Sunday, 29 July 2012

Americanisation and Consumer Culture

Photo by Tianzhan
The process of Americanisation is a fairly easy one to understand, simple because we see it everywhere - you don't even have to go to America to experience it. Americanisation can be defined as "the propagation of American ideas, customs, social patterns, language, industry and capital around the world" (Williams, 962 as cited in Ritzer and Ryan, 2004). 
So what’s so bad about it? Well first of all, some suggest that we are headed towards one homogeneous culture as a result of widespread American culture (Behrends, 2007). Although as long as religion, cultural beliefs and other cultural differences exist, this is highly unlikely, but we are definitely seeing American domination throughout the world as well as the meshing of various cultures as a result.
Photo by KittyBitty
Quite often Americanisation is grouped in with Globalisation, and Ritzer and Ryan (2004) combine the two in one definition where "American corporations aggressively export commodities for their own profit". This process also includes the exportation of not only goods, but needs, desires and lifestyles – all of which allows multinational corporations to promote a ‘consumer culture’ through advertising.

Behrends (2007) states that this consumerist revolution first began between 1880 and 1930, around the time of Modernity when the 'desire to possess the latest goods' was born. This belief however has continued and as a result is creating a society where we buy new things before anything is old - This also raises questions about whether are simply becoming the 'throw away' society. 
CLICK THIS LINK - Excerpts from "Josie and the Pussycats” making fun of the music industry, pop culture and consumerism.

The following clip is only mildly related to the post but is worth a watch: HBO's "The News Room," written by Aaron Sorkin, and directed by Greg Mottola.

Behrends, C (2005), How advertising and consumer culture are contributing to the creation of a homogeneous global culture, Munich, GRIN Publishing. <source>

Ritzer, G. & Ryan, M. (2004) Americanisation, McDonaldisation and Globalisation In Campbell, N. Davies, J. McKay, G. (Eds.) Issues in Americanisation and Culture pp: 41 – 60, Great Britain, Edinburgh University Press.<source>

Monday, 23 July 2012

Defining the Undefinable

As far as definitions go, I feel this one covers nearly every aspect of Globalisation.
NSW Trade and Investment
Website <source>
It begins with the idea that Globalisation can be a single process or a set of processes suggesting that the word itself represents a whole group of concepts, not just a single idea. It also suggests a global shift towards a multifaceted structure of interaction between groups, societies, countries and cultures.
It states that this ‘transformation’ occurs across social relations and transactions suggesting it is not only affecting us culturally and socially but also in terms of commercial business and trade and the way we interact with one another.
It refers to these changes as ‘flows’, (whether information, commodities or people) that occur both ‘transcontinental’ and ‘interregional’ as well as in relation to their extensity (how far these changes reach), intensity (how strong or concentrated they are in certain areas), velocity (the speed or rate at which the changes are occurring) and impact (the effect that these changes are having socially and economically).
This is also one of few definitions I’ve found that encompasses the idea of global ‘networks’ of interaction as well as ‘…the exercise of power.’ 
from 'Web Governments' Blog <source>
This can refer to the power that ‘western’ or wealthy countries tend to have over poorer, developing countries or simply the power of a strong economy (stable economies vs. America after the GFC or Greece following the government debt crisis).
It also creates the idea that globalisation is not an equaliser, and that it can be either a positive or a negative thing, depending on where it is happening and how strong its impact is.

References: Held, D, McGrew, A G, Goldblatt, D, Perraton, J, 1999, ‘Gobal Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture’, Stanford University Press, California, USA, accessed 20th July, 2012 <source>

Sunday, 15 July 2012

What is Globalisation?

Cityscape - Sydney, Australia by Dan Heller (source)

The word "Globalisation" makes me think of technology, communication and the sharing of information, products and services on a global scale. However to some extent this is my own interpretation of a word that has many meanings. Giddens (2009; 126) explains the term as 'individuals, groups and nations, becoming ever more interdependent’ on one another. However, Globalisation is not a new process, rather, it has been occurring over a longer period of human history than many people think (Giddens, 2009; 126). The concept of sharing technology and communicating cross-culturally has been around for many years, but the Internet has allowed Globalisation to advance in other ways. 
'Big Think' blog (source)
The digital age and development of information and communication technologies ‘have intensified the speed and scope of interaction between people all over the world’ (Giddens, 2009), further enabling the Globalisation process. It is these methods that also allow the bringing together of culture, trading of goods and the positive interaction between various countries.
However, the term 'global'-isation also tends to create a false image of equal opportunity and prosperity. This inequality that still exists between developing and developed countries, means that more than one billion people worldwide still live on less than $US1 a day (Giddens, 2009;120). This is where the digital divide is obvious - although technology has helped many countries progress, but not all of them. It seems that as long as the process of Globalisation is determined by technological, political and economic advances, developing countries that lack in these areas are likely to get further left behind. 

Giddens, A 2009, Sociology 6th ed, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK.

Heller, D, 2003, Sydney City Scape Aerial, digital photograph, Dan Heller  Photography, accessed 15 July, 2012 <>
Technology-and-human-communication image, 2012, digital photograph, ‘Big Think’ blog by Ray Kurzweil, accessed 15 July, 2012

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Welcome to my blog! My name is a Kate and I am a first year Deakin university student but have completed a degree in Psychology and Media at Swinburne university. I love knowing about people, as well as writing, all things music, and finding out about anything interesting/funny/quirky/annoying. I hope to entertain, make you think and get a few people coming back. Thanks for tuning in and feel free to comment, discuss or disagree. Enjoy!

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