Archive for the ‘Assignments’ Category

Assignment #2: Media and Sovereignty

Friday, April 29th, 2011

“Biblical stories of spies entering the Promised Land predate the present revolutionary technologies of boundary penetration and surveillace”. Monroe E. Price describes with this the feeling of threat that comes as a side effect with every new technology for transmitting information. The Internet poses this great feeling of threat with the double-sided idea of it being a “technology of freedom”. Price tells us that this idea is held precisely because of the Internets ability to overwhelm boundaries thus, being the key to the spread of democracy. Is this spread of democracy through the Internet really advocating freedom through technology though? The violation of privacy does not make this seem so “free”.

Price emphasizes that what is being written and celebrated on the Internet is meant to “weaken national controls over information and cultural images within their borders”. This is consistent with the promotion of human rights and democratic values. Which brings us to the historic problem of periodical demands for freedom and concern over content.

According to Fox News in “Spokeo a Growing “Threat to Internet Privacy, Cyber Security Experts Warn”, Spokeo which is a popular information-gathering website, is allowing for ANYONE to get personal information which can be therefore used for malicious acts. Information includes: your income, religion, spouse’s name, credit status and the number of people in your household. Not to mention, the satellite view of your house (powered by Google) and an estimated value included with it. This website makes it easy to pull out info from state and federal bases, including hundreds of social-networking sites and you can do it all at under the price of $3.

As unethical as Spokeo is, it is still up and running and available to the public. This opens the door to criminals committing acts like identity theft, causing harm to innocent individuals. The FTC has tried to stop the service but failed to do so as not everything shown on the website is accurate. As we all know not to trust everything we see from the Internet, this becomes true with Spokeo but this does not make it right because either way it is controlling information that is being shown and in turn, it controls that individual by threatening their privacy.

Assignment #2 Threatening the Status Quo: Wikileaks as the thorn in the side of TNCC

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The era of colonialism is over, or rather it has transformed: We now live in an age of neo-colonialism. This new system of colonialism substitutes hard power (military and political control) with something much more transient and much more subversive. These days the weapon of choice for those in power is mass media. When did this change occur?

We can see the media and telecommunications industries’ rise to power as early as after the Cold War ,with the rapid decolonization that marked the period. New states began developing in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. The West and European powers saw these new territories as the perfect markets in which to introduce capitalist systems. The western superpowers used globalizing telecommunications systems and television pop culture to spread western values, like instant gratification and consumption. As Lechner and Boli pointed out in their introduction to Part VII, “the expanded mass media fit neatly with the spread of global capitalism.”

Once the 80s rolled around, simulated imagery really took off. More countries began producing their own media outlets, from film to new and TV, though some are undoubtedly still modeled after western media (consider telenovelas and Bollywood). Now we cannot imagine a world without TV, the internet, and our cellphones.

In his article “Media and Sovereignty”, Monroe E. Price seeks to explain the dialectic attitude of the West towards media and geographic borders (the basis for most state power). He wrote:  “It is vital to examine the complexities and contradictions in Western attitudes toward unmediated distribution of information, the historic problem of oscillating between demand for freedom and concern over content…at the same time that the function of the state and its capacity to describe and enforce law is brought into doubt, law-making and invocation of the need and power to control imagery increase”(307).

I can think of no better example than WikiLeaks, and the highly controversial acts of information dissemination that positioned them right in the cross hairs of the US government. It was intriguing to see how the US dealt with this situation. After all, we are always calling for transparency in government. What we ended up seeing was a paradox. As reporting on the controversy developed, we saw how US government tried everything it could to shut WikiLeaks down.

WikiLeaks released information detailing US involvement with assassination attempts condoned and planned by foreign governments on public officials, energy scandals, financial scandals, war crimes, and diplomatic cables. (US officials want desperately to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange for theft of government property, to say the least, but he has so far evaded prosecution.) That is not to say the government did not find a target. The US government is currently holding US Army soldier Bradley Manning, accused of first leaking documents to Assange, at the military base Quantico in conditions allegedly akin to torture. What little news the public has of him is that he is required to stand for hours at a time and barely given clothing or food. He has been there since March 2010 and ‘official’ accounts of his are condition are sparse.

Price also wrote of the “market for loyalties” to describe state control and power, where “large scale-competitors for power…use the regulation of communications to organize a cartel of imagery and identity among themselves”(307). Another case I found to relate to this was the birther controversy stirred by Trump over investigating President Obama’s birth certificate. I believe big businesses, political lobbyists, and political enemies of the President definitely pressured mass media outlets to report heavily on this birther controversy. In that way the TNCC was able to steer the attention of the public to a falsity and propagate this attention for its own benefit.

The WikiLeaks fiasco reminds me of Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers scandal. I’m sure when the Pentagon Papers scandal broke that it was just as highly contested as the WikiLeaks issue is right now. Looking back many journalists are grateful to Ellsberg for the role he played and what it meant for journalists and First Amendment rights. Only time can tell what will happen to WikiLeaks.

Assignment #2 Media and Sovereignty

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Since the beginning of the new year, media has been a major topic throughout the world. Due solely to the media, America was notified about the revolutionary attacks that began in Egypt earlier this year. Had it not been for facebook or twitter, we would be unaware to what extent the violence had reached. According to Monroe E. Price, in “Media and Sovereignty: The Global Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power” he discusses the overall power of technology and media. It was interesting to read Price’s idea on “media cartel’s”. I often think of cartels as being drug related but who knew there could be media cartel’s too.  There are far too many examples of how media has played a major role in society primarily due to the innovations of technology. Lucky for us Mark Zuckerberg created the next big thing. Could this be the last? Highly doubtful. People are always inventing another way to socially enhance the world. It is hard to grasp the idea of “technologies of freedom” because there are still countries that are struggling to simply have their voices heard without technology. How can they move on to facebook and twitter without being able to voice their opinions. I have taken a great interest in watching documentaries on North Korea. I was even able to explain to my students how limited the citizens of North Korea are.

Since the split of Korea, North Korea has been considered one of the the strictest countries in the world. Not only are they heavily militarized but they have extremely tight regulations on the media. Although the constitution allows freedom of speech and press, the government prohibits a large part of media exploration. North Korea allows the role of press to be present in terms that it is benefiting the evil dictatorship the country is currently under. The transnational corporations in North Korea take pride in their media censorship. This censorship goes as far as limiting students the ability to use computers. It is safe to say that the TNCs in North Korea use media and technology against their citizens. There are strict laws placed on journalist’s that they must follow or else they are harshly punished. There are no private presses allowed in North Korea, any publishing must be done through a news agency called the Korean Central News Agency.

One of the most well known dictators of North Korea, Kim ll-Sung had very strict orders for his people. Often, news is released internationally and withheld from the North Korean population, and other news is released to the people but is not released internationally. Perhaps North Korea has been so used to this type of dictatorship that the people have grown to believe that the outside world is evil. Who knows what really goes on in North Korea, besides the large amounts of nuclear weapons they posses. As much as these citizens are censored, I strongly believe that they would like to be given the chance of seeing how media and technology makes the world go round. Although they are closed off and live tightly under harsh rulers, they too deserve every right to be able to speak freely, post freely, tweet freely, etc. Without this media and sovereignty will never exist for the people of North Korea. There is a missing piece; media that is hidden by the rulers of North Korea. This should change. Perhaps if North Korea was able to tweet and facebook we would know a lot more about what is going on in one of the most militarized and isolated countries in the world.

I included a short clip of a North Korean documentary made by National Geographic to get an idea of the lifesytles of North Koreans. These people are constantly living under threat by their own people. I can’t imagine living this way. Every single thing is controlled by the state. The speaker quickly points out the ban on media, internet, and overall technology.

National Geographic Inside Undercover In North Korea

Assignment #2

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The relationship between media and authority is not always clear. Freedom of speech and expression comes into play and creates a fine line that sometimes gets crossed. States have power that doesn’t come by often and isn’t easy to obtain. They use the power they are given to make sure their authority is seen and heard because they need to maintain order. Because people in government are so easily trusted, there are people who don’t give a second thought to the sometimes over bearing, controlling actions government officials take. They create new inventions that make people think they care and are worried about their safely, but at the same time are also serving their own needs.

A perfect example of this is happening in my town, Kings Point (Great Neck), New York. Over the past few months there have been about 10 attempted robberies in my town and the citizens were growing tired of an over-paid police force that wasn’t really doing anything to help. For months, police forces sent helicopters and police cars all over town to find the robber. Because they were unsuccessful and receiving backlash from the people in the community the Kings Point Police decided to add these new advanced cameras that are able to identify every vehicle that goes in and out of town. The devices take pictures of license plates and adds it to the database.

Now, anyone reading this article would be glad that the Kings Point Police were trying to do something to help their town. But someone who has been keeping up to date with the recent news in our town would know that there have also been recent stories of the youth in Great Neck cheating, stealing and dealing with drugs. These police officers are really just trying to save themselves by adding these cameras. The camera are said to read the license plate and be entered into the database, so once its in, the cops have every bit of information on you. Some people would be okay with that but I’m sure that there are those that feel this is effecting their privacy. Is the town using technology to maintain authority and control over citizens? Yes. Is it a bad thing in this case? Not if they catch the bad guys.

Assignment #2 – Media and Sovereignty

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

“The market is so powerful, technology so ubiquitous, that we are often reminded that the process of law making, especially in the field of media regulation, is like building castles in the sand where complex structures will be forcefully erased by an overwhelming cascade of waves.” (ch. 36, pg 307).  Monroe accumulates the entirety of the effect that the advanced globalization of media has today in every facet of our daily lives in an eloquent but precise manner.  He is absolutely correct that whether from the origination and usage of radio, to the invention of television and now to the internet, that media has caused a sense of global revolution against almost every part of every government of the world.  In the previous election, Barack Obama used successfully the internet and social networking to spread and reinforce his motto of “Change”.  Facebook has become not just a social networking site, but a revolutionary phenomenon for jobs and advertisement.  This upcoming Friday when Prince William will marry Kate Middleton, an unprecedented 2 billion people worldwide will watch.  But how has non-state actors challenged state sovereignty with these technologies of freedom?

One prime example is the case of Egpyt.  Everyone now knows that a youth led revolution was started against Mubarak this year.  The incredible aspect of this case is that the revolutionaries used a non-violent method of mass organization using twitter and facebook.  The government saw this as a direct threat to their sovereignty and even went as far as to shut the internet down.  But the sword of social networking and internet is untamable by a meer shutdown of a switch.  News got out and foreign twitter-ers and facebook advocates sent messages to used newly created ip addresses to get news and video out to the world.  When one ip was shut down, another 5 appeared in its place.  The government eventually succumbed to the fact that shutting down the internet and going against the grain was a pointless battle and “turned on” internet again.

Because of this uprising and the success it had in such a large country, it created a ripple affect in the Arab world, to Yemen, Libya and other countries.  All are using social network and the internet to get their messages across and the governments are helpless in preventing this peaceful revolution from occurring.

Media & Sovereignty Report – Assignment # 2

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The power of modern technology and social networking may often seem as a threat to national sovereignty. “Media and Sovereignty: The Global Revolution and Its Challenge to State Power” by Monroe E. Price discusses how the relationship between media and borders is always in transition; especially with new “technologies of freedom.” The article begins with Monroe E. Price stating “…Every new medium, every new technology for transmitting information, causes responses by those who feel threatened…internet, with its silent, abundant ubiquity, seems to be the capstone of this tendency to obliterate borders.”

Modern technology, such as social networking, has been used to spread information worldwide. News of the revolution in Egypt against Mubarak began with individuals who had used social networking websites to get their message across nationwide, even before any media coverage could have been done. Because any individual is able to journal or upload photos and videos on many social network websites, almost anyone can see the information being placed on those websites. Individuals in Egypt used these social networking websites; specifically “Twitter,” to spread information around the world of what was going on in their country.

These actions were considered a threat to Egypt’s national sovereignty, therefore Egypt’s government had the internet shut down. Individuals then continued to spread information by using their cell phones; sending messages to others who had access to these social networking websites to once again get their messages across to anyone outside of the country. The U.S government also used social networking to demand that U.S. reporters be released out of Egypt; before long, the reporters were released.

The relationship between Media and Sovereignty regarding their borders or boundaries is somewhat complicated. Media often challenges state power, especially now with “free flowing information” provided by the internet. Many individuals worldwide have access to “technologies of freedom” and use the internet to gain and spread information. Monroe E. Price states, “Re-regulation or the incentive to change media law and policy occurs, within a state, when the cartel of political allegiances can no longer maintains its position of civil dominance.” Therefore, individuals are given the use of modern technology, but it is usually regulated by the authorities of the state.

Assignment #2 – Media and Sovereignty

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

In China, TV is heavily monitored by the government.  Children’s programming is especially monitored.  In China, children’s programming is extremely educational.  Even some Chinese citizens believe that the programming is to boring and no fun.  Just recently, The Kids Choice Awards, presented by Nickelodeon, was aired in China.  The Kids Choice Awards is an awards show for kids show in America.  There were many restrictions placed on Nickelodeon while airing the show.  For example, much burping and farting, which was aired on the show in America, was edited out of the program when aired in China.  Children in China are taught to act respectful at all times.  The government would not allow Chinese children to be exposed to such absurd behavior.  The children in China loved even this dulled down version of the Kids Choice Awards.  They took a strong liking to the idea of “sliming” people.  A green slime is poured on people repeatedly during the show (trademark of Nickelodeon).  However, the government and many parents were not happy about the sliming of adults on the show.  Children on the show were also featured smacking adults in the head with balloon bats.  In China, respecting elders is a strong value in their culture.  A child sliming an adult or smacking an adult in the head with a balloon bat, is seen as a sure sign of disrespect among Chinese culture.  While children in China may adore these kids of shows, Chinese government would not.

Viacom, a US company (mostly concerned with children programming), is trying to attract China’s youth with programming that is anti-authoritative.  Chinese television is completely run by the state.  This makes negotiating more challenging for foreign media companies.  Chinas government has recently been placing more restrictions on foreign media companies.  China is so appealing to international media companies because of its population

I can understand why Chinese government would be skeptical of “Western” children’s programming.  Childhood obesity is on the rise in America.  Children are always being criticized for watching too much TV in America.  Studies have shown that American TV is too violent and that children are negatively affected by television.  Maybe keeping children’s programming boring is the way to go.  Children watch less TV in China.  Programming is more educational.  Maybe Chinese government is right for not wanting to expose children to farting, burping and disrespecting elders.  In Chapter 36 of The Globalization Reader, Monroe E. Price discusses how states are responsible for protecting norms and values of its society.  Maybe by not exposing Chinese children to Western TV, the Chinese government is doing just that.

Blog #2 – Social Networking / WikiLeaks

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

After reading chapter 36 and watching the two online videos, I was actually quite shocked. The online video, “Social Networks, Social Revolution,” by Empire – Al Jazeera English, discussed how the technology involving social networking has been used to spread information worldwide; even before any media coverage had been able to do so. Because any individual is able to journal or upload photos and videos on many social network websites, almost anyone can see the information being placed on those websites. Individuals in Egypt used these social networking websites; specifically “Twitter,” to spread information around the world of what was going on in their country. When their internet was shut down, the individuals continued to spread information by using their cell phones. The individuals would send messages to others who had access to these social networking websites to once again get their messages across to anyone outside of the country. Even the U.S government used social networking to demand that U.S. reporters be released.

The online video, “Inside Wikileaks,” also discusses the serious impact that the internet can have by spreading information to individuals around the world. The main discussion of the video involved the chief editor of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and a video that was “leaked” from his sources titled “collateral Murder.”The video that was released / “leaked” was not intended to be seen by individuals around the world; showing innocent unarmed civilians that were being shot at by American soldiers in Iraq. By releasing this video with such a negative title, many individuals viewing this video around the world may have formed their own negative views towards the U.S government after watching this video.

I believe that “freedom of technology” is a great thing that should not be abused. Julian Assange is considered a dangerous person due to specific information he has acquired and “leaked” by being the chief editor of “WikiLeaks.” I was surprised when watching the online videos of how social networking has been used to positively or negatively affecting individuals; spreading all sorts of information at such a rapid rate worldwide. Individuals using these websites were able to spread information faster than the media could cover, while getting the governments of different nations involved simultaneously.

Creolization of Scientology

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Scientology has been a part of one of the most controversial religious movements to appear during the 20th century.  Its original purpose was intended to be a new psychotherapy and was not expected to become a religion.  As a religion, the Church of Scientology was incorporated in Camden, New Jersey by creator L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology brings a method of spiritual rehabilitation through counseling known as auditing. This counseling aims to bring back painful or traumatic events in ones past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Reliving and conquering painful pasts will then bring the Scientologist to the thetan, or ones true identity as a spiritually free individual.

Even before Scientology was introduced as a religion the term “Scientology” was used and valued differently. In 1901, Allen Upward coined Scientology “as a disparaging term to indicate a blind, unthinking acceptance of scientific doctrine”. In 1934, Anastasius Nordenholz used the term to mean “science of science”. Now the term has a whole new meaning as a religion and has gained recognition worldwide. Countries like Australia, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Croatia, Hungary and Kyrgystan practice the religion of Scientology and even performances of marriages have been made in South Africa through the practice.

L. Ron Hubbard’s religious creation of Scientology has come a long way through the years spreading far away from its original location in New Jersey and has brought many followers as its recognition grows. In 2005, the Church of Scientology stated membership worldwide to be 8 million, but this included people who did not continue on after the introductory level. In 2007, 3.5 million members were reported in the United States. Membership reported decreased in 2008 to a low of 25,000 members, this may be a false count because the number reported represents how many people identified as Scientologists when asked their religion.

Although Scientology members have fallen to a smaller portion as it once did this does not hide the fact that the practice of Scientology has evolved. Scientology now operates 8 churches that are “Celebrity Centers” where entertainers as well as other people are welcome. This has caused controversy being that the Church of Scientology looks to converting celebrities to advocate the beliefs of the religion but I believe this is a smart method in order to get more members. Entertainers such as John Travolta, Kristie Allen, Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Cruise and Will Smith are just a few who have publicized Scientology.

Creolization essay #1

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Religion is one aspect of the spread of creolization. This includes colonization and spread of religion to a group of people. For example, the Spanish conquerors in South America, and the spread of Catholicism in Haiti. The spread of Catholicism made slaves believe in Gods that came from Africa. From this came the creole religion created in Haiti called voodoo. African slaves in Haiti contributed to their spiritual beliefs and the beliefs of the slave owner.

In the US, creolization has spread to cities such as New York City and Florida. Haitians are a big part of these two places. There is little Haiti where they are growing in numbers, bringing along their religious beliefs that help them shape into a diverse place among other cultures and nationalities.

Facebook : An Active Creolization Machine

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

What is creolization? In the simple way to say creolization is well accepted new culture mixed with native or local culture. We can see creolization around us. When diversity progressed in the globe creolization happened. Pizza is very common US but pizza is not an American food Italian and Greek immigrant brings this food. Dominoes and Pizza hart makes this pizza fast but not like Italian pizzerias. This is real world example of creolization.

Come to another country and keep touch with childhood friends not vary easy things. I moved to New York September 2002 from Bangladesh. Long distance phone call is expensive and time distance just opposite from USA. Internet is the blessing of modern technology that changes some of our life style. This is not first time I am creolized by the blessing of science it is started when first time I am introduced satellite television network to our home. Fifteen years ago we can watch four satellite TV channels now we have over 200 TV Channels from around the Globe. People their favorite TV star as like western world. These cultural changes happened in the small town of Bangladesh. I keep touch with my friends via e mail. They send me letters and it takes two to three weeks to reach my home.

Facebook not only change my friendship with my childhood friend it also changes the way of living million people in the Globe. I think after the Roman Empire, Islamic and British era Facebook is the biggest event that has so much influence to our daily life. Romans rule the Europe; Islam rules Arabs, south East Asia and British spread their culture around the world that we still flow. Facebook is not way behind them it has 600 millions active account in 32 languages that mean if you don’t know English still you can use Facebook. Makes new friends makes comment on their picture and like me you can find your old friends. The Telegraph makes a repot on Facebook 15Jul 2009 that during the month of June attracted 87 million US users, who each spent an average of four hours and 39 minutes on the site. Father found his lost daughter via Facebook. Big or small corporation , Profitable or non profit organization and most recognizable institution  has Facebook account.Revulsion in Egypt happened through Facebook.

Facebook is a source of lost and found for relative and friends. Like an active volcano Facebook is an active creolization mechanism and its work 24 hours.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/5833400/Americans-spend-most-of-web-time-on-Facebook.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/11/egypt-facebook-revolution-wael-ghonim_n_822078.html

FaceBook In Reality

Creolization Essay

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

According to answers.com, creolization is the hybridization of a culture, as it absorbs and transforms forces from outside. A cultural practice that I have chosen that has spread from one geographic location to another is Iranian Music. Before Iranians migrated to other countries, their music was more traditional and the singers were older. The origin of the songs were more traditional and related to the older crowd. They were slower and had specific meanings.

In 1979 the Shah was taken out of Iran and the government situation took a turn for the worse. Many Iranians left their homes to start a better life. Both my parents had to leave their homes and start new lives in America. They themselves had no problem keeping their traditions alive because it was all they knew, it was their comfort zone.

From experience in my own home I realized my parents were trying to have my siblings and I listen to more traditional music so we wouldn’t forget where we came from. Being so Americanized, my siblings and I weren’t interested in the music. We were used to upbeat, exciting music so it was hard for us to find a common Ground with anyone from an older generation.

 As time went on, artist realized what was happening and younger artists became well known in the Iranian community in order to keep some sort of interest in the culture alive. The artist realized that if they changed their beats and made them more Americanized and hip they would not only be able to keep the younger generations interested, but the culture would continue to grow and not be forgotten.

Now that the younger generations have grown a liking to the music and still make it part of their everyday life, there is still a connection to their heritage and the culture that their parents came from. The change in the type of music gave me something to help me connect with my older relatives and because of that we enjoy each others company more and have more in common. The adaptation gave us the link to stay connected as a family.

Assignment #1 – The Creolization of Coffee

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Without coffee, it would probably be quite a bit harder for most of us to get up in the morning. Especially in the US, our conceptualization of coffee revolves around Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and our local coffee house.  Coffee has undergone the process of creolization; it’s become commercialized and has spread around the world. As it did that, its value changed. Thanks to creolization, the idea of morning coffee is an institution, now more than ever. So where was this legacy born?

Coffee Arabica (the finest bean) is believed to have been discovered in 600AD growing along the central Ethiopian plain land; trees had also been growing in Yemen. The Arab people guarded the Arabica beans until 1650, when seeds were stolen by an Indian traveler who then returned back to India. The French and then the Dutch would attempt to grow coffee. While the French failed for growing the beans too far up north, the Dutch were able to successfully breed coffee trees from seed. In 1715, the Dutch gave Louis XIV of France a coffee tree as a sign of favor and good will. This coffee tree, called the Noble Tree, is the tree from which all coffee in France is derived. It continues to produce seeds which are sent back and grown in Ethiopia. From France, coffee tree seeds traveled with nobles to the Caribbean. Being geographically close France, soon England had coffee.  Of course, this meant that our colonial ancestors soon were soon able to enjoy it.

Dorothy Jones was the first woman in the American colonies licensed to sell coffee. She sold coffee seeds to enterprising young colonists. Coffeehouses became extremely common. During the Revolution, coffeehouses were sites of pro-colonial sentiment. Colonists planned the Boston Tea Party while at a coffeehouse. The Declaration of Independence was first read publicly at a coffeehouse, and plans for the Constitutional Congress were conceived in a coffeehouse.

There’s no argument that the number of coffeehouses in the US has skyrocketed since then. Americans love their coffee. Besides its delicious taste, a cup of coffee represented many things in the past that it still represents today: warmth, energy, a moment’s peace.  Not much has changed in how we view our coffee (except perhaps for those who grab their coffee on the go, it is not so much “a moment’s peace” but the willpower they need to get to work).

The aspect of coffee which has creolized is its method of delivery. In America it seems we want our coffee to be served quickly and to taste impeccable. We do not want to go to a coffee shop and get good coffee the first day, bad coffee the next. Chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have capitalized on these market desires, opening up across the country. They each serve their own products and thus each has developed a specialized language – like a grande skinny caramel macchiato or a medium vanilla dunkaccino. Small individual coffee shops which open up as a countermovement to this commercialization do find success, but it is often limited to localized regions or neighborhoods. The most lucrative coffeehouses are the national chains. This is one way that coffee consumption differs in the US as compared to other places in the world. In Europe for example, though Starbucks exists, it is not the norm. Starbucks is mostly found in airports to accommodate tourists. Additionally, Dunkin Donuts is almost nonexistent outside of the US. Rather, the local population drinks at locally run coffeehouses.

The ways in which coffee preferences and coffee distribution have evolved are quite extraordinary. No other beverage has the universal appeal of coffee.  As it travelled around the world, its nature changed and shaped lives.

Source: “Coffee and its Origins.” Online. http://www.italiancook.ca/origins-coffee.htm

Creolization of Rugby

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Growing up in New York City has given me the chance to experience new culture on a daily basis. Living in one of the most diverse cities in the world has taught more about how the rest of the world lives. Lucky for us, the idea of creolization has helped this country grow do to  new culture that has traveled over geographical space and landed in a place where new culture is accepted. Specifically dealing with objects, people, food, and sports, etc it is safe to say that when it comes to dinner time I have the option of eating almost any type of food I want. Whether it’s Chinese, Italian, Indian, Persian or Tai food I can walk no more then three blocks and be satisfied with my choice without having to travel half way across the globe. Regardless of  what ethnic food I’ll eat tonight is going to be, some of the most greatest fads have traveled the distance and ended up in our households. Perhaps this happens without us even realizing but the constant move of culture from one place to another is what makes this city (and many others too) so unique.

From the far stretches of the western hemisphere to our own backyards, there is no question that cultures and lifestyles of completely separate regions find a way to melt together. This process of globalization can be seen in the clothes we wear, food we eat, music we enjoy, and games we play. One may not think to include this idea that the games we play are an example of creolization but indeed it is. Perhaps the best example how a sport was able to spread throughout the world taking pieces from many different places along the way is the game of rugby.

First started in 1823, rugby was little more than a group of hooligans who upon finding themselves bored with the game of soccer simply picked the ball off the ground and began to run with it. Games like this one had never been played before in Britain and it was slow to catch on. As time went by, rules were created for the few university schools who chose to have a side. In 1870, a man from New Zealand by the name of Charles Monro, returned home to his country after completing his education at an English university. This spread of rugby from England to New Zealand his a great demonstration of the spread of culture throughout the world, however it is only the first major more for the game of rugby.

Around 1872, rugby clubs were organized in France, Scotland, and Germany creating international games. This was a first since it would have been impossible to hold matches between England and New Zealand because of the great distance. On October 19, 1873, representatives from Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and Rutgers met at the Fifth Avenue hotel in New York City in order to come up with a set up rules which these teams could all agreed on. On May 14 of that same year, Harvard hosted the first rugby game ever played on American soil.

The game of rugby, once a barbaric game played by men doing little more than playing soccer with their hands has transformed into what it is today through the process of creolization. The spread of the game throughout the world created change but eventually led to unification. It is an incredible how one game started by a few could grow into a worldwide common game. Perhaps the next step is for the game to become more mainstream in the U.S. but we shall see…here are a few pictures of rugby in action..don’t mind the brutality..it truly is a great game to watch.

Creolization Essay: The Spread of Drifting to America

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

 

Creolization refers to the creation of new cultures through the blending and adaptation of older cultures.  It is an ongoing process amplified by technological innovations, as distant parts of the world are now able to communicate and express ideas instantly.  One influence that has spread to North America, Europe, and even the Middle East in recent decades is Japan’s automotive tuning culture.  Japan has a rich automotive heritage based around both legal and illegal automotive competitions.  The most recent form of Japanese competition to spread around the world is underground “drifting”, which has been popularized by movies such as The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Drifting is a form of racing very different from NASCAR or drag racing, both of which are both very popular in the United States.  Drifting is a style of competition where drivers purposely slide their cars at extreme angles around corners while maintaining control of their vehicle.  In these competitions, it doesn’t matter who finishes first, but rather, who demonstrated the most skill and who can put on the best show.  In a nutshell, drifting is an art form that relies on driver skill and car balance instead of high horsepower, and some would consider it “ballet for cars”.

Drifting, as we know it today, was invented in Japan in the 1970’s by professional race car drivers who believed that sliding around corners, although difficult and dangerous, would allow them to maintain higher speeds and therefore win more races.  This technique quickly spread through Japan’s automotive tuning culture, where it evolved into illegal competitions on Japan’s mountainside roads.  Japanese tuners no longer built cars meant for racing at high speeds, but rather they built cars that were well balanced and designed to slide around corners and curves at extreme angles while the drivers maintained control.  Underground (illegal) street racing in Japan became based around this new form of competition throughout the late 1970’s and 1980’s, and by the 1990’s  the drift culture gained enough support that drifting grew into a highly organized event.

As drifting grew into an underground culture in Japan its influence slowly trickled out to other parts of the world.  In the U.S., drifting caught on in the Southern California region as well as in the Northeast, where car enthusiasts often import both automotive styles and ideas from Japan.  Through the early 2000’s, car enthusiasts in America quickly flocked to drifting, and the lifestyle associated with it.  No longer were cars modified for high horsepower or to be flashy, but instead they were modified in order to obtain perfect balance and control for drifting.  Cars were built to be lightweight and functional instead of loud and flashy, just like in Japan.  Drift enthusiasts here in America bought and built cars almost identical to those in Japan, including Toyota Supras and Nissan 240sx’s.

Although the American adaptation of drifting is very similar to drifting in Japan, some differences exist in America.  For instance, while Japan is seemingly full of winding mountain roads, New York City is not.  Therefore, drifting in America mainly occurs on city streets late at night, or in large, empty parking lots.  Another key difference is that American drifters actually drift at higher speeds with less finesse while Japanese drifters are known for drifting at lower speeds with more finesse.  Also, drifters in America have adapted larger, heavier, and more powerful vehicles for drifting, including American “muscle cars”.  Even though American drifting has been considered less “pure” than drifting in Tokyo, American drifting styles are beginning to make their way back to Japan and Japanese car enthusiasts have started incorporating American styles into their cars.  It’s not uncommon to find cars in Japan modified with American produced parts in order to attain the authentic “American” look.

As drifting continues to spread around the world, international organizations have formed to support drifting as a world wide motorsport.  Although Japan is credited with the creation of drifting, each country has their own spin on the sport.  Increased communication between countries and car enthusiasts of the world allows the sport to grow and change, but most importantly, it allows everyone to be get a piece of the action.

DC shoes Sponsored Drift Commercial

Japanese Mountain Drifting

Sources:

www.drift-connection.com/history-of-drifting.php

www.driftingstreet.com/what-is-driftinghistory.html

Andrew Ganga