Comparative Summary of UN and Arnett

The world has become much closer than in the past and the countries depend on each other. This interdependence is referred to as globalization in which the countries are connected together not only economically but also culturally. This cultural globalization is generally dominated by Western, developed countries through the global media which spreads the ideology of capitalism and try to unify the cultures all over the world. Through the process of spreading of global culture, young people become its main target through the global media because the youth are in the transition stage of their lives and easily absorb the new culture. The homogenization of cultures and its impact on identity formation of youth by the global media are the main topics of the recent study in the field of culture and psychology.In relation to these issues, there are two important articles, which discuss what constitutes the global culture including the role of media from different perspectives. These are the UN’s ‘Young People in a Globalizing World’ (2003) and Jeffrey Jenson Arnett’s ‘The Psychology of Globalization’ (2002). The UN explains global culture’s impact on young people by global media which is transferring Western ideology and argues that there is strong link between global economics and global culture and that young people are especially vulnerable to the influence of global media. It claims that the consequence of global culture on young people is more divisive than harmonious.  Based on somewhat different perspective, Arnett analyzes psychological consequences of global culture on formation of youth identity and claims that global culture allows a sense of belonging to young people all around world. He also argues that even though there are identity confusion due to the global culture, it allows cultural diversity which means freedom of choice for the youth to form their identity.Both the UN and Arnett agree with the point that global media, especially audio-visual media, plays critical role in spreading of global culture and forming young people’s identities. According to both articles, global culture is basically Western centric consumer culture, which attracts young people and gives them a sense of belonging through the consumption of global goods. In this context, the phenomenon of de-territorialization is also argued as the effect of global culture by both authors.Both the UN and Arnett have some similar views on global culture, but there are basically different perspectives between two articles. The UN’s basic view on global culture is that even though global culture gives a sense of belonging, the main value of global culture is capitalism and consumerism due to the fact that the global culture is market driven and class based. According to the UN, thus non-consumption of global goods, mainly due to the lack of financial resources, means exclusion of young people from global culture and may leads to alienation, relative deprivation and sometimes even crime. In this regard, the consequence of global culture is reinforcement of the existing social division. In contrast, although Arnett also admits that there are some problems and resistance about global culture, his basic view on global culture is more positive than the UN’s view.  Arnett asserts that the values of global culture are individualism, freedom of choice and tolerance of differences, thus cultural diversity is possible from self selected cultures. Metalheads, who likes the heavy metal music and follows its fashion style, are the example of self selected culture. (Arnett, 1996 cited in Arnett, 2002).Arnett also claims that despite identity confusion global culture is a rather harmonious process within which local and global cultures can co-exist simultaneously. Thus hybrid identity in the Arnett’s article is explained as inclusive multicultural identity which mixes global, local and native culture in case of immigration community. However, although the UN states that there is a hybrid identity created from elements of both local and global culture, its perspective on the synthesis of local and global culture is rather negative as it believes that ‘a third space’ is not a result of harmonious hybridity but a result of a ‘power struggle’ between modernity and tradition. An example of hybrid culture is Hip-hop, which is somewhat homogenized global culture but also localized upon local context. (Bennett, 2000 cited in UN, 2003)In the aspect of the role of media in global culture, there are different points between two articles. The UN argues that the global media try to dominate global culture with the ideology of Western, consumer culture because the media is mainly Western agencies which work for multinational companies’ interest. In this regard, global media promotes cultural commodification which is homogeneous. With different view, Arnett claims that the global media supply environment for young people to grow up with global awareness, in other words, global identity is constructed by global media. According to Arnett, by the media local young people can communicate with other countries’ people and delocalize themselves accepting it as the way of life. For example, the youth are exposed to the world by TV, and especially future generations can directly communicate with other countries’ people by the internet (Arnett, 2002).In conclusion, both authors agree that global culture, basically based on Western ideology, affects especially young people through the global media. While the UN see the nature of global culture as power struggle and especially having negative impact on youth, Arnett claims that global culture supplies diverse menu for young people to form their identity.ReferencesArnett, J., 2002, ‘The Psychology of Globalization’, American Psychologist, Vol.57, No 10, pp 774-783.United Nations, 2003, ‘Young People in a Globalizing World’ World Youth Report.- Second Assignment of DEEP1 at Insearch UTS




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