For many centuries, the way in which cultures have interacted has been largely restricted by their geography and in some instances, active resistance; like in the case of China and Japan. As explained by Appadurai (p27, 1990) the main forces for any cultural interactions prior to the last century or so have been by means of warfare, or religious exploits (often involving warfare in some form). Due to the limitations such as distance, technologies, any dealings between culturally and spatially separated had been sustained at great cost and with immense effort.
Today, sustaining these international relationships can be as easy as the click of a button. We live in what could be referred to as the ‘Golden Age of Globalisation’. A time where issues that are affecting groups on one side of the globe can be witnessed in real-time by people in other time zones, continents and cultures.
Appaduri (p33, 1996), proposed a framework to explore the many dimensions of global cultural flows, they included; Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes, Technoscapes, Finacescapes, and Ideoscapes. They are all interconnected and each play an important role in globalisation. A perfected example of their interconnectedness is the way in which technoscapes and mediascapes work hand in hand.
Technoscapes refers to the ever fluid, global configuration of technology, and the way that it now moves (in both mechanical and informational forms), at high speeds across various kinds of once impervious boundaries (Appadurai, 1996).
The term Mediascapes was coined to describe the both the electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information, be it through print, television, radio, or the internet, as well as the image of the world created by these forms of media (Appadurai, 1996).
Just last night, I was watching a live-stream of the riots and conflicts happening in Ferguson, Missouri. The aftermath of the shooting of a young unarmed African-American male by a Police officer. This is an issue concerning people I will never meet, yet here I was on the other side of the world, witnessing the violence and unrest.
But as Appadurai (p35, 1996) states, because my experience is not one that is directly involved with the issue, the lines between what is really happening in Ferguson, and what I am perceiving to be happening (having gathered information from multiple sources), may have become blurred due to the media bias and ideologies presented by some of the sources.
A really good quote by Appadurai (p38, 1996) to address this is, “For the ideas and images produced by mass media often are only partial guides to the goods and experiences that… populations transfer to one another”.
Appadurai, A (1996) ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 27-47