The Media and Globalization Globalization contains many factors, which can be studied in a wide range of ways. It can be analyzed on a macro level or a micro level, with many contributors. Terhi Rantanen, in her book The Media and Globalization, explores the media as a contributor to globalization. While explaining the many level media’s impact is seen, she chooses to show the micro level of its impacts in relation to globalization.
She explains several factors of the role of media such as the transformation of the media, time and space, nationalism, de-territorialization and also through several scapes. The scapes that I will be touching on, which are the micro level of the analysis, are ethnoscapes, financescapes, mediascapes and timescapes. Rantanen shows how the different scapes and media are involved in globalization through time and place. She does this through studying and interviewing three families and their four generations. In order to fully understand the micro level of Rantanen’s studies we must understand the macro level of globalization.
She explains the progress of studies starting with the first emergence in the U. S. after World War I, when they realized that media and communication are an important role in war. Later media was used in the form of propaganda to manipulate behaviors and attitudes. The studies then began to develop into how nations communicated with each other with an emphasis on politics.
At this point it could be seen that media has a large impact in globalization. The macro level of media and globalization can be studied in terms of the relations it has as a whole, in any manner, such as politically. One concept that Rantanen explains on a macro level, later explored on a micro level, is the concept of time, place and space. First focusing on time, clocks and calendars can be seen as the first steps to globalization. Through the mass standardization of time everyone is brought together. Thomas Friedman gave an excellent example of this in his book, The World is Flat, by telling his experience of walking into an office where there were many clocks hanging on the wall, all have times of different places around the world.
This act showed the connection that the company had with all its clients spread out over the globe. The next development in the changing of time and space is he telegraph. This invention created a faster way of getting news to the public. Progressing from there, the radio was introduced.
The radio broke many boundaries in the world of communication. A radio program could be turned on at any time of the day, reporting never stopped. Rantanen emphasizes the emphasis that the medias overlapped to enhance the effect of globalization. With the development of the media not only time was changed but the concept of place and space. Place can be defined as a geographical location whereas space is not tangible, it has no boarders.
In the book there is no definite concept on how the two relate. One concept is that through media the world is stretched further apart though these medias. The other concept is that the world has become closer and is on an even level all over. An example that makes you think about both of these concepts would be, when you are watching television can it be seen that you are being connected to the rest of the world through space; or are you being taken away from being out in the world to making you stay in one place? Rantanen chooses to leave the answer to the reader and explores the concept of place and space through the experiences of the families, the micro level of this concept. Rantanen is interested in how individuals all over the world and across time are affected by globalization primarily through media. She does this through the study of scapes, the direct contributors to the changes in people’s lives.
Through the study of the families the role of scapes can further the understanding of the micro level of globalization. Mediascapes explore the media and the interaction it plays globally in terms of bringing people together in time and space, particularly through the distribution of information. Media has a great impact on people’s lives; it brings people together and forms a common bond, adding to globalization. The sharing of news through television, radio, and newspapers creates a common experience for everyone who sees it. An example of this on a micro level is when demonstrators take to the streets after seeing acts of violence on television and all share in the same feelings of fighting for the cause.
This also shows how space is taken away through media; it creates an instant connection with the outside world. One major media that does this is the Internet. Through the Internet anyone can gain information or images from anywhere. Utilizing these benefits of the media can be seen on a more micro level, such as using the Internet and phone to keep in touch with family. This keeps a connection and sense of belonging to a specific place without having to physically be there.
The Finnish family uses the Internet to keep in touch with each other and to stay connected to the community of Finnish people. There are so many communities brought together through media that the sense of physical space has been transformed into something new. Expanding upon this idea of the transformation of people and their interactions through media, national identity and de-territorialization must be discussed. National identity is traditionally seen as the connection people have who live in a specific geographical location. Rantanen emphasizes the role media plays in this concept. She explains that due to the national space and people’s shortness of memory there must be a constant reminder of common situations between citizens.
This is done through media. Common issues can be shown happening all over the country and can show that the people all share the same opinions on specific events that are happening. In order to maintain nationalism, in its highest form, a homogeneous situation is created, and outside influences must be controlled. An example of this would be through the Chinese family, their government giving the community the same messages, which brought them together, controlled their only media. Through new medias the boundaries of this defined nationalism is being skewed. They are able to promote national communities along with transnational communities.
People all over the world can now share a sense of community without physical boundaries through new media such as movies and the Internet. Due to this process a sense of heterogenization, or a mixing of cultures, is brought about, along with the idea of de-territorialization. No longer having the need geographical boundaries in order to form a connection has created people to attempt to recreate new cultural ‘ homes’ outside of the nations. Traditions are being fused with new resources of the area in order to recreate a local version of their original cultures.
Examples of this can be seen in cities where there are Chinatowns and German towns, and so on. This leads into the next scape that Rantanen explains in the role of media and globalization. Another scape that is on a more personal micro level is Ethnoscape. This explores how people’s location, lifestyle, and emigration contribute to the use of media and communication in globalization. Rantanen easily shows examples of ethnoscape through her three families. One example within the Finnish family is when the first generation moved into an industrialized area, bringing them more interaction with others and new media.
The Latvian-Israeli family experienced a zigzag in their progression; the second oldest moved to a kibbutz then the later generation moved back to an urban lifestyle. The kibbutz had restricted media compared to the urban lifestyle. This move could also be seen as a rebellion against the development of the media and globalization. As for the Chinese family, they had little control of media and communication until rather recently, due to the communist reign of the country.
The only media allowed was the radio and writings promoting nationalism of China. The most recent generation in this family has been exposed to media and communication through leaving and seeking an education. All these families have experienced globalization, though at different times, mostly through the change of location in this scape. As all the different scapes interact with each other, the next one has the most direct interaction with ethnoscapses. Financescape can go hand in hand with the ethnoscape of the people.
Financscape can be seen as the profession, class, and lifestyle of the people. The financial standing also controls the interaction, availability and access the people have to media and communication. For example, the Finnish family moved from an agrarian lifestyle to an industrialized one for survival. This move brought them in closer contact with others and new media. The Latvian family started out with the finances to have more of the media, such as movies, later stepping away from the urban way of life into a communal lifestyle. The Chinese family, in a non-capitalist government, had no finances to start; later the youngest generation was able to seek an education in order to compete financially and build upon the family’s way of life.
One scape that I feel is an important part of the combining of all the scapes is the timescape. Time in general has evolved and has been integrated into our lifestyles. In the earlier generations of families time was based on what needed to be done at certain times of the day and year. As industrialization came about so did a communal sense of time, jobs were now based on different time shifts. The way of life became based around the clock. Time zones were introduced and so people became conscience of what time it was in other locations.
Time can also be seen in media, news being reported whether in print or on television gave people a sense of time, when things happened. The telephone brought about saving time in the interaction of communication with others, before this letters would take much longer to reach people. The current media of mobile phones and the Internet also cut down time in communicating with others. This transformation of both people and media with time greatly advances globalization, connecting people and places in a more direct manner.
Rantanen’s exploration of the role of media and globalization was very detailed. The levels of macro and micro effects are very intricate in the relations to society. The sense of time, nationalism, de-territorialization and scapes can be seen to have different affects on people around the world. Time has brought everyone together and at a faster rate of communication. Nationalism is skewed and is not necessarily confined to a geographical location, also making de-territorialization a new topic in the world. Through these three families that were interviewed, and the analysis of the through scapes, the many issues of their relationship with media can be seen.
Some choose to accept the media, while others fought to reject it. I believe that in order to progress in this world people need to adapt to the world of media and their surroundings. Looking at these three families throughout the book one can consider that in the end this is exactly what is happening in societies all over the world.
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