Utopian or Dystopian? Which Side Are You On?

Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information. Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism’ (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 458).


Globalisation is seen as a utopian view which Marshall McLuhan has phrased “the global village” “McLuhan suggests that people of the world can be brought closer together by the globalisation of communication, no matter how far apart we may live.”

Examples of cultural globalization can be seen in our everyday lives. The Internet has exploded with a boom in technology providing individuals from all over the world the opportunity to communicate instantaneously with each other. Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow this instantaneous exchange from people around the world. Public panic rooms for the invisible global village.

However, The dystopian view counters the utopian view of globalisation described above by pointing out that while the media have become indeed globally interconnected, and programs and messages circulate in the global network, we are not living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed. (Castells 2000)

Castells conceptualises globalisation in terms of a network society, in which he considers to be the dominant social structure of the information age. From this viewpoint, media globalisation can have a significant financial and cultural consequence: for instance, the Internet is the means by which we access information, power, and knowledge.

However, what happens to those that don’t have access to the Internet? These people left without knowledge become socially excluded, therefore creating what is known as information poverty.

Herbert Schiller’s theory of cultural imperialism “describes how one culture spreads its values and ideas culturally such as through the media rather than through direct rule or economic trading,” (O’Shaughnessy, M Stadler, J, 2008, pp 465). Cultural imperialism argues that the result of globalization is that some cultures dominate or intrude upon others. The main culprit for this is Western culture.

In conclusion, there are two different views that people take on globalization, the Utopian view that it has allowed interconnectedness and new forms of community. Or the Dystopian view that globalization is making people less connected, which increases the gap between the rich and poor. This further creates a loss of cultural diversity.

Which side are you on?





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