Globalisation: The Hero or The Villain?

The concept of globalisation makes reference to an “international community” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.458) enlightened and enhanced by “technological development and economic, political and military interests” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.458). It is supposed to be characterised of a series of qualities deemed to promote a unified and diverse society, with those qualities being identified as “instantaneity, interconnectedness and interdependence” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.459). This utopian account of globalisation provided by O’Shaughnessy and Stadler leaves me with a lot of questions, many of these surrounding the idea that perhaps globalisation is not so enhancing and enlightening. Is globalisation all it’s made out to be or are there significant flaws to this concept of a “global village?” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.459).

O’Shaughnessy and Stadler spend a cumulative amount of time noting why globalisation “facilitates participation” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.459) and communicates the view that globalisation aids “empowerment, education, democracy and equality” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.461) but the questions still prevails: is this “utopian concept of the global village” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.461) an adequate depiction of globalisation as a whole?

On the opposite side of this interesting discussion is the perception that globalisation is not actually this awe-inspiring and culturally facilitating force it was formerly made out to be. O’Shaughnessy and Stadler make note to a concept promoting the dystopian capacity and view linked to globalisation: “the anti-globalisation movement” ((O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.464). In the eyes of anti-globalisation supporters, this process of unification is rather engendering a sense of standardisation. They claim the former “traditional communities, languages and value systems” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.464) are being lost to a new digital age lacking individuality and cultural uniqueness. This cultural spread of ideas and values is consequently dubbed as cultural imperialism (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.465). Take for example the increasing popularity of American culture as shown in the image below about fast food industries. This further explores the ways in which globalisation have eradicated cultural diversity on a larger modern scale. To moreover criticise the notion of globalisation, it’s ever present negative capacity is explored as Manuel Castells comments on the “intensification of inequality, poverty and social exclusion” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.465).

Globalisation Spreads American Cultural Ideals

So the remaining question is this: does globalisation “unite diverse communities and foster progress” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2008, p.461) or is it merely promoting a system of standardisation and cultural imperialism?
You decide.

O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation’ Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471.
Image Courtesy of


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