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What’s wrong with globalization?. Colin Sparks Communication and Media Research Institute. Introduction. Discuss some problems with globalization theories Construct the globalization paradigm from the main theories 10 points underlying the different theories

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What s wrong with globalization l.jpg

What’s wrong with globalization?

Colin Sparks

Communication and Media Research Institute


Introduction l.jpg

Introduction

  • Discuss some problems with globalization theories

  • Construct the globalization paradigm from the main theories

    • 10 points underlying the different theories

  • Discuss whether they account for the evidence

    • What do current theories miss out?

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The realities of globalization

  • There is little point in denying the realities of globalization in the face of massive evidence

  • The term is used by politicians, businessmen, journalists and everyone else

  • Also used by scholars, and we should be precise about what we mean by a term

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Many theories

  • Many leading theorists have analyzed globalization in contradictory ways

    • E.g. some say it is generalised modernity, some say it is post-modernity, some say it is something else entirely

  • Most theorists operate at a very abstract level and do not produce much evidence

  • Need to construct the globalization paradigm from the work of leading theorists

  • Need to see whether the evidence supports or contradicts the theory

  • Need to distinguish between “strong” theories of globalization, that mean something new and “weak” theories that are simply versions of the imperialism paradigm in new language

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1 - A new kind of theory

  • Globalization is a radically different from preceding theories

    • It is “strikingly new” (Appadurai 1996)

  • The sociological laws operating in the the period of globalization are different from earlier periods

    • Different from capitalism and imperialism

    • Different from high modernity

    • Different from industrial society

  • The act together to make understanding the dynamics of the new society different

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2 - Methodological innovation

  • Sharp contrast with Marxist theories (e.g. imperialism)

    • Marxism “reductivist”

    • Globalization theory recognises irreducible complexity “the complexity of the current global economy has to do with certain disjunctures between economy, politics and society” (Appadurai 1996)

  • Globalization characterised by “various autonomous logics” (Beck 2002), for example in culture

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3- Theory and practice

  • Earlier theories we have examined demonstrated a close link between theory and practice

    • Dominant paradigm and “policy science”

    • Participatory paradigm and social movements

    • Imperialism paradigm and NWICO

  • Globalization has no such link

    • There are no privileged actors in this paradigm

    • Development no longer an issue

    • Perhaps entrepreneurs are the real agents?

  • No practical tests of the theory

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4 - Media and communication

  • New technologies permit media to operate with a wider scope

  • Greater importance of symbolic commodities in global economy

  • Symbolic commodities less bound by place than are physical ones

    • “It follows that the globalization of human society is contingent on the extent to which cultural arrangements are effective relative to economic and political arrangements” (Waters 1995)

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5 – Growth of supra-national organisations

  • “Westphalian” state being weakened from “above”

  • Increased importance of supra-national organisations

    • United Nations, WTO, European Union

  • States no longer able to control media circulating within their borders

  • Development of global media organisations

  • Developments towards a global culture

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6 - The rise of the local

  • States are being undermined from “below” by local pressures

    • Failure to achieve a unified national culture

  • Movements for autonomy and independence

    • Many notable European examples

  • Two sense of the “local”

    • The “small” place

    • The “new” localities

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7 - The absence of a centre

  • There is no single controlling force in the global world

  • Globalization is not the result of the domination of one culture over others

    • “the United States is no longer the puppeteer of a world system of images.” (Appadurai 1996)

  • Existence of many centres of symbolic production

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8 - Multiple production centres

  • Audiences almost invariably prefer “local” productions

    • US, however, still the second choice provider

  • Many other centres than Hollywood, for example TV Globo and Televisa

    • Develop unique forms

    • Win export successes

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9 - Regional markets

  • There is not one single uniform world market for media products

  • Regional markets have developed,

    • South America

    • East Asia

    • Audiences increasing identify themselves with cultural proximates

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10 - Global media products

  • To the extent that some media products do circulate globally, they can originate anywhere

    • Production is now mobile

    • Personnel are now mobile

  • Global media products are not purely US products marketed on a global scale

    • Disney

    • CNN

  • The emergence of “hybrid” cultural forms

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Conclusion: a new paradigm

  • No single author really fits all of these 10 elements

    • Perhaps Appadurai comes closest

  • The elements frame a paradigm within which discussion of the media and globalization take place

  • They are open to development into testable proposition

  • What is the evidence?

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1 - A new epoch in human history?

  • Not something we can answer in advance

  • Only when we have seen whether the component elements of theory are valid can we judge how they combine

    • If a significant number of them are invalid, then the claim is invalid

  • On the other hand, many of the features that are claimed as new were observed long ago

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2 - A new complexity

  • The claim that there are “autonomous logics” can be operationalised as:

    • Is culture becoming more independent of economics?

  • Discussion of international communication issues has moved from Unesco to WTO

  • No sign if weakening of organisations like the MPAA

  • Broadcasting in many places more dependent on economics today than in the past

    • BBC, Doordarshan, CCTV

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3 - Theory and practice

  • Different practical and political conclusions have been drawn from the paradigm

    • Acceptance of globalization

    • Attempts to restate the Social-Democratic perspective

    • Outright rejection of globalization

    • Attempts to reshape globalization to benefit the world’s poor

  • None of these flow logically from the paradigm

    • They are all more or less “personal” opinions about society

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4 - The scale of symbolic content

  • What is the relative size of media corporations and how far are their products relatively global?

  • Media corporations are large but not significantly larger than the “Fordist” industries

  • Even in a very open economy and post-industrial economy like the UK:

    • It exported finished manufactured goods (e.g. cars, aircraft petrochemicals and so on) to the value of £101,252m in 2004

    • It exported services (e.g. royalties, financial services, licenses and so on) to the value of £99,100m

    • Of these services, the royalties and licences earnings of the film and television industry amounted to £6,564m

  • Symbolic products are not more global than material products

    • Cars and television programmes

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5 - Withering away of the state?

  • Are states (any states) still viable entities?

  • Max Weber on the monopoly of violence

  • Military spending dipped at the end of the cold war, but is now rising again

    • USA accounts for 40 per centUSA, Japan, UK, France and China together account for more than 60 per cent

  • The internal coercive power of the state is not withering away

    • In 2002, the US government jailed more than 2 million of its citizens

    • More than 4 times as many as in 1980

    • Border controls have become much tougher since 9/11

  • In the media, the state remains to control of television operations

    • ITC and Ofcom have banned porn channels and Med TV

    • Al Jazeera is a state financed and owned operation

    • China controls access for satellite channels

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6 - Is the local a problem

  • Are local media a new development?

  • There have long be geographically local media

    • Newspaper operations in most countries were and remain local

    • Chain ownership is usually national rather than global

  • Broadcasting tends toward the national at the expense of the local if left to itself

  • The “new localities” and their media based on ethnicity are not recent phenomena

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7 - A world without a centre

  • Surely this is quite incredible given the preponderance of the USA?

  • Military strength and relative economic weakness

  • “Global” media companies are in fact overwhelmingly US companies from an economic point of view

  • The USA has challengers, but is still by far the most important

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8 - Multiple production centres

  • There are multiple production centres

  • In the cinema they are much less significant than Hollywood

    • In 2002, accounted for more than 70% of film investment

    • In major markets, Hollywood films account for the majority of box office takings

  • Other media have different dynamics

    • In TV production, some national centres remain important

    • In music, many national centres exist

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9 – Regional media markets

  • What is the relative proportion of traded media products from different sources?

  • Some evidence of regional specificity

    • Korean wave in East Asia

  • On the other hand, Europe dominated by US imports

  • Regional markets still subordinate to global market

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10 - Global media products?

  • How far can we claim that global products can originate “anywhere”?

  • The case of Winnie-the-Pooh

  • In order to become global, media products must first be adapted to suit the needs of consumers in the large and wealthy markets

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In summary

  • 1 - The claim that there are new autonomous logics in culture is false

  • 2 - The claim that the globalization paradigm does not lead to practice is correct

  • 3 - The claim that media are central to globalization is false, or at best very weakly supported

  • 4 - The claim that the state is becoming weaker is false

  • 5 - The claims that the local is undermining the national is false

  • 6 - The claim that there are multiple production centres is true, but the powerful centres are in the developed world and primarily the USA

  • 7 - There are regional markets in TV production, but intra-regional trade is relatively weak compared with imports from the USA

  • 8 - Global media products do exist, but the exist only insofar as they are adapted to the tastes of consumers in the rich countries

  • 10 - Taken together, there is very little evidence that globalization constitutes a new epoch in human history

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Why does this matter?

  • Too many of the claims currently made by theories of globalization are empirically false for us to accept them

    • A false theory leads to a false understanding of the world

  • Globalization theorists have concentrated on diasporic audiences

    • These experience are important

    • They are very visible in the metropolitan centres

    • In terms of human significance, they are relatively marginal

    • Perhaps 5 million people have come to the UK in the last 20 years, maybe 50 million internationally

    • More than 1,000,000,000 have moved inside states from the country to the city

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