The Role That Globalization of Television Has Played in the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities
Beatriz Ramirez Lopez s3231464 The role that Globalization of Television has played in the Construction of Cosmopolitan Identities. In this essay, I will expose my thoughts, arguments and ideas of how global television has constructed an identity in which people refer and familiarize that doesn? t necessarily belong the same place. During the last decades television had to face the crucial change that the world has faced known as globalization.
This change in the media needs to be understood in the wider context of the globalization of capitalist modernity, since global television is constituted by and of the inherently globalizing nature of modernity (Barker, 1997). Modernity, as Marx and Weber theorized, is a period marked by change, motivation and dynamism. If modernity is a period in which capitalism, industrialism, surveillance and military power (Giddens,1990) can be found, I should say that we have passed that point beyond. We live in a period in which postmodernism as a cultural form can be seen as a radicalized modernity.
Nevertheless, this postmodernity doesn? t have to be composed of the same meaning as what it is known as the postmodernity concept in a historical period. This is because in the postmodern culture different concerns have emerged at the same time that a global compression of time and space had took place in the late modernity. Chris Barker describes the culture of global television as postmodern in form and argue that the institutions of transnational television, which are institutions of modernity, are globalizing a postmodern cultural form. (Barker, 1997, p. 1) The institutions that are part of a capitalist modernity had been facing the globalization challenge in which they had to act in order to be part of this change. Television, as a capitalist institution, has also contribute to this challenge through the world-wide circulation of images and discourses. Nowadays, television programs offer a wide range of entertainment, information and persuasion. It also offers a simple re? ection of the world with forms of knowledge that represent speci? c constructions of ideas that we receive every time we turn on our Tv.
Global television plays a direct role because it penetrates into the local systems and display alternative understandings of time and space. According to Chris Barker; The dynamism of modernity is founded upon its re? exive nature, the continual re-evalutation of knowledge. Re? exivity refers to the use of knowledge about social life as a constitutive element of it and refers to the constant revision of social activity in the light of new knowledge... On a more institutional level television has been increasingly re? exive about its own status and production techniques.
Television has a history and repeats that history within across channels, this articulation of styles and histories contributes to the viewers understanding of TV history... Television contributes to our increasing re? exivity about ourselves, our culture and the history, conditions and techniques of cultural production. (1997, p. 15-16) As a result, television gives us the opportunity to be world travelers in the comfort of our own space being part of a society that lives in a world as a whole, or better described as a globalized space.
However, what happens when one half of the world? s largest economic units are nations and the other half are transnational corporations belong to the same nation? Is society changing to a global postmodern culture or just is it becoming a follower of an identity from an speci? c country(ies)? “Globalization is mainly an economic phenomenon and refers to the economic activity on a global scale and is an aspect of time-space compression or the shrinking world”. (Barker, 1997). This argument is fairly true; although, the process of creating a world economy has grown in an uneven way.
Representation, identity and cultural meaning are some issued that are also concerned by globalization. The values and meanings can remain signi? cant, but speaking of a globalized society, these values and meanings can extend far beyond their locations suffering a transformation from its very real meaning. As Hedbidge (1990) argues, cosmopolitanism is an aspect of our every day life. Diverse cultures are becoming more accessible today. That? s how we can choose what type of food we can eat or which artist can we listen to, dress a speci? brand coming from a trendy country or just watch the Tv shows from speci? c countries. We are becoming a global culture but Barker indicates that if by global culture we mean a unitary world culture, or a bounded culture connected to a world state, then we are a long way from that scenario. Cultural values and feelings refer to three main components that are based in a shared experience. These components associate the shared memories of speci? c events and people, sense of generational continuity and a common sense of destiny on the part of the collectivity.
In terms of a global culture, a process of integration and disintegration represent an homogenization of a culture. This effect can be well placed in the consumer culture. Brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, KFC and many others ring our bell regardless the nation we come from. An interesting point to mention is that in the consumer culture as in the global tv an speci? c country owns the majority of these brands which displays an american way of life. The globalization of television is an aspect of dynamism of modernity in? ected with the logic of capitalism.
Capitalism is a system of commodity production premised upon the private owner-ship and control of the means of production whereby the owners of the means of production employ wage labour to produce commodities, which have exchange value, for sale in the market... Television is bound up with capitalist modernity both as a set of economic activities and as a cultural force constituted by and constitutive of modernity. The rise of transnational television since the mid-1980s is, thus, an aspect of capitalist globalization whereby this essentially economically riven set of activities is also a set of cultural practices involving the circulation of ideas and images around the world. (Barker, 1999, p. 20-21) Television promotes the capitalism in the postmodern society. There is money to be made from production and sale of programs, from selling the technological hardware of television, and to deliver audiences to advertisers for their target market so that television can be the centre of wider commercial activities. Particularly the media ? ts into this global economy by supporting transnational corporations.
Global television also refers to television in which technology, ownership, program distribution and audiences operates across the boundaries of a nation. But what happens when a nation doesn? t want to be part of that global culture? A clear example is the communist nation Cuba, since Fidel Castro? s dictatorship the media is limited to the national broadcast organization; the government is the one in charge of controlling the media power whereas in some other Latin countries such as Mexico the media power is absolutely independent from the government which allows the exchange of programs distributed in all over the world.
National broadcasting systems had to face the concern of international trade in television taking them to be part of the global television. For example, the soap operas, game shows etc that have their version in the country that is going to be consumed, such as Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and many others. Soap operas in the global television are programs that can in? uence the most in creating some patterns with their content. The soap? s ability to deploy a wide range of characters allows multiple identi? cations by the audience who can familiarize with some characters.
These programs are often structured by the tension between realism and melodrama (Barker, 1997). The content can represent social issues such as AIDS, race gender, homosexuality, unemployment, drugs addiction etc. Some others include in their content speci? c environments in which the audience expect to be close to the reality. For example, the ? rst time I saw Neighbours, I found that they used a lot of great outdoors scenes such as the beach, their dress-code and the activities that the characters can have which made me think of a holiday.
The narrative of soap operas frequently focus on women characters and are structured in a way tends to familiarize a woman? s point of view. In Latin America, Mexico and Brazil are the main countries that export their soap operas to other countries in the continent as well as to Europe and Asia. These programs also show an unrealistic scenery where the audience can identify with some characters and impose trends in which people will follow this type of identity and adapt it to their own necessities.
Another thing to mention is that some tv programs can be produced to the immigrant audience promoting some of their values in order to maintain them alive. Another example of global television, besides soap operas, are global news that in the last ten years had played a fundamental role in creating opinions and thoughts in the audience. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 made CNN, BBC, Reuters and other international broadcasters ? owed information in all over the world. This event marked the world because the message that was delivered in every place created a con? ct between cultures giving as a result the prejudgement of islamic people associating them as terrorists. According to Chris Barker argument in Television as a global space. Electronic media break the traditional bonds between geographic place and social identity since mass media provide us with increasing sources of identi? cation which are situated beyond the immediacy of speci? c places. For example, the way in which television brings the outside world into the home rede? nes the boundaries between the private and the public... onstitutive of identity in that young people negotiate through talk shared understandings about how to “go on” in their society as persons within social relationships. (1999, p. 119) The concept of the audience is a social construction, the idea of an audience is never merely an innocent description if the sum total of individuals. In the market the audience is considered the target consumer. “The most common conception of the audience within the media industries is as a conglomeration of potential and potentially overlapping markets”. Grossberg, 1998, p. 209). Media industries usually spend enormous amount of time and money in order to convince media consumers to buy a particular media product. As a result, media create stereotypes in which a global society ? ts and consumes. The media provides pictures of people, descriptions of different social groups and of their social identities. This pictures are kept in our head and help us to identify where does the person belong to. Lawrence Grossberg points a de? nition of stereotypes; Stereotypes can de? ne some people? expectations of how, for example, women, or Hispanics, or other groups in the society are supposed to behave. In this sense, stereotypes are neither avoidable nor necessarily bad. In the modern world, the media are obviously a major source of such pictures... In this sense, stereotyping is the process of distorting the portrayal of some social group in the media image. That media contribute to stereotypes (and even create stereotypes of groups) is assumed to be the result of systematic biases in the portrayals of social groups. (1998, p. 21) Stereotypes have a real and important consequence in the global cultures. They can affect the self-esteem of those being stereotyped, they can also determine by mistake the way some people think and behave, but the worst is that creates an arti? cial idea in society that will link that group with the stereotypes that can hardly get rid of. Although identities are created in the culture of an speci? c time and space in which a society lives, the new global culture has faced the identity crisis because of the power of the media in the people? lives. Media produces people? s identities of who they are and who others are. “There are many dimensions on which people have a sense of themselves, a sense of their own identity” (Grossberg, 1998. p. 206) In conclusion media can produce identities in a political, social, cultural, and economic way in order to ? t in the global economy and global culture that the new technologies have challenged a postmodern society. 2025 words References Barker, C (1997). Global Television, an Introduction.
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