I. AN OVERVIEW.
With the growing standards of the world and the existing concepts and complexities in political, economic and socio-cultural ideologies, man has always and continuously pondered over the aspects of his nature. Unity, equality, trade and commerce are at the forefront of man’s complexities. With these thoughts in mind, man has moved through history trying to satisfy his desires in relation to others. The advent of the twenty-first century gave birth to the idea of making the world a single village, thus, globalization. Globalization is the most talk-about issues in the 21st century. However, there is the difficulty of the world to come up with a single and uniform definition. This is because, so many people doubt if the happenings in the world today are as a result of globalization. Thus, due to these global differences of what this concept actually is about, globalization has grown to involve aspects not only of economy, but politics and other socio-cultural issues. Globalization affects almost every human being, this is because the process of globalization is said to have expanded almost through out the entire world either through transport, commerce, and communication. In addition, man’s activities on the globe are all located under these sectors.
Culture, as a way of living of man, is identified by every one immediately after birth and was often seen as distinct from one another. However, with advent of the process of globalization, there is now the integration and homogenization of cultures. “Homogenization of cultures is the loss of diversity of culture between two or more cultural groups”. Thus, our topic, “globalization and its effects on cultural integration in the Czech Republic” The Czech Republic is a country with a rich cultural heritage with works of art seen in theatres, cinemas, libraries, globally recognized galleries, museums and concert halls and with well-maintained traditions especially, in the villages of the Moravian-Silesian region. These villages remain as a sign of the cultural taste of the specific areas.
II. THE PROBLEM.
Human beings with unlimited quest for wants have let to the advent of the process of globalization. This has come through a dramatic expansion in the volume and variety of cross-border transactions in goods and services. The development of new technologies used for information, communication and transportation; and the huge increase in international flow of capital, has gone a long way to affect the economic, political, environmental and socio-cultural sectors of many countries in the world, both positive and negative. Effects on globalization on cultural integration being our topic of discussion, in recent years there have been programs carried out by the government bodies, United Nations, the European Union and the Non-governmental organizations for the integration of immigrants and foreigners in the Czech Republic.
As a way of encouraging integration, the ministry of culture represents intercultural dialogue within the state policy. The ministry also give support to cultural activities of members of national minorities living in the country, support for integration of members of the Roma community and immigrants. The Department of Arts, Libraries, Department of Media, and Audiovisual Policies have also supported intercultural projects. Non- governmental organizations such as: Organization for Aid to Refugees, (OPU), People in Need, and Czech Mobility Center and “Ethnic Friendly employer”.
III. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY.
The main objective of this study is to examine globalization and its effects on cultural integration in the Czech Republic.
Other objectives are to examine the effects of globalization on the economic, political and socio-cultural domains in the Czech Republic in general.
To determine how globalization has contributed to the transformation of the
national sovereignty to global sovereignty.
It is also to examine the current rate of integration and the characteristics of the people in the cultural integration process.
Furthermore, the study is intended to identify and describe the techniques in which people become culturally integrated and the number of questions being raised.
It is also aimed at examining the role of government, the United Nations the World Bank, the NGOs, the Foreigners, Immigrants, in the cultural integration process.
Finally, it is to examine the constraints and consequences of cultural integration, since the long-term results are leaving a legacy positively and negatively. As we move towards the third millennium, a rational planning scheme and utilization of cultures should remain the major pre-occupation of the society.
In order to carry out the study and achieve the stated objectives, a number of hypotheses were advanced to address the problem;
i) Globalization and cultural integration form an interrelated spiral. There is, the more there the futures of globalization, the more there is cultural integration.
ii) Intensification of trade and commerce and communication is the main cause of cultural integration in the Czech Republic.
V. SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY.
The later part of the 20th century has seen a remarkable growth in the level of popular concern for environmental, political, economic and socio-cultural issues, which have come as a result of the advent of the globalization process. It is becoming increasingly clear that if the present environmental crisis is not confronted immediately, we stand the risk of having serious and irreversible effects on our world.
The Czech Republic has an interest in its cultural protection. That is why the government in order to preserve the Czech culture organizes annual cultural festivals in the country. However, there is little evidence that sufficient steps have been taken to ensure effective protection is done. This is due to the fact that the local communities, which are directly concerned with the culture, are not often considered when making policies concerning their culture, management and protection.
Hence, a study of this nature could have results, which are beneficial in a number of ways. Some of these include;
To raise awareness of the community on the significance and ways of proper management of cultural issues,
To address a number of problems, caused by globalization and its effects on the cultural integration,
To provide policy makers and research institutions with the basic data, this would help in designing new program that will be real and problem specific,
To provide citizens of not only the Czech Republic but European Union members as well on the currents effects of changes on cultural issues as a result of globalization.
Although the writer has interacted for some time in this area, and has grown up with a wealth of knowledge of the Czech culture, a further reading was carried out in order to further knowledge of the recent changes in the Czech culture due to the advent of globalization. The theoretical and empirical research was most based on secondary sources and official websites like the Czech Statistical Office, the Ministry of Labor Youths and Sports and Eurostat. Most of the research was mostly on secondary sources were mostly consulted. Several textbooks, journals, unpublished dissertations and other related publications on the subject were also consulted.
VI.II. Data Analysis
The descriptive techniques were used in analyzing the data collected from sources such as the Czech statistical Office, and Eurostat website. These techniques included the use of tables and graphs with the calculations of percentages, and averages. In addition to this, the data was illustrated in bar charts, and histograms. This can be seen in chapter three.
VII. Limitations of the Study
The first limitation is that even when the researcher tried to carry a review on some research in the libraries on the effects of globalization on cultural integration in the Czech Republic, there of few textbooks, which have dealt with this topic. Secondly, even with the few ones, some there were mostly in other languages like the Czech language. So due to the scarcity on text books on the topic and the hindrance to consult some of the available ones most of the materials were been extracted from official websites like the Czech Statistics Office, Eurostat, the Ministry of Youths and Sports. Another constraint on the research was that of finance. Some of materials found on the Internet were on sale, and couple with the financial constraints, the researcher was unable to reach all of the available materials.
VIII. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY AREA
The study area is situated between latitude 49° 45 N of the equator and longitude 15 º 30 E of the Greenwich Meridian. Czech Republic is found in the central Europe, bordered in east by Slovakia, in the south by Austria, in the north by Poland and in the west by Germany. It has a land cover of 78,864 sq. kilometers with a population of 10.2 million inhabitants. Major cities include, Prague (the capital city), Brno, Plzen, Olomouc, Karlovy Vary, Ceske Budejovice, Cesky Krumlov, Liberec, Hradec Kralove, Bechyne, Kolin, Pelhrimov, Sumperk, Trebon , Uherske Hradiste and Bruntal.
The main ethnic groups in the Czech Republic include; the Czech who are about 9.25 million of the population, the Moravian (more than 380,000), the Slovak about (193.000), the Roma about (171.000), the Silesians (11.000), the Polish (52.000), the Germans (39.000), the Ukrainian (22.000) and the Vietnamese (18.000) Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (January 2008).
Map 1 The Map Of The Czech Republic
Source: World Atlas.com.
CHAPTER ONE: DEFINITION OF TERMS.
Going back to the topic of our thesis, “Globalization and effects on cultural integration in the Czech Republic”, there is the need to define what globalization actually is. With the growing debate of what when the globalization phenomenon began and it actual meaning, some social science theorists have come forth with the definition of globalization both from the classical and the contemporary era.
1.1 Definition of Globalization
Walters says the Webster’s dictionary is the first major dictionary to mention the word globalization in 1961. The dictionary defines globalization as “to render global” or “the act of globalizing” cited in Malcolm Walters (2001:2). The concept globalization has now being use by many academics and there has been a debate on when the concept of globalization actually began. There are some who have perceived the concept of globalization has been in to existence before this period. Thus, the below mentioned are some of the definitions of globalization posed by various social science theorists.
Marx (1977) is considered by social theorists as the first author to focus on the dimensional approach in the explanation of the concept of globalization; He explained the globalization phenomenon, basing his argument on the economic factor. Marx in his dependency theory saw that the political-territorial boundaries remain intact and will disappear under a future proletarian supremacy. This is seen because, immediately after his death on 14th of March 1883, his ideas began to invoke a major influence on workers revolts in the world such as, Bolsheviks movement also known as the October revolution in Russia in October 25 1917. Wallerstein (1974) is another diamensionalist, who focuses on the economic view on the definition of globalization.
Taking from the works of Marx’s dependence theory, in his world systems theory where he developed a theoretical framework to understand the historical changes involved in the rise of the modern world, defines globalization as, “an increasing level of interdependence between national systems by way of trade, military alliance and domination, and cultural imperialism” cited in Walters (2001:4). Robertson Roland has been considered as one of the most prominent writers of issues of globalization. He explains globalization in the cultural domain. In is text, “Globalization as a Problem” in The Globalization Reader says ‘globalization as a concept refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole” Cited in Frank Lechner and John Boli (2004:94)
For Wallerstein, the world started going compression since the beginning of the sixteenth century, but Robertson; he argues that the history of globalization is far longer. For Robertson, through an increase in world wide consciousness a person is looked at and is examined by the whole world and not just by his or her own local environment in which he/she lives. However, both Wallerstein and Robertson’s ideas of the intensification of the world wide consciousness is said to match. According to Giddens globalization is seen as “the intensification of world wide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” Giddens (1990:4). These local happenings were said to be may be influenced by distant events and not just the local events, which all have been influenced by the forces of globalization.
Looking at Giddens (1990) and Robertson’s (1992) definitions, Giddens believes modernity has come as a result of globalization. That is, he considers modernity to be inherently globalizing. For Giddens globalization is said to have started during the sixteenth century onwards and in Europe in particular. However, in Robertson’s opinion, the problem of globalization is not new. He believes the social compression of the world has begun before the sixteenth century as predicted by Giddens. He predicts modernity and the rise of capitalism to be the cause of the rise of globalization. That is for Robertson, modernization has an influence on globalization.
In addition, because of this, it led to a high level of consciousness and the present situation where we in the present day are unable to trace the diffusion of globalization across a large number of areas in the different parts of the world. However, what can be said is that both Giddens and Robertson have tried to show that people are now able to see and understand issues beyond their immediate environments due to the emergence of the concept of globalization. Luhmann in his explanation of globalization focuses more on communication. For him communication is the major factor of globalization. He thus defines globalization as “the transition from integration to differentiation, from territorial society to world society; from identity to difference; from ‘stratified’ differentiation to ‘functional’” Luhmann (1982:133, 229).
Armand refers globalization as “one of those tricky words, one of those instrumental notions that, under the effects of market logics and without citizens being aware of it have been naturalized to the point of becoming indispensable for establishing communication between people of different cultures” Armand (2000:97). For Armand, globalization has a dominant role in organizing and decoding the meaning of the world.
In a similar manner, Beynon John and Dunkerley David in their general introduction to globalization: the reader, made the claim that “globalization is impacting on the lives of everyone on the … globalization might justifiably be claimed to be the defining features of human society at the state of the twenty-first century” Beynon John and Dunkerley David (2000: 3).
Beck on his text, What is globalization, he says globalization is the “blanket term” and thus describe it to be “the processes through which Sovereign national states are criss-crossed and undermined by transnational actors with varying prospects of power, orientation, identities and networks” Beck (2000:11). Beck also referred globalization as the “intensification of transnational space, events, problems, conflicts and biographies” (ibid: 87). He argues that we are moving into a ‘second modernity’ that is seen through growth of the economy, the information and communication technologies, civil society communications and the changes in the environment. He sees globalization to be discontinuous, conflictual and ill reversible because for him, it not different from any other historical process.
Although Beck contributed in the explanation of modernity just like other social scientists like Giddens and Marx, he never saw any good in this process. He thus focused more of his attention on the bad side of modernity, which he called a “risk society”. That is, the new modernity is only concern with the “prevention, minimization and channeling of risk” Cited in Ritzer (2000:222).
Waters Malcolm defines globalization in a less political approach as ‘a social process in which the constraints of geography on economic, political, social, and cultural arrangements recede, in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding and in which people act accordingly’ Walters (200:15). The idea that people are conscious that they are receding (been carried away can to some how be argued. This is because; at time, some people are not always conscious of the fact that the processes globalization is affecting them. People may be moving or acting through the forces of globalization unconscious.
Held and McGrew also defines globalization as a “process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions – assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity, velocity and impact- generating transcontinental or inter-regional flows and networks of activity” Held and McGrew (1999:16).
Thus, considering the views of the above-cited authors, globalization can be defined as intensification of economic, political, and socio-cultural relations in the localities of the world. Alternatively, it can be seen as the development of equal opportunities in the political, economic, socio-cultural realms of all nations in the world. It’s also related to the spread of modernization throughout the world. Globalization indicates increase linkages between people, goods and technology. It is a process whereby, national business enterprises and markets become world wide or international. That is, a situation whereby businesses which were been carried out within a particular country are now been extended to other countries across the globe. Globalization is the process of making the village a single entity. That is with the advent of globalization there is the continuity of the homogeneity of culture, economy, social and environmental aspects of the world.