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Globalisation and local cultures

By Samreen Aamir:

Globalisation is the term that has mesmerized and fascinated the world significantly. Manfred B Steger a professor of global studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology declared it as a social process and defined as, ‘Globalisation refers to multidimensional set of social processes that create, multiply, stretch and intensify worldwide social interdependencies and exchanges while at the same time fostering in people a growing awareness of deepening connections between the local and the distant’. By elaborating the above definition we can conclude that Steger is focusing on a network that is not dependent on traditional, political, economic, cultural and geographical boundaries.
Globalisation is an opportunity for those who are already in power to spread their products throughout the world not only hard products but through cultural globalisation modern countries are creating their monopoly in soft products as well like ideas, heritage, culture, art, drama, language etc honestly speaking globalisation is the biggest threat and a cancer for those countries that are poor, under developed and developing. ‘Some effects of globalisation can be seen through, for example, wearing Adidas clothing, listening to iPods, watching Western television series, eating McDonalds, drinking Starbucks or Coca Cola, and even speaking a language that includes Americanised English slang’ (Godfrey, 2008). Therefore this term can be directly associated with the terms as internationalisation, Universalisation, liberalization, westernisation, modernisation and sometimes Americanisation.
Globalisation is not only damaging the sale of the local industrial and agricultural products yet it is directly affecting the trade of the cultural products and services, such as movies, music, and publications. Although the sale of the cultural products are increasing but it is also a bitter truth that the exposure of the cultures of different and varied societies are damaging the local culture dramatically. Hence the local cultures are also changing unnaturally and rapidly and drastically.
We cannot deny the fact that the main and sole objective of every state behind every action is one the attainment and maximization of ‘power’. Now to achieve the objectives and to maximize the profit and power the states and corporations do not use military power or traditional weapons to exercise their authority rather they use the soft weapons as described by Dr Joseph Nyre ‘Culture and ideas could contribute to power … soft power refers to the power of attraction that often grows out of culture and values. Hard power rests on inducement or threats but there are a second way to get the outcomes of what you want that could be called the second face of power’.
Hence we can say that on the one hand globalisation provide us the opportunity to interact with other nations without any hesitation and we can share the ideas and we can maximize our political and financial interests but on the other hand cultural globalisation is held responsible to exploit our national structure and is damaging the fabric of our culture. The question arises in our mind that whether the culture is important for survival of nations or not?
Culture brings peace, harmony and synchronization to the society. Culture teaches us and guides us to rely or depend on available local resources and the maximum utilization and improvement of local infrastructure and people .The nations survive until their cultures are alive. Globalisation is somehow diminishing or disturbing or damaging the spirit of nationalism, patriotism and is damaging the culture and heritage and traditions and languages of poor, developing and under developed countries that are economically weak but culturally rich
Without denying the crude reality that globalisation plays a vital role in damaging the cultural fabric of a society like Pakistan it is also a fact that due to the effects of globalisation people are becoming more aware about their health issues, they are getting better educational facilities, industrialization is creating more job facilities, easy transportation and accessible media are among the wonders of globalisation. This social process brings modernization yet at the same time this social process creates artificial society and it is killing the socio cultural environment of old traditions and cultures. Hence it is not only the duty of government but it is also the responsibility of the citizen of Pakistan to retain , restore and propagate the Pakistani culture . Pakistan is a country which is composed of heterogeneous societies; there are different ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic etc groups most of the time they are in constant rivalry with each other.
Weak political system of any country weakens all the major and crucial pillars of the state. It is the bad luck of Pakistan that because of immature, selfish, opportunist, inexperienced and leadership, Pakistan has become a war zone and nursery of national and international terrorists. The organizations like Al-Qaeda, TTP, etc were able to operate easily from this region because of the availability of communication network, global financial networks and the ease of movements of people. Irresponsible media is also damaging the soul of the cultural, social, political and religious aspects of the Pakistani society.
Family is the basic unit of a society that carry forward the basic cultural norms and values from one generation to other generation but the basic family style of our pure Pakistani society is changing drastically. In the same way curriculum is now modified and has been changed according to the international demands. Religion is the most sensitive issue these days as ours is a religious society and majority of Pakistanis are Muslims now because of international politics and intrigues a particular segment of our society is becoming extremist and they are forgetting the basic teachings of the religion which are tolerance, peace and love.

 The writer is freelance columnist based in Karachi.