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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end


Subject:Re: Globalization
Date:Sun, 06 Dec 1998 23:20
Author:||||||||S\a\\|||m  [sam@media.com.au]
Reply To:forum1@hkw.kbx.de


Globalized / Globalised culture - I think - is very possible - not in the sense that there is no difference - but in the sense there there is too much similarity - or too much desire for the sameness.


But in spite of all this, I just am not sure I buy into the idea that there is, or can be, globalized culture.

No need to worry too much about this,,, globalized culture is as possible as having all the females and the males in the world think alike. Yes!! there are gender sepcific issues, and yes there are BIG differences among peoples coming from different areas of the world,


I agree with Pedro that there are big differences between people - but what concerns me is the way the marketing forces (not market forces) are so effective in their campaigns throughout the world. They seem to be able to continuously generate new markets and build loyal audiences. They seem to understand what makes us tick - what makes us desire - what makes us consume.


Madrid, Los Angeles, Moscow, Jakarta or Stockholm. The common denominator, is surely the hamburger, but the perception of what it means to eat such a hamburger, or in that restuarant, is not. Just as that hamburger does not have a global interpretation in spite of being just a piece of meat, neither will the internet. In some cities, such a piece of meat, is associated with modernity, in others even of luxury, in some others it's the low end of the scale for eating, for some it's just a convenience, and for others it's a night out on the town. If we find that such a lowly food product has such a diversity of interpretations as I have described, can you imagine what the internet will offer?


MacDonalds doesn't sell food products - its sells a way of life (actually it packages, markets and sells content). It sells a way of life that some people (most probably on this list) do not have or want anything to do with - but we must remember that we are a extremely tiny and very marginalised part of the global population. And there must be a 'global' population - a 'global' audience - that would be interested in experiencing the McDonalds way of life. Or maybe its just an illusion.

In terms of the net - there is diverse content (from diverse people?not) - but apparently - so the magazines and the technology papers tell us - more and more people are interested in portal sites. These are websites like Yahoo! that provide gateways - portals - to all that the user - the 'global' user - wants to experience. If its on Yahoo! it must be what you want to experience.

It's late - and I am losing the thread - but I guess my point is - that the illusion of a globalised culture is very real - especially in the 'minds' of the people in the power. I think its to do with abstraction - simplification - and to do with making the lives of marketing corporations easier. Sameness is everywhere - Agreement is everywhere - The Internet is a Global Marketing Tool - Iraq needs a strip search - And Cultural Diversity needs to be discussed further - or is it Consumer Diversity that needs to be discussed further?


Good Nite - Sam


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"The city has no existence beyond being a cultural ghost for tourists"
(Marshall McLuhan, 1967)



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Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, on the use of Internet in the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

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