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Discuss the extent to which the globalisation of consumer culture engenders a cosmopolitan culture, where individuals show 'op - Essay Example

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Institution Date Globalization and Consumer Culture Globalization, according to Tomlinson (1999 p. 4), has been described as a process by which the people of the world are being incorporated into a single world society. On the other hand, Usunier (2009 p…
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Download file to see previous pages Obviously, globalization is wide and it involves economic integration, policy transfers across borders, knowledge transmission, cultural stability and the reproduction of power. This paper looks at globalization in the context of consumers’ culture. It particularly seeks to establish the extent to which globalization of consumers’ culture engenders a cosmopolitan culture. In this sense, the paper looks at those issues that make globalization a process that brings about heterogeneity in consumer preferences and behaviours. While the paper looks at the heterogeneity of culture as a result of globalization, it also sets the limits beyond which globalization cannot bring about heterogeneity of culture, but as such, bring about universality of culture. Hannerz (1999 p.12) described cosmopolitanism as an intellectual and aesthetic openness toward divergent cultural experiences. This implies that globalization results in cultural diversification and not the homogeneity of culture. According to Hannerz, people make their way into other cultures through listening, looking, intuiting and reflecting. In the words of Hannerz, cosmopolitanism is the willingness to become involved with the other in a bid to attaining cultural competence. However, in order to make one’s way into a different culture, the social bonds between locals must be weak, less binding and universal (Usunier, 2009 p. 11). These conditions are necessary because they make it possible to allow and accommodate different cultures. One of the widely accepted impacts of globalization is the development of individual outlook, behaviors and feelings that cut across local and national boundaries. This comes about as a result of globalized or globalizing cultural elements which are always related to Western cultural imperialism (Hollensen, 2000 p. 44). A case in point regards to products that originate in the West finding their way to non-west countries. Normally, these products carry Western values with them and are consumed daily on a global scale. Examples of these products include newspapers, music, movies, TV programs, books and magazines. Such products have widely been accepted in many regions of the world. The problem that emerges is whether to call this civilization clash or cultural imperialism. While some people will accommodate this foreign culture, others will protest against it in the name of cultural imperialism (Gesteland, 1999 p. 38). This brings in the concept of cultural relativism. This is a concept that marked the end of the era of Western colonialism. In light of this, the concept recognizes the unique or relative values of different cultures. The extent to which these values are recognized as a result of globalization is limited for the simple reason that these unique values may not be self-sustainable. Also, these cultures may not be in equal positions. From this, it is safe to conclude that globalization is uneven, differentiated and asymmetrical process. As such, the extent to which it engenders cosmopolitan culture is restricted by these characteristics. Human beings are defined by their culture (Gesteland, 1999 p. 44). It is culture that differentiates man from other creations and also differentiates man from other men. This is to say that human beings are unique in the universe due to their culture and that human beings ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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