The international integration resulting from the exchange of cultures, views, ideas and products is the easiest way to define globalisation. People have interacted over large geographical spaces for thousands of years, with the Silk Road trade route that connected Europe, Africa and Asia being a prime example and with transatlantic sea travel reaching further distances, the communication with even further lands began (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008).
This exploration of physical space soon spread religion, language, philosophy, and science and people’s minds broadened and evolved; especially the advances in transport and telecommunications (most prominently – the Internet) which permeate the environment for globalisation to thrive today (Appadurai 1996). There is now greater interdependence, interactivity and interconnectedness.
With globalisation being such an umbrella term, the global cultural flows in which it encompasses can be divided into 5 ‘dimensions’; ethnoscapes, technoscapes, financescapes, mediascapes and ideoscapes.
Appadurai (1996) states that the first three scapes, ethno, techno, and finance, are all closely intertwined and shift relative to each other. Ethnoscape refers to the movement of people and the migration across cultures and borders, presenting the world and its many communities as fluid and mobile instead of static. Technoscapes bring about new ways in which cultural interactions and exchanges through the power of technology can occur. Technology is very close tied with the economy and commodities which is constantly in flux and, despite our best efforts to manipulate, is wildly unpredictable (financescapes). The other two scapes, media and ideo, deal with the national and international creation and dissemination of information and images. Mediascapes can be understood as the many media outlets (e.g. television, radio, newspaper) where narratives and images are often the only way one forms an opinion about a place or culture. Ideoscapes centres on the connotations of such imagery and the ideologies of a government and those that oppose it and is highly dependent on the context of the spectator.
Through globalisation and the intertwining of the scapes, multidirectional media flows have been allowed and have greatly enhanced external influences infiltrating internal settings. This is especially evident in American popular culture and Hollywood through the influence of Asian media such as Japanese anime and Indian and Bollywood films.
Appadurai, A (1996) ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 27-47
O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation’ Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471