Being a student abroad I have most certainly encountered globalization. With the improved means of travel and communication in our world, heading across the world or talking to someone across the world has become something that is extremely achievable. The interaction between all of the people around the world is what creates a global society. The increasing accessibility to all parts of the world further accelerates globalization.
As Kevin Robins described in “Encountering Globalization,” “globalization is about growing mobility across frontiers.” I think the effect of globalization can be seen most easily by strolling all major cities. I can all but guarantee that you will encounter at least one McDonalds sign, stores that sell Coca Cola, or perhaps even a Dunkin Donuts (I’ve seen about three so far in just Barcelona). Huge corporations are now seen all over the world in every major place. And its not just the food business, it’s financial corporations, clothing stores, and the music industry. The music was probably one of the most surprising things to me when I got to Spain. I came in with the idea of everyone playing Spanish music all the time, or at least lots of traditional music. The complete opposite of that is true. An overwhelming majority of clubs, taxi drivers and stores are almost always playing American music. All of that is really interesting to me because it shows how much globalization has occurred over the past decades. Although at the same time, I almost wish it wasn’t like that because I love learning about each countries culture. When everyone all over Europe listens to the music from America now, it becomes much harder to search for the more traditional music. I can definitely see that with globalization comes homogeneity; each country is obviously very different from one another, but I can’t help but notice that they are indeed similar in many ways now due the spread of large corporations. Part of this spread can be due to tourism. With the masses of people, these businesses see opportunity to make more money and thus expand more and more. They focus on the money and only the money; they don’t take into consideration the effect on the local culture (granted many tourists do not either). But the transformation of cultures due to globalization is an interesting topic to explore nonetheless.
“Cultures are transformed by the incorporations they make from other cultures in the world” (Robins, 243). Take for example Luka, the main character in The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy. Previously the market for clothing in Africa came from Africa itself. Individuals would make clothes locally and sell them locally. Since that time, western culture has imposed itself on Africa. As it said in the documentary, the largest export product from the United States to Africa is used clothing. It’s now a multibillion-dollar business. Those who had previously made clothing themselves cannot compete with the market. And now many Africans are in the market of selling used clothing – a change from years ago. The western culture imposed on Africa and transformed African culture – it’s now about getting secondhand everything, like a dumping ground.
Our definition of a global community was a big rough around the edges and didn’t necessarily encompass every aspect of the concept. I think that can be attributed to the fact that none of us had ever lived abroad or participated in the global community in our lives. Now that we’ve all been here for a few months, it’d be interesting for us to collaborate and create a new definition. In my opinion, I believe that we need to add something about individuals needing to interact with each other and learn about each other cultures as well as how these interactions change our cultures. I also think a phrase speaking to the inequality around the world and the necessary approach that needs to be taken towards human rights.
The picture that I chose is a picture of the whole world, yet it is depicted in a manner that speaks to globalization. There is a single road, railroad system and pathway of water wrapped around the diameter of it. The various famous landmarks, such as Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty can be seen as well. I think this picture explains perfectly the interactions of globalization and travel. It essentially depicts the simplicity and ease at which we can travel the world, Robins “growing mobility across frontiers.”