Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Glocalization? Hybridization?

In one of the articles assigned last week Hybridization and the Roots of Transnational, Geocultural, and Cultural-Linguistic Markets, Staubhaar argues that the term glocalization fits better Japanese process of accepting foreign cultures or systems rather than hybridity. It confuses me...

What is the difference between hybridity and glocalization???

He says it is questionable whether the concept of hybridity fits the Japanese pattern because borrowings from European culture were very selective under the guidance of the government.

I agree that Japan is a country which has always been modernizing itself by borrowing ideas or systems from other countries and japanizing them. Japanization of British-style broadcasting system after WWⅡ is an example.
However, isn't it still hybridization???

How about in the case of commercials and popular culture?

Gayatri previously put a video of Coca Cola's commercial as an example of glocalization.
Here is a Japanese version of Coca Cola Zero commercial.
Is it glocalization? Can we say it is hybridization?

How about this new type of music becoming very popular in Japan. It is a fusion of Japanese traditional three-stringed instrument Shamisen and Western rock and jazz music. Blending “the desired modernity” with “traditions we do not wish to cast away” created this type of music.
However, this blending is exactly what one of the main theorists of hybridity, Canclini, explained as current aspects of hybridity.
Here is a video of Shamisen Rock.
Do we call it hybridity? glocalization? or both?


Yana said...

Here's my take on the difference between the two: it all depends on how much local/native culture is preserved. Hybridization has to do with mixing different cultures together, literally creating a hybrid new culture, hence the use of the term. In this, there can probably be different balances of the cultures being mixed - look at Latin America for instance, where some countries (like Peru and Bolivia) have really preserved their indigenous cultures, while others (Argentina maybe?) have been really influenced by the new cultures that have come in, in that case of Spain and Europe.

But with glocalization, you should think of the slogan "think global, act local". So its really not one culture like Spain coming to another place like a Latin American country and deliberately mixing their countries together and consequentially creating something new. Rather, it's more like a country, or another smaller community, taking a global trend and putting their own personal twist on it. So like the Coke commercial Gayatri put up, they're taking a global product (Coca Cola) and applying aspects of their own culture to it. That's glocalization.

Hope that helps!

Craig said...

Thanks for the clarification, Yana. I would suggest that the terms reference different things, are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Japanese culture has had instances of purposive adaptation, while at the same time has experienced new cultural forms coming from the synthesis of foreign and local cultural expression. I guess the critical question is, what drives or creates "hybridity" and I guess, is it a "bad thing?"

Huong said...

In answer the question if hybridity is a bad thing, I think in some instance, it is not. Take chu Nom - ancient Vietnamese writing system as an example. This writing system borrowed Chinese characters and was used in the 13th century when Vietnam gained back control from the Chinese hands. This writing system is still considered as the symbol of our people's identity against the Chinese empires for centuries. What drives hybridity? In this case, I guess the desire for freedom and independence.