Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Different culture in the world

Contemporary World Culture
New world culture

By definition, globalization is “the increasing interconnectedness of all parts of the world in terms of communication, trade, business, politics, travel, and culture” (Johnson). Many items are founded within western culture, predominantly American within pop culture. The historical basis of items such as fast food, movies, televisions, and music are often linked back to American culture. Although many different cultures and countries have their own music, mainstream music is often linked to what is popular in America. Since these modern elements of culture often begin in America and spread throughout a large portion of the world, it is easy to see how many people believe that an item’s history and origin label it as “American” (Johnson).
The origin of an item, such as the fast food restaurant McDonalds, is not overlooked even when the restaurants are spread throughout the world. In the 1970’s McDonalds began to spread to other countries, carrying with them the idea of American fast food service and products. Even though the menu may vary from location to location, the origin from which it was founded maintains consistent and does not go unnoticed. The logo itself is what people view as the spread of Americanization across the globe. Although the individual restaurants may be very different, the recognition of the Golden Arches is what makes people believe that America is spreading.
Not only food and restaurants carry over from American culture to other nations. Movies and television shows also carry over. The Simpsons, for example, are played in many other countries, predominantly in Western Europe. This is a show that has been long running and has significant American ties to it. Many of the newer episodes tackle American politics and social issues. Not only is the origin of The Simpsons tied to the US, but the ongoing messages throughout the shows also reminds the viewers that this is an American show and is part of America. And this is just one example of visual media that is shown worldwide that is linked to America.
Music is definitely a component that can be linked back to a specific part of the world. In the US, rap music is quite popular and has spread throughout the world. Other types of music have strong roots in other countries, such as pop in the UK and heavy metal in Germany. However, rap music has evolved from America. The spread of this style of music can be linked back to the difficulties minorities have faced within the American poverty-stricken subcultures, and even further roots into the dark slave days in America. This type of music is played across the world, with many concert tours going overseas.
Looking at food/dining, visual entertainment, and audio entertainment, it is easy to see how many believe that the American culture is the head of globalization. The financial support to push American products across the world is often unmatched by other companies founded in other countries. However, when looking at the specific data the facts show a different angel. American pop culture has spread rather rapidly across the world since the 1950’s. But we must look at how in the last decade “Europe’s top companies have beaten America’s by an often substantial margin” (Theil). The growth of European companies in regards to exports has increased approximately 17% while for the US exports have decreased 11%. “America’s roster of large global companies has been mostly static and declining” (Theil).
From a social aspect it appears that American culture is the leader of globalization. However, when looking at concrete data that is not the case. According to Marling, “globalization is not as American as we think it is. It’s just that everyone, especially Americans, recognizes American films, language, and logos when abroad, and draws the conclusion that the world is becoming Americanized.” Marling goes on to say:
“US logos are taken as evidence of cultural imperialism. WE all see Visa, McDonald’s, KFC, Coke, and Walmart. Mickey Mouse grins at us in France and Japan. Bruce Willis frowns from billboards and posters. CSI: Miami and Everybody Loves Raymond appear on the hotels’ cable channel. The taxi drivers and hotel employees speak a little English. All this seems part of a creeping ‘Americanization.’”
Essentially what Marling is trying to point out is that we associate certain logos, faces, titles, etc. with American culture, however there are many differences that make this spread of global culture not solely American. Modern culture is spreading across the globe, not just American culture. Modern culture is fueled by industrialized nations, such as those found in Europe, Australia, and North America. All of these geographical locations fuel globalization. However, it appears that most of the world sees America as the main fuel behind the spread.
one world culture
culture around the world

Johnson, June. “Global Issues: Local Arguments, Reading for Writing, Custom Edition.
New York: Custom Publishing, 2007.
Marling, William H. How “American” Is Globalization? Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 2006.
Theil, Stefan. (2010, April). “Why Europe Will Win :Forget the conventional wisdom.
European firms are faster-growing, more profitable, and better at globalization than their American rivals.” Newsweek, 155(17). Retrieved October 3, 2010, from ProQuest Health Management. 

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