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Globalisation and Social Change

As the name suggests, INGOs differ from intergovernmental organisations in that they are not affiliated with government institutions. Rather they are independent organisations, which make policy decisions and address international issues. Some of the best known INGOs are Greenpeace (see chapter 8, The Red Cross and Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Find out more about them.


There are many ways that globalisation affects culture. We saw earlier that over the ages India has had an open approach to cultural influences and have been enriched because of this. The last decade has seen major cultural changes leading to fears that our local cultures would be overtaken. We saw earlier that our cultural tradition has been wary of the kupamanduka, the frog that lives its whole life within a well, knows nothing else, and is suspicious of everything outside it. It talks to no one, and argues with no one on anything. It merely harbours the deepest suspicion of the outside world. Fortunately for us we retain our ‘traditional’ open-ended attitude to this day. Thus there are heated debates in our society not just about political and economic issues but also about changes in clothes, styles, music, films, languages, body language. You will recall from chapter 1 and 2 how the 19th century reformers and early nationalists also debated on culture and tradition. The issues today are in some ways the same, in some ways different. What is perhaps different is the scale and intensity of change.


It is a strategy often adopted by foreign firms while dealing with local traditions in order to enhance their marketability. In India, we find that all the foreign television channels like Star, MTV, Channel V and Cartoon Network use Indian languages. Even McDonald sells only vegetarian and chicken products in India and not its beef products, which are popular abroad. McDonald’s goes vegetarian during the Navaratri festival. In the field of music, one can see the growth of popularity of ‘Bhangra pop’, ‘Indi pop’, fusion music and even remixes. A central contention is that all cultures will become similar, that is homogeneous. Others argue that there is an increasing tendency towards glocalisation of culture. Glocalisation refers to the mixing of the global with the local. It is not entirely spontaneous. Nor is it entirely delinked from the commercial interests of globalisation. ¾ Identify other instances glocalisation. Discuss. ¾ Have you noticed any changes in films produced by Bollywood. While at one time there were scenes shot in foreign countries, the stories remained local. Then there were stories where characters returned to India even if part of the story was set abroad. Now there are stories set entirely outside India. Discuss. ACTIVITY 6.6 of


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