As regions get more integrated, continents get integrated also, so also is culture affected by the interconnectedness and borderless scope of the globe. Globalization is now a trend you hardly can dispel or force out with its doctrines of Neo-Liberalism and free market economy. The force of globalization as it affects the other part of the globe, as dominated by the concept of Americanisation. Economic activities today are rather shaped by globalisation, politics of gains, a sharp divide between the North- South, further worsened by the spate of regionalisation and belonging to a club.
The impact on culture is more pronounced, as it invades borders and cultural nullity or acculturation is the aftermath of this relationship. The trends of Americanisation is far beyond, the continents of Europe, the recent United States Presidential campaign shows how the globe is been shaped by the United States , as the primaries to the election were viewed everywhere in the globe , with different groups or parties analysing and saying something about the elections . This in a way draws the picture of how deep and powerful the American influence is both on culture and global economic politics.
The expansion of businesses around the globe and transfer of culture further sparks the debate of global culture and its impact on tourism. The paper therefore seeks to analyse the current paradigm of globalization as it affects culture or global culture, The Americanization of the globe without borders, the perceived impact, capitalism, and liberalism as they affect the debate of global culture, the impact of Americanization on different parts of the globe. The paper therefore seeks to analyse from the economic, political and cultural perspective of the debate.
The concepts used in the paper, has brought up a lot of submission and definitions, so it’s crucial to start with the definition of the major terms, like Americanization, global culture, liberalism, consumerism, materialism and acculturation. Liberalism means different things to different people and situations, in Europe it’s mostly regarded as freedom, economic, political, Liberalism connotes a free market economy governed by the capitalist structure, with maximization of benefit and materialism.
Private ownership succeeds more better and more freedom and access to markets are experienced (Mises 2002:14-18) Capitalism is more like the Liberalism , an economic structure also , the difference is that capitalism is restricted to the economy , while Liberalism appears in all human life, as its interpretation is mostly economic and related to fundamental human rights.
The term global culture is complex but I would limit most of the definitions within the confines of the paper, it means the homogenous branding of the globe to a particular ethics, norm or ideology through the dominance of a particular global economic player. (Bergvall&Podder, 2004: 6-12) Americanization is also a complex concept as there is no agreed definition to it , but succinctly it is the negotiation of models proffered by the United States , arising from the Anti- American debate , or the appropriation of American customs ,music’s, language , beliefs by other countries. Nolan 1999:4) Acculturation refers to adoption of other people’s idea, language, music and beliefs, which paves way for assimilation. (Hispanic Health) The concepts shows how closely knitted and confusing some definitions about the concepts are , but the paper seeks to explain in details the links among the concepts and the key concentration of the paper which is on Americanization and global culture its impact on Tourism.
Americanization is simply a consequence of globalization; it spreads its influence minute by minute in the globe. The influence of Multi –national companies reveals the invasion of Americanization in the world, the influence of Hollywood, McDonald's or Burger King fast food and Nike sports shoes and accessories refers to global processes of production, exchange and circulation of cultural commodities, which shows Americas fast dominance in the Market and in the globe . Belk,Natan&Winter, 2003:2-3) The cultural identity of consumerism therefore supports Americanization, this brings to fore the idea of a global culture which paves way for regional models, global models which supports globalization. Consumerism has shifted from company design, marketing to a more pro-cultural process of making the products indigenous and acceptable.
The spread of Americanization, however started through the indigenous route, to what is now viewed and perceived as global, for instance the internet had its origin from America, now it is all over the globe, which shows the power of culture and acculturation, with English also spreading in other parts through Americanization. (Ibid, 5) Consumer culture is therefore faced with a critical analysis of been hegemonic, which means that the dominant culture with popular consumption, with the choice of the consumer to choose between brands that are popular to remain competitive and notable.
The aforementioned disclose the victory Americanisation has gathered in the globe, bringing to view acculturation, possibly with no response at the receiving end, which shows the hegemony, although the Asian tigers are trying to outwit the superiority and hegemonic stand of the United States, but more needs to be done as in almost every area the trend of Americanization has pervaded the global polity. To further prove the point expressed above I would therefore use Mcdonaldization as an example to show the mobile trends of Americanization in most continents and regions as part of the economic process of globalization and acculturation.
The spread of Brand names and Multi-national companies around the globe has generated several debates and criticism, the rise of capitalism and domination, the argument of whether culture plays a significant role in the course of change, however the current trend of globalization, paves way for cultural diffusion, it’s a matter of accept or ignore, which paves way for strict consequences. (Asgary&Walle 2002:47-52)
The idea that individual perception or respect for culture suppresses the intrusion or diffusion of an external culture has been rendered invalid, as the trends of globalization has shrinked and nullify cultures to allow for market access. (ibid, 58-59) Popular culture with mass culture spreads its domain to all areas of life, through the platform of globalization; on the individual level there is an increasing relationship with popular consumption which is a product of popular or mass culture. (Alfino, etal 1998:6-7)
As there are mixed and diverse perception to the issue of Americanization and Mcdonaldization, raising an argument of its invasion into states and territories, a new era of imperialism and domination. Assessing Mcdonaldization from the mass cultural perspective, it’s a service or product that has extended its dominance from continent to continent and it’s a global house name. This introduces a contest between formal rationality and value rationality, which brings to fore efficiency and profit maximization or quality and welfare versus maximization of profit. ibid, 9)
Mcdonaldization as used here is a brand or product; the arguments are clearly linked to both an economic and cultural perspective. Mcdonaldization as used here therefore represents the effect of the brand on American citizens and other parts of the globe; a synthesis of what paved way for the global face of McDonalds. Symbolic convergence theory can be used to depict the idea of McDonalds, by sharing its ideas and fantasies all around the neighbourhood; it eventually turned to a Multi-national company. (ibid 40)
McDonaldized consumption is seen as a means asserting some sense of asserting stability in an everyday world filled with unpredictable situations. The sport sector is a fast growing example of the Mcdonalized syndrome. The sport jerseys of the Western countries, news and lifestyle are present in many parts of the globe especially in Africa and impoverished states. The criticism against globalization not only stops at the economic perspective of economic inequality in the globe, but also spreads to the level of ethical, social and cultural criticism.
The creation of a borderless globe intrudes and overcomes the tradition, myth, beliefs and cultural identity of countries and regions. (Matthew 2000:166-169) A typical example is the Invasion of Americanization into France and Europe, recently the French President ordered that the Television stations should be run mainly in France and not English, the action of the President was due to the invasion of foreign cultures, especially Americanization and globalization.
The fear of the invasion has led to government sponsorship of local film industries to destabilise the invasion of Americanisation, which has been unsuccessful till date. (Ibid) The Korean outburst over the intrusion of Hollywood movies into the Korean film industry that is fragile and young. (Bilaterals. org, 2004)The speed at which globalization and Liberalism of the economy goes , allows for a spell on cultural identity, in most countries the reigning paradigm is Americanization, either in terms of FDI,music, language, dressing or clothing ,work of arts, films, which expresses the French concern.
As the globe moves towards a search for cultural identity, collective identity would not be effective, individual identity would be quite effective. The case gets worse as Americanization as dropped a bomb in European politics ,making it hard for a unilateral identity, either forcing the Europeans to Learn English ,which is the working language, this goes to show the influence of Americanization through language, music is another part, I was watching a TV channel in Germany ,a contest for young ,upcoming musicians ,making renditions , the music’s the young musicians sang ,were all English music’s.
The continual strength of Liberalism, has continually been challenged, the Canada- US free negotiation (CUFSTA), the GATT negotiations however have not been able to negotiate or talk on culture industries. (Goff 2000:534) This signals an era of economic protectionism and cultural exception or imperialism. The optimal tariff thesis however explains better the argument against cultural imperialism, the thesis states that if country A applies tariff to an industry to which it has a largest share of the global market, country A however benefits from a monopolistic structure. Ibid, 537) The globe is however inflicted by the invasion of Americanization in day to day activities, just as movement of goods and people increase, the notion of identity, national identity becomes more complex. The global homogeneity thesis has been flawed by diverse scholars, but at this point I find it useful in the analysis of Liberalism as it affects global culture. (Jackson 1999:98)
This brings to fore the local or receiving cultures attitude to commodities , in the big cities and small cities of Europe , American brands are common, the likes of McDonalds, Coca-Cola to mention but a few are well received which even supports the obesity syndrome because ,most people are lazy to cook. The compatibility between commodity-culture must be analysed here, commodities are accepted or rejected in the age of globalization, but it favours globalization and Americanization, as the popular culture takes the global market, Hip-Hop music, R&B ,are fast becoming the agents of spreading Americanization and shaping a global culture . Betts 2004:79-80) This signifies the victory of Americanization as even the Arabic countries are also engulfed in the trend of globalization.
As earlier mentioned, Americanization is continually getting into each country in a borderless globe under the influence of globalization and the technological highway, the Internet. Acculturation alongside assimilation or non-assimilation would be the basis of the discussion now. Acculturation in most cases leads to assimilation which immediately influences the political behaviour of people. Nelson 1982:27-28) There seems to be a lot of debate about the thesis of acculturation, as there is a difference between acculturation in the cultural perspective and not social perspective. (Gans 1997:876) This trend is mostly visible among immigrants, even in our contemporary world, acculturation might be linked to the social perspective and not the decay of the indigenous beliefs or culture by Americanization, this should be made vivid when discussing the issue of the impact of globalization and acculturation.
The aforementioned is buttressed by the Muslim cultural nationalism, the perspective which does not support acculturation as evidenced by the continual refusal of Liberalism in Parental authority and Gender related issues and feminine consumption styles which Westerners have tagged as Muslim backwardness. (Eade & Melle 2002:13) The change in the approach of cultural contacts unlike 10 decades ago when it was a march of colonization, annexation has changed, with Liberalism opening the door to a gradual invitation of acculturation. (Stern Locke 1942: 100)
Cultural contact in the present globe is therefore through migration, trade, the Internet, music ,movies , clothing, religion , education to mention but a few. The changing scope that acculturation brings alongside Americanization fostered by the force of globalization is also brought to analysis, the marketer cum economic players reaction is crucial at this point. Global market integration has however led to the producers aiming at capturing the consumers, which to a large extent has been successful, which connotes acculturation.
The process of acculturation links up with the aim of profit maximization , turns companies or marketers into the receiving regions culture , which in a way is termed marketer’s acculturation. (ibid ,85) Multi-culturalism in response to acculturation and cultural shock , which centres on diversity from which Americanization built its strength, starting from a state based struggle to a global market invasion . Downey 1999:253-256) Cultural diversification is hereby faced with the issue of marketing to suit the needs of different cultures represented, several developments however launched the innovation of Americanization into the market as exemplified by the Asian market rivalry and intensive integration efforts elsewhere. (Ibid, 264) The diversification of market however comes with a cost to the receiving end and the player that is making an entry.
The player making an entry is getting baptised into acculturation of the new milieu, while the consumers at the receiving end are also getting acculturated into the entrant’s products. (Barkema, e tal 1996: 163-165) A comparative analysis of Japanese –United States acculturation is taking as an example here, Which depicts the learning process before proper acculturation can take place, here information asymmetry is considered as a limitation to a successful entry, but through time compression and the learning process the Japanese or American entry would prove worthwhile and successful.
Acculturation is therefore not complete without the learning and difficult process of breaking into a particular market and cultural consideration as exemplified by the Japanese and United States case, the Japanese source of information might be secondary sources by the media, books or History but the process of acculturation is halted by information asymmetry. However, after the learning process and gathering of a primary source, then the force of globalization would indeed succeed in its quest.
This draws a real picture to which Americanization has written its name in the sands of time. In this part, I would explore the response of Tourism to Americanization and Globalization. Tourism is a part of globalization that deals with collective behaviour, as influenced by the trends of globalization, influenced by publicity in the media and other means, driving people to the most visited and advertised place in the globe.
The commodification of cultural forms as it affects consumer prediction is quite complex in a fast moving world. (MacCannell 2002: 143) Commodities are susceptible to exchange for something else of the same kind ,but it must be noted that Tourism in the digital age is not exchanged ,as we have in museums artefacts , cultural heritage ,landscapes to mention but a few. This is because the tourist industry is kept alive by the preservation of this tourist attraction, a difference from the commodification of tourism some centuries or decades ago.
An economic relation however exist as a pull factor, enticing the consumers to the tourist site, an argument to support the increasing rate of tourist attraction is the economic perspective , where it is opined that consumers travel as a result of the need to expand consumption opportunities. (Ibid,147) Tourist buy souvenirs, flight tickets, meals ,bus tickets, meals ,swimming suits, clothes and other things ,which in the actual sense depicts the economic undertone of Tourism, as opposed to the traditional scope of Tourism where artefacts are bought or stolen.
The impact of Americanization and Westernization is more than vivid in our milieu, as most people get attracted to sites or places where there is much advertisement and media attention leading to popular consumer behaviour. The impact of tourism in this age is that of alienation as most people are cut out of the leisure and fun of life by the financial part , or the insecurity in some places e. g. Africa, Middle –East , which makes it unsafe.
A sort of marginalisation is experienced in this sector as, the media and politicians are seen campaigning over the media about which country is safe to go to, therefore tourism in most cases is Hegemonic as some areas in the globe are restricted from gaining from tourism, because of the propaganda of the Western media. I believe that the Tourism sector should be kept out of politics , the consumer attitude towards visiting places is collective as influenced by the media , but yet the individual autonomy is been estranged by media propaganda, which makes the tourist business Hegemonized.
Tourism is more or less influenced by Americanization and globalization, not only the media contributes to the spread and enticement, but the movie industry is important as evidenced by Hollywood. The preservation of cultures is therefore at imminent danger, for instance Hollywood has no bounds and it attracts tourists to visit some settings or locations of some thrilling and interesting movies.
The paper has analyzed the current spate of Americanization and global culture, acculturation and the face of tourism in the world of globalization. The paper has been able to depict the impact of Americanization on other parts of the globe , strengthening the concept of acculturation to some extent although not affecting the deep seated cultures in some countries , rather the social life is been affected to a larger extent.
The paper has been able to consider the economic undertone of Americanization , the political side in the Hegemonic control of some areas of life, for example Hollywood, the Americanization of the European part of the globe all running towards learning English . Tourism also has undergone a critical look, a difference of tourism in the traditional era to the globalization era and the influence of the media and politicians.