This paper will investigate the phenomenon of cultural globalization. As time and space become increasingly compressed, contact and exchange between cultures is occurring at greater frequencies and varying levels of intensity. Gauging the nature and impact of cultural globalization has been a growing concern for social scientists and cultural theorists. For many, cultural globalization is synonymous with cultural homogenization, or to put it another way, the processes of global uniformity and standardization of human cultural experience. A similar discourse merely equates cultural globalization as the ‘Americanization’ or ‘Westernization’ of global culture. Such views, collectively part of the discourse of cultural imperialism, proceed to argue that local culture is overwhelmed by American or western cultural influences. Theorists that purport such analyses tend to see the movement, or flow of culture as occurring in a single direction, mainly from western capitalist centers of power emanating outward to the rest of the world. According to the arguments that will be put forward in this paper, the theoretical positions of the cultural imperialism approach do not acknowledge the rather complex and intricate facets of cultural globalization. Instead of cultural homogenization, compelling arguments have been made that identify the dynamic role played by localities in their reception of outside cultural influences. Further, more attention must be placed on mapping the impact localities have on more dominant patterns of cultural flows. The potential formation of new identities based on post-national, cosmopolitan, and hybridized identification offer promising alternatives to traditional alignments with the nation-state. Finally, when one speaks of global culture is it appropriate to equate such a concept with supposed ‘Americanization’ or ‘Westernization?’ By investigating the global local dynamic it would seem more compelling to view cultural globalization as something more varied and complex than simply generating global cultural standarization and uniformity. The example of a local fast- food restaurant outlet in the Greek (Thessaloniki) context will be utilized to illustrate this particular facet of cultural globalization.
|Keywords:||Cultural Globalization, Cultural Imperialism, Americanization, Hybridity, Global-local Problematic|
Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, The American College of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
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