Globalization has quickly allowed countries to become more interconnected and closer than ever, due to the technological advances that have taken place, especially within the last century. It is a process that involves powerful forces that in turn reshape local cultures and environments on an ever-intensifying scale (Spradley & McCurdy, 2012). Yet, the process has come at an expense that has and still continues to be paid for by the majority of the developing world while largely benefitting only a small minority of already wealthy nations. The impacts of globalization have therefore highly influenced the world market through processes such as international trade, been marked by process of cultural diffusion and hybridization and has allowed societies to become more multicultural. Therefore, the main focus of this paper will be to examine some of the issues attributed to globalization, particularly with a focus on culture. Other discussions will involve the impacts that globalization has had emerging labor trends, particularly involving women, the impacts of international trade, and how some of economic policies promoted by the West has impacted developing countries.
The rational behind globalization was once thought to be that once countries entered into the market, that all countries and their respective populations would be able to reap its benefits and become modernized like the West. However, in recent years, critics have argued that not everyone has benefited and large groups of countries and their populations have been left behind to suffer as the gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. Some issues that have arisen from globalization include the destruction of the environment, the loss of cultures, economic policies (including structural adjustment policies), and the shift in demand for the working woman in developing countries.
The rapid increase in globalization has led to the rapid decline of many of the cultures that once existed on Earth and to an increase in homogenization, as many countries strive to become more developed. In Diana Parsell’s (2002) interview with Wade Davis, Davis points out that the rapid decline of culture has led to a decrease in the amount of languages spoken around the world. One may wonder why this is important, however language acts as a vehicle where humans are able to pass on ideas, beliefs, and knowledge. Wade Davis also argues that once a language disappears, so to does the culture’s legacy thereby leading to assimilation to a more dominant culture (Parsell, 2002). As evidenced by Davis, some cultures, such as the Chitwan Tharu of Nepal, have been better able to adjust to globalization than others (Parsell, 2002). The modernization of countries has led to cultural loss in many colonies around the world.
One growing impact of globalization involves the growth of the tourism industry, which has helped to reshape some of the world’s most native populations, including the Tharu, who live adjacent to Nepal’s Chitwan National forest. Arjun Guneratne and Kate Bjork (2012) were able to live alongside the colony, and witness firsthand how the tourist industry’s negative and inaccurate portrayal of the Tharus as a primitive population. Much of the inaccurate representations were said by the ‘higher ranked’ tour guides, and the occasional aggressive tourist (Guneratne and Bjork, 2012). Although, not all countries have benefitted positively from the process, the Tharus’ experience with tourists helped to facilitate a greater appreciation within the group for their own culture. To attract tourists to the area of Pipariya, and entice them to take walking tours, many hotel and guest houses, would paint the Tharu as being primitive and “co-existing with wild animals” (Guneratne and Bjork , 2012). Thus, this helped to create a special image of the indigenous group as living apart from the civilized world. The perspectives of the tourists from a native perspective, ranged from being positive, in the sense that it allowed them access to see the outside world in terms of foreigners visiting the area. However, many attributed less flattering views as reasons for why foreigners visited the area, which included the idea that the group was living “backwards” (Guneratne and Bjork, 2012). As Guneratne and Bjork (2012) point out, the experience allowed the Tharus to separate the past from the present, and although globalization has taken away many native aspects, the tribe was able to preserve their culture through the construction of a museum. Although many residents choose not to live in a ‘traditional manner’ due to the globalization of the community, the construction of the museum allows the group to preserve an image of the past that they wish to preserve.
In the case of globalization contributing to the spread of culture, one can look at the example of sushi and how globalization helped spread the popularity of this local cuisine around the world. Bestor (2000) notes that at one point in time the demand in bluefin tuna in Japan to meet the demand for sushi was facilitated by other nations, such as the United States of America (USA), sending their best tuna overseas. This demand helped facilitate the creation of markets in unlikely places such as New Hampshire, where local people were able to make a living off of this international market. This local market helped lead to the formation of global market for the demand of tuna to help satisfy the demands being faced from the Japanese market. As Bestor (2000) points out, this broad scope of globalization helps to show the connection between the American bluefin tuna fishermen and Japanese love of sushi. However, when a freak tuna glut depressed the Japanese market and when sushi was gaining popularity around the world, this led to a stimulating increase in tuna fishing and the beginning of a new way to trap and harvest tuna in other nations to make up for the demand (Bestor, 2000). Overall, as evidenced by this case, despite it’s spread around the world, sushi still remains as a Japanese delicacy that has been able to become a prime example of cultural diffusion, due to it’s spread from one society to many others. The international dependence between fishing and sushi therefore is able to grow as the popularity and demand for sushi increases around the world.
Globalization has largely been advantageous for developed countries at the expense of developing countries. As previously mentioned, it has been pointed out how the rapid process of globalization has affected indigenous populations. Changes that the developed world that took two generations to accomplish in places such as North America are attempted at a much faster pace in the developing world. In the case of the developing world, Haviland and his colleagues point out that whole countries are in the “throes of modernization” (2013). Countries throughout Africa and Asia have seen a rapid decline in terms of widespread removal of economic activities from both the family and the community setting. Modernization has reshaped the economy from being based on the family to one that is reliant on imports and exports (Haviland, Kilmurray, Fedorak, & Lee, 2013). The reshaping of kinship ties has led to an altered family structure where there has been a decline in general parental authority, a shift in the education paradigm where schools are replacing the family as a primary educational unit, and a dramatic burden on women to meet the needs of their family (Haviland, Kilmurray, Fedorak, & Lee, 2013).
In the world economy, movement of goods and services through a mechanism such as international trade is important, however in recent years the movement of people has also become an essential component, especially in the case of migrant workers. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild’s article ‘Global Women in the New Economy’ brought attention to the issue of a new emerging labor trend, where women from poorer countries are migrating to richer countries to take low-paying jobs, thus impacting the familial dynamics in both countries. The article uses exemplifies the situation of Josephine, a migrant worker from Sri Lanka, assigned to take care of a young child in Athens, Greece (Ehrenreich and Hochschild , 2012). In this case, Josephine is assigned to take care of the young girl, far from her own three children. Each month she sends a remittance check from Athens to Sri Lanka to help pay for her own childrens expenses and schooling fees (Ehrenreich and Hochschild, 2012). Due to her work as a nanny, this helps to change the family dynamic of the family she is helping to serve by allowing the parents of the young child to work on their own careers. In her own case, her family has suffered, with two of her children showing severe signs of distress, thereby impacting their success at school and contributing to the demise of their emotional wellbeing. Ehrenreich and Hochschild’s example in their article not only reinforces this as a common plight that many migrant workers face when leaving their families, but also exemplifies global inequality. The global inequality can be seen as the richer nations benefit from their work, while the poorer nations are left behind due to the shift in demand of female workers. The shift in labor trends has caused a decrease in male workers in poorer nations, as richer nations seek out women due to their docile nature, nurturing, and home making skills. In turn, this has created a dependence on migrant women workers in the First World for services such as child care, home making, and sexual services from those from poorer regions (Ehrenreich and Hochschild, 2012). Overall, Ehrenreich and Hochschild (2012) conclude that through the process of migration, women from rich and poor nations seek to better their conditions and that migration helps to facilitate the increase in interdependence among nations.
As evidenced by the introduction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) structural adjustment policies that have pushed developing countries into the realm of the free market. The IMF has three main activities, which involve surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance. Surveillance involves analyzing a countries economic situation; this can entail examining fiscal and monetary policies, exchange rates, labor policies, and social policies (ex. pension system) (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). After the examination of the system, a report is written and submitted to the country in question and is expected to be followed. The second activity involves offering financial assistance to the national treasury department (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). This process generally involves countries being eligible to receive credits and loans to pay off their debts, however these countries must consent to enforcing economic policies promoted by the IMF. The last stage involves technical assistance for fiscal and monetary policy, regulatory procedures, and tax policies (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). The intent of the last activity is to help indebted countries develop and reform their economies and policies. The World Bank on the other hand focuses mainly on the public sector monetary policies and help to provide low-interest loans and grants to developing countries (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). Like the IMF, the WB also provides policy advice, research and technical advice (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). Although originally intended to benefit the global economy, many critics point out that the IMF and WB have become primary targets for anti-globalization due to the Western-style capitalistic polices they have enforced on developing countries, and the lack of regard towards the social effects (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). These policies have also led to increased corporate exploitations, displacing thousands of indigenous people from their lands and led to poor living conditions for the poorest groups in the developing countries. One example includes the decision by the World Bank to fund a dam project in India, which in turn resulted in the forced resettlement of thousands of indigenous people off their lands (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). Many of these people had lived on the land since prehistoric times and were in turn destroyed by the rising waters from the man-made reservoirs leading to resentment and social turmoil (“IMF/World Bank,” n.d.). Ironically, the structure of the WB and IMF act in favor of developed countries, with the structure of the boards reflective of the monetary contribution given to the agencies on a yearly basis. Generally, it is countries such as the United States of America who have the ability to make executive decisions on the monetary and economic policies that are promoted and enforced on the developing countries.
Where one lives in the world would probably help shape their opinion on whether globalization has had a positive or negative impact on their culture and their country. For the most part, globalization has brought many benefits to those living in developed countries such as the United States of America. Other countries, particularly those located in Africa and those living in indigenous cultures have not benefited as much from the process. However, as mentioned by Haviland and colleagues (2013), not all modernization is bad, particularly in the case of the Shuar, located in Ecuador. This is a colony that deliberately avoided modernization until there was no other choice for the colony to fend off outside forces (Haviland et al, 2013). Haviland and colleagues(2013), point out that the more widespread opinion of modernization the developing world has been beneficial to the poorer nations “however disagreeable the medicine may be, it is worth it for the people to become just like “us””. Unfortunately, this view is highly reflective and based more on Western hopes and expectations and that it would not be feasible for all countries to live at the standard that we are accustomed to. In agreement with Haviland (2013), despite the rosy picture of a better future painted by the West for developing countries, the reality of poverty and loss of culture remain critical issues needing to be addressed.
Overall, globalization has been a process that has essentially reshaped the globe through powerful forces such as international trade and economic policies. It has helped to meet the demand and popularity of certain markets such as the global market for sushi and has led to a shift in labor trends experienced around the world. Through its powerful forces it has also changed the family dynamics of both the rich and poor nations, therefore creating an expectation for migrant women workers to send money back to their home countries and leave their children behind or in the hands of others. Generally, the richer nations have fared much better from the forces of globalization, increasing their nation’s power, and for the most part control over poorer nations in terms of enforcing and promoting economic and monetary policies. Poorer nations have struggled to keep up with the pace of modernization and are often left in worse conditions once they enter the world market. In conclusion, the powerful forces of globalization have had an impact on international trade, economic policies, tourists, communication, and the movement of people to other parts of the world, thus impacting the experiences of culture and community dynamics.
Bestor, T. C. (2000). How sushi went global. In J. Spradley & D.W. McCurdy (14th Ed.), Conformity and Conflict (296-305). Upper saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Ehrenreich, B. & Hochschild, A.R (2012). Global women in the new economy. In J. Spradley & D.W. McCurdy (14th Ed.), Conformity and Conflict (296-305). Upper saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Guneratne, A. & Bjork, K. (2012). Village walks: Tourism and globalization among the Tharu of Nepal. In J. Spradley & D.W. McCurdy (14th Ed.), Conformity and Conflict (296-305). Upper saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Haviland, W. A., Kilmurray, L., Fedorak, S. A., & Lee, R. B. (2013). Cultural change and the future of humanity. Cultural anthropology (4 ed., pp. 350-375). Toronto: Nelson.
IMF/World Bank. (n.d.). Globalization101.org. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from http://www.globalization101.org/category/issues-in-depth/imfworld-bank/
Parsell, D. (2002, June 28). Explorer Wade Davis on vanishing cultures. National Geographic News. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/06/0627_020628_wadedavis.html
Spradley, J. P., & McCurdy, D. W. (2012). Globalization. Conformity and conflict: readings in cultural anthropology (14 ed., pp. 293, 296-315,325-333). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints and Polygamy: Critical Analysis on National Geographic Article ‘The Polygamists’
National Geographic is one of the world’s most notable magazines, focusing on areas such as geography, the environment, conservation, and education. According to its website it has also sought to inspire its readers to take a more active role in protecting the planet, as well as learning to appreciate the unique aspects that make up our planet, thereby helping to solidify its reputation as a reputable source (National Geographic, n.d.). Through the use of videos, featured articles, and photographs, they have been able to bring attention to some of the world’s most complex and immediate problems, such as global warming, while at the same time helping to uncover some of the world’s greatest mysteries. The role of this paper will be to discuss and analyze the perspectives taken by National Geographic’s coverage on issues surrounding polygamy and the idea of religious control in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints sect, through an article entitled ‘The Polygamists’ by Scott Anderson. A comparison will also be drawn with National Geographic’s more recent documentary ‘I Escaped a Cult’, along with another scholar, Debra Weyermann’s perspective on the subject.
To understand the information contextualized within Anderson’s article, it is important to understand the history of the church and how polygamy got to where it is in the present day. As described by National Geographic, the principle of plural marriage was unveiled to the Mormons (also known as the Latter-day Saints) in the mid-1800’s, due to rumors that its founder Joseph Smith had taken up the practice (Anderson, 2010). Essentially, the group takes its theology regarding polygamy, from Smith, another individual named Brigham Young, and the Mormon church. During the early 1920’s a handful of polygamous families settled at the Utah-Arizona border after the Mormon church became increasingly determined to rid itself of its polygamous past and become more accepted by the American mainstream (Anderson, 2010). Many historians also mention that pressure from the American government also played a huge role in the church’s decision to abandon polygamy. In 1935, the Mormon Church gave an ultimatum to its members: renounce plural marriages or be excommunicated (Anderson, 2010). Most followers ended up refusing the ultimatum given, and were thus cast out of the Mormon church, leading to the creation of the present day Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, a polygamous offshoot of the Mormon church.
The National Geographic article primarily focused on the area of Hilldale, Utah. This is the official birthplace of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints (FLDS). As mentioned previously, there have been antipolygamist laws in America since the late 1800s. This fact helps to explain why so little is known about the FLDS, and why National Geographic’s Scott Anderson had to obtain special permission from the church’s leaders to enter their highly secretive compound to study their religion and culture. By looking at this conflict one can see the unique cross-cultural conflicts that have arisen due to the mixing of two distinct cultures; on one hand there is the mainstream and binding American law, thereby allowing individuals to only marry one person at a time. While on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cultural sect, where polygamy is seen as being a fundamental aspect of reaching the highest degree of glory in heaven (Goodwyn, Berkes, and Walters, 2005). Recent media attention has also painted the sect in a negative light mainly due to the charges laid and recent conviction against the sect’s most notorious member and leader Warren Jeffs (Weyermann, 2012). According to former followers, it is believed that God spoke directly to Jeffs to reveal his will, and directs which male members are able to go to heaven (female members are invited on the basis of satisfied husbands) (Goodwyn, Berkes and Walters, 2005).
Prior to the arrest of Warren Jeffs in 2008, few people in the general public had known about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Much of the attention from the media in recent years has predominately focused on the controversy surrounding the raid of the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in 2008, where television viewers witnessed hundreds of women and children being removed from the ranch and placed into the custody of police officers and social workers (Anderson, 2010). Another controversial issue surrounding the religious sect involves the idea of polygamous marriages, particularly due to that fact that the practice is illegal in the United States of America, and also due to the fact that many of the marriages were taking place between older males and adolescent females, thereby contributing to the current interests of those following the FLDS in the media.
The purpose of the article ‘The Polygamists’ by Scott Anderson is to shed a more neutral light on the group by exploring the FLDS community in a manner that few outsiders have been able to accomplish. The article was also able to examine the fierce attention that has harbored around the group in recent years by examining the community through the perspective of an actual member, rather than from the outsider perspective that other media sources have written from. Anderson’s article also helped to explore some of the myths created by the media and public after the controversy surrounding Warren Jeffs came to light. One myth dispelled included the practice surrounding underage marriages, which the media concluded was still taking place. In Anderson’s case he was able to discuss the issue with a member living in the actual community, and although the interviewee admitted that it had occurred in the past, the practice has since been ceased. Anderson was also able to draw a more positive picture of women in terms of suggesting they are more confident and articulate, than has been portrayed in the media, in comparison to their male counterparts.
Anderson attempts to portray the polygamist families in a more positive light by incorporating the views of followers within the sect, with minimal reference to the controversy that has recently engulfed the compound. The use of images also helped to reinforce the FLDS in a positive nature, many of which almost seemed to rebut the information presented by other media sources. Unlike other media sources, the images that were used in the article showed healthy-looking children that were frolicking around the community. The article also avoided the use of images showcasing men being in charge, and little images were used in regards to sect leader’s Warren Jeffs’ ongoing criminal trial. Much of the article sought to paint the community in a positive aspect through his own observations, as well as through the perspectives of members of the community. Anderson mentioned that the community strives to be highly self-sufficient in food production and business matters. Also taken into account was the amount of communal spirit that is experienced within the community and the polygamous home. Due to their living arrangements, wives are able to instill a sense of sorority and mitigating jealousy through the division of labor. As Anderson point out this helps the women to develop a strong sense of family, as well as being able to develop ones own duties and responsibilities within the home and community.
Although Anderson attempts to paint the FLDS in a positive nature, more focus should have been brought to the trial as well as the ongoing controversies that have surrounded the compound, to allow readers to make informed and well-rounded opinions on the FLDS. Only focusing on the positive aspects does not do justice to the whole issue, particularly since it heavily included Anderson’s own observations and opinions on the matter. Anderson also did address some of the more negative aspects in terms of male domination within the group and how up until 2008, one man, Warren Jeffs, had the ability to make all the executive decisions within the group.
In comparison to the article, the images portrayed through National Geographic’s documentary ‘I Escaped a Cult’ (2012) paints a picture similar to what was seen in the media in 2008, with images from Jeff Warren’s arrest repeatedly flashed across the screen throughout various scenes in the documentary and painting the entire community and culture as a cult, rather than as a religious sect. This may in turn show a paradigm shift in National Geographic’s perspective on how the public should view the community, thereby mirroring what other media sources have reported on in recent years. The title of the documentary, as well as the soundtrack overdramatizes the information presented to favour the victims unfortunate circumstances. This aspect of tailoring the information would most likely entice viewers thereby capturing a specific audience, most notably those whom would be captivated and “disgusted” by the images they are seeing on their television. This portrayal of the FLDS can lead a viewer to make assumptions on all members who are involved in the community due to the basis of information from just one source.
The documentary focused centrally on one perspective, namely that of Brent Jeffs who grew up within the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch, located in Eldorado, Texas. His experience tells of a harrowing tale of childhood molestation at the hands of Warren Jeffs, and his ties to the elite bloodline that he was born into. The documentary also points out the cruel nature of how polygamy has led to the “cruel sexual exploitation of children”, by using religion as a guise to enforce their actions (Kiger, 2012). Brent’s perspective also takes into account the idea of living within a culture of which few men were able to wield supreme amounts of power, over those in the rest of the community thereby allowing and promoting acts such as molestation and allowing adolescent girls to become the wives of older men in the compound. Unlike the article where the trial and charges surrounding Warren Jeff’s was barely mentioned, the case was highly referenced throughout the documentary with a focus on the sexual allegations against him for raping two underage girls. The documentary and the article share a common ground in informing the viewer, that while Warren Jeffs’ is not physically present within the compound, he still has sway over his followers with many members still choosing to follow his orders. Overall, National Geographic sought to showcase the harrowing experience of one victim and his escape from the religious cult and the abuse he suffered under the hands of the church’s leadership.
Many critics of the FLDS often see the group as being an isolated cult, who are restricted by strict rules and rigid social control from the church and that the community has a disturbing fealty to one man, Warren Jeffs. This view often reflects the idea that the FLDS is seen as a cult, rather than a religious institution, however some critics have argued that all religions can be seen as a ‘cult’. Much of the research done by other scholars is also reliant on members who have been excommunicated or have chosen to leave, thereby helping to formulate rumors or biases against current members in the group. Although, having access to those members may not always be a negative thing as they do help to shed light on topics that would otherwise never be known, examples include underage marriages and the effects of living under constant watch from a small but powerful minority of the community. Other scholar’s often fail to mention that there are many other cultures that practice polygamy or the role of men being in charge of enforcing religious control of the community.
For the most part, much of the reporting and research done on the FLDS community, do reflect the same views as those presented within the documentary due to the arrest and conviction of Warren Jeffs. As Weyermann (2012) points out, although the accusations of abusive polygamist practices remain, there continues to be many other assumptions made on the FLDS including the use of involuntary “reassignment” of women and their children to new husbands, as well as the intimidation of children. In a sense, this almost contradicts what was portrayed through Anderson’s article, as he painted the town in a relatively positive image and sought to avoid any controversy that had mentioned the church. In comparison to other articles, Anderson (2012) sought to paint a more modern day image of the community, as he mentions “[t]oday FLDS women in the Hildale-Colorado City area have ample opportunity to ‘escape’—they have cell phones, they drive cars, there are no armed guards keeping them in—yet they don’t.” Although, critics and scholar’s against this view, including Weyermann argues that due to the complete isolation of the community, many women lack the skills and means of supporting themselves should they decide to leave the sect.
Overall, the main issue at hand presented in the article written by Scott Anderson was his avoidance of painting the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a negative light. However, National Geographic’s recent documentary ‘I Escaped a Cult’ has shown a contradictory portrait of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Anderson’s article attempting to paint a positive portrait of the cultural sect, and their documentary portraying the church members as being in a cult, thereby painting a highly negative image. This may reflect the tendency for National Geographic to conform to what most other scholar’s have to say on the matter, as well as trying to attract an audience by emphasizing the role of the victim. The article on the other hand emphasized the role of communal spirit and sustainability due to the nature of polygamy drawing families to become closer. In conclusion, Scott Anderson is able to draw attention to the idea of polygamy and the role of religious control in the FLDS community from the view of an insider, helping to bring attention to some of the issues surrounding sect. The article also helps to ensure that some of the myths and ideas surrounding the community are corrected in the public domain and in turn helps to draw attention to some of the key issues within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Anderson, S. (n.d.). The Polygamists . National Geographic Magazine. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/02/polygamists/anderson-text/6
Goodwyn, W., Berkes, H., & Walters, A. (2005, May 3). Warren Jeffs and the FLDS : NPR. NPR : National Public Radio . Retrieved November 5, 2012, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4629320
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National Geographic – About. (n.d.). National Geographic – Inspiring People to Care About the Planet Since 1888. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://www.nationalgeographic.com
Weyermann, D. (2012, June 11). FLDS continues abusive polygamist practices in Utah and Arizona. High Country News. Retrieved November 3, 2012, from