Sunday, September 26, 2010

Globalization, Identity, and Cross-Cultural Communication

This week, we talked about how globalization applies to the field of International Communication. As IC students, what should we take from the globalization discussion? What are the implications for a future career in the field of IC? One important thing to remember is that local sensitivities must be taken into account; that some messages will resonate globally, while others will not.

Increased interconnectedness also intensifies the challenges that occur when people from different cultures interact at the interpersonal, national, and international levels. While the importance of effective cross-cultural communication has existed as long as people from different cultures have come together, globalization and technological developments have facilitated and increased the frequency of these interactions. Study abroad programs, corporations, and government agencies, frequently provide some kind of cross-cultural training to people being sent overseas, to help facilitate communication and decrease misunderstanding. Not only does effective training allow for greater cooperation and increase the chance of a successful outcome, but it is cost-effective. Cross-cultural communication is also a domestic necessity, as people move across borders and the world becomes more diverse.

Another factor to consider is how globalization is impacting individual identity. John Sinclair describes an individual in the globalized world as a “deterritorialized, decentered subject of postmodernism” (“Globalization, Supranational Institutions, and Media,” p. 74). Globalization has increased the complexity of individual identity, as people are more likely to form multiple levels of identity rather than one simple, constant identity tied to the nation-state. Yet as Silvio Waisbord argues, “neither subnational (local) nor supranational (regional and cosmopolitan) formations and identities offer alternative identities to minimize, let alone eliminate, nationalistic feelings” (“Media and the Reinvention of the Nation,” p. 375). In other words, though globalization has resulted in multiple levels of identity, national affiliation remains the most significant. But in terms of cross-cultural communication, one should be aware of how these multiple identities and affiliations may differ from the dominant national culture.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice summary of what globalization theories are and how they may affect us out in the 'real world'