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Flow Monster – The Impacts of Globalisation

Globalisation is the driving force of the future.  When we think of the world today, it is easy to see the impact that globalisation has had on our way of life.  Communication, trade, technology, economics, brands and growth are all ramifications of this global change, but so is outsourcing, monopolies, terrorism and exploitation, among other things.

Globalisation is evident in our cultures as they evolve – the modern world is changing so fast that nothing is fixed and flow is inevitable.  There are five main dimensions that demonstrate this flow:

1. Ethnoscapes encapsulate the shifting landscape of people.  Think of the increase in tourism and travellers, but also of the rising levels of immigrants, refugees and exiles.  This affects the politics of and between our nations and is closely linked to national and cultural identities.

2. Technoscapes are simple enough – they are the global configuration of technologies, both mechanical (low) and informational (high).  Ever since the telegraph made it possible for messages to be transmitted across long distances in minutes, technology has evolved in leaps and bounds, making the boundaries of the past irrelevant.  It is just as easy to have a conversation with a person in China or Switzerland as it is to talk to your family.

3. Financescapes, as the name suggests, deals with the flow of capital across the globe.  Capital includes currency, stock and commodities and when it is combined with politics and labour, it becomes the strongest driving force for technologies to move around the world.

These three ‘scapes’ are closely intertwined and flow in and around one another – it is almost impossible for one to change without impacting on the others.  Together they have changed the face of globalisation and created a force known as “Westernisation” – the influence of America on the rest of the world.

4. Mediascapes focus on the landscape of images, in particular those which come to us through the media.  For many of us, it is through this ‘scape’ that we gain our knowledge of other cultures, and it is where information can be warped into stereotypes such as those seen in movies and television.

5. Ideoscapes is how culture is viewed through our ideologies, and the ideologies of our government or our country.  This ‘scape’ is closely related to mediascapes, in that how we interpret the cultures of the world is affected by their portrayal in the media.

It’s the realisation of Marshall McLuhan’s global village, and raises the question of whether globalisation will lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism. (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008, p. 458)

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