Discussion: Appadurai & Patterson

Our group found similarities in Appadurai and Patterson in that they both use globalization to explain the spread of culture and ideas through technology and transportation. The fast-paced interchanges between countries circulate different ideas to various cultures that before they would not have been exposed to before. Both authors argue that cultural transformation is not a linear process, yet is the outcome of various exchanges between groups of people. With technological innovation, culture is able to adapt and transform.

Appaduari argues that the societal exchanges in the past were limited to religion and warfare, the two main points of conflict between different groups of people. Today with the increased flow of information through technological advances and mass media, exchanges include the flow of images, capital, ideas, and people of across the globe. These global exchanges transform local culture making a conglomerate culture than there was before.

We discussed Patterson’s overall argument that the new global culture that is forming in ecumenical America is not necessarily Americanization, yet it embraces aspects from cultures from all over the world as they have co-evolved.

It was most interesting to view cultural exchange in Patterson’s text as one global culture rather than a culture based on the Americanization of other cultures. Cultures everywhere, including American culture have adapted to include aspects from other cultures with whom they have come into conflict due to globalization. Patterson talks about Miami as its own cultural hub spurring from Latin American countries and the Caribbean. This is an example of a city within the U.S. that is now the center of the West Atlantic regional cosmos relying more on the Caribbean societies instead of the U.S. economy.  This is happening more and more as large cities are taking on this global culture and adapting to meet the needs of their diverse demographics.

Is Patterson correct in the way he argues that cultures are coming together and creating a new global community or are these cultural cosmopolis just providing space and acceptance for specific sub-cultures ?


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