Culture and Global Cultural Economy Essay

Submitted By RodrigoOberlander
Words: 861
Pages: 4

Appadurai states that the new global cultural economy is too complex to be understood by simpler models such as center-periphery or surplus-deficit models. A brief analysis of the complexity of its different aspects as Appadurai observed will make this clear. In order to back this argument up, I will first detail the difference between cultural heterogenization and homogenization, and how that shows current models are not fitting to describe the new global economy. Secondly, I will then verify Appadurai’s claim by analyzing what he says about each aspect or scapes as he refers to them as (33)
The most discussed issue regarding the global cultural economy are the two extremes of cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Cultural homogenization is when the world’s culture blends together until the cultures that mixed are the same, an example of a homogenization theory is Americanization. Cultural heterogenization, on the other hand, is when different countries or regions have already shared their cultures, but use that to enhance their own local culture, resulting in a multicultural world or area. Appadurai states that “[a]t least as rapidly as forces from various metropolises are brought into new society, they tend to become indigenized in some way or another” which raises the question on why does that result not match the models we work with (33). As mentioned earlier, the so-called scapes mentioned in Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy serve as solid indicators that the economy is too complex for simple models.
Appadurai states that there are 5 scapes: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes and ideoscapes. Ethnoscape deals with the movement of people through cultures (tourists, immigrants, etc), and nowadays due to travel technology this is done at a much larger scale and at a faster pace. Appadurai provides the reader examples of Indian villagers dreaming of moving to Houston instead of a local Indian town (34). This is due to globalization, as it has given the villager in question the opportunity to at the very least be more aware the outside world and fuel their imaginations through culture that is exported from Houston or anywhere else. Mediascape relates to both the technology linked to media (such as TVs, recording studio, newspaper, etc.) and the media itself. It can’t be said that there haven’t been worldwide advances in media forms, with movies and series available to stream online and e-book readers facilitating access to novels and periodicals. Additionally, the sharing of media culture is even more widespread as not only American movies but the occasional Asian or European movies have some time in the global spotlight. Technoscape deals with technology across the world, and the speed at which technology travels nowadays is constantly increasing. A phone nowadays could have its parts manufactured in China, be assembled in Vietnam and sold in the UK, and one country’s innovation in a certain field will spread across the globe in a matter of seconds. Something very closely linked to technoscapes are financescapes, which relate to the exchange of capital around the world, and likewise these transfers are being done as fast as can be accomplished in some cases. For instance, the stock market at Wall Street operates at such a pace that companies rent buildings near the Wall Street servers in order to maximize the data transfer