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I am author of the books Political Internet(Routledge, 2017), Intimate Speakers ( Fingerprint! 2017), has finished the typescript of three books—first, on Internet and sexuality; second, on the negative impacts of social media; and third, a novel—and is presently working on a narrative non-fiction with the working title Lovescape: Why India is afraid of love.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Global Village

Global Village is a term closely associated with Marshall McLuhan popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan described how the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time. In bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion, electric speed heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.

Today, the term "Global Village" is mostly used as a metaphor to describe the Internet and World Wide Web. On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people, and therefore social spheres are greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others that share the same interests and concerns. Therefore, this technology fosters the idea of a conglomerate yet unified global community. Due to the enhanced speed of communication online and the ability of people to read about, spread, and react to global news very rapidly, McLuhan says this forces us to become more involved with one another from countries around the world and be more aware of our global responsibilities. Similarly, web-connected computers enable people to link their web sites together. This new reality has implications for forming new sociological structures within the context of culture.

From Global Village to Global Theater

No chapter in Understanding Media, or later books, contains the idea that the Global Village and the electronic media create unified communities. In fact, in an interview with Gerald Stearn, McLuhan says that it never occurred to him that uniformity and tranquillity were the properties of the Global Village. McLuhan argued that the Global Village ensures maximal disagreement on all points because it creates more discontinuity and division and diversity under the increase of the village conditions. The Global Village is far more diverse, full of fighting.After the publication of Understanding Media, McLuhan starts to use the term Global Theater to emphasise the changeover from consumer to producer, from acquisition to involvement, from job holding to role playing, stressing that there is no more community to clothe the naked specialist .

Globalization is a process of an intangible unification of countries of the world to develop a Global Village in spite of presence of physical barrier of geographical boundaries. In other words, the formation of a global village is a goal of globalization. In its essence, the process commenced when human beings started migrating from one place to another for their own physical survival or for economic activity or for sheer adventure. However, the process got recognizable in the post-Cold War era when the world got an impetus of fiber optic and satellite (electronic communication) revolutions affecting civic commercial life. This time the physical barrier was removed through a non-physical way. Resultantly, an abundant and quick flow of information in transcontinental dimensions made happen the process decipherable. Innovations in the means of mobility (transportation) also enhanced the process. In this case, the physical barrier was evaporated through a physical way.

Both the electronic communication (non-physical) and transportation (physical) have woven a web of globalization owing to which the goal of global village encompassing time and space seems achievable. That is why, it can also be said that globalization is a tertiary effect of scientific inventions of which the prime focus is humanity.

The path to a global village has vibrated the world hexagonally. That is to say, ideology, society, culture, economy, politics, and ethics are the six main dimensions.
On ideological front, globalization has drawn divergent and disparate ideologies together. The same can be visualized in the backdrop of the famous hypothesis, the "Clash of Civilizations," propounded by S. P. Huntington. This front has given a possibility of an ideological confrontation. It is considered that the recent Middle East upheaval and the September 11 event bear relevance to the same. On societal plane, globalization has brought about social changes in a recipient society. The well-known "triple F" (Fast Food Family) phenomenon is a major manifestation of that. This plane is perceived as a major threat to the societies that give value to societal nature and structure, like south Asian societies.

On cultural aspect, globalization has incited every non-western culture to get westernized. The renowned concept "the West over the Rest" is an illustration of that. This aspect creates a general pool of non-acceptance of the western culture especially its immaterial form like liberal life style. This aspect seems quite unacceptable in the conservative societies, like that of the Middle East.

On economic facet, globalization has propagated Capitalism as a new force of global economic life. Consequently, the notorious "poor-rich divide" has ascended from the national boundaries to the global level. Its promoter is considered to be certain institutions like WB, IMF, and WTO. Similarly, the G8 and NGOs have also played their due role. The transnational flow of investment as well as swarming of the Multinational Companies (MNCs) around free trade option remains a prominent feature. Due to employment of cheap labour from the developing countries, the costly labour of the developed countries has become jobless. Various companies are also inclined to cut social benefits of the workers. Moreover, the merger of the MNCs has caused accumulation of wealth in few hands and prevented the global trickle down effect. Europe and American continents are the major areas of calling out hostile rallies as a sign of discontent to the same.

On political surface, globalization has challenged all the non-democratic systems and offered them a reverberant idea of democracy for all. This idea is sweeping the world swiftly except where a socialist school of thought is still strong, like few countries of the former Communist bloc. On the same surface, the monarchical Middle East is also offering resistance.

On ethical frontage, globalization has taught the legendary phrase: thank you for saying sorry. Consequently, the civilized "Thank you-Sorry" trend has become a preliminary part of introduction of the once wild West. However, many western ethical values give a chance to the Confucian countries of the Far East like China, Japan, and the Koreas to feel threatened.

The aforementioned six dimensions have presented the world a new fold to reshape itself. That is why; in any anti-globalization movement, all the dissident groups belonging to the aforementioned six dimensions, individually or collectively, are the fundamental constituents. Globalization provokes different antagonistic groups from different areas of the globe due to different reasons. It seems that the theory of Evolution where survival of the fittest is the governing formula, is also active. In other words, nature is poised to select which ideology, society, culture, economy, politics, and ethics is the best to survive. The rejected one will become a relic of history.

Human culture being dynamic in nature is attracted to novelty. Simultaneously, we are obsessive in nature too. we cling to our ancestral and the owned values pertaining to any aforementioned six dimensions. Our obsessive nature keeps us stubborn to even accept a change. Resultantly, we remain dissatisfied and disgruntled at the proposed or acquired newness. That is how; globalization has also become a source of conflict on what to accept and what to reject to accomplish the job of nature.

The inherent force (the tertiary effects of the inventions) in the process of globalization leaves no room for opting out for any country. Each has to be a willing part of the process and not the reluctant one. The process calls for an openning up and undertakes adjustments related to all the aforementioned six dimensions in order to attain homogeneity, ideally. Alternatively, it entails an accepted and agreed heterogeneity wherever realignment is impossible.

Globalization is a vibrant process that is bound to integrate the world more in the coming years as technology progresses. It is to be understood that in order to achieve the goal of a global village, while diluting the boundaries of the nation states, globalization enjoins upon all the inhabitants of the world to be global citizens to "think globally and act globally" from the space engineering to the genetic engineering.

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