The globalization of cultures is the contemporary social phenomenon which points to the embodiment of the individual cultures and communities in a single cultural environment with shared ideas, values, and beliefs. The cultural globalization is the direct consequence of the enhanced wireless communication, access to information, economic and political openness, and consequent transformation of the modern societies. The globalization presupposes the creation of a homogenous space for the cultural development and immersion of different cultural systems into a common context.
The outcomes of this process may be quite unpredictable and controversial, considering its complex nature and dependence on many social aspects and units. In particular, the questions of the national identity, existence of the nation states, concepts of civilization, and cultural inheritance may affect the adoption of the globalized culture, its influence, and the efficiency of its functioning in different communities. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the cultural globalization from the perspective of the nation, state, and civilization, to discuss the threats and opportunities this process presents in regard to the social space, and to outline the peculiarities of globalized environment in Germany as in one of the most prominent multicultural countries.
Correlations between Global Culture and National Identity
The concept of the global culture sounds rather controversial and uncertain, since it largely contradicts the very notion of culture and the ways of its creation and implementation within certain social communities. Particularly, Smith argues that culture is not a temporary or imaginary implication which can be easily imposed or inflicted in a certain community. According to Smith’s point of view, any culture is the result of continuous, long-term historical and social processes, which highly influence the social behavior and the consciousness of a certain territorial community. The culture is a unifying and building unit which helps to unite the social community on the basis of shared values, beliefs, and interests, derived from a common historical source and traditional inheritance. Considering this fact, it is arguable if a culture can acquire the characteristics of the global phenomenon and embrace diverse and non-connected societies.
The second idea which proves the statements of A. Smith is that every culture is time and space limited. It means that it can exist only in a certain area and embrace only a specific target audience. The global spread of cultures and their interconnection is virtually impossible due to these limitations. Smith claims that it is impossible to speak about the global culture, since it will never reflect upon all those historical and traditional processes which have become parts of various national identities. From this point of view, the concept of cultural globalization is rather ambiguous and dubious.
The third argument lies in the fact that cultures do not shape societies — on the contrary, the individual societies or communities are responsible for their cultural ideas and values. This statement points to the historical nature of culture and the continuous process of its implementation. Moreover, the researchers state that societies tend to reject some values and to accept the other ones based on their national and geographical mentality and identity. Respectively, the globalization of culture does not meet the requirements and fails to satisfy the diversities that exist in different societies.
On the other hand, it is impossible to deny the numerous examples of the cultural globalization present in the contemporary societies. This idea partially finds its reflections in the studies of M. Steger (2003), who points to the complex meaning of the culture and its globalization. For example, the global culture comprises many aspects, such as economic, political, religious, environmental, civil, and artistic displays. The globalization of culture does not necessarily result in the multicultural merging of the existing values and ideas. However, it can lead to the unification of the commerce, to the creation of a single economic space, and to the exchange of the political beliefs which also constitute the social culture. For instance, in Germany, it is possible to observe a wide variety of international commercial brands, companies, and institutions acting in accordance with the local laws and regulations. Nevertheless, the very presence of the intercultural market is a bright sign of the cultural globalization. Respectively, the globalization of culture is an elaborated notion, the fulfillment of which depends on the areas of its consideration and on the actual implementation of its practice.
Similar ideas can be found in the works of Huntington, who argues about the nature of global culture. On one hand, the author clearly shows the impossibility of immersion of national cultures into the global one, pointing to the fact that Indian will never become a German in terms of national affiliation. On the other hand, individuals from different communities can change the citizenship, religious affiliation, location of residence, and other individual characteristics. In particular, the German society includes many individuals who may share different nationalities but use the German citizenship. This example is an obvious manifestation of the cultural globalization which takes part in at least several cultural domains of the contemporary society.
Overall, considering different points of view, it is possible to conclude that the globalization of culture is a realistic and noticeable phenomenon which already exists in at least several domains of the social life of contemporary states. Despite the national and historical origins of culture as a social phenomenon, its globalization is possible in terms of its complex nature and displays.
Concept of Civilization and its Role in Cultural Globalization
The notion of civilization plays an important role in understanding the process of cultural globalization. On one hand, the civilization is a broad notion which identifies the development and functioning of the human society through the paradigm of its social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and religious affiliations. In regard to this aspect, a crucial role belongs to the understanding of the culture within the civilization as of a driving mechanism of its existence and evolution. Some authors claim that the conflict of cultures may become the turning point in co-existence of individual civilizations. Moreover, the globalization of cultures also presupposes the global nature of the civilizations, though not all of them are ready to merge and adjust to conditions and requirements of each other.
In regard to the cultural aspect, the civilization is a broad entity which consists of people, communities, and nation states. To a great extent, the civilizations remain isolated, restricted, and limited entities which comprise individuals and societies who share the same values and traditions. As a result, it may be culturally unacceptable and impossible to globalize the civilizations and turn them into a single cultural space. The major obstacle is the relevant domination of the nation states which call for the separation, limitation in territory, and access and affiliation to a unique, historically and traditionally shaped culture. Thus, the civilization as the social body does not presuppose the quick globalization of cultures.
In addition, in the context of cultural globalization, the civilizations attempting to undergo this process may actually face considerable clashes and evident conflicts. In particular, the controversies between the religious groups or political opinions should be mentioned. While considering the example of Germany, it is possible to observe the pluralism of religious movements and branches which do not always co-exist in the unbiased and unprejudiced way. The clashes can also be observed among the unrelated religious groups, such as Muslims and Christians. The analogical controversy can be viewed in the territory of Ukraine, which is virtually divided into two separate religious camps, derived from both religious and political situations within the state. Such ambiguities show that the clash of civilizations, triggered by the globalization of cultures, may lead to the harmful results and risks.
Huntington also argues that the globalization of cultures may be used as the reason to install the domination of some civilizations over the others. This can be clearly observed on the example of the Western civilization. The relative political superiority, economic supremacy, and high social development may result in the oppression of the other civilizations without any logical reasons and background. In this aspect, the cultural globalization acts as a tool of adjusting others to the needs and demands of the Western civilization. Apparently, under such circumstances, it is difficult to speak about the advantages or relative values of the cultural globalization.
On the other hand, the facilitated communication and interaction of individuals from different civilizations boost the globalization of cultures. The researchers agree that elimination of the virtual border and high access to information reduce the cultural differences and promote the increased cooperation of individuals. The existence of the global market, international brands, and single economic and trading space also highly contributes to the globalization of civilizations in the cultural aspect. In Germany, the representatives of various social and individual diversities may share the same cultural values, imposed by the global culture. Under such conditions, it is possible to name multiculturalism as one of the consequences of globalization.
Walt expresses another idea on the subject, stating that cultural differences and clashes may occur even within the cultural context, excluding the influence of globalization. Apparently, there is no sufficient evidence of the interdependence between the cultural integrity and social stability within the outlined civilizations. However, it is probable to surmise that the higher level of cultural integration and globalization may lead to the consensus in ideas and agreement in regard to values shared by the group of people belonging to different civilizations. Besides, the cultural globalization can act as an intermediary for the unity and cooperation between different civilizations or communities. From this point of view, the cultural globalization may result in some considerable positive consequences for both the global society and individual civilizations.
In general, the civilizations tend to be homogenous, isolated, and unique social systems, which can be easily destroyed by the impacts of cultural globalization. There is definitely a certain degree of truth in such statements, considering the threatening impacts of religious clashes in the territory of a single civilization. At the same time, the globalization of cultures may result in the enhanced cooperation and interaction between different communities and in the consensus between the controversial cultures and traditions.
Nation State and its Resilience to the Cultural Globalization
The nation states remain the most prominent and dominant types of social communities in our days. In fact, the affiliation to a certain nationality or nation is the key criterion for the division, creation of countries, and formation of territorial, geographical, economic, and political borders. Currently, the world experiences the revival of the nation states and the enhanced attention paid to the security and protection of the national borders. This idea can be traced in the studies of Smith and Steger, who point out the power of the separate nation states and their refusal to accept the globalized cultures. However, even in this context, the nation state may accept the cultural globalization depending on the degree of their openness and the level of their cultural values.
Smith understands the nation states as the major units of the global society. According to the author, the nation states are the main representatives of the cultural inheritance and social ethical and moral norms of behavior, which are recognized by relatively all members of the community. Many nation states follow rather restricting policies, trying to protect their borders from the external influences, including the effects of globalization. Under these terms, the existence of nation states may be regarded as an obstacle on the way of cultural globalization, since the diversity of nationalities and nations excludes the single space created for the cultural and social development.
Similarly, Huntington points to the fact that nation states possess a very strong feeling of identity and mentality, which cannot be easily replaced with the global views or merging with popular tendencies. In regard to this aspect, the nation state represents close communities which are highly concerned with the protection of the national borders and national consciousness of their members. Overall, such a radical position presupposes the exclusion of the shared cultures from the single globalized social environment.
Nevertheless, Held and McGrew represent another point of view, based on their concern in regard to the role of nation states. The authors claim that the importance of the presence of the nation states on the global arena tends to decline, due to the development of the worldwide web, facilitation of international communication, and promoted cooperation between the members of different communities. Moreover, the decline of the relevance of political authorities and of the recognition of human rights as the highest value leads to the rethinking of the nationalistic regimes and state government. Under such conditions, the phenomena of multiculturalism and cultural globalization become more available and accessible. The example of such societies is the German state. Despite the relative focus on the concept of nation and borders, the country follows the open policies in regard to the representatives of other communities and pays great attention to their integration and assimilation into the single social space. Considering this fact, it is clear that the nation state does not prevent the integration of different cultures and the process of globalization.
Furthermore, Huntington expresses similar ideas, pointing out the probability of reaching consensus between the nation states in the context of globalization of cultures. Considering the example of Germany, it is essential to mention its belonging to the ECC, Economic Cooperation Organization, which unites ten different countries in the context of economic, trading development, and business strategies. The creation of such united spaces for the collaborative activities of the nation states is a significant step toward the improved communication and acceptance of the shared ideas and values. As a result, the cultural globalization is possible under the terms of the nation states.
Ethnicity in the Process of Cultural Globalization
To a great extent, the ethnicity is the catalyst in regard to the preservation of nation states and refusal of the cultural globalization. The ethnicity contains the information about the historical, social, and cultural background of the members of certain community, and displays its uniqueness and authenticity in a particular way. In other words, the ethnicity is the individual characteristic which makes the society distinct, original, and different from the other communities and civilizations. Not surprisingly, the concept of ethnicity and ethnical states does not favor the cultural globalization and regards it as a threat to the uniqueness and authenticity of traditions and values.
The same ideas can be found in the studies of Steger and Huntington , who speak about the ruining impacts the ethnicity has on the acceptance of the globalized culture. The clashes between various ethnical groups can seriously threaten the security of the society and lead to open conflicts and misunderstandings. From this point of view, the ethnicity does not always bear a positive connotation due to its ability to serve as a criterion of division rather than unity. However, the creation of the international cooperation programs and alliances may help to facilitate the dialogue between different ethnicities and to eliminate the drastic nature of the interethnic conflicts.
Considering the aforementioned facts, it can be stated that the globalization of the cultures is an ambiguous issue, the productivity and efficiency of which depends on many local factors and influences. Apparently, the contemporary world still experiences the dominance of the nation states and individual civilizations which recognize only their unique values, traditions, interests, and preferences. As a result, the creation of a single cultural space is a complicated and continuous process which calls for the multiculturalism and immersion of different cultures into one system. Moreover, the complications arise as the effects of the national identity of each separate country and its connection to a specific historical and social background and development. Nevertheless, it is already possible to observe the effects of the cultural globalization in some states.
In particular, Germany positions itself as a culturally globalized community which creates the equal opportunities for various cultural systems and possibilities for their mutual immersion and assimilation. Evidently, the results of the cultural globalization lead to the enhanced intercultural dialogue, communication, integration, and triggered cooperation. Therefore, it is important to regard different aspects of the cultural globalization in order to benefit from its fruitful and appropriate functioning worldwide.