The concept of Global Culture is defined as the idea of a “one world culture” wherein the “earth’s inhabitants will lose their cultural diversity and one culture will be experienced by all people” (Oregon State University, 2008). At present, this kind of phenomenon is one of the most controversial issues that is being discusses and debated by numerous scholars especially in its relation to the changes that is currently happening in the world. However, the idea of a global culture is not a new subject matter, as it had been perceived by previous notable personalities.
This is greatly exemplified by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel as they discussed the concept of global culture in the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is considered as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts in which the purposes and program of the Communist League is written. Nevertheless, this document also tackled the Communist League’s criticism of the Bourgeois In order to so, they also gave their perception of global culture and how this phenomenon affects the society.
Marx and Engel began the Communist Manifesto by stating that the foundation all existing societies is the history of class struggle. They pointed out that early epochs up to the time that the manifesto was created the society is always composed of competing classes that are most appropriately described as the oppressor and the oppressed. The development and revolutions in history paved the way for two great classes that are directly facing against each other namely: the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat.
The formation of the modern Bourgeoisie is the product of a long course of development as well as the series of revolutions with regards to production and exchange (Marx and Engel, 1848). The Bourgeoisie is largely responsible in the changes of the mode of production, which give way to various modifications that greatly exemplified the idea of a global culture. The existence of the Bourgeoisie is dependent upon the continuous revolutionizing of the instruments of production and eventually the relations of productions. This includes expanding the market over the entire surface of the globe for the consumption of its products.
Marx and Engel clearly explained the Bourgeoisie’s desire for globalization when they stated, “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere” (Marx and Engel, 1848). In relation to the idea of market expansion, the Communist Manifesto also give due account of the concept of free trade, which is an important feature in achieving a global culture. The Communist League strongly believes that Free Trade is the main culprit in most people’s perception that personal worth is measured by the exchange of value that is most observable in the importance they give to material things.
In order for the Bourgeoisie to pursue their objective of profitability by increasing production, they have to exploit other people by changing the way they think about themselves and modifying the values that they uphold (Marx and Engel, 1848). The Bourgeoisie’s exploitation of the world market is creating a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption of every country. Due to this, it is destroying the old-established national industries that are important in the national identity of a country.
Industries do not merely utilized indigenous raw materials but they acquire it from the remotest parts of the world and their products are not merely consumed at their respective countries but also in every quarter of the globe. The globalization of trade also affects other factors such as communication. As such, the very way of life of the people is also influence wherein they adhere to the ideologies of the Bourgeoisie like being consumerists, which heightens the pursuance of this class’ interests (Marx and Engel, 1848).
In this sense, Communists support the sentiments of the proletariat that they believed is being exploited by the Bourgeoisie. The league represents the common interests of all proletariats around the world regardless of their nationalities. They represent the proletariats in the different stages of development of the Bourgeoisie wherein there is an observable struggle of the working class. The primary aim of the Communist is similar with all other proletarian parties, which are: “the formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeoisie supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat” (Marx and Engel, 1848).
Nevertheless, the Communist Manifesto clarifies that it is not after the abolition of property in general but rather the eradication of bourgeois property. In doing so, they can be able to uphold the freedom, independence, and equality of an individual that is taken away from him or her due to exploitative wage labor (Marx and Engel, 1848). Communists clearly saw the creation of a global culture through the revolution of production that the Bourgeoisie are responsible for as the cause of most of the world’s evil.
Some of the detrimental effects that it gives are the exploitation of people especially the proletariat, the destruction of old established institution like the family, and the very self-value of an individual. On the other hand, some notable scholars like Henry Jenkins and Rob Walker perceive the new culture of globalization in a different light. Their works show the effects of the technological advancement that Marx and Engels noted in the Communist Manifesto. Henry Jenkins main argument was on the concept of Media Convergence. He asserted that the perspective that merely focused on technology is shortsighted.
Jenkins emphasized that the real important factor is the understanding of the way by which individuals in the contemporary culture could participate and combine numerous media sources. Comprehending the relationship among various media forms can be done in a more in depth manner if the participation of individuals will be given due consideration. In relation to this, Jenkins suggested that convergence should be seen as a cultural process that is evolving and developing rather than a mere technological end. Moreover, he also elaborated that there are different sited wherein the negotiations between consumers and producers take place.
These sites are “modifying audience measurement, redirecting globalization, re-engaging citizens, renegotiating relations between producers and consumers, redesigning the digital economy, rethinking media aesthetics, regulating media content, redefining intellectual property rights, and restricting media ownership” (Jenkins, 2006). Jenkins’ was able to seriously and extensively study the effects of audience participation in media culture. He was able to highlight the influence of digital popular culture on the behavior of individuals especially in terms of their participation in the field of politics.
Rob Walker is also one of the contemporary personalities that has its own perspective with the modern state of production and consumption that exists in the world today. His arguments are centered on the concept of money culture and means of technology like advertising, music, and sequential art. The focus of Walker study is in examining the consumer behavior of an individual from the lens of business and anthropology. He discussed various products and the corresponding consumer trend that is was able to create.
Walker attempts to understand the reasons behind consumers’ response to a certain product, which ranges from toothpaste to alcoholic drinks up to television programs. In doing so, he tend to critical analyze the a particular product by trying to understand the underlying concept of its brand name, target consumer, and even its effect on those who patronize it. Furthermore, he also tries to establish a connection between the product and the consumer by explaining how the characteristic or attitude of a consumer is reflected in the products that he or she buys (Walker, 2008).
Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto calls the people especially the proletariat to take action in abolishing the concept of private property of the Bourgeoisie class that tends to exploit other people and destroy the very culture of nations. On the other hand, Jenkins and Walker also give emphasis in the participation of people in the convergence of media but they pointed out that this aids in the formation of identity rather than a mere way for exploitative labor.
National identities are formed because of the existence of mass media that allows its audience to create their own texts and introduce their own identities that allows other people in the globe to see and understand other cultures. The existence of mass media in terms of the concept of convergence is already regarded as a cultural process in itself that allows people to develop their identities. In this modern age, mass media is not merely a technological advancement but rather it is a tool that allows people to participate and interact in the international community.
References Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. Marx, K. , & Engels, F. (1848). Manifesto of the Communist Party. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://www. marxists. org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch01. htm. Oregon University States. (2008). Definitions of Anthropological Terms. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://oregonstate. edu/instruct/anth370/gloss. html. Walker, R. (2008). Buyingin: The Secret Dialogue between What We Buy and Who We Are. New York: Random House.