4000, and many of those are not being taught to children (thus, they are in effect already dead). By 2100, it is anticipated that fully half of the languages spoken around the world today will most likely be lost (Davis, 1999). Further analysis of the data shows that more than half the world's population speaks the top 10 indigenous languages combined. However, English is quickly becoming the most commonly taught second language for the emerging global culture. One key implication of the data is that never before in world history have more people been able to speak and communicate with one another in a common language. Moreover, with a subset of perhaps three or four languages (e.g., English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and possibly French), there are few corners of the globe where one can travel and not be understood. The clear trend is that this is going to shift over time only farther in the direction of fewer languages with greater geographic coverage. (Allan Bird, 2003)

In addition to the idea of culture as shared experience, culture also involves affiliations and relations with others. That is, cultures can also be defined as groups of people. At this level, we are also seeing the emergence of a global culture made up of people who move in an international and global arena (that is, they are people who are truly global in their lifestyle), and, as a result, they have attachments to people outside their own countries. This is in large measure due to the rise in expatriate assignments and the growth in global travel. Such people are not passive recipients of a culture that is simply pervaded to them, or that absorbs them, but rather are actively engaged in embracing global culture. The implication is that it is possible in this highly mobile age to feel much more closely attached to (and to have more in common with) people half way around the world than to one's next-door neighbours. These are people who often describe themselves as being genuinely bicultural (or even multicultural). People who fit into this particular strain of global culture are those who may retain their national culture citizenship but would be considered to have two passports-one physical passport identifying them as a citizen of their home country and one psychological passport identifying them as a broader citizen of the world.

Not all adherents of a new culture necessarily experience the transformation that gives rise to membership in the global culture. Nor does the shared experience of the sojourner's transformation (and the common lens through which members of the global culture view the world) require them to give up "citizenship" in their national culture. As members of the global culture, they still likely retain much of their national culture, especially as it pertains to their life in that culture. Thus, political persuasions, religious views and social preferences colored by the national culture may well remain largely intact. Nevertheless, we would expect members of the global culture to see the world differently, not as they did before (Guttal, 2010)

Globalization of cultural heritage has some negative impacts in some areas. Akande (Akande, 2002) seems to understand more of this negative impact when he said that western adventures made efforts undermine the cultural heritage of various people around the world through colonization, imperialism and now globalization. He said that cultural imperialism left the colonized in a state of cultural disorientation which is vulnerable to cultural invasion.

Commercialization of Culture: the most important far reaching effect of cultural globalization is the commercialization of culture. Production distribution and consumption of cultural goods and services have become commodities along with the essentials of life. Music, food, clothes, fashion, art, sports, images etc. Are now sold in the market, imported and exported.

Commercialization of Culture has had a disturbing impact on the people of Nigeria. For example, what was once an element of Nigeria's cultural way of life has become a product, rather than something unique which they have made to suit their specific needs and circumstances. Nigerian markets are increasingly bombarded with new images, new music, new clothes and new values. The impact is that the familiar and the old artefacts are being discarded. The fact is that these will be lost simply because they are not valued by global markets. This undermining of the peoples existing values and cultures has a corrosive impact on the sense of who we are, what we want and what we respect. "The cumulative effect' in (Akande, 2002) words "is a crisis of cultural confidence, combined with economic uncertainty and crime which global integration often brings".

Religion: In the era of religion, the impact of globalization is not left out. For example, (Hock-Tong, 2001) observes that Islamic fundamentalism has in many respects served as a bulwark against modernity, that Muslims generally see the secular influence of western science and technology as inimical to traditional Islamic values. This was the reason most non-Muslim researchers tend to attribute the underdeveloped and under privileged state of Muslim women to Islamic tradition.

With respect to culture, discourses of globalization are thus often focused on border zones, and on the complex negotiations that take place as these borders are explored, reimagined, and reasserted in a world of increasing, if unequal, cultural interaction. Much of the analysis of borders has focused rightly on the implications of these power differentials (differentials of scale as well as speed) on the form that these cultural interactions take. As problematic as the discourse of cultural imperialism has been, discussions of the globalization of culture in both academic and public spheres nevertheless continue to imagine the conjunction of these terms as a narrative about "Americanization," or of the threat posed by Western cultural products to cultural autonomy of non-Western, still-modernizing communities and regions.

What is interesting is that while there have been repeated claims that globalization produces new conditions for culture-new and unprecedented forms of cultural intermingling and interconnection that, in Canada at least, is celebrated as the coming-into-being of a paradoxically ethnicized post ethnic state-culture is still imagined in virtually all of these formulations as connected to geography in a more or less Romantic fashion. After all, globalization can only pose a threat to cultural autonomy if cultures are conceptualized as being necessarily (for purposes of individual and collective self-identity) autonomous in the first place. The reason why it is possible for discourses of cultural mixing (as in multiculturalism) and radical cultural otherness (as in the swooping and uncritical return of Eurocentrism in the current war on terrorism) to exist side-by-side in globalization is that, to a large degree, the former presumes the latter: hybridity necessitates conceiving of cultures as monadic to begin with, whether historically or conceptually, or both. While culture is thought to have entered a new situation in globalization, it seems to me that the concept of culture itself hasn't undergone a similar change or shift. (Szeman, 2003)

Globalization is leading to significant cultural cross-pollination. Emerging global culture is viewed as a threat to national culture. Efforts to protect local culture from the homogenizing effects of globalization are often intervened with other sometimes questionable, motives, including economic protectionism and the political suppression of ideas. Because the topic of culture can, almost by definition encompass almost every human endeavour, it is often difficult to draw lines around what are legitimate cultural activities worthy of special protective measures.

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