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This section wills analysis the changes of culture and social aspects in Ghana under globalization process. First of all, as mentioned above, introduce the background of Ghana in both sides. And then focus on the cultural globalization. After introduce the definition, the importance and the relationship between culture and cultural globalization, begin discuss a crucial question” Is Ghana has more to gain than to fear from cultural globalization”. In social area, it will make a concrete analysis of each specific question, using employment situation, education and mortality rate as examples.
General discussion about culture and cultural globalization
Globalization offers an opportunity to the spread of language and culture from foreign country. The Cola-Cola, McDonalds and Subway can be founded in majority cities throughout the world. It is essential to discuss the definition of culture in order to understanding the cultural globalization. According to a Ghanaian, their cultural policy documents already offer a unambiguous response to any doubts about the definition: culture is a invisible thing which distinguish Ghanaian from other people (Audrey Gadzekpo 2005) Beside this, as German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel ()points out the culture referred to “the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history. In addition, culture is an essential part of a nation, no matter it rich or poor. For the Ajay Bhatt, there are three points to support his views (Bhatt 2010). (1) The group solidarity depends on the foundation of culture, it remain the integrity of social relationship; (2) Culture has offer the new ideas to the people especially the younger generation; (3) Culture produces new ideas. By summarizing above, the significance of culture could hardly be overlooked, it is crucial to the whole country. Along with the world culture development fusion, a new phenomenon appeared-“cultural globalization”. It usually defined as the rapid movement of ideas, attitudes, and values across national borders (Sofree 2003-2012). Cultural globalization has the same characteristics with culture and can easily be found anywhere in the daily life.
Introduction of Ghana culture and social situation
Ghana was the first African country on the continent to achieve independence from the British colonial rule .And it used to be called “Gold Coast” until 1957. It is an ethnically diverse country that is deeply influenced by ancient Kingdoms of the Akan. The Ghanaian culture is a mixture of six ethnic groups. Among these groups, the Akan occupies the leading position (Miss West Africa Ghana). However, there have been many changes in social and culture aspects in Ghana in the preceding decades. For instance, the building of European architectural styles can be found everywhere in the country. In social area, the media of Ghana is one of the most free in Africa and has been described as “one of the most unfettered”¼ˆBBC News 2012¼‰. The large numbers of films and music from western society flow into Ghana could benefit from this.
The background culture situation in Ghana
A case study is Ghana, for instance, one of the most popular movie in Ghana is called “American Boy”, this film directed by Ghanaians (Nairaland Forum 2012). Even more remarkably, the latest film in the blockbuster movie series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows remained the No.1 movie and rakes in over $50.3 million over Thanksgiving weekend in 2010, according to Ghana Business News (2010). Beside this, the famous singer Lady Gaga always generated a lively discussion in every major forum and portal in Ghana, such as Omgghana and Hitbanger.
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Interestingly, other aspects expect for entertainment area in Ghana have the same condition. According to “the Africa guide”, Ghanaians composed of six ethnic groups, including the Akan (Ashanti and Fanti), the Gurma , the Ga-Adangbe, the Guan ,the Mole-Dagbani ,and the Ewe. In the past year of Ghana, a stranger always identified by his ethic origin or home town, for example “that Ashanti man” or “the Ewe carpentry-master’ (Foster 1965). However, as the International Organization for Migration points out Ghana already become the principal destination to the refugee population in the West Africa sub-region. And in the context of globalization, Ghanaian migration has becoming increasing popular. It means people from various countries are pouring into Ghana and ethnic lines are no longer distinct. The globalization changes people’s way of thinking. In fact, compared to other black African nations, Ghana was more promising and prosperous and it more suitable for globalization (Manuh,T 2005).
Is Ghana has more to gain than to fear from cultural globalization?
Through the introduction of background in Ghana, the changes really exist in cultural aspects. However, increasing scholarly attention is now devoted to a question: Is Ghana has more to gain than to fear from cultural globalization?
In fact, some scholars like David Rothkopf, the managing director of Kissinger Associates and an adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University, concerned about the question for a long time (The Statesman 2007). As Rothkopf argues, the America is trying to control the world with language, the common telecommunication and the food safety standards. The developed countries will use their own ideas, products and brands to replace the traditional way in poorer countries. Others like S.K. Boafo, suggested that the external culture such as films, music and language from America may have a significant threat to the traditional culture in Ghana (The Statesman 2007). As the minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, he point out that there are some negative impacts of foreign influences on Ghanaian culture in the last fifty years. For example, people in Ghana especially the younger generation more easily accept the western pop than the traditional folk song. Indeed the UNESCO also supports their views, a meeting called “protection and promotion” hold by UNESCO in October 2005 (The Statesman 2007). The meeting was concern the cultural diversity and drafter worried the gap between developing and developed countries. Another supporter is Audrey Gadzekpo, she argues the culture as a useful linkages between the past and present, but under the globalization background, this type of link become more and more tenuous for the past five decades.
The media violence in Ghana is a specific example. The researchers draw conclusions from more than 1000 studies that there is a positive association between violence entertainment and aggressive behavior. In other worlds, the violence and pornographic in the media contributes to the development of instability of the society and affects children and young people in Ghana. In fact, the media violence is a reality for the whole world
However, it is the truth of the cultural globalization in Ghana? As we all know, the cultural invasion is very common in modern time. But as Kwame Anthony Appiah says the so-called cultural invasion can sometimes lead to innovation, various cultures and new ideas. Cultural Globalization focuses on the influence and infiltration between different regions, countries and nations, which reflects the generality of the development. A powerful example of this point is Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana. Kwame Anthony Appiah always realized it, he says” what can you tell about people’s souls from the fact that they drink Coca-Cola? “(Divestiture Implementation Committee 2004) Indeed, these companies like Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana (TCCBCG) contribute a lot of culture changes. TCCBCG has donated much money to built hospital, it not only offers more job opportunities to poor people but also promote the development of medical health.
In Ghana as the Cultural Minister suggests people must correctly deal with cultural globalization and the most effective way to Western culture is keep the good thing in it. To sum up, as he says “But as aspects of our old cultures change, adapt, maybe disappear, we have the opportunity to create something new – drawing on the heterogeneous, cosmopolitan nature of modern Ghana and the modern world to create something that is a unique mixture of both” (The Statesman 2007). To conclude, the answer about the question mentioned above is depending on Ghana as a active recipient or only a passive recipient.
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General discussion about Social globalization
We cannot ignore the fact that world is so deeply interconnected and influence each other. For Akhila Kolisetty, majority of people have not realized what the social change is and how it affects both individuals and whole country. As a current student of London School of Economics, she suggested the first thing is defined the social globalization. Globalization can be classified according to the different functions into three categories: economic, political, social and culture.(Ali Datko).All of them are interdependent, but always influence each other. As Datko define the social globalization, it talk about the human interaction within cultural communities, and consist of topics like family, religion, work and education. But besides that, there is another definition about social and cultural globalization “A process in which the constrains of geography on social and cultural arrangements recede and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding”(Robertson, 1992:7).
In Ghana, the effect of globalization is all-pervasive. For instance, Ghana has experienced a continuous growth at their high-technology sector including the telecommunication and information technology at the early of 21st century (Edward Opoku-Dapaah, 2002). However, Opoku-Dapaah was pessimistic about social globalization. According to him, these advanced technology which comes from western countries maintain and extended the gap between rich and poor. To the contrary, other member such as international community and Ghanaian elite were optimistic about it. As Opoku-Dapaah points out, the key word is weather they mastered the technology.
The labor market
The globalization can offer a number of benefits for social situation in Ghana. The strongest evidence is labor market. As we all know, the situation of employment is urgent nowadays not only for graduates but also for normal people. Employment becomes one of the major social issues in every country. More and more people pay great attention to it. However, in this situation, Ghana experienced a dramatically decrease in their unemployment rate (Graph 1 from: indexmundi ).The graph gives information about historical data for Ghana unemployment rate from 1997 to 2000. It is clearly see that the percentage dropped from approximately 20% in 1997 to about 11% in 2000.Though it only for a portion of time, but it still very representative of the total situation. In 2005 the unemployment rate in Ghana is 12.9%. Additionally, the percentage averaged 12.05% from 2001 to 2005, then reaches the peak at 12.90% in December of 2005 and touches the bottom at 11.20% in December of 2001.
In addition, the changes like this can have a positive impact not only to individuals but also to society. Like Joblistghana, one of the website which is using for job-hunting, they provide beyond 500 job opportunities to candidates. For example, if a father find a place to do the work, he can offer the better learning environment to children and development the family’s living standard. In addition, the structure of labor market has been changed in a globalised world. Industry in Ghana occupies approximately 25.3% of total GDP. Without doubt, it offers more job opportunities to Ghanaians. The last point about labor market change is the spirit of innovation, as we all know the creative ability is the soul of an enterprise.
The adult literacy rate in Ghana was 75% in 2007, with males at 87.2% and females at 67.1% (Education: about Ghana). However, during the colonial rule the figure was only 11%. Emefa Amoako explores the relevance with education in developing countries such as Ghana. As a result, he found the globalization have significant influence to the national education policy processes. In fact, the globalization not only a unique challenges but also an opportunity to the whole society. The fast development of globalization means some professionals who engage in education area flow into Ghana, and they always have professionally trained (Richard Joseph 2005).For the large number of outflow from other countries in Africa, it easier to find a satisfying job if they pass local certification examination such as university educators and doctors. All of them make significant contribution to the development of Ghana’s education undertaking. It is one of the reason why adult literacy rate in Ghana growing and changing so quickly.
Medical and Mortality rate
As mentioned above, the social globalization means doctors, nurses and other health care professionals flow into Ghana. Like all the other nations in Africa, Child-mortality is a very serious social problem during these years. At the same time, it is the most comprehensive and complex indicators of social development. The definition of child mortality is “the probability of dying between the exact ages of one and five”. As the graph below shows the mortality rate deceases from 79.40% in 1988 to 28% in 2008, and the same situation occur in male child. As the research from Bloom Projects International, there are no evidences to show the relationship between infant mortality rate decrease and country size, economic growth and location except medical conditions (Bloom Projects International From 2012). In fact, better treatments in Ghana rely on the high-technology and medical expert to a great degree. At this point, Ghana as a beneficiary rather than a victim in social globalization processes.
Graph 1 Unemployment rate in Ghana(%)
Graph2 Ghana mortality rate(per 1,000 female children age one)
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