The development process is an integral part of every living organism’s existence, starting from an individual’s life, nation’s evolution and ending with world society’s progress. Self-perfection is the primary goal of people from the first days of their life, and almost at once they start looking for the ways to reach it. As a man is a key element of the society, all its processes are obviously inextricably linked with human’s desires, including the need for continuous development. People’s strong striving to go beyond the limits of their internal space, borders of their native towns or countries has generated such social phenomenon as globalization. Today it is a leading tendency of nation and world’s development that is considered as a universal cause of any changes in any sphere of life, economy or politics. Apparently, crossing borders causes global interaction in all processes of human life, with all positive and negative consequences. Therefore, globalization is considered the most controversial theme nowadays.
The ubiquitous influence of globalization could not affect cultural processes that are especially hotly debated questions concerning the phenomenon of globalization. Culture belongs to the most sensitive and vulnerable areas of social life because its significant part is hidden in consciousness of its representatives. So, any cultural change firstly takes place in people’s mind. Awareness of this fact makes the community ponder about the possible threats and the prospects of this modern process. The society took a course on globalization to expand facets of cultural development. As a result, the question whether such progress may cause devastation of the world cultural treasury through the loss of nations’ identity became acute. This issue is especially significant to the developing nations that have yet to choose the direction of their development, including forming or saving of the cultural values’ system. The answer to this question can be found only by the means of analyzing the influence of cultural globalization on the society from both positive and negative perspectives. This paper seeks to do such an analysis based on Georgia’s changes brought about by globalization.
Aspects of Positive Globalization’s Influence
Cultural Exchange as a New Possibility for Development Based on Tourism
Intensification of cultural exchanges belongs to the primary benefit of globalization. Every year the number of travelers who want to immerse themselves in the foreign culture medium increases. According to World Tourism Organization’s data, “International tourist arrivals worldwide growth – from 25 million in 1950 to 278 million in 1980, 528 million in 1995, and 1087 million in 2013 and are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030.” Developing nations often have a great benefit of such situation because their cultural potential gives them an opportunity to develop tourism sector of economics. Converting spiritual heritage to financial resources creates an excellent platform not only for economic development, but also for saving and popularization of the culture identity. Georgia is the brightest example among European countries that achieved fast temps of development through the use of culture.
Transparency of Borders and Talents’ Free Movement
Transparency of borders is an excellent opportunity for transferring talents as well as objects of cultural heritage. Numerous artists, conductors, musicians, singers, and actors may demonstrate their activity far beyond their native country. Thus, results of art cease to be the legacy of a single nation and become the heritage of the whole mankind. For instance, unknown earlier Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet today is the one of the most famous art teams in the world that present authentic culture of the nation far across its territorial bounds. Georgian polyphonic music tradition that was acknowledged as a masterpiece of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO’s list is one of the brightest examples when nation’s heritage becomes a significant part of the world treasury.
Cultural mass events are one of bright examples when culture goes beyond the limits of territories. Travelling aimed at participation in authentic events is a rather widespread phenomenon of the modern time. The way of leisure, types of entertainments and hospitality’s traditions more fully convey the cultural features of a nation. Recognizing the importance of events for closer world cooperation, in March, 2015 Georgia signed an agreement about its participation in Creative Europe Program that forecasts involving Georgian organization in “audiovisual training events and festivals as of this year”.
Globalization and Literature
It can also be said about writing is one of the cultural reflections. By means of art styles authors, as a rule, describe the reality in which they live. A lot of precious art works were not accessible to readers because of language diversity. The globalization’s processes give an impetus to active translation of world-known masterpieces. The 8th International Symposium “National Literatures and the Process of Cultural Globalization” took place in Georgia in September last year. It was the eight times a lot of international representatives discussed the modern challenges of literature. This fact is a strong confirmation of the nation’s active participation in the process of literature globalization.
Mass-Media’s Role in the Cultural Globalization
However, not only the transparency of borders promotes intensification of cultural exchanges, but also the media, especially the Internet. It creates a lot of variants for presenting cultural heritage, such as interactive information, photo, and video devices. All of them as well as virtual tours and workshops give people who have no chance to travel an opportunity to be involved in the globalization process. At the same time, the media are the primary source of inspiration for traveling.
Some scholars consider cultural globalization as the most significant means of globalization. Thus, Movius wrote that “while globalization has many facets – economic, political and cultural – it is cultural globalization that occurs through the media”. The necessity and possibility to create numerous Internet sources devoted to Georgia’s culture, such as Travel Georgia, Georgian Museum, Museums’, and personal Internet pages appeared because of globalization.
Summarizing the positive influence of globalization on culture, one can admit that it causes an increase in the rates of production, consumption and dissemination of cultural values. Such intensification of cultural processes has an inverse impact on the society through expanding people’s possibilities, enriching them with the knowledge that promotes social development. Moreover, the cultural identity of the nations becomes more meaningful not only for the local society, but also for the whole world, as in the case of Georgia. European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics admitted that:
welcoming a country with its own unique, 2000-year old alphabet and language, a strong literary tradition, beautiful Orthodox religious art and, more recently, a film sector recognized with an Oscar nomination for the ‘Tangerines’ film, will be enriching for the Program and all cultural players involved.
Aspects of Negative Globalization’s Aftermaths in Georgia
Although globalization seems to have only benefits, there are a lot of thoughts about its threat to culture and society. Moreover, all advantages mentioned above are often perceived as negative tendencies. Thus, it is important to look at them from another perspective.
Globalization’s Threats for Cultural Identity and Social Development
There are a lot of fears among scholars about perceiving culture as the measure of reaching success and material well-being that causes the devaluation of cultural values and deceleration of social development. Numerous debates are going on the theme of mass media’s detrimental effect on young generation’s mind. Moreover, the existence of numerous condensed versions of writings creates the condition when students do not need to read the full text and have no opportunity to grasp it through their internal perceiving. It results in ordinary judgments and a lack of independent opinion. It does not allow them to see the difference between true culture and its artificial signs and leads to blindly following the latter one. It can be demonstrated on the simplest example of youth’s leisure that includes attending McDonald’s because it is fashionable. Global communication creates a necessity of a global language. Thus, striving to obtain benefits of globalization provokes a desire to speak a common tongue. It certainly causes the loss of authentic linguistic elements that are an expression of the connection between generations.
Possible Consequences of the Identity Crisis Provoked by Globalization
One can speak about the reverse side of all the globalization’s advantages for a long time. Obviously, all of these aspects are present in the Georgian society; however, there is one more topical issue in Georgia that deserves special attention. The question of identity crisis is the most controversial one in terms of globalization. The unique local heritage may be lost because of the creation of the global society with common cultural values. However, this cultural diversity is the most precious heritage of the humankind. Moreover, a problem concerning national and cultural self-identity is a real threat of globalization. There are a lot of nations in the world with an ethnic diversity, including Georgia. Groups with different historical roots and geo-cultural orientations imagine the process of globalization in diverse ways. Their desire for self-determination often threatens the existence of frontiers. It has happened in Caucasus that is now characterized by multiculturalism. Each of its cultures “becomes open and transparent. This global tendency shifted the Georgian culture to conflict conditions”. However, this conflict was based on striving to save the identity of small culture groups and finding an intercultural dialog. It shows that the process of globalization makes the questions of identity acuter, emphasizing it and provoking people ponder about their cultural belonging. This obvious fact points to the existence of a contradictory side concerning the question of identity. Globalization does not destroy the cultural diversity, but promotes it. Such claim recalls with scholars’ thoughts who say that “globalization far from destroying, it has been perhaps the most significant force in creating and proliferating cultural identity”.
One can admit that aftermaths of cultural globalization is rather ambiguous. Each positive side can be interpreted as a negative one. All the influences are circulating in the system of interconnections between culture and the society. Cultural changes provoke social transformation, and all social tendencies are reflected by culture. This close correlation between such multifaceted spheres and their direct impact on the other field of human being is the primary reason for the contradictory perception of globalization. All mentioned aspects of cultural globalization directly or indirectly are connected with the question of culture identity, which is considered as a crucial moment in social development. Thus, it is not accidental that cultural globalization is at the core of discussions on globalization.
To conclude, the paper was aimed at finding an answer to the question about the existence of global threats that cultural globalization may bring to the development of a nation. In order to do this, the diverse thoughts about positive and negative consequences were revealed. This contradictory analysis disclosed the fact that there is no unequivocal answer to the question for all nations in the world. Globalization is an inevitable process, and all its possible aftermath should be estimated as challenges that need an adequate reaction. Each nation should choose its own way of acting to avoid participation in the global processes or be involved in them without losing any cultural identity. However, nations should understand that staying out of the globalization process may cause their insulation and regress in all spheres of human life being.