Globalization is a term used to describe a series of interconnectedness of regions of the world in terms of transportation and communication. As Pooch (2016) points out, it is a term coined by an economist Levitt in 1983. It has been used in various capacities to describe levels at which political boundaries have become fluid because of various networks that exist in the global world. Pooch, (2016) further notes that various speculation suggests that globalization emerged from modernization. Others believe it emerged way earlier than that, at around 1500, the period of discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
The is a unified conception that globalization has created a borderless world, and therefore every individual is an actor in the globalization phenomena. However, it is essential to note that the impact of globalization is not uniformly distributed worldwide. Otherworld regions experience the impact to a greater degree while others do not. For example, in the context of its origin, Western countries are believed to experience a more significant impact of globalization than third-world countries.
As a function of globalization, global cities are defined as a networked economy that facilitates the transfer of information, capital, and goods between various cities. Global cities have various nods that link one city with the other with the aid of nods that provides linkages in various aspects like politics and culture. With its capacity, a global city is made up of diverse in terms of its inhabitants. This diversity creates small subcultures depending on the dominant group that resides in a space in the city. These groups may include people sharing a common ethnicity, social class, or national origin with immigrants. Therefore, these groups influence various social interactions and cultures within the vicinity of the space.
Challenges of Globalization
Globalization as a series of dynamics brings all the sectors of the world into one system to that every person belongs. The idea of interconnectedness goes hand in hand with the absorption of minority segments by the dominant ones. It creates an impression that people in a globalized world subscribe to a particular trend that is considered superior. However, globalization comes with various challenges that inform future theoretical frameworks in understanding urban cities. The challenges are explored below.
One of the significant challenges of globalization is the erosion of culture. Culture is a sociological phenomenon that describes people’s way of life in a given location. These cultures ought to be preserved by those who subscribe to them. However, as Ulla& Ming Yit (2021) note, globalization has become an intrusive tool propagated by Western countries to eliminate other cultures and establish the Western culture. As Pooch (2016) notes, this cultural erosion comes in the form of the media content and lifestyles that portray the western culture as superior. Westernization leads to indirect coercion by appealing to people’s imaginations globally that a particular way of life or trend is the best and should be adopted.
Pooch (2016) further notes that technology has been a tool used by the western world to transport its culture. The cultural values rooted in America can be transmitted across the globe. Pooch, (2016) points out a scenario whereby a global city like Los Angeles packages specific cultural ideas and is transported to the global platform and unveiled to the unaware parties. These notions and cultural aspects that are predominantly American completely radicalize the people’s minds in the global village, and their perception of their own culture completely changes.
The ‘American Dream’ is a popular term coined in the global world. It portrays certain lifestyles and mannerisms associated with the American idea of actualized lives and is propagated by global cities like New York and Las Vegas. Global impresses an idea that somehow adopting such values and oriented cultures makes an individual abandon their cultures to pursue the American Dream. This imaginary dream affects individuals in how they view their present environment. The immigration aspect of the people in Central America tells how the idea of super-American culture propagation has affected and completely changed the perception of individuals towards their own countries. Taylor (2013), in his pictorial documentation of immigrants who crosses the border to the United States of America, shows how desperate people in the global village want to pursue American life. It impresses the idea that somehow this life is perfect and can completely change their lives.
This pursuit of an imaginary perfect has exposed illegal immigrants to the US borders in many dangerous situations, as Taylor (2013) portrays. Some individuals have lost their lives, some have been seriously injured in the freight transport trains, women have been raped, and some have been jailed for lack of legal documentation, among other dangerous encounters. One is left to wonder how perfect is a culture that an individual is willing to risk all that in pursuit of it? The answer is how those people have been made to view the culture in question.
The practice of colonizing the minds of the subject global people is a negative aspect of culture. Homogeneity is the objective of most global cities. A dominant group is at the center of the need to have a set of universal values applicable to all. As Pooch (2016) argues, this dominance may be presented in ways that do not indicate giving up one’s culture to be assimilated into a westernized culture. In the long run, elements of the minority culture diminish gradually. Having many global cities impose their own cultures on the global village creates a series of chaos, affecting those who pursue them.
The cultural aspects are conceived and understood in the platform of the global cities. Global cities reveal how culture is conceived, packaged, and transmitted to different networks in a series of nods. As indicated in the course text, culture is a powerful tool that influences the behavioral functions of the world. It informs perceptions of individuals on how they view the world around them. The works by Pooch (2016) indicate that the series of cultural exchanges result in one culture being assimilated into the dominant one. As indicated in the challenges discussed above, the dominant culture affects the cultural elements and has a significant challenge in the economic and political aspects of a global world.
Global cities have other elements that make it possible to influence the entire globe. As portrayed in the class texts, these cities influence due to their economic determinist muscle. They harbor various international institutions, and industrial production sites, among other aspects. These significant nodes are practical tools, making it easier to diffuse into the global world. They carry along with the ideas of popularity that are presented in cultural hybridization and portray a unified form of culture. But these cultures sometimes create conflicts because of cultural diversity.
Global cities always strive to reach the top apex in matters of influence. To influence the world’s culture is to have accepted a particular way of life. This becomes a cultural threat to existing positive cultures. Culture loses its value when it gets mixed up with other aspects. Therefore, global cities have contributed to a great extent of cultural erosion concerning globalization. The inability to properly bring under control the activities in the global cities has had a significant impact on culture.
Global cities being a cultural nod structure is, a tool that makes the value of the minority cultures deteriorate, and sometimes it gets buried completely.
The cultural networking function that global cities display to the public impacts how they are viewed. Taylor (2013), in the class text, indicates high rates of immigration in pursuit of perfect culture. Immigration in the long run not only leads to related cultural problems and congestion, high crime rates, and environmental degradation. As a broader term, migration also indicates that people in various regions, due to exposure to the global representation of a perfect culture, can readily give up their cultures to start afresh elsewhere. This implies that depicting a perfect culture for innocent people has long-term consequences on their lives.
In conclusion, global cities play a significant role in spreading and integrating a particular culture globally. Global cities attract all forms of diverse cultures. People searching for popular cultures migrate to these big cities depending on the proximity. The entry of people into global cities impacts how they are perceived. For example, in the major global cities in the United States of America, Central American immigrants are viewed as cheap labor, as Pooch 2016 notes. This, therefore, means that globalization does not solve the problem of ethnicity. As much as there is a belief that the world is a global village, it shows that there are those who are the core of this imaginary village, and others are at the periphery. Therefore, cultural influence is more often packaged and transmitted by those at the core, and global cities are the agents of this transmission.
Pooch, M. U. (2016). DiverCity–Global Cities as a Literary Phenomenon: Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles in a Globalizing Age. Transcript Verlag.
Taylor, A. (2013). An Immigrants Journey. The Atlantic.
Ullah, A. A., & Ming Yit Ho, H. (2021). Globalization and cultures in Southeast Asia: Demise, fragmentation, transformation. Global Society, 35(2), 191-206.