At the most general level, creolization can be seen as an aspect of cultural globalization. We could be more assertive and argue that creolization is the central feature of cultural globalization -- in that increased mobility and connectivity have broken down any major barriers separating one culture from another. However, this thesis is exaggerated in a number of ways. As early as 1992, Robertson (in Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture) had pointed out that increased flows and crossovers did not necessarily lead to harmonization or global cultural integration. Instead globalization resulted in increased reflexivity so that people were able to assess their own cultures against others, including powerful incoming cultures. This could lead to a revalorization and revitalization of their own folkways, customs and beliefs. It is best perhaps to follow Pieterse's suggestion (Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange, 2004) that there are three possible reactions to cultural globalization. The first is that dominant cultures cover the world like an oil slick, obliterating all in their path (the McDonaldization thesis is one example of this view). The second is that, under threat, cultural entities become more rigid and immutable and play out their divisions in terms of ethnic, religious, racial and national violence (the clash of civilizations thesis is an example of this view). The third view is that creolization and hybridity result from the fuzziness and indeterminancy of cultures, resulting in complex new syntheses and in the development of innovative 'travelling cultures'. Obviously we are interested in this last possibility and regard it as of major and growing significance.
Robin Cohen and Paola Toninato (P.Toninato@warwick.ac.uk)
Immanuel Wallerstein (1991) 'The National and the Universal: Can There Be Such a Thing as World Culture?', in A.King (ed) Culture, Globalization and the World-System, Binghamton: State University of New York
Arjun Appadurai (1990) 'Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy', Public Culture (Spring 1990), 2, n.2
|The central problem of today's global interactions is the tension between cultural homogenization and cultural heterogenization. [...] The globalization of culture is not the same as its homogenization, but globalization involves the use of a variety of instruments of homogenization (armaments, advertising techniques, language hegemonies, and clothing styles) that are absorbed into local political and cultural economies, only to be repatriated as heterogeneous dialogues of national sovereignty, free enterprise, and fundamentalism.|
Ulf Hannerz (1991) 'Scenarios for Peripheral Cultures', in A.King (ed) Culture, Globalization and the World-System, Binghamton: State University of New York
Anthony D. Smith (1990) ‘Toward a Global culture’, in M. Featherstone (ed), Global Culture, London: Sage, p.177
John Tomlinson (1999) Globalization and Culture, Cambridge: Polity, p. 29-30
... globalization promotes much more physical mobility than ever before, but the key to its cultural impact is in the transformation of localities themselves. ...complex connectivity weakens the ties of culture to place. This is in many ways a troubling phenomenon, involving the simultaneous penetration of local worlds by distance forces, and the dislodging of everyday meanings from their 'anchors' in the local environment. ... deterritorialization is, I believe, the major cultural impact of global connectivity.
Tulasi Srinivas (2002) '"A tryst with destiny": the Indian case of cultural globalization' in Peter L. Berger and Samuel P. Huntington (eds) Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World, New York: Oxford Unversity Press, p. 90
While cultural globalization forces do enter India, cultural models are also increasing emitted from India. What are commonly called New Age practices, which include meditation, yoga, spiritual healing, massage and Tantrism, are popular in the West today. Lifestyle gurus Deepak Chopra and Shri Sathya Sai Baba have large followings in New York, Santiago and Munich. ...In fact Indian cultural artifacts are consumed all over the world: silk sari bedding is advertised at Bloomingdales, Indian jewelry and dress, henna tatoos, Darjeeling tea, and toe rings are bought every day by Europeans and Americans. These consumer objects are sometimes mediated through American marketing, but their provenance is indisputable.
James L. Watson (2004) 'McDonalds in Hong Kong' in Frank J. Lechner and John Boli (eds) The Globalization Reader, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 125-6
The people of Hong Kong have embraced American-style fast foods, and by so doing they may appear to be in the vanguard of a worldwide culinary revolution. But they have not been stripped of their cultural traditions, nor have they become 'Americanized' in any but the most superficial ways. Hong Kong in the late 1990s constitutes one of the worlds most heterogeneous environments. Younger people, in particular, are fully conversant in transnational idioms, which include language, music, sports, clothing, satellite television, cybercommunications, global travel and -- of course -- cuisine. It is no longer possible to distinguish what is local and and what is not. In Hong Kong ... the transnational is the local.
Jan Nederveen Pieterse (2004) Globalization and Culture: Global Mélange Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield, p. 83
In relation to the global human condition of inequality, the hybridization perspective releases reflection and engagement from the bounds of natgion, community, ethnicity and class. Fixities have become fragments as the kaleidoscope of collective experience is in motion. It has been in motion all along, and the fixities of nation, community, ethnicity, and class have been grids superimposed upon experiences more complex and subtle than reflexivity and organization could accommodate.