Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization

By Marwan M. Kraidy | Go to book overview
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2 Scenarios of Global Culture

Il faut revendiquer, par rapport a l’idéologie globalitaire, la notion de
métissage…. Nous sommes dans des mondes qui ne vont pas vers la
globalisation culturelle; il faut être malhonnête intellectuellement pour penser
que nous allons vers une culture globale.

(One has to reclaim, in relation to globalist ideology, the notion of
hybridity…. We are in worlds that are not heading toward cultural
globalization; one has to be intellectually dishonest to think that we are
heading toward a global culture.)

—Armand Mattelart

THE NOTION of global culture is inherent to the contemporary zeitgeist. It conjures up images of a planetary MTV generation listening to Britney Spears on a Sony Walkman in Nike sneakers and Gap sweaters while biting into Big Macs washed down by gulps of CocaCola. To some, these snapshots of a global youth consumer culture are unmistakable signs of the fulfillment of McLuhan’s global village, where a new generation linked by the language of global popular culture celebrates diversity and thrives in an increasingly interconnected world. To others, these same vignettes are symptoms of a global dystopia where identity, citizenship, and social agency are manipulated by industries of mass persuasion that shape them into niche subcultural markets for a global and soulless capitalism. In spite of their disagreement, both criers of utopia and prophets of dystopia consider transnational media and cultural industries to be major forces in the globalization of culture. Technologies such as satellite television, cellular phones, the Internet, and digital cable have created seamless flows of transnational images, ideas, and ideologies that link scattered locales in what Indian American anthropologist Arjun Appadurai (1996) metaphorized as the “scapes” of globalization.

In the academic world, the idea of global culture—alternatively referred to as “transnational culture,” “cultural globalization,” or “globalization of culture”—has attracted engagement and speculation


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