Globalization

By Ryan Shy

Mapping Globalization; Ethnocentrism to Global Citizenship, this interesting program was on October 21st, 2014 in the Panthers Den. The guest speaker was Mr. David Goldman; who was born in Maryland but is living and teaching in Salzburg, Austria. He started out with defining ethnocentrism, which was good, because before going to this, many people probably didn’t know what it meant, or how it affected us. Ethnos is a group of people who identify with each other through shared culture. Centrism means at the center, the notion that ones’ own ethnic group is centrally important and seeing the world from that perspective. Goldman challenged the audience to think about their views and how they have ethnocentrism in their own culture.

Mr. Goldman told the audience to think of the world maps as a metaphor, and he showed ethnocentrism by using the maps. He said “people forget maps are maps. We grow up believing in world maps, but actually, they are distorted. The earth is round and the maps are flat.”

The concept of people and power was next, how people grew up and where determines how their ethnocentrism works. He gave a few examples like the USSR and Russia, where the map they taught had Moscow in the center of the map. It had good projection, so there was less distortion, and showed more of the Southern Hemisphere. With the history between Russia and America, the USA was put off, made smaller on their map. Another one was the upside-down map, where McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World put Australia in the middle or on top.

Ethnocentrism is a human universal, he said. No culture is more valuable than others. For others to respect our own culture, we need to understand and respect theirs. Think about this, he suggested, where do we draw the line for respecting others cultures? In some places stoning people to death is still a form of punishment. Mr. Goldman urged people to start thinking critically about globalization and interconnectedness. He showed slides from www.worldmapper.org that show interconnectedness among countries, including how arms sales flow from developed countries to developing and undeveloped countries. Africa leads the word in war deaths. The United States and Europe lead the world in arms sales.

David Goldman suggests the book, If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen the mall. It talks about homogenization, and also, hybridization.

Goldman’s example was Mecca Cola, in 2003, people basically took the Coca Cola colors and design to appeal to the Middle East because they wanted cola, but they didn’t want American cola.

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