Glocal: Contraction of Global and Local Essay
How and when do cultural items become “glocal”? The word ‘glocal’ is a contraction of global and local and it refers to individuals or groups which maintain both global outlook and local distinctiveness. Before speaking about glocal it would be better to probe into the word culture. Culture is the way of life that includes the customs, beliefs, traditions, symbols and most importantly the language of a group of people. Each country has its own unique culture or cultures. There are as many cultures as there are people. Globalization has been a buzz word for a while and has made considerable impacts on the political, economical, academic, and cultural environments of every country. Because of the instantaneous global communications and technologies such as the internet, and television, western culture is spreading to other cultures causing the emergence of a new global culture, fondly called ‘glocal’ culture. It promotes integration and removal of cultural barriers but at the same time, it brings out some negative dimensions as well. It makes people think differently about cultural values, family, and social life.
For instance, the most influential changes are visible with the introduction of fast restaurants like McDonald’s into foreign countries. The introduction of nontraditional food has caused adverse effects on the traditional values of the destinations or the host countries. In India, the cow is considered a sacred animal. The products containing the meat of cow would hurt the cultural sentiments of certain segments of Indian people. At this juncture, foreign food corporations are bound to think glocally without affecting the customs and beliefs of the people in India. They make sure that the overseas franchises are locally owned, and thus alter their regional menus to the local taste.
The impact of globalization is noticeable in films and television shows. The Americanization is another major factor of change that has been highly cherished by the Media in every aspect. For example, popular television shows like “gossip girl” and “sex and the city” tend to deal with the American lifestyle. Regardless of age, race, country, people integrate some typical “American customs” into their life, making nations worry about its impacts on their local culture. The situation has forced many nations to think seriously about preserving their own traditional values and heritage. Nations like France became the key player in fighting for domestic products in the Media. As Wilczek reports, the French government persuaded the European community to define that 40% of the TV programs should be domestic.
The music industry is another area that has been highly vulnerable to cultural invasion. Although music evokes positive feelings and relief, it can even spoil the cultural and social values of a country. Music genres like raps contain abusive lyrics these days. Even the minors are found singing the raps without even knowing the meaning of it.
As Sotshangane points out, every culture is valuable and worthy of noninterference. Globalization has raised several ethical questions to one’s cultural identity, personal integrity, and beliefs. This dilemma makes individuals and organizations to “think globally and act locally” (Pinto). People seemed to have realized the practical difficulty of converging to a global culture while living in a different reality. The sustainability of local cultures depends on people’s ability to respect other creeds, races, and heritages. Evidently, preserving cultural integrity will be the most challenging task for the governments for the coming decades.
Pinto, Jim. “Think globally, act locally.” Jim Pinto. Automation World. (2004). Web. 07 October 2011.
Sotshangane, Nkosinathi. “What impact globalization has on cultural diversity?.” Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations. 1.4(2002). Web. 07 October 2011.
Wilczek, Michal. “The disadvantages & advantages of globalization.” (Spring Semester 2007/2008): 1-7. Web. 07 October 2011.