Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Globalization and Cultural Diversity

From an excellent editorial in today's WSJ, written by the CEO of Sony Pictures, titled "Globalization and Cultural Diversity":

"If what can be seen in the cinemas and on television screens from Bangalore to Barcelona these days is any indication, globalization does not mean homogeneity. It means heterogeneity.

Instead of creating a single, boring global village, the forces of globalization are actually encouraging the proliferation of cultural diversity.

Instead of one voice, there are many. Instead of fewer choices, there are more. And instead of a uniform, Americanized world, there remains a rich and dizzying array of cultures, all of them allowing thousands of movies and televisions shows to bloom."

MP: There are many other examples of how globalization has not resulted in a uniform, Americaned world, but instead has resulted a richer, more culturally diverse world, including:

1. Think of the explosion of Jamacian reggae music around the world, including the U.S. and U.K., where it was embraced and supported, allowing it to thrive and prosper with a global market for new music.

2. Think of the explosion of ethnic restaurants around the U.S. - a Yellow pages search shows that there are now 54 Vietnamese restaurants and 75 Thai restaurants in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the epicenter of Midwest culture, traditionally Scandanavian, home of Garrison Keillor and the Prairie Home Companion Show, and about as far away from the East or West Coast as you can get (see Thai food above). As recently as the early 1980s, there were NO Vietnamese or Thai restaurants anywhere in the state of Minnesota, and probably almost none between Chicago and San Francisco.

3. Do a search on Ebay for "mola" and you'll find anywhere from 200-300 items for sale of the traditional textile art form made by the Kuna people of Panama and Costa Rica. Molas are cloth panels featuring complex designs made with multiple layers of cloth in a reverse appliqué technique (see photo above, click to enlarge). Most mola buyers are probably Americans who have recently developed an awareness and appreciation of a traditional art form due to globalization, and this art form is now much less likely to become extinct now that the Kunas have access to a global marketplace through Ebay.

Other examples?


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