Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Globalization: Revisited- an addendum

Each morning, walking to school, down the small streets and through the subway stations with my white ear buds in my ear, I notice a lot of other people are like me.  We are traveling through the same spaces, often uncomfortably close; however, we are all cocooned in our own little iPod worlds.  Usually I notice people pull out their iPads, Kindle readers, Blackberrys, iPhones or other miscellaneous electronic paraphernalia to create their own private personal space.

From my perspective, this is also globalization.  As I read Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson, I cannot help but see the proliferation of all these iThings as another symptom of globalization.  Wherever you go in the world, it seems people have "tuned out and plugged in."  Obviously, it is also a testament to Steve Jobs and Apple Computers.  They had their finger on the consumers' collective pulse.  People around the world want the same toys.  Parents come to visit my classrooms with young children in tow.  What stops these children from fussing is giving them the iPhone to hold onto.

In these ways, I guess globalization is making the world a smaller place, one in which we can connect with anyone around the world over our favorite iPod playlists.

I was speaking with my mom via Skype the other night, and I realized what I inadequately expressed in my earlier post on Globalization.  When I define globalization, I imagine a smaller world, in the sense of a greater understanding and appreciation of other cultures-- tasting different foods, being able to communicate in another language, travelling and exploring, etc.

One can certainly argue this is happening.

However, I also now see globalization through another lens.  In this sense, globalization is making the world smaller, because no matter where you are in the world technological achievements allow us to interact with our own kind.  Technology allows me to watch the TV shows I watched in the US (with the proper cables, I can connect my laptop to the TV here, providing a strong impression of being back in the US).  With Skype and Google Voice we can speak and video conference with friends back home.  Utilizing Google Chrome and Gmail, any emails or webpages in German can be instantly translated into English.  We traveled abroad to expose ourselves, or indeed immerse ourselves, in another culture.  But all this global technology enables us to remain in our very familiar milieu.

I am fond of the idea of the tension of opposites, or two concepts seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum existing together in a way that creates a cognitive imbalance.  This is how I feel when I think about globalization in terms of greater cultural appreciation versus living abroad with the advantages (drawbacks?) of technology today.

No comments:

Post a Comment