Culture and Globalization
"All that is solid melts into air." This quote by Karl Marx is important in understanding the relationship of modernity, postmodernity, and globalization because the one thing all three terms have in common is that they are ever-changing. The ideas of modernity and postmodernity are always changing along with time, as are the flows of globalization
. I think the three terms are ever-changing because they are affected by the world we live in, which is always changing.
Since the world is always changing, what is considered "modern" will never stay the same. Everyday new ideas
are being thought, knowledge is being created, and new relationships are formed. As long as time keeps changing, the three terms will too. Going back to the quote before, nothing lasts forever.
No one really agrees as to what modernity, postmodernity, and globalization really mean. There are various opinions on each term. The only thing people manage to agree on is that postmodernity is a reaction to modernity and that globalization connects everybody in the world in some way.
In the article, "Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies," it defines modernity with four characteristics. In order for a time period to be considered "modern", it must have a dominance of secular forms of political power and authority, a monetarized exchange economy, a decline of the traditional social order, and a decline of the religious world-view. Each characteristic has to do with a change in what came before it. In order for a society to be considered "modern", it must change completely from the prior society.
The ideas of Modernity can be traced back to the Enlightenment period
. On page 25 in the article, "Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies," it describes the Enlightenment as "the creation of a new framework of ideas about man, society, and nature, which challenged existing conceptions rooted in a traditional world-view, dominated by Christianity." Before that time period, the only thing people were allowed to believe was what the Church told them. During the Enlightenment, people began to think rationally and have their own beliefs. The Enlightenment period began the times of progress we would enjoy to the present time.
In the book, "Cosmopolis," on page 14 it says, "We were taught that this 17th century insistence on the power of rationality, along with the rejection of tradition and superstition reshaped European life and society generally." If people never began to think rationally and still believed in the Church, there would be no such thing as modernity. Imagine what the world would be like if change was never possible. This is why I think we are lucky to live in these times of constant change.
In the book, "Cosmopolis," it discusses the principal elements of the Modern Framework. The Modern Framework is divided into two groups, Nature and Humanity. The Nature element of the Modern Framework deals with the natural processes that involve matter and material. The Humanity element of the Modern Framework deals with human actions and experiences that are the result of reasoning.
The two principal elements are binary opposites of each other. On page 108 it says, "Thus the contrast between reasons and causes turned into an outright divorce, and other dichotomies- mental vs. material, actions vs. phenomena, performances vs.
happenings, thoughts vs. objects, voluntary vs. mechanical, active vs. passive, creative vs. repetitive." The main difference is that the Humanity element is what is inside us and we use it everyday in Nature, which is the setting for our actions.
On page 11 in the article, "Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies," it says, "Modernity is really one thing, towards which every society is inevitably moving, though at different rates of development." This basically means that every society is changing, but some are progressing better than others are. This brings up the topic of the West vs. the rest of the world. Many people think that the West is so dominant over the rest of the world that the West controls how fast other nations develop. I disagree with that statement.
I believe that we affect the other nations around the world just as much as they affect us. In the book, "The Anthropology of Globalization," their definition of globalization is the intensification of global interconnectedness, suggesting a world full of movement and mixture, contact and linkages, and persistent cultural interaction and exchange.
This means that we are all connected to each other in this world by many different means, so we affect each other when something happens in our nations. Since we are all able to affect each other, not one nation can be considered dominant over the others.
The belief in cultural imperialism is that one day the whole world will be one culture, that of the West. In order for this to happen, there must be a de/territorialization of many different cultures around the world. I think that before this is even possible to happen, the cultures of today would first modify to include some of the Western culture. Even if that were to happen, the cultures of the world would never be able to come together to form just one.
The quest for certainty is important in understanding how new ways of thinking, or modernity come about. The quest for certainty is the search for something stable or safe. In times of chaos, people will go on the quest for certainty. For example, when King Henry IV was assassinated and the Thirty Year's War occurred, the Enlightenment began. Most people believe that the Enlightenment was the beginning of modernity.
At that point in time during the Enlightenment, there was so much chaos that people were in a desperate need of change. People began to dwell away from the church to find the answers to their problems in other ways. The answer they found was rational thinking and reasoning. Instead of going to church and praying, people would think to themselves and come up with the answers to their problems.
By nature, people live in a state of anxiety. People often mistake fear with anxiety, but they are actually very different. The difference between fear and anxiety is that with fear you know what you're afraid of, but with anxiety you don't. People go on the quest for certainty so they don't have anxiety over anything. When you are in a safe and stable place, you are very comfortable and you have no worries.
The use of technology is very important in understanding the meaning of globalization. Because of technology we are able to communicate with people from different countries without even being in one another's presence. We are able to achieve this by talking on the phone, typing on the computer, or sending a fax. Technology helps us to shrink the space between us and shorten the amount of time we have to communicate. This is called the "time-space compression."
In the book, "The Anthropology of Globalization," they define "time-space compression" as the manner in which the speeding up of economic and social processes has experientially shrunk the globe, so that distance and time no longer appear to be major constraints on the organization of human activity. For example, if we talk to someone from Ghana on the computer, we save so much time because we don't have to travel the distance to go there and communicate in person. Basically there is no distance between us and anyone else in the world anymore thanks to technology.
There are five different types of cultural flows in terms of globalization. The first cultural flow is capital. For example, money is transferred throughout banks all across the world by different transactions. Another cultural flow is people. This can be seen by people traveling to anywhere in the world.
The third cultural flow in globalization is commodities, which can be seen by any product that was made in China and then sold in the United States. Another cultural flow is images, which can be seen by any type of movie or television show that was made in the United States and then watched anywhere else in the world. Finally, the last cultural flow is ideologies, which is any belief or value shared between two different cultures. These five different cultural flows move in many different directions and help connect the whole world together.
On page 6 in the book, "Cosmopolis," it says, "The end of Modernity is closer to us than the beginning, and may be easier to spot." As time goes on, modernity is closer and closer to the end, and postmodernity is closer and closer to it's beginning. I think the post-modern era will begin when a new way of thinking is formed and all the past ideas are destroyed and forgotten. Just like in the Enlightenment whey they formed a new rational and scientific way of thinking, there will be a new Renaissance and times will change even more.
In the book, "The Consequences of Modernity," it says on page 2, "The condition of post-modernity is distinguished by an evaporating of the "grand narrative"- the overarching "story line" by means of which we are placed in history as beings having a definite past and a predictable future." The belief of the "grand narrative" helped to characterize modernity. Now in the post-modern era, the "grand narrative" no longer exists in today's thought.
According to Jean-Francois Lyotard, the "grand narrative" is the belief that knowledge is something that can not be created. It was believed that there was no such thing as knowledge and it was never gained throughout our lives. If this were true, every society in the world would be equal. As it turns out, some societies are more advanced than others are because their knowledge helped them to think of ideas to make the society better.
A good way to understand the transition from modernity to postmodernity is to look at "creative destruction." In the book, "The Condition of Postmodernity," it says on page 16, "The image of "creative destruction" is very important to understanding modernity precisely because it derived from the practical dilemmas that faced the implementation of the modernist project." This basically says that in order to create something, everything that came before it must be destroyed. In relation to postmodernity, when the modern times pass and the post-modern era is set to begin, all of the ideas and thoughts from the modern times will no longer exist.
The same thing holds true for a society. If a new society is going to thrive, it will have to discard the things that came before it. The new society must create new ideas, beliefs, and values in order to prosper. As time goes on, the society will have to modify its ideas and values to keep up with the world's changes. One day though, the post-modern era that was created will also be destroyed.
One thing that will never stay the same is our "horizons of expectations." As times change, so do our goals and the limits to which we will reach for them. I think that in this day and age our technology will only get better and better, so our goals will be set higher and higher. I also think that there will come a time when we can't get anymore higher and our goals and limits will become lower and lower. The important thing is that we welcome the changes and that we react well to them.
In the article, "Modernity: An Introduction to Modern Societies," it says on page 17, "Essential to the idea of modernity is the belief that everything is destined to be speeded up, dissolved, displaced, transformed, reshaped." Change is destined to occur in anything, especially in the ideas of modernity, postmodernity, and globalization. Sometimes when things are going slow and a change is in need, catalysts are put into the picture to speed things up. When things are going really bad in a situation, everything will be changed in order to start over. These types of changes can occur in anything, especially in modernity, postmodernity, and globalization.
There are many different causes of change. Change can be an accident, an unexpected outcome of an event, or an attempt to solve a problem. One thing is for sure and that is change is inevitable. As time goes on, the ideas of modernity and postmodernity will change. The cultural flows and the intensification of globalization will also change with time. These three terms will continue to change until all civilizations have passed.