By Eleni Papageorgiou,
Globalization is a widely used term which refers to the process of free movement of people and goods across borders. It was introduced in the 18th century due to advances in transportation and communication technology. Since then, there has been a great exchange of social and cultural facts among people and nations throughout the world. Globalization has seen a rapid expansion in the early 20th century and in 2000 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade, investments, migration and dissemination of knowledge.
Lately, we are witnessing global changes, like the warming of our planet, air pollution, water shortage, over-fishing etc., which all are associated with our natural environment. Concerns about the future of our planet and our national heritage have led sensitized people to get together and act globally in order to save Earth and pass it to our descendants.
Cultural globalization has occurred since migration spread and people quite frequently are forced to leave their own country and work or live abroad. In order to adjust to the culture of the host country, citizens have to be open-minded and respect every single aspect of life in their new home. Political globalization refers to international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social movement organizations, humanitarian aid, philanthropy, help to impoverished countries etc.
There are many more dimensions of globalization but I think anyone can understand the basic characteristics of the word “globalization”. What we probably are not very familiar with is the term “glocalization”. It is a relatively new term introduced in Japan in the 1980s and refers to the strategies for global marketing. It derived from two separate words: globalization and localization. It was first used to explain the strategy of companies which provide services and products on the global market. These companies should take great care of the local target audiences and their peculiarities.
Although glocalization started as a marketing term, it soon expanded and today there are plenty of areas that it can be applied to.
Education: Modern technology has made it easy for educators worldwide to search for material and techniques used by their colleagues. Since most of this material can be freely shared, educators can pick the right stuff for their target audience and adjust it to their needs. Not all educational stuff is applicable to a local school, thus teachers have to choose the most suitable for their own students’ needs. They search globally but act locally.
Media: Nowadays, through free access to media, people can be informed about current affairs, art trends, political issues, events etc. Once again, not all news and broadcasts are suitable for certain audiences. State-run channels, as well as private ones, should take a good look at what will be broadcasted because certain types of programmes won’t be welcomed by some people. In strict cultures, for example, nudeness or bad language are offensive and must be rejected in order to avoid upheavals and cracks at society’s structures.
The same rule applies to lifestyle. We might be able to view and track foreign lifestyles but locality sometimes is more important and certain norms can’t be trespassed. For example, families and businesses are strictly hierarchical in India, while in Europe and most parts of America there is much more freedom and responsibility given from above in order to perform better.
Openness is also a characteristic feature of western societies while this value is having negative connotations in Eastern cultures. People across developed nations are very open, sometimes resulting in being blunt or offensive. In China, on the other hand, people are very polite but won’t share their views so easily. This diversity across cultures is what makes this planet so special.
To act locally by thinking globally simply means to share any kind of development but at the same time adjust it to fit the locale. In order for our planet to remain sustainable, we should all be part of this process. Unity in diversity is the key phrase for a planet that shares advancements, knowledge, products but simultaneously reserves crucial characteristics of its topography.
The “culture” of being responsible is our future bet.
- BioCoin, Think Globally, Act Locally, Medium.com, Available here
- Investopedia, Glocalization, Available here
- Messer, H., What are the cultural differences between India and Europe?, Bridge Global, Available here