Effects of globalization on the Irish Culture

Globalization and Its Effect on Irish Culture and Identity

Define the term globalization and explain why it is a controversial term.

Societies in the present world are interconnected and gain awareness regarding the events and situations happening on different parts of the world. Global awareness has become important and is also defined as the speeding, deepening and widening up of the inter-connections in context of life, culture, spirituality and even economically (Marconis, and Plummer, 2002). Globalization is also defined as the increasing connections between different societies in a way that they all have an effect of the event that is happening far from them (Marconis, and Plummer, 2002). Some of the main features of globalization are that economic transactions take place across borders, communication is increased, awareness regarding different cultures is increased, international governance is created, common problems and their solutions are shared etc. Although globalization is commonly seen in positive light, it is also considered controversial due to some features. A culture, when it crosses over to different societies and countries globally, its characteristics changes in accordance with local conditions and acceptance values. For example, Thai cuisine has expanded to a lot of food loving countries, but every local has changed or modified it. Thai cuisine in California will not be the same as Thai cuisine in New York, so the original Thai cuisine is not retained. This is known as Glocalization. Secondly, hybridization takes place in which the different forms of social life are diversified from old to new, making changes in the traditional ways, which is seen as controversial among many people (Marconis, and Plummer, 2002).

Identify some key features of globalization and the factors driving it.

Globalization has become an important debate in media, business and politics and is defined as the increasing inter-connectedness of people all over the world. It is also related to flow of communication and information through technology[footnoteRef:2]. Some of the key features of globalization are: [2: ]

Transfer of Communication and Information Technology: With the internet connectivity at its advanced level, people find no problem at all in connecting all over the world. Currently there are around 200 satellites that connect people from the opposite sides of the world. Information is easily transferred and communication between people regarding work or family continues. The countries that are fully developed have multiple accesses with people through internet, mobile phones, television etc. This makes sure that the flow of information is consistent and thorough (Giddens, and Sutton, 2013).

Economic Globalization: Politics play an important part in globalization but it is the economics that has the people underpinned in business and profits. World economy in the present times is very important as the financials of one country are affected by those of another country. Apart from that, people have established their business in different parts of the world which improves the economy of both the countries. Furthermore, tourism plays an important part in connecting people and indirectly improves the economy of that particular country (Giddens, and Sutton).

Political Globalization: As mentioned earlier, politics has a lot of role to play in the development of globalization. Communism was defeated due to technology and exchange of information. European Union and United Nations is another example of globalization and act as a single platform where all the problems of the worlds are discussed (Giddens, and Sutton).

Explain the three different viewpoints on globalization identified by Held (1999).

Globalization has been debated over hotly from time to time. Different concepts were presented by philosophers and debaters. David Held along with his fellow workers (Held et al. 1999) surveyed the skeptical voices and divided them into three categories (Giddens & Sutton, 2013). These are:

Hyperglobalizers: In this category, the debaters state that globalization is the ‘real phenomenon’ that is spread all over the world with immense affects. They state that the politicians no longer have the power to run their states with good governance because the countries do not oversee their economies and the national governments are unable to exercise their control. They also state the powers of the governments are being challenged by the higher power like EU or UN (Giddens & Sutton, 2013).

Skeptics: They believe that globalization is overrated and that it existed before as well. The connectivity of the people has been improved due to the advancements in networks but globalization is not a new phenomenon. They profess that the countries are not more connected than before in different aspects, and that globalization is limited to between three parts of the world which are North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe and not the entire world, that too because of trading activities amongst them (Giddens & Sutton, 2013).

Transformationalists: This category comes in between the previous categories as they view it as a central process taking place behind the modern societies, but they also argue that even though transformation is taking place, there still remain the old ways. They also believe that the national governments have authority despite the inter-dependence of the countries. They state that the nations are not losing authority but simply creating new forms of social and economic organization (Giddens & Sutton, 2013).

Globalization of culture- Explain what is meant by the term cultural imperialism? What does this theory explain and what does it ignore?

Cultural Imperialism is the domination of one culture over another. For example, the saris in India are popular and a part of their culture. Each sari takes more than a month to be made as the delicate designs on silk take time to complete. However, the machines in China are dominating the hand-made culture in India and are making saris that are made much quickly. This way the saris are losing their unique touch that comes from India and the machine culture of China is dominating and destroying the Indian culture. However, not all the cultures suffer the same fate; many refuse to be affected by the other cultures and keep their basic beliefs intact and values like the Islamic and Chinese culture. It ignores the fact that it is destroying a culture that has been with the locals for centuries and combines two cultures together and produces a mixed outcome leading to a loss of originality of cultures involved (Ritzer, 2012)

What does the term glocalization mean? What does the term hybridisation mean?

The term glocalization is the combination of local and globalization and means that there are a lot of cultural and economic exchanges taking place across the globe, but each local picks up o foreign influence and molds his own culture with the new one and creates a new culture from the two. For example, Thai Cuisine in New York is different from Thai Cuisine in California and other parts of the world (Macionis & Plummer, 2008).

Hybridization on the other hand is the diversification of old practices into new ones. It changes the traditional forms of social lives and with the exchange and awareness of other social forms from around the world, diversity takes place to create new forms (Macionis & Plummer, 2008).

Explain support for a cultural homogenization / standardization approach.

The Irish have always been meant to live in the societies that are global because of their history of immigration; however in the recent years, the Irish people have realized a sense of self-identity and a sense of urgency and belonging towards it. This too is facing an opposing force, which wants to fragmentize the local identity into gender, class, region, language and religion, in other words called glocalization. Debate in support of cultural effect on globalization is being overpowered by cultural homogenization/standardization, which presents the aspect that the differences in cultures are coming to an end and a global culture is evolving. This global culture is also known as westernization (Tovey & Share, 2003). One of the most visible examples of this is McDonalds, which has its franchises all over the world. It has the same meaning and idea in every country and every city and people have accepted the fast food culture globally. Different clothing outlets can also be seen widely spread across different countries and cities and people consider them a part of their cultural lives. An argument in support of cultural homogenization says that the media plays an important role in global capitalization. It speeds up the distribution of different goods by advertisements and socialization in consumerism. Consumerism, according to the debaters, is one culture that is recognized by every person and has the same effect on the people through the media. Another perspective states that cultural standardization emphasizes more on price, decor, service and taste which are the features of capitalism and helps to make more profits (Tovey & Share, 2003).

Critique this argument. What examples have you got from Irish culture to show the impact of glocalization on Irish culture and identity?

The Irish society along with other societies share the need for political institutions so that the can work independently of the economic institutions so that they can influence the changes by global economies on the locals. If the Irish society has to avoid capitalism then it has to build political institutions that can make the changes and separate them from the others. Even if the state cannot change the international processes of economy, it can play a significant domestic role in managing the effect on the local population (Tovey & Share, 2003). Even though the states are not the product of national movements or a nation that wants to be self-governed, they still play a noteworthy role in the creation of a nation. The Irish principles have been particularly strong on nation building since 1922. The Irish state agents in this engagement knew the difficulties linked with the situation of post-colonial era in which the stereotypes had to be reversed. In as much it can be said that the Irish participated actively in building the new culture and presenting their own image to the world. This compelled the locals to work for and invest in the country that was underdeveloped and struggling to survive. Many debaters argue that globalization destroys a particular culture by which they are recognized globally. In the present times, every state has to participate actively in the international organizations like EU or UN in order to create an effect in the world and to keep up with the rapidly changing scenario (Tovey & Share, 2003).

How does Tom Inglis explain the change from catholic capitalism to consumer capitalism? Why did it happen and what has been its impact on Irish culture and identity? How does this tie in with the concept of glocalization?

In the present times, the inter-connectedness of global culture has increased through media; technology, immigration; travel etc. And the Irish are learning new ways and realizing hybrid forms of culture. The survival of these cultural forms is however being commoditized and commercialized. The Irish culture is now becoming a cultural representation, which is consumed and produced, not by inheritance or an identity, but, as a personal identity chosen by the locals themselves. It is not the Irish only who embrace this lifestyle but the people who like the Irish lifestyle as well. They like to wear this identity even if it is not as permanent. The Irish culture is mixed with the lifestyle, practices, and representation of the other cultures as well, however, at the same time; the Irish identity is becoming standardized because of the way it is adapted by the cosmopolitans (Inglis, 2008). The Irish in the old days had a more strong idea of Church. In their minds, sex was not to be performed outside of marriage or else they felt guilt and remorse over their actions. This thought was not different than the other western world but they lasted deeper in the Irish. However, with time and globalization, the locals began to adopt different forms and consumerism was one of them. In order to stay different from the identity of other nations, the Irish took to capitalism as an inherent character. They thought this would give them an identity, pride and a meaning in the lives and a chance to become more creative and innovative (Inglis, 2008).


Giddens, A., & Sutton, P.W. (2013). Sociology (7th ed.). Wiley.pp.127-148. Chapter 1.

Inglis, T. (2008). Global Ireland?: same difference. New York, London: Routledge.

Macionis, J.J., & Plummer, K. (2008). Sociology: A Global Introduction. Pearson Prentice Hall.pp.661-662, pp. 33-36.

Ritzer, G. (2012). Introduction to Sociology. London, SAGE Publications. pp 136-141.

Tovey, H., & Share, P. (2003). A Sociology of Ireland. Gill & Macmillan Ltd.pp.537-544.

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