The era of globalization has created a global culture where people around the world share experiences, ideas, norms, and symbols that unite them.
Music, movies, clothes, and phones in the era of globalization are designed to appeal to a global market. This has helped to create global interconnectedness.
Examples of global culture include Hollywood films, fast food restaurants, and pop music. These examples can be used in human geography studies.
Examples of Global Culture
1. Hollywood Film
Hollywood’s film industry produces movies that are watched around the world. These films consequently spread US culture and values far and wide.
Movies like the Marvel and DC film franchises make US culture and values known around the world. They idealize and promote an American way of life and are persuasive in getting youths around the world to embrace Western culture (Song, 2018).
2. English as the Global Language of Business
Each country has its own national language or mother tongue, but when the need for international communication arises, a common language has to be used.
Given the dominance of the United States in the 20th Century, English has become the business world’s lingua franca.
Multinational companies like Samsung, Microsoft in Beijing, Renault, to name a few use English as the common corporate language.
Companies around the world have pivoted to English as their form of communication so they can break into the large US domestic market, attract American talent, and communicate seamlessly with US-based investors (Barancicova & Zerzova, 2015).
3. Fast Food Restaurants
When it comes to eateries, Fast food restaurants are very easy to spot in almost any developed and developing country.
Many people around the world are familiar with names like McDonald’s and KFC.
These fast-food restaurants have become a part of a modern lifestyle through their integration into societies around the world and it shows the scope of food globalization.
Even in societies that don’t have McDonald’s, the fast-food style eatery that was pioneered by the Mcdonald’s franchise has spread far and wide. This even has a name: McDonaldization.
Mcdonald’s started as a single restaurant in the United States of America but over the years it has become one of the biggest food chains in the world with over 39,000 locations in over 100 countries.
4. The Five Great Religions
The five religions of the world were some of the first examples of global culture – they all spread into nearly every multicultural country, influencing each country’s culture and development.
These religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
These religions share many similarities and beliefs. All believe that God created the universe and all that exists in it. Another similarity is that they all emphasize the importance of ethical behaviors and a sense of community all over the world.
These religions share common practices too such as praying, fasting, and giving to charity.
During Ramadhan, Muslims all over the world get to celebrate. This is also the same during the Christmas season, where Christians all over the world get to celebrate. These holidays are similar because they foster the spirit of giving and sharing with the less fortunate in society.
5. The United Nations
The United Nations is a global body that all recognized nations of the world contribute to and, to one extent or another, most countries obey the UN charter and rules.
The UN was founded in 1945 as an International Organization. It is made up of 193 Member states and they are guided by the purpose and principles which are contained in the founding charter.
This International Organization has evolved over the years with its work to keep pace with a rapidly changing world.
The UN represents global culture inasmuch as all the world’s nations gather together to discuss common problems so as to try to seek solutions that can benefit all humanity.
It is also through the UN that we have the Sustainable Development Goals which unite us all. These Sustainable goals are a call for action by all countries poor, rich and middle income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.
6. International Fashion Trends
Globalization has opened up a clothing market with a massive demand for fashionable and trendy clothes. The trends from Paris rapidly make their way to New York, London, and Tokyo.
Fashion images in magazines, music videos, the Internet, and television have helped create a global style across borders and cultures.
Across the world, from Europe to Africa, you will find people wearing jeans, designer sports shoes, T-shirts, and dresses.
Asian, African and Western fashion systems borrow style and textile elements from each other. Each consumer is catered for, different ages, gender, ethnicity, profession, and subculture in high tech bazaars.
World-known celebrities also play a role in spreading a particular fashion through Instagram.
Most emerging fashion trends emerge here where millennials and Generation Z are very much active. An example of a relatable fashion is the Yeezy shoes which have become a fashionable trend among youths around the world.
7. Pop Music
Pop music charts have clearly become more globally oriented since the 1960s. In addition to that, the arrival of music televisions such as MTV in 1981 helped music from different artists to be broadcasted across the globe.
Today, pop music is marketed through radios of different frequencies, and more TV shows have emerged internationally
The distribution of pop music has become easier than ever. We have online streaming platforms that have made the exchange of recorded music instant and weightless.
Today, music consumption globally is often through mobile phones, laptops, or sound playback systems in automobiles (Rojek, 2011).
Pop music brings different talented artists from all over the world through awards such as American Music Awards, MTV, and Grammy Awards which are loved across the world.
8. Football (Soccer)
Football/Soccer is the most loved sport globally because it brings people together from different nationalities. It is known as the “world’s game”.
Every four years nations get to compete on the playing field in the famous World Cup.
There are also the Premier Leagues that are played by Football clubs affiliated with English cities. Despite the fact these teams are English, they have followers all around the world.
These soccer clubs are also made of players from different countries and not natives only.
9. Online Identities
Online culture has allowed young people around the world to identify with their transnational online communities rather than their local communities.
This has, in turn, helped to facilitate a move away from national identities and toward niche identities shared among disparate groups of people.
Put simply, a young person need not identify with their physical community anymore. If they don’t like or get along with people around them, they can turn to the internet to find people on the other side of the world who share their niche hobbies, interests, and passions.
Examples include gamer culture, Manga and Anime groups, YouTuber culture, and blogger culture.
10. Gamer Culture
One prominent online community that has become its own globalized cultural group is the gamer culture community.
South Korea has become a global center for online gaming and has simultaneously initiated and expanded into ancillary sectors such as E-sport and Pro-leagues around the world.
Players have cult followings and can earn up to US$1million by competing in publicly staged events (Hjorth, 2011). The public events are streamed globally.
This gamer culture has evolved because there are so many worldwide games online and very popular among young people.
Examples of games around which global groups of youths coalesce include Call of Duty, Halo, and World of Warcraft.
11. Consumer Culture
Global consumer culture has emerged during the previous few decades.
This culture has been promoted through the rise of standardized online shopping platforms like Amazon, as well as the spread of capitalism in the 20th Century.
Consumers no longer shop only locally and in-person. They also routinely buy things from other countries, both online and offline.
Many companies offer their goods all over the world. As a result, businesses are adjusting their marketing tactics to appeal to growing global customer segments who are interested in foreign and/or global market goods.
12. Formula 1 Car Racing
Formula One has become a global phenomenon, with fans from all over the world coming together to celebrate the world’s premier motor racing sport.
With the ease of television coverage and growing global fame, races from any country can be simulcast globally (Blake, 2015).
To cement its global appeal, Formula 1 races are hosted all around the world. There are circuits in Austin, Malaysia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and other global cities.
13. Tennis (Grand Slams)
Like Formula 1, tennis is now a truly global sport with fans from every country around the world.
The tennis grand slam circuit involves tournaments in 4 different nations (Wertheim & Bourkoff, 2017). The four competitions are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. They are hosted yearly in Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The first-ever currency, the Mesopotamian shekel, was in circulation about 5000 years ago.
This currency rapidly spread through the Greek and Roman worlds until, today, every nation in the world relies on currency to operate their economies.
The use of coins, which is now the global standard for any economy, is an example of how good ideas spread throughout the world. Humans didn’t need the fast-paced internet and air travel to create a global culture: this example from ancient times shows how the globalization of culture has always been a part of our world.
Television is a means by which culture spreads. Like film, people flock to television to see the latest and most entertaining shows.
And like film, the United States has been the dominant culture producer on the television medium.
A quintessential example is The Simpsons, a long-running cartoon that shows an average American family’s lifestyle. The Simpsons alone broadcasts into 52 countries worldwide. As it spreads, the show promotes American values, jokes, and culture to a global world.
16. Business Etiquette
To become successful multinational companies, businesses need to adhere to international norms of business etiquette.
Businesses, no matter which country they are from, need to be enculturated into the norms, customs, skills, and values necessary to participate in the global business community.
Examples of international business etiquette include the shaking of hands after striking a deal during contract negotiation, wearing western-style suits, and taking potential business partners out to dinner.
17. Philosophy and Enlightenment
Philosophy has been a pastime of nearly every culture throughout human history. Two prominent schools of philosophy – Eastern and Western – have each spread throughout the world.
But perhaps the most prominent and successful philosophy that led to an emerging global culture is the philosophy of humanism that underpins the enlightenment.
Humanism led to the rise of secularist states, the decline of Religious rule in nations throughout the East and West, and the liberalization of many parts of the globe (see more examples of humanism).
Even without the enlightenment, however, it’s clear that the practice of philosophy is itself a cultural pursuit that transcends borders and could, therefore, be considered a global cultural phenomenon.
18. Birthday Celebrations
Birthdays have been celebrated for centuries. They were celebrated by the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks, who introduced candles to the occasion.
The “Happy Birthday” song was first composed in the 1800s, while there is some debate about who composed the melody and who owns the rights to it.
While it is customary to celebrate another amazing year, how individuals celebrate birthdays differs tremendously.
There are many unique birthday celebrations all around the world, from singing around a cake with candles in the United States to Ghanaians waking up their children with “oto,” a cooked sweet potato pancake, to commemorate their birthday.
Later in the day, the child throws a party for relatives and friends, where they consume kelewele stew (Meleen, 2021). Ampe, a popular birthday activity, is another option for kids.
Here, we see an example of a global cultural phenomenon (celebrating birthdays) mixing with localized traditions in a practice called glocalization.
19. The Olympic Games
The Olympic Games are a major global sporting event that is celebrated by almost every nation around the world. It draws large crowds of people from all nationalities.
The modern Olympic Games pique the attention of people of all ethnicities and ages globally.
Over 4.8 billion people, more than half the population of the earth, tune in to watch this important cultural and sporting event.
However, sport continues to be a tool for asserting and sustaining national identity. It is a symbol of pride to represent a country in world championships, particularly at the Olympic Games.
Again, here we see glocalization where global culture mixes with local cultures.
One of the other benefits of globalization is that it has led to the cultural diffusion of democratic values across boundaries.
For theorist Arjun Appadurai, democracy is an example of ideoscapes – the spread of political ideas around the world.
The more democracies that surround non-democratic countries, the greater their prospects of a nation becoming democratic (Crockett, 2011).
As a result, democracy has spread to and liberalized a number of nations, including Iraq and several others in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Read Next: Culture vs Society (What’s the Difference?)
Cultural globalization is controversial because it can have both positive and negative impacts. On the one hand, a global culture promotes understanding across cultural groups, leads to the sharing of good ideas, and more efficiency for businesses. But on the other hand, it may lead to cultural homogenization which will dilute local and indigenous cultures. It may break down the rich cultural tapestry of the world and lead to the loss of many of the unique cultures that make our world beautiful.
Barančicová, J., & Zerzová, J. (2015). English as a lingua franca used at international meetings. Journal of Language and Cultural Education, 3(3), 30-51. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/jolace-2015-0018
Blake, R. (2015). The globalization of formula 1: A new world. BAC Sport – Bespoke Sports Travel and Hospitality Packages. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.bacsport.co.uk/the-globalisation-of-formula-1/
Crockett, S. (2011, August 27). Has globalization spread democracy around the world? E-International Relations. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.e-ir.info/2011/08/27/has-globalization-spread-democracy-around-the-world/
Hjorth, L. (2011). Games and Gaming: An introduction to new media. Oxford: Berg.
Inglis, D., & Gimlin, D. (2015). The globalization of food. NewYork: Bloomsbury.
Meleen, M. (2021, September 21). Birthday traditions around the world: Celebrations of a lifetime. LoveToKnow. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://family.lovetoknow.com/cultural-heritage-symbols/birthday-traditions-around-world
OpenStax. (2018, September 20). The relationship between Business Ethics and culture. Business Ethics. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://opentextbc.ca/businessethicsopenstax/chapter/the-relationship-between-business-ethics-and-culture/
Poepsel, M. (n.d.). Preface and overview. Media Society Culture and You. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://press.rebus.community/mscy/front-matter/overview/
Rojek, C. (2011). Pop music, pop culture. London: Polity.
Song, X. (2018). Hollywood movies and China: Analysis of Hollywood globalization and relationship management in China’s cinema market. Global Media and China, 2018;3(3):177-194. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2059436418805538
Sweet, W., & McLean, G. F. (2013). Philosophy emerging from culture. Retrieved March 15, 2022, from http://www.crvp.org/publications/Series-I/I-42.pdf
Wertheim , J., & Bourkoff, A. B. (2017, November 13). World can look to tennis for Globalization Lessons. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from https://www.si.com/tennis/2017/11/13/roger-federer-tennis-atp-world-tour-finals-globalization
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.