Communication And Culture In Today's Modern Societies

1789 words - 7 pages

In today’s modern societies there are a diverse range of many cultures and subcultures, all with differing values, beliefs and traditions. Within this large diversity, the one culture that dominates is that of the western society, with its strong views and focus on economic development, consumption and production. Wolfgang Sachs (2010, pg. xviii) explains that “across the world hopes for the future are fixed on the rich man’s patterns of production and consumption”. This poses a major challenge for all societies, as the western dominant mass media of communication values are centered on profit and are continuously being imposed on other cultures. This has enormous implications on our future, such as losing native, indigenous cultures and traditions; losing vital natural resources and animals, and losing our individuality. This sole focus on profit directs us down a dangerous track of becoming a “global monoculture”. However, there are alternatives to the dominant model of communication, with its sole focus on economics. In this essay I will detail an alternative to this, being the Maori culture in New Zealand and how this culture’s view differs to the dominant westernized view. We should all continue to encourage alternatives to this dominant view as, according to Wolfgang Sach (2010, pg 11) “A global monoculture spreads like an oil slick over the entire planet”.

The dominant culture is defined as “being able, through economic or political power, to impose its values, language, and ways of behaving on a subordinate culture or cultures. This may be achieved through legal or political suppression of other sets of values and patterns of behaviour, or by monopolizing the media of communication”. The values that the western society encourages others cultures to engage in are development, science and formal languages. Other cultures and sub cultures have dramatically different values than that view and it threatens their values by having another culture’s views pushed upon them. According to Bellah (1989, p. 25) “We live in a culture where the message is to get as much as you can , do it now and don’t care about what you leave for who comes after”.
Many people see “development” and progress with bringing their values in line with the western culture. However, the values and vision of other societies can be vastly incompatible with the western culture, such as the Maori culture. According to Robert Vachon (1992, pg. 2) “The western society had not yet accepted the hypothesis that the native people have a (political) culture or tradition whose expressions and prepositions could be radically different from their own, yet equally valid and still alive today”. If we all merge into the one “monoculture”, we lose the importance of the diversity of all the different cultures in the world. These sub cultures are hugely affected by the persuasive messages and views of the western culture.

Through the mass media the western society is deemed to be...

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