This essay will critically analyze Kevin Glynn and A.F. Tyson’s article, Indigeneity, media and cultural globalization. In this article Glynn and Tyson speak on behalf of the Maori people in New Zealand and discuss factors surrounding globalization of western media and its influences on the indigenous people. This critical essay will focus primarily on Glynn’s and Tyson’s positive and negative issues surrounding globalization, funding concerns for indigenous media and benefits surrounding glocalization.
Globalization, which is the reduction of differences between nations whether cultural or ideological (Straubhaar et al 2009, 503), as a negative issue is expressed quite well within this article. Among these issues discussed within the article, two primary issues that were of greater interest and more detail were the deconstruction of the indigenous culture and the lack of funds for media related indigenous projects.(Glynn and Tyson 2007, 208) The reason why globalization has such a massive effect on these cultures is that the media (i.e. television, magazines, radio) is barraged with foreign, in this case western, cultural media which overflows and almost completely obliterates any trace of the old culture that once was there. This idea revolves around the hypodermic needle theory, where ideas and beliefs from outside media are metaphorically injected into the minds of these indigenous cultures to the point where their former culture is clouded by this new influence and sometimes lost forever.(Straubhaar et al 2009, 414-415) In the case of the Maori they were granted funding for a television station and a dramatic television show (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 207), but compared to the ever-growing western populous and media those indigenous populations will find it very difficult to sustain some essence of their culture within the society. Glynn and Tyson refer to the lack of funding for major media projects for indigenous people (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 208), which may have been an issue in 2007 but as of 2009-2010 the funding for these media projects have actually increased to an extra $20.1 million (Maori Television 2009) which allows for a much richer variety of television and film and will assist in stabilizing the Maori culture. A broad claim is also made ending the funding portion of the article which refers to a worldwide lack of funding for dramatic indigenous television which in fact is not quite the case (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 208). Countries such as Australia provide major funding for indigenous media ranging in the $30 million mark (Australian Government 2009), there are also a vast amount of indigenous films that have been made and released to the public for instance the film Smoke Signals (The Internet Movie Database 1999), which grant a rich experience of indigenous cultures and these too would have to be funded by the country in some way. A prime example in Canada would be the dramatic television series North of 60 which still airs today (although in re-runs) on CBC was granted 6 seasons (90 episodes, each 60 minutes long) and 5 made for TV movies and had lasted a total of 6 years (1999 – 2005) (The Internet Movie Database 1999) which is close to, if not more than, many shows that are brought forth by western cultures such as Corner Gas (6 seasons, 107 episodes) and even the original Star Trek series (3 seasons, 80 episodes) (The Internet Movie Database 1999). Therefore this claim made by Glynn and Tyson, although appropriate for some countries and New Zealand itself at that time, is not the soundest claim to make as it is, as shown, not the case for other countries in the world. This funding issue in indigenous media leads to a very interesting aspect of the article where Glynn and Tyson make note of both glocalization and globalization as also having a positive effect on the culture instead of a purely destabilizing effect.
Glocalization, which is the combination of global ideologies with that of more local ones, (Straubhaar et al 2009, 113) as a positive reinforcement of indigenous culture is an interesting factor in this article. The authors introduce an efficient example of glocalization’s benefits with a Maori television drama called Mataku. (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 207) With the creation of this television drama the indigenes are able to present their culture and beliefs not only to their own people, in order for preservation, but with the addition of English subtitles and a supernatural theme (which are present and popular in many western programs such as X-files), (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 206) the indigenes are able to incorporate a more global population and allow their culture to be better understood and be preserved through all populations. The reference to this television show shows without a doubt that by mixing together popular ideologies from different cultures into one main idea creates common ground for both cultures to share which not only benefits the indigenous of the land but also all other populations who share in the common interests that these programs present. To refer back to Glynn and Tyson’s issues surrounding funding for indigenous media, this idea of glocalization also plays against their negative outlook on globalizations effect. By creating this common or middle ground of media it would make sense that by drawing in more of an audience outside of the intended group with popular and mystifying themes such as the supernatural (in Mataku’s case) these shows would link up with similar westernized media and the demand would hopefully grow. With the growth of demand comes more funding as more people will want to see new episodes. This point is brought forth exceptionally by Glynn and Tyson when referring to the Maori co-creators of the series Mataku, Bradford Haami and Carey Carter (2007, 207). This is done by pointing to Ginsburg’s coined term border-crossers, which is the ability to cross between two different cultures (in this case western and Maori cultures) and present their messages to them both effectively. (Glynn and Tyson 2007, 207) By using this ability and accomplishing the task of border crossing more efficiently and on a more frequent basis, the Maori people may have a greater chance of preserving their culture. As for globalization as a more positive effect, Glynn and Tyson touch upon the term cultural hybridity, which means the mixture of two cultures to create a seemingly local culture (2007, 211), and use it efficiently to show that the effects of these mixtures of cultures do in fact lead to more beneficial means for indigenous societies to preserve their culture and language. This can be seen in the article where Glynn and Tyson make note of Lisa Parks’ examination of cultural hybridity where post-colonial technology is used as a means to transmit pre-colonial cultural media to the globe (2007, 212). This is a really interesting fact because no matter how much pre-colonial population’s feel that their cultures are wasting away, they still take part in post-colonial activities in order to keep their culture afloat. Therefore globalization may in fact present negative effects on cultures but they also help preserve the culture by allowing a larger reach of cultural media to a more global population and the authors of this article, Glynn and Tyson, make this point very clear and use sufficient evidence to prove this claim.