Cultural diversity

In terms of cultural diversity, and the individuals role in a culture, these global forces are reshuffling previously static cultures and are assimilating ‘the similar’ and distancing ‘the different’. This means that the existence of the ‘global village’ while allowing for greater exposure to varying cultural philosophies, cannot avoid the commonly held belief that if you are not with me, you are against me; if you are not right like me, then you must be wrong.

This polar view on the world, which logically should be crumbling due to an acceptance of the ‘global village’, still permeates the majority’s thinking. This can only be attributed to the belief that Castells proposes: that the lack of cultural understanding and celebration is due to the ‘defensive reaction’ to the assimilation of thought in the ‘global village’.

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As the market seeks to create one consumer culture by making commodities attractive to all cultural sects through various marketing means, cultures resist this change by polarising sentiment either for or against various beliefs and ethoses. This creates, for example, religious fundamentalism, (Castells, 1997) and this is in direct opposition to the idea of celebrating cultural diversity and perhaps is the way in which we can identify a subconscious recognition of the illusion of freedom.

This process of globalisation, of the creation of global forces, which permeate cultures regardless of their differences, does allow us apparent freedom to use our powers of agency to determine identities, both personal and social. We do this through the use of symbols as we identify similarity and difference in those around us (Jenkins, 1996). This freedom, as previously stated, is merely an illusion, as the individual has no freedom to choose from outside of these global forces.

The number of options available to chose from have never been this great, yet the control of the appearance or these choices, and the practise of turning these symbols into commodities for purchase, simply places the greater control of our identities into the hands of the capitalist market. Thus the illusion that we hold the power, while our agency is indeed limited to the options the ‘global village’ would have us to choose from. In the content of this essay, the true nature of the ‘global village’ has been engaged with.

The illusion it has created for the individual to feel in control of the construction of an identity has been identified in terms of the capitalist market and the consumer culture it has produced. Explanations have been offered as to the existence of this illusion and the effectiveness of global forces in controlling it. The connection between this individual and cultural freedom and diversity has also been examined in terms of this illusion. The suggestion then exists for the ‘global village’: man is born in chains, yet everywhere he believes himself to be free.


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