Cultural globalization refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings, and values around the world in such a way as to extend and intensify social relations. This process is marked by the common consumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture media, and international travel. This has added to processes of commodity exchange and colonization which have a longer history of carrying cultural meaning around the globe. The circulation of cultures enables individuals to partake in extended social relations that cross national and regional borders. The creation and expansion of such social relations is not merely observed on a material level. Cultural globalization involves the formation of shared norms and knowledge with which people associate their individual and collective cultural identities. It brings increasing interconnectedness among different populations and cultures.
Cultural globalization integrates scholars from several disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, communication, cultural studies, geography, political science and international relations. The field is notably broad as there are several concepts which may be perceived as cultural or transnational.
A visible aspect of the cultural globalization is the diffusion of certain cuisines such as American fast food chains. The two most successful global food and beverage outlets, McDonald's and Starbucks, are American companies often cited as examples of globalization, with over 36,000 and 24,000 locations operating worldwide respectively as of 2015. The Big Mac Index is an informal measure of purchasing power parity among world currencies.
Cultural globalization is one of the three main dimensions of globalization commonly found in academic literature, with the two other being economic globalization and political globalization. However, unlike economic and political globalization, cultural globalization has not been the subject of extensive research.
There have been numerous attempts to measure globalization, typically using indices that capture quantitative data for trade flows, political integration, and other measures. The two most prominent are the AT Kearney/Foreign Policy Globalization index and the KOF Globalization Index. Cultural globalization, however, is much more difficult to capture using quantitative data, because it is difficult to find easily verifiable data of the flow of ideas, opinions, and fashions. One attempt to do so was the Cultural Globalization Index, proposed by Randolph Kluver and Wayne Fu in 2004, and initially published by Foreign Policy Magazine. This effort measured cultural flow by using global trade in media products (books, periodicals, and newspapers) as a proxy for cultural flow. Kluver and Fu followed up with an extended analysis, using this method to measure cultural globalization in Southeast Asia.
The patterns of cultural globalization is a way of spreading theories and ideas from one place to another. Although globalization has affected us economically and politically, it has also affected us socially on a wider scale. With the inequalities issues, such as race, ethnic and class systems, social inequalities plays a part within those categories.
The past half-century has witnessed a trend towards globalization. Within the media and pop culture, it has shaped individuals to have certain attitudes that involve race issues thus leading to stereotypes.
Technology is an impact that created a bridge that diffused the globalization of culture. It brings together globalization, urbanization and migration and how it has affected today's trends. Before urban centers had developed, the idea of globalization after the second world war was that globalization took place due to the lifting of state restrictions by different nations. There were national boundaries for the flow of goods and services, concepts and ideas.
Many writers suggest that cultural globalization is a long-term historical process of bringing different cultures into interrelation. Jan Pieterse suggested that cultural globalization involves human integration and hybridization, arguing that it is possible to detect cultural mixing across continents and regions going back many centuries. They refer, for example, to the movement of religious practices, language and culture brought by Spanish colonization of the Americas. The Indian experience, to take another example, reveals both the pluralization of the impact of cultural globalization and its long-term history. The work of such cultural historians qualifies the lineage of writers—predominantly economists and sociologists—who trace the origins of globalization to recent capitalism, facilitated through technological advances.
An alternative perspective on cultural globalization emphasizes the transfiguration of worldwide diversity into a pandemic of Westernized consumer culture. Some critics argue that the dominance of American culture influencing the entire world will ultimately result in the end of cultural diversity. Such cultural globalization may lead to a human monoculture. This process, understood as cultural imperialism,[page needed] is associated with the destruction of cultural identities, dominated by a homogenized and westernized, consumer culture. The global influence of American products, businesses and culture in other countries around the world has been referred to as Americanization. This influence is represented through that of American-based television programs which are rebroadcast throughout the world. Major American companies such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola have played a major role in the spread of American culture around the globe. Terms such as Coca-colonization have been coined to refer to the dominance of American products in foreign countries, which some critics of globalization view as a threat to the cultural identity of these nations.
Another alternative perspective argues that in reaction to the process of cultural globalization, a "Clash of Civilizations" might appear. Indeed, Samuel Huntington emphasizes the fact that while the world is becoming smaller and interconnected, the interactions between peoples of different cultures enhance the civilization consciousness that in turn invigorate differences. Indeed, rather than reaching a global cultural community, the differences in culture sharpened by this very process of cultural globalization will be a source of conflict. While not many commentators agree that this should be characterized as a 'Clash of Civilizations', there is general concurrence that cultural globalization is an ambivalent process bringing an intense sense of local difference and ideological contestation.
Alternatively, Benjamin Barber in his book Jihad vs. McWorld argues for a different "cultural division" of the world. In his book the McWorld represents a world of globalization and global connectivity and interdependence, looking to create a "commercially homogeneous global network". This global network is divided into four imperatives; Market, Resource, Information-Technology and the Ecological imperative. On the other hand, "Jihad" represents traditionalism and maintaining one's identity. Whereas "Clash of Civilizations" portrays a world with five coalitions of nation-states, "Jihad vs. McWorld" shows a world where struggles take place on a sub-national level. Although most of the western nations are capitalist and can be seen as "McWorld" countries, societies within these nations might be considered "Jihad" and vice versa.