On a Monday morning, I set out to carry out my ethnographic study at the city centre in Bradford. The city centre, a large surrounding filled with tall buildings with various concrete partitions. The sloping walking hill corner of the city centre witnesses most stores, shops and shopping plaza having their last floor with glass display or walling for product displays with attractive inscription of sales, price slashes and percentage reductions to attract passersby to their outlets. In trying to observe, I discovered loads of people encompassing various demography of gender and age description trooping in and out of the stores, shops and supermarkets with different bags and shopping packages. The people appeared focused inwards and determined to get to where they wanted to be; most people just seemed to be on the way without personal concerns. Everybody seemed to be walking in a rushed manner, like clockwork figures or programmed robots. The flower sellers and a man at the bakery stand at the middle of the walking arena at the city centre seemed to be the only ones’ who were looking into the faces of people, trying to get them to stop and purchase their products. They were quite vocal with their sales chant. I also observed an old woman on a small mechanized wheel chair; she looked sober, tired and weary. As she drove past, I saw she had different packages from different stores on her machine tray. Many visible diverse nationalities (assumed based on various perception of sight) walking around were observed to have similar outfits. There were people in jean, jackets, boots, caftans, turbans, hijabs etc. the jacket being the most common and which was a result of the weather conditions and the adaptation of human culture through globalization. Apart from male police officers and one female officer taking a patrol with their hefty wear attached with various mechanical gadgets around them looking ready for crime mongers/war. Most observed people seem to know how and where to shop, there seem to be no description as to where to go and how to go about it but just mere advertisement in the front of every main door step with products of sales. However, a young man and woman were observed to be paying for a Chinese meal in a Chinese restaurant through the Debit Card point service and an attractive TV displaying Chinese movie was also seen from the outer view of the restaurant through its transparent glass partitioning. Looking behind, I saw a group of people discussing in English language and interchanging it with some Chinese language at intervals in a loud manner; while another group adjacent to them even though diverse, appeared to be speaking English but in a quiet mode. A further stroll, noticed the sight of a group of old men seen playing guitar by the road side singing (numerous cultural and globalized music spanning from Westernized to European and even Jamaican) and receiving accolades from a group of people comprising both genders but different nationalities; assumed Pakistan and some European young blokes and ladies.
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Globalization thesis – Hybridization theory
Theoretically, Culture and globalization are two diverse concepts involved in this study. Globalization involves a process of local and regional adaptations in many areas of human life under emerging global situation (Mondal, 2010). This elucidates that Globalization creates a double challenge for all of concerns: that of trying to examine and understand these progressions, and their long-term implication, but also that of deciding how human beings act in response to them. Globalization, hence, poses normative preference as much as strained analytic comprehensions (Halliday 2000). It is described as a general currency only in the past decade and include many diverse and often vague meanings, spanning from the elimination of barriers between societies, political and economic systems and the significant enlarged volume of exchange, in terms of finance, trade, ideas or people, amid them (Halliday 2000). Braibant (2002) supported the definition of Halliday (2000) in a way but concluded by stating that globalization also comes with various infections, diseases and pollution.
Hofstede (1980) asserts that Cultures and nations mostly function through essential structures such as the family, local groups, societies and circumscribed traditions, etc. In effect, organizational structures and its functioning are impacted by unique cultural traditions.
In combining these two concepts discussed above, Rankin (2009) opines that Cultural globalization is regularly understood to mean the expanded movement of images, goods, technology, people and ideas around the world resulting from processes of economic globalization ever since the 1970s. It has been the theme of sizeable moral angst in academic and popular venues alike, as observers diversely lament the cultural destructions or celebrate the cultural mixings that are regularly understood to go with globalizing processes. In addition, Mondal (2010) described cultural globalization as a process which creates global culture; arguing that globalization intends to expand a world view to support multicultural society and intercultural exchange with relevant respect of regional and local cultures.
A range of cultural issues and consequence have been associated with globalization and these can be examined in relation to three foremost theses, which includes; polarization, homogenization and hybridization (Chris 2006). The polarization thesis claims that global interdependence and interconnection do not compulsorily mean cultural accord, as culture is stronger to standardize than economic society and technology; while the homogenization thesis advocates that global culture is becoming uniformed and standardized around an American or Westernized model. The hybridization thesis finally argues that local cultures borrow and integrate elements from each other, creating syncretic, or hybrid, forms. This can be evidenced from daily life activities such as popular religious and music life (Holton 2000).
However, this study intends to engage the HYBRIDIZATION THEORY by Pierterse (1994) for the purpose of analyzing the perceptions and observation from the ethnography study. Pierterse (1994) refers globalization as a Hybridization process that results in global mélange overtime. He argues that globalization is a multidimensional process that unfolds in numerous realms of existence concurrently, like all important social processes. Holton (2000) however, refers the hybridization thesis has a focus “on the intercultural exchange and the incorporation of cultural elements from a variety of sources within particular cultural practices.” Hybridization can be described as the chips among polar perspectives, its existence is assumed to be derived from the paradigm of polarization and the paradigm of homogenization, with derived significance in relation to them (Pierterse, 1995).
World culture theorists have claimed that world culture exist, but to a large extent less homogeneous than claimed by the world polity theorists (Bryan 2001). Rather, globalization is better characterized by processes, alternatively described as hybridization (Pieterse, 1995), glocalization (Kraidy, 1999), or creolization (Hannerz, 2000/01) where different cultural elements are connected in new and at times unexpected ways as they make contact with each other as a product of different cultural flows (Bryan H, 2001). Pierterse (1995) observed that most interpretation refers globalization as a homogenization process that stems from the perception that the world is becoming more standard and uniform, through cultural, commercial and technological synchronization emerging from the west; and an assumption that modernity is often tied up to Globalization. He however argued that the assumption that modernity often equates globalization and westernization is critical, ambiguous, historically narrow and shallow.
Pieterse (1995) advocates that globalization does not compulsorily portray declining of nation-states has frequently been referred. He argues that globalization can be reinforced together with localism as in “Think globally, act locally”. He opines that increase in politics of ethnic identity and neo-traditional religious actions can also be perceived in the light of globalization even as identity blueprint are emerging to be complex and local loyalties are asserted by people, who however want to share in global lifestyles and values. Globalization is perceived as a process of open-ended interconnection of influence on culture (western as well as eastern). The rapid awareness of cultural difference is interdependent with globalization and there exist both strive for acknowledgment and cultural difference on a global scale. The strive for acknowledgment entails a claim to equal rights, equality and sameness of interest which results generally as a universe with common difference. Piertese (1994) refers culture as learned and shared beliefs and behavior; making emphasis to the term “Learned” not “instinctual” and “shared” not “individual”. This leads the argument that there exist no boundaries to culture, as cultures are always open.
Nonetheless, Tomlinson (2003) argue that past scholars view globalization of culture in a pessimistic light as associated with the demolition of cultural uniqueness, and also victims of accelerated encroachment of westernized and homogenized consumer culture. He emphasized that the globalization depredation has put identification of culture at risk everywhere, particularly the developing world. His contradictory argument is that globalization is also a significant force for proliferating and creating cultural identity.
Analysis of the Ethnographic study and Globalization theory (Hybridization)
Glocalization, a concept of globalization that pierces through the heart of cultural hybridization (Kraidy, 1999). The glocalization concept can be viewed from the ethnography study stemming from the outer view of a young man who was using his Debit card to pay for his meal in a Chinese restaurant. This portrays a view of organizations using a global means (use of Debit card – Internet banking) to satisfy local customers, and still retaining local culture of its Chinese meal and movie. This shows that globalization is out of the local or global context in which it has been perceived, as people from various nationalities of the world move around taking their country meals in other countries and making payments using a globalized advantage. The view of Piertese (1995), that globalization can be reinforced together with localism as in “Think globally, act locally” is emphasized.
Another perception of the globalization process in relation to the ethnography study is the old man seen playing a guitar by the road side singing and receiving accolades from a group of people comprising both genders but different nationalities; assumed Pakistan and some European young blokes and ladies. The old man seems to entice people with various types of music stemming from European to westernized and also Jamaican music’s. This shows the proposition by Holton (2000), that various elements of local cultures are been borrowed and integrated from each other, which in turn creates a syncretic, or hybrid, form.
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The groups of people viewed at the city centre are also another perception of the globalization process in relation to the ethnography study. The communication methods seem diverse and integrating. A mix of people perceived not to be from the same nationality speaking English and communicating fluently; while the some other set of people seem to be speaking some Chinese language. This elucidates Holton (2000) argument that the intercultural exchange and the integration of cultural elements from a range of sources within particular cultural practices results in Hybridization.
The adaption of human nature is also an aspect of emphasis. Most people were viewed to be costumed with jean and jackets, however, some people were seen to be putting on caftans and hijabs; but a constant wear amid all is the jacket. This is as a result of the weather conditions with the most people seem adapted to irrespective of their nationalities or cultural values. Even the people putting on the caftans and hijabs were seen to be putting on the Jackets. This supports the hybridization thesis of individuals and local groups having great power to adapt with in a glocalized world. Local individuals and groups are important and creative agents.
The impact of globalization on culture stems from ones’ thought about how his local culture should be protected from external influence, or how one thinks the cultural creativity results from communication and integration of ideas from diverse cultures (Rothenberg 2003). This was observed in the language, restaurant and musical analysis of the ethnography study carried out. People get integrated and form a cartel of globalised material in the world but however protect their local customs i.e. food, music and language evidenced by the ethnography study at the city centre.
Granell (2000) argued that cultural issues are increasingly becoming an important source of strategic advantage, as part of the rising and ongoing globalization process. Although globalization is perceived by developing countries as a threat and an undesirable but nevertheless an inevitable process. He further argued that attributes of globalization does not include eradicating differences, mimicking others, or permitting more developed nations to force their models but rather incorporating differences, combination of strengths, restructuring differences and establishing efforts for a win-win process. He however, concluded by regarding Globalization is a worldwide pressure for change.
The importance of culture integration cannot be over-emphasized due to migration of various individuals and organizations to diverse nationalities. It is important to be conversant with different culture for enormous reasons; business, personal, social and governmental reasons. The knowledge of various cultures gives us an innovative idea for creating industrious inventions; while also creating better understanding amongst people in a simple way. The knowledge of diverse culture does not necessarily eliminate the cultural beliefs and values of an individual or a nation as posed by various theorists.
It is not feasible to expect that the emerging global culture will substitute national cultures. Nevertheless, it is feasible to conclude that national cultures must be flexible and able to emphasize the charisma of their core essentials if they wish to remain significant in some viable style (Bird and Stevens, 2003).
Globalization helps us to understand the world we live in and sometimes expands our ways of life. In the globalised times when our lives are rapidly closely tied to events and actions on the other side of the planet, culture that cross national boundaries are needed. Or else we have slight hope of making sense of happening around us. Globalization of culture can help populace embrace and come to terms with several dissimilar identities, without eliminating its own local identity. Globalization around the world those not change a person’s perceptive from his local meals, language, music and religion. A globalized culture does increases knowledge of citizens in global world and does not stop them from having a feed day with their localized content, which is in support of the Hybridization theory by pieterse (1994).
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