Extended thoughts on Discourse and Globalisation


Discourse can be defined as a way of seeing the world through language. Foucault states that ‘[it] defines and produces the objects of knowledge in an intelligible way while excluding other forms of reasoning as unintelligible.’ In other words, discourse creates a sense of absolute truth in its representation of life, cutting out the display of all other truths in the process. Of course, language here isn’t necessarily linked with spoken word; it can apply to non-verbal communication just as it can apply to the structure and framing of a particular narrative. Discourse, with thanks to, for example, the advent of television and the internet, is able to spread on a global scale, thus introducing the process of globalisation in the media.

Some believe that globalisation brings with it the concept of cultural imperialism. This points to the domination of one culture over all others. Regardless, others believe that globalisation can be reworded as a process of glocalisation, with reference to locally constructed influence, or hybridisation, in which cultures are merged. David Morley quotes Stuart Hall’s argument in reference to the rapid spreading of English as a global language. He writes that ‘english [has] hegemonised a variety of other languages, without being able to exclude them.’ This is a valid theory in favour of hybridisation as a process. However, I would argue that globalisation and hybridity are interconnected; one cannot function without the other and without the initial process of globalisation, a culture would have no external influence to redefine.

In turn, another important critique in regard to the positive impacts of globalisation can be referred to as cultural homogenisation; the theory that hybridisation will cause, or has caused, the imminent advent of uniformity in a global society, thus eliminating diversity of culture across the world. I would argue that this is not a sound argument to make, considering that a majority of societies do not have access or are unexposed to the globalisation and flow of westernised culture.