Initially emerging from neoliberalisation, globalization is an intricate, multi-layered phenomenon that has played a signiﬁcant role in determining modern culture and wider transformations that shape life on our planet.
Central to the mythology of modernity, globalization continues a lineage of ‘progress’ that originates from the Enlightenment. Essentially, processes of globalization are part of a system of rationalization, which attempts to overhaul a diverse set of unpredictable human cultures with a predictable model of human existence. Te diversity of perspectives, abundance of contributing factors, global scope and complex processes that constitute globalization make for an extremely complicated situation. In response, globalization utilizes a rationalist imperative in order to systematically simplify human behavior and establish control measures.
I will argue that under globalization, processes of neoliberalism and rationalization always diminish traditional cultures, either through destruction or augmentation. Speciﬁcally, I will consider consumer culture to be the normative framework that globalization oﬀers as a replacement for traditional culture. Despite arguments that traditional cultures are strengthened through ‘contra-ﬂows’ and ‘glocalization’, changes brought on via globalization and consumer culture will inevitably replace localized cultures as time progresses. Trough a ubiquitous framework, globalization deploys consumer culture as the world standard for human existence.
Whilst processes of globalization stretch back many centuries, it was not until the late 20th century that the concept entered the mainstream. As Inikori (2007) notes, during the 1990s, the term ‘globalization’ emerged in academic discourse and became popularized by the media. As a concept, it is complex, polarizing and controversial (Movius, 2010, p. 6; Machida, 2012, p.436). Inikori (2007, p. 64) describes globalization as “a snapshot description of an observable reality: a highly integrated world, often called a ‘global village’.” Most speciﬁcally, globalization is directly attributable to the spread of free market capitalism and technology. As Jaja (2012, p. 79) notes, “the inexorable integration of markets, nation states and technologies to a degree never before witnessed in history… enables individuals, corporations and nation states to reach around the world faster, deeper and cheaper than before.” Essentially, globalization describes a dense, networked and highly communicative global society, where ﬂows of capital and information are unrestricted and processes of commodiﬁcation are increasingly penetrative. Rapidly unfurling political, economic, social, ecological and technological developments are central to deﬁning reality in the new global village. In this environment of ﬂux, personal identity and culture are warped, shattered and re-assembled. As individuals and communities are hurled into the future, traditional cultures become outdated and inadequate.