Mickey Mouse And Globalisation.

Mickey Mouse Is Out To Get You.


Globalisation is the transformation of our experiences in our local lives influenced by global forces. In our local lives we are influenced by international news, foreign music, foreign films, food, greater communications and Internet interaction. We are now connected with every other small community in the world and as such we are part of the great global community.

For example, the Americanisation of local society manifests itself in TV shows, movies and fast food. Walt Disney and Coca Cola are as much part of Irish society as they are American society. It can be said we are becoming at one with Americans. One Irish Euro sceptic Irish politician recently stated,  ”We have more in common with Boston here In Ireland than we do with Berlin.” Thus, maybe the Americanisation of Irish Society is almost complete.

The question is, can this Globalisation be perceived as an attempt at American Imperialism? Deregulation has cleared the way for international trading and movement of people and products from one culture to another. Consequently, Irish culture has been so saturated by American culture that the nations true cultural identity is under threat.

There is little or no real effort to slow down this cultural exchange process. For example, in Muslim countries there is a form of protectionism, a recent ban on TV satellite systems, is a clear attempt at cultural protection.

Multiple culturalism is a feature of all modern states and restriction of any form is often regarded as tyranny or anti-capitalism dictatorship. Is this really true? Is there some authenticity to the attempt to protect ones own culture?

Procedures of rarefaction as a means of regulating discourse from within is an attack on freedom of expression but can also be seen as an attempt to protect the culture cherished by elected representatives who act on behalf of the people and only do so in the interest of a perceived common good.

American Imperialism, the domination of lesser countries by American culture, is easily perceived as the advocating of the idea that American culture is superior to any other. The mass media are the selling agents of this process of Americanisation of foreign cultures. The idea that the Big Mac is the best burger, Coca Cola is the best soft drink, Mickey Mouse is the best childrens icon, Fried Chicken is the best kind of chicken, may be no more than capitalistic promotion but, if so, it’s by-product is Americanisation.

Transnational capitalism regulates cultures. What is being globalised is capitalism as the ideal philosophy. But globalisation causes destruction of traditional cultures in the name of capitalism (consumerism). Buy the burger and support the philosophy and at the same time abandon local fare. Irish culture is sacrificed with every Euro exported to America and the process is moved a little further ahead with every Euro spent on American product.

Americanisation aims at a future of Big Macs, Coca Cola and Mickey Mouse. A global Disneyland. Is this really for our good? Should it be stopped? Should Irish society be protected from Alien influences on it’s culture?

Protectionism is a means of caretaking culture from cultural assault and spreading of American propaganda that the great American dream is the only way forward for the world and is the only true formula for a successful society.

East versus West and the reverse also applies. Islamic ideals do not get much airtime on Western television. We hear about Islamic terrorism from Hollywood and American News networks but hear very little about American terrorism on Islamic soil. Hollywood versus Bollywood and the former is winning the propaganda war. Some people have openly admitted to being nervous when they see a Muslim going in the same flight. Do Muslims feel the same way when they see a Catholic in the seat on front of them. There are Catholic terrorists too. Why are people not afraid of them?

The Americanisation of global culture is achieved at a price. Coca Cola and Big Macs are sold according to local Market forces and the same can be said for American movies and TV shows or stations. Price altering per country for American films means it is cheaper to show a movie than to make one. This is a direct assault on, for example, Irish cinema and filmmaking, where TV broadcasters are happy to import product rather than finance creation of home produced product.

Western, better described as American, culture is the most predominant one. The advance of American culture can be seen in ne Blockbuster Movie outselling the last one or when we see CNN or FOX as the primary news source superimposed over local logos in TV news bulletins.

New data shows that local TV attracts the biggest audiences while imported American shows a now being screened at less significant times during the day. For example, Britains ‘Coronation Street’ is more local to Irish society than Australias ‘Home And Away’ and will command a bigger audience and is given Prime Time. However, Irelands FAIR CITY is more attractive to Irish audiences but even more attractive to the people of Dublin, where it is based, than to the people of Cork or Limerick.

A key issue to be considered here is how American culture is influenced by other cultures. For example, Hip Hop music is a mix of Carribean music and Black Blues but is marketed as American Music. On TV we see more and more remakes of British TV shows like X Factor, Weakest Link and Pop Idol but marketed as American product.


About Gerard Hannan

Media Student at MIC/UL in Limerick, Ireland. Worked as a Broadcaster/Journalist in Limerick for over 25 Years and has also published four local interest books.

Posted on April 7, 2012, in Media and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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