I’ve now entered a new dimension of my ever-expanding blogosphere, spreading my posts to an international level to find out how media connects – or disconnects – us all as one global community. So, to begin, I think it’s important to lay out some structure to form the basis of my own and my readers’ (if there is any) understanding of international media and communication. It’s undoubtedly clear that the world has, over time, become much closer connected with greater interdependence, interactivity and interconnectedness between members of the global community. Appadurai states, “we have entered into an altogether new condition of neighborliness, even with those most distant from ourselves” (1996 p. 29). But how has this hugely intensified togetherness come about? In one simple word – globalisation.
Globalisation, defined as “The process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale” (Oxford Dictionaries 2014), is ultimately the result of powerful advancements in technology: the nineteenth century saw the introduction of newspapers, the telegraph and cable systems that enabled the formation of global communication networks, the twentieth century saw the popularisation of radio and television, and the 1960s was when the development of the internet begun which, in turn, ultimately led to satellite, wireless and mobile communication. With each of these technological advancements comes the increase in global interrelatedness (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008 p. 458). The globalisation of communication, according to O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, is characterised by a set of qualities: instantaneity, interconnectedness and interdependence (2008 p. 459); it is media saturated and offers an information overload as well as access to a virtual global community.
Appadurai (1996, pp. 33-36) explains globalisation and the international community skillfully by dividing the complex nature into five dimensions of global cultural flows: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes.
To sum them up neatly:
Ethnoscapes: the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guest-workers etc.
Technoscapes: global configuration of technology and the fact that it now moves at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries
Financescapes: global flow of capital which includes currency, stock and commodity
Mediascapes: the distribution of the electronic capabilities to producer and disseminate information (newspapers, magazines, TV stations etc.) which are now available to a growing number of people, as well as the images of the world created by these media
Ideoscapes: concatenations of images, often directly political and frequently have to do with the ideologies of states (freedom, welfare, rights, democracy)
Appadurai (1996, p. 33) explains that these different dimensions are the building blocks of ‘imagined worlds’, that is,
“the multiple worlds that are constituted by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread across the globe.”
This was just a brief outline of globalisation to hopefully bridge a slight understanding of what is really going on; there are so many other different aspects of globalisation that I’m sure will emerge as I get deeper into the weekly topics. Nevertheless, globalisation has obviously been hugely effected by the changing landscapes that we find ourselves immersed in, and similarly, it has had a huge effect on the global community that our lives are based around. The enormous power of globalisation and how it has changed so much in our world will form the basis of my study of international media and communication and I am looking forward to seeing just how important it has been and continues to be.
Appadurai, A 1996, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, pp. 27-47.
Gots, J 2011, Globalization: The Middleman Takes Center Stage, image, Big Think, viewed 14 August 2014, <http://bigthink.com/re-envision-toyota-blog/globalization-the-middleman-takes-center-stage>.