Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cultural Diffusion via the Internet

Appadurai wrote, “The world we live in now seems rhizomic . . . calling for theories of rootlessness, alienation and psychological distance between individuals ad groups . . .” (page 3).  If this is true, I find it quite ironic - now that technology can eliminate boundaries between communications with different cultures and places, why are people and groups more psychologically distant?  There are so many new ways to communicate - the internet brings people together from all around the world, which expedites cultural diffusion - so what brings about this alienation? Appadurai also talks a lot about how people are paranoid about Americanization/Japaneization/Indianization -- basically any form of hegemony and cultural dominance - people don’t want to lose their own culture.  While I relate homogenization with conformity (negative) - I don’t believe that it's the same concept as cultural diffusion.  When a new culture spreads to a different country, is it inevitable that the original culture will be lost?  People fear this loss and are so paranoid about it, but I believe there is a steady balance between the two; we must find it so that people can stop fearing a dominant, overbearing culture.  Since the internet spreads and promotes certain cultures over others, this gives more advance countries the upper hand.  This explains why people who feel their culture is threatened are most likely to also fear the growth of the internet.  Lastly, on page 20, Appadurai says, “our very models of cultural shape will have to alter, as configurations of people, place and heritage lose all semblance of isomorphism.”  This reminds me of the belief that humans and machines evolve together -- that people change with technology.  With increased use of the internet come more culture diffusion, creating branches off of various cultures and drastic changes in people’s way of life. 

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