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Globalization and Cultural Identity: A Sociological Exploration in MA (Sociology)

February 20th, 2024: 5 mins

This Article Explores:

  • Introduction 
  • What is Globalization?
  • How Globalization Impacts Cultural Identity
    • Encouragement for Global Cultures
    • Formation of Individualistic Societies
    • Recognition of Various Cultures
    • Development of Cultural Tourism
    • Might Lead to Cultural Imperialism


Globalization is one of the world's most widely talked about concepts today. The world is becoming a smaller place to live as a result of trade, technology, and travel. 


There is a lot of debate on the advantages and drawbacks of globalization. For laymen like us, comprehending the actual meaning of globalization and its impact on various aspects of society might be challenging. 


A sociology MA program covers globalization theories in sociology with detailed discussions on how globalization impacts cultural identity and diversity. This content explores the sociological connection between globalization and cultural identity

What Is Globalization?

It was in the 1960s that the word ‘globalization’ made its entry into American and French writings. In the 1980s, it became one of the most popular topics of discussion among policy planners, academia, and practitioners. Today, globalization has become one of the primary pillars of the modern society. 


Globalization is a social process that has broken shackles across nations and borders. It has resulted in the integration and interconnectedness of people across various regions, cultures, and ethnicities. Along with integrating people, globalization is pivotal in bringing business organizations and governments of different nations together. 


Globalization has multidimensional aspects. The term has different interpretations in different disciplines. Sociologists see globalization as a way of social change, leading to the creation of a ‘world society’. Sociological approaches to globalization focus on developing cultural communication impacting the cultural identity across various groups in different nations. 

How Globalization Impacts Cultural Identity

How Globalization Impacts Cultural Identity

Globalization has a direct impact on cultural identity. Here are some ways how:

  • Encouragement for Global Culture

Diverse cultural expressions are being homogenized into a uniform global culture, preferably the Western culture. Local cultures and traditions are taking a backseat. Along with eroding traditional cultural expressions, culture is being commodified as well. 


On the other hand, the advent of the internet and the increased usage of social media are influencing cultural identity, amalgamating cultural expressions from various parts of the world to create a global culture. 

  • Formation of Individualistic Societies

The formation of individualistic societies is another impact of globalization on culture. Globalization promotes liberal values. Traditional values like collectivism are slowly losing their significance today. Societies have become highly individualistic. One of the main reasons for this change is the prominence of consumerism. 


With globalization, people are perceiving themselves differently. This is leading to the emergence and formation of new forms of identities. 

  • Recognition of Various Cultures

Globalization brings together various cultures from across the globe. This recognition and exposure to different cultures create a bond and sense of belonging among people globally. Moreover, this opens up opportunities to learn about different cultures and customs. 


People from myriad backgrounds have the scope to interact with one another and enrich themselves. Globalization offers an excellent platform for cultural exchange.

  • Development of Cultural Tourism

While discussing cultural identity in sociology, another point that often comes up is the development of cultural tourism. Since traditional cultures are gradually fading, globalization acts as an excellent platform for the preservation of such traditional cultures. 


Cultural tourism increases the exposure of people to varying cultural forms and types. Globalization promotes the recognition of unique cultural practices and modes. 

  • Might Lead to Cultural Imperialism

If you study the sociology of globalization in-depth, you will come across the term ‘cultural imperialism’. To put it in simple words, cultural imperialism means the compelling imposition of one culture over another. This can be understood as a battle between a strong culture and a weak culture. 


A powerful and strong culture often tries to impose certain customs and cultural practices on other cultures. The weaker culture, unable to sustain the imposition, gradually declines and might perish completely. Western culture is the perfect example of cultural imperialism, as it has dominated many other cultures. The end result is a loss of cultural identity and diversity. 


Globalization has both positive and negative impacts on cultural identity. While it can cause the loss of conventional traditions and customs, it also welcomes hybrid cultures and new cultural practices. The best thing to do is embrace globalization while preserving existing cultural identities that are valued. For the sustainability of globalization, cultural integration and diversity are two main pillars. 


Pursuing an online MA program in Sociology can help candidates understand the topic of globalization, cultural identity and diversity, and the impact of globalization on culture

Browse through this course on upGrad Disha for more details and get started on your journey to upskill!