Globalisation – Media

Lesson objectiveTo explore how the media and globalisation are linked
Lesson outcomes• Assess whether globalisation is a force for good or evil
• Evaluate their arguments
• Explain what different perspectives think


McLuhan (1962) coined the term ‘global village’ to describe how new media has and is creating a common culture, in essence, shrinking the world. We call this globalisation. Global village is linked to popular/ mass culture as the media tries to accommodate all individuals. The media aims to advertise products and use popular/ mass as a tool to do this. People are often exposed globally to the same cultural products and media content as a consequence e.g. The different versions of the X Factor globally. This is called the dumbing down of the media (Barnett and Seymour and Curran).

Postmodernism and popular culture

Popular culture is used as a tool to attract consumers. Consumers can now pick and mix on a scale never seen before. He argues the distinction between difference classes has weakened and different cultures are being harder to distinguish. High culture and popular culture are so similar that you cannot distinguish them e.g. you can now watch opera on YouTube so that finance is no longer a barrier. They argue against the Marxist approach that all people are passive and that they interact with the media e.g. they can pick and choose elements. This creates diversity.

Marxists – The Frankfurt School

Culture and capitalism cannot be separated. Businesses dominant use with consumer culturalism. Therefore, the media is a form of social control providing the illusion of choice. The media also dumbing down content is making individuals less critical and more passive. Consequently, there are less likely to challenge the dominant culture. according to Marcuse. Livingstone

A global popular culture

Flew (2002) emphasises that a global popular has been created through technologies and new media and and spread through globalisation. Globalisation works against individuals creating a national or local identity. This process is called cultural homogenisation.

Sklair (2002) suggests that most news, entertainment and consumer products are American owned. As a consequence, capitalism (a western ideology) is spread globally as the dominant culture. Sklair coins the term ‘culture-ideology of consumerism’.

Ritzer (2008) identifies that companies now hinder the creation of local and national identities as they have now been replaced with a global one e.g. McDonald’s, X Factor etc.

Fenton (1998) creates an interesting idea of cultural imperialism. They support Sklair’s idea of the current media promoting capitalism. Fenton develops this further, however, and argues that the term ‘global culture’ doesn’t mean universal (involving all) and instead western countries predominantly the UK and USA are colonising other countries through promoting its culture hence the term ‘cultural imperialism’.


Pluralists are always focused on how globalisation creates a greater market for individuals to choose their identity from (called pick and mix). Compaine (2005) disagrees that the media is dumbing down information and instead argues that it generates greater challenge. Because of the amount of information readily available, individuals can question information more which forces sources to be more reliable. Tomlinson (1999) highlights that cultural imperialism does not exist and different cultures are spread globally e.g. China town existing in London and Manchester. This creates culture hybridity. Pluralists emphasise that the Marxist idea that individuals are passive in accept other dominant cultures is incorrect and people can actively choose.


See the ideology page here


See the ideology page here

How to build on this

In order to score highly in this topic, your evaluation can simply come from the perspective’s evaluation points on the ‘ideology page’ as well as talking about why certain arguments are flawed. See the video on scoring highly on extended writing.

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