America is taking over the world!!

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For the most part we all know how American we have become, with it’s global markets increasing and all we see around us are of an American nature. But how much has it affected us?

The American film and television industry have taken over our screens pushing back and almost replacing other big entertainment industries found in other countries. This American outbreak falls under the umbrella of globalisation, characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2012, p. 458).

In Australian we see this happening through the introduction of Foxtel, which allowed the consumption of American channels and ‘American ways’ to leak out of our screens. Expect that was only the tipping point, with the introduction of even more American entertainment through the new streaming site Netflix. This global exchange saw to override streaming sites created by Australian’s for Australian’s through the accessibility and price of American entertainment. “With Netflix’s launch imminent, Presto and Stan. have been attempting to sweeten their deal to gain a foot hold in the Australian market.” The Australian market is seeing its downfall due to American entertainment, its interconnectedness is disappearing to make room for America.

But lets look at this in a different way Marshall McLuhan presented a phrase ‘the global village’ which acts as a virtual community. Thus places an image of the world in which media transcends the nation-state in a democratising process that gives everyone a voice and enables information to be freely shared. However, Castells counteracts this argument of this so-called utopia by stating ‘while the media have become indeed globally interconnected and programs and messaged circulated in the global network, we are not living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed’ (Castells 2000, p. 370; emphasis in original).

But what does this have to do with the American take over?

Well, this is the basis at which it all stems from, the Americanisation of the world has damaged the older and more traditional cultures, supposedly not giving them a voice to share. As popular American television, films, music and fashion flood the airwaves of these cultures fashioning and transforming them to the more ‘American ways’. The video below demonstrates the impact Americanisation has had on particular cultures as they now adopt more Americanised ways, pushing back their traditions and cultures.

Todd Gitlin’s (2002) claims that, ‘if there is a global village, it speaks American. It wears jeans, drinks Coke, eats at the golden arches, walks on swooshed shoes, plays electric guitars, recognises Mickey Mouse, James Dean, ET, Bart Simpson, R2-D2 and Pamela Anderson’.

Although Americanisation can be seen as damaging to other cultures by creating them in the image of a customised village, it has also allowed for more prospects to be seen through what the American culture promises. It also allows for other cultures to be brought together through its film industry, as in Pixar’s 2015 release of Inside Out, highlights the changes it made to the food baby Riley disliked depending on what country you where in. This shows the positives to globalisation, showing the interaction between cultures.

Although this could just been seen, as a ploy to sell more movie tickets this to me, seems like a stepping-stone into cultural exchange and the shift from the idea of ‘Americanisation’. Here Pixar is taking the time out to research and change the aspects of the popular movie to accommodate other cultures,“We learned that some of our content wouldn’t make sense in other countries”(Paige, 2015). “During another scene, Bing Bong (DON’T CRY) was “[reanimated] so that he points to the letters from right to left, instead of left to right to accommodate certain languages” (Paige, 2015).

Thus bringing together cultures in the simplest form by adding cultural context and highlighting the ideology of “Americanisation” is not just about making people view things in the American light.

Globalisation has grown over time, changing the way we look at things and the way we perceive them. It has popularised many things that can be seen in a negative light as a hostile take over by one nation but also as bringing together diversity and multiculturalism.


References:

Appadurai, A (1996) ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 27-47.

O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471.

Gitlin, T (2002) ‘Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives’, Henry Holt and Company, New York

Paige, R, 2015, Hello Giggles, The food baby Riley hated in ‘Inside Out’ was different depending on where you lived, weblog post, 3 August, viewed 29 August 2015

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