Globalisation and culture: Not simply the west versus the rest?

Key Points:

  • Cultural globalisation is associated with economic globalisation. Professor Peter Berger argues that there is a global culture that is of primarily Western, American provenance that it is spreading through the world through many channels, but that does not mean it is going to be hegemonic.
  • This global culture interacts with indigenous cultural forces in a number of different ways. There are four distinct processes of cultural globalisation going on simultaneously, relating in complex ways both to each other and to the many indigenous cultures on which they impinge.
  • These are: Davos culture, faculty club culture, popular culture, and Evangelical Protestantism. These four cultures are part and parcel of Western imperialism, with the USA forming the core of this malevolent phenomenon.
  • Berger’s response to the call for a dialogue between what he sees as ‘contending civilisations’ is that this will not just be a dialogue between ‘the West and the rest’ but a considerably more complicated enterprise.
  • We are not moving towards a unified, harmonious world culture, nor are we moving towards an age in which cultures are going to be in perpetual war with each other – the likely scenario is somewhere in between these two extremes.
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