Global Media and Cultural Diversity
Changes in cultures are caused by the influence of external and internal causes being related to the processes of globalization, and have a variety of sources. Their results are more or less clearly seen in the cultures of different countries. Committing changes that can act as only a particular case or may serve as starting point for the formation of independent trends is a highly complex system-analytical process.
A number of publications of recent years identify many authors’ shared ideas about the nonlinearity of the process of globalization – “an ‘information superhighway’ suggests an orderly road map, whereas the impact of the new technologies often feels chaotic and disruptive” (Steger, 2009). Those also talk about the complementarity of the trends of globalization and localization and increasing the capacity of self-organizational culture in terms of increased economic and geopolitical integration, allowing support to cultural diversity in the world. Moreover, if only five or ten years ago the works of various authors had negative attitude toward the seal of social and cultural relations, actively discussing the implications of globalization, then now the time of an objective assessment of the situation has come. One should try to comprehend the theoretical level of the processes and to understand the complex trends that permeate the world cultural space. These include a phenomenon of transnationalization in culture, which has become a problem. Most aspects of this problem to a large extent are linked to the principles of coordination of communication flows.
Transnationalization of culture itself can be regarded as a form of expansion of information and communication space of each culture through the creation of media spaces and virtual cultural environment, including different types of audio-visual communication until interactivity (Hafez, 2007). Thus, transnationalization is one of the basic characteristics of cultural globalization as a process of integration of individual national cultures into a single world culture through the development of information technology and communication technology, i.e. global media.
Affecting the traditional lifestyle, way of thinking, the process of globalization is the emergence of new forms of culture and ways of life, erasing the boundaries between ‘our’ and ‘their’. Relatively recently transnationalization was accepted as a phenomenon of the modern world economy and was associated with the trends of internationalization of economic life, production and technology, which combine elements of major international education production and commercial structures of different countries, and promote the establishment of joint and multinational companies. At the moment it becomes a cultural and civilizational phenomenon, covering the sphere of science, education, culture and art. Here one clarification is crucial- transnationalization of culture is not seen as a space-time process that will lead to the formation of a single world culture and complete disappearance of all national cultures. Domestic value- semantic transformation in cultures that have occurred over the past three decades , as well as external changes, which are associated with changes in the processes of cultural interaction, make obvious qualitative change in the principles of creating, recording, and dissemination of culture and cultural experience. It is also obvious, that the process of transnationalization in culture is accompanied by the development of infrastructure and expansion of communication institutions, providing dynamics and density of cultural flows in the modern world. This allows not only to talk about self-awareness and communicative space, but also to re-evaluate the value of cultural and information policy pursued by the government of liberal democratic nation-states.
Global media’s influence on different cultures is a complicated and controversial process. It can, on the one hand, be considered as an opportunity to create the free movement of people across the planet, not only labor migration. This process also lets the carriers of different cultural values contribute to the understanding of the interplay and interdependence of the world, the unity of mankind. On the other hand, a complete national rejection of protectionist measures to protect their cultural traditions and cultural values can cause exacerbating ethno-cultural and religious conflicts. Arising under the global media influence global cultures are often not tied to a particular place and time. They exist outside the specific context and are a mixture of fragmented, incompatible components borrowed from everywhere and nowhere.
Basic contradictions of culture changes are centered on the issues of cultural borrowing, which are associated with the development of new images, symbols, norms and rules of behavior, new forms of activity that would significantly change the lifestyle of people (Ryou, 2009). Moreover, experience shows that almost in all societies there are individuals and even certain social groups, which take an innovative layer of culture as their own (including the cases of its complete incompatibility with traditional basic fundamentals of local culture). The exceptions are, perhaps, those with established rigid totalitarian regime – “the Chinese effort to censor the Internet is a feat of technology, legislation and manpower” (Giddens, 2009). This, however, does not exclude the following well-established semantic concepts, norms and values previously established in society.
Cultural borrowings, as the most common source of change, have indirect communication corridor where global media is a mediator of communicative interaction act of different cultures. The forms of influence and principles of interaction in this case satisfy different logic, allowing the nonlinear interaction of different communication systems.
Self-referential communication systems are mechanisms to ensure the irreversibility of the development of cultural systems, new ways of their existence and preservation. No matter which way communication is provided, borrowing processes suggest achieving the effect of resonance in the cultures, and sometimes even have the benefit of overt or covert creating advantages over other nations or meeting the domestic needs of this ethnic group at a certain stage of development. People go off each communicative situation with a stock of cultural capital, social memory and emotional energy, which in the case of extinction require new makeup, involving contacts with other cultures.
Information flows become the most powerful tools to influence human. Therefore, the countries not only refuse to control the knowledge and means of communication in a globalizing world, but, on the contrary, have to put the community into conditions where it solves the problems of education, information technology including media and technology and freedom of expression (Kellner & Pierce, 2008). Greater influence on the audience encourages competition in the Internet space and media space. In this situation, culture and television appear not only the right but also are responsible for media picture of reality. Responsibilities of the state for the development and support of own media channels, its performing an integrative function, increase. The point of view, according to which harmonization of mutual rights and obligations of national governments and the global media can only happen on the principles of responsibility, appears convincing. The key of success of this process is finding compromise solutions, the formation of appropriate discourse in order to preserve their identity in a globalized world.
Of course, the development of information and communication technologies not only causes significant changes in the processes of social communication, but also transforms social institutions. This allows researchers to talk about the destruction of identity; consider identity as overlapping in global, regional, national and local aspects. So, the world approved the new reality: the virtual space serves as one of the most effective means of creating meaning and identity, and culture is a source of power. It is the basis of a new social hierarchy of the information age, as an opportunity to prescribe behavior is contained in the information exchange networks, in social actors’ actions, in institutions and cultural movements. Thus, considering the consequences of the transnationalization of culture, it is necessary to revert to the control mechanisms such as information and cultural policy. If those are held by nation-state, then, as a rule, they rely not only on their own cultural traditions, but are also linked to the values and concerns of the modern world – “state policy affects how many migrants move and what happens to them after they arrive” (Lechner, 2009). Otherwise, the prospects for the successful functioning of the country at the present stage of globalization significantly narrowed if the state does not work to achieve proportionality of cultural practices to new media phenomena.
Recently the media has a trend of transnational measurements of social and cultural reality as an indicator of the level of civilization. These are largely obscuring problems of unique cultural semantic space and the existential world of man, shifting them to the background. This situation cannot but cause a certain anxiety. Therefore, transformation of the system of information and communication relationships in the world applies to all countries without exception, the developed and developing. Education of global cultural space, dynamic and freely transformed, indicates that interconnectedness of the world is manifested in a variety of scales. The modern man, existing in a pluralistic culture, has formed certain socio-cultural stereotypes, because everyone gets roughly the same set of information via television, the Internet and other means of mass communication.
In the vast media empire players are concerned with the negative image of the global culture industry as an industry of entertainment and of biased media. The search for new forms and channels distributing other values, thanks to which the myth of a huge variety of individual choice and individual expression in a globalizing world would be supported, is evidenced by the fact that ethno-national cultures, transforming and, at first glance, successfully diversify the cultural flows begin actively develop through infrastructure network industry. However, it is unlikely to keep ethnic culture if one moves in this direction while false folk samples constitute the foundation for this type of culture. Original ethnic culture needs to preserve its native place and, of course, in the media as well, creating and transmitting it in the process of socialization of new members of the ethnic group that should not comprehend it only through a system of information technology intermediaries that often ugly transform ethno culture samples to souvenir. Same ethnic culture lives under the laws of self-reproduction on its own valuable basis. Does this mean that such ethno group has a museum status and should be played exclusively in the own image without taking into account the socio-cultural context? Is this possible in a modern information-communication space? In order to provide an objective assessment of the situation it is necessary to identify emerging problems in this regard, using the mechanisms of cultural policy. UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity encourages that, seeing the preserving of ethnic cultures as one of the important conditions for the humanity survival. The idea of cultural identity is evidence of a failure of the active expansion of alien values, image and style of life inviting all countries to dialogue (Wolcher, 2012).
Researchers identify many types of manifestations of identity in the modern world. This is identity in terms of openness, which is associated with the removal of rigid boundaries when communicating leading to mitigating the logic of mutually exclusive and to creating conditions for the coexistence of different ethnic groups and cultures in a globalizing world. Ethnic culture carriers of this type are open towards contacts with other cultures, thereby creating an atmosphere of a dialogue. Other objectives are pursued by carriers of identity as a form of closure: the protection of its natural and cultural space, the opposition of their values to other, which are distributed through various channels. As the most promising identity, looking to the future, - project identity is seen, creating the basis for the formation of civil society and the policy of cultural pluralism.
Information and communication systems play an important role in preserving ethnic cultures whose representatives for various reasons live outside the territory of their ethnic homeland. Representation of ethnic culture met the needs of many diasporas, development of intercultural interaction. In a globalized world, where migration has an unprecedented scale, the transfer outside of the spiritual heritage of the natural environment of its generation has become an urgent and complex issue. To some extent, the need for language as an important means of identification is compensated through printed materials, television and video, electronic media. The functioning of ethnic culture in the global information space helps avoiding confusion and complete assimilation with other cultures. The expansion of the information flows that represent the culture in cyberspace network such as programs and projects, new information technologies, electronic publications, books and archives, supporting the creation of special sites on the Internet, incorporating problems of building cultural networks specialized in cultural policy objectives are very important. Development of information and communication space is seen as an additional channel for the preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage as a strategic objective of cultural policy of different communities. After all, thanks largely to the Internet, computer channels, audiovisual recording and playback technology symbolic information was included on the contemporary cultural context of language, rituals, traditions, ethnic cultures, which are dying under the onslaught of civilization.
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