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One of the terms that intrigued me most from last week’s discussion was “cultural leveling” and the synonymous term homogenization.  Although we noted that cultural homogenization is definitely not a completed process – there are still many cultures around the world that haven’t been completely altered due to the influence of Westernization – it’s interesting to think of a world with one, unified culture.  I think one of the most note-worthy brands that has both tried and succeeded to some extent in cultural leveling is MTV.  MTV has many branches around the world, including MTV Mexico, MTV Europe, MTV Indonesia, MTV Hong Kong, and then about fifty more.  Although MTV definitely regionalizes their programming to attract the greatest number of viewers, the general ideology and culture it promotes is the same worldwide.  MTV represents a motivated, forward-thinking, and ‘cool’ youth, which seems pretty straightforward in the US.  But when MTV first entered Asia and even some parts of Latin America, the general populations in those countries were a lot more conservative. By promoting certain Western values, such as consumerism, capitalism, and democracy, MTV has been able to help liberalize the youth in those countries.  Through shows such as TRL, Road Rules, MTV Un-Plugged, and even the Jersey Shore, MTV has had a major impact on (and aided in the creation of) a global culture.

The term “cultural leveling” seems to have a very negative connotation, but after looking at the example of MTV, it appears that it may not always be so bad.  The term “cultural leveling” makes it seem like homogenization would mean destruction of all things good in the world. But through globalization, and by promoting the American teen culture, MTV has helped in liberalizing the Eastern world. While there are definitely many cons of homogenization, there are pros, as well, that cannot be overlooked.

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