Cultural Impact of Development

1. Why are the ways the Global South is represented in the media an exercise of power? Give two examples of real life impacts of these representations.

The ways the Global South is represented in the media are an exercise of power. In his book Geographies of Developing Area – The Global South in A Changing World, Glyn Williams argues that thoughts about people and places are not neutral but, instead, the pointers of power. These thoughts, according to Glyn Williams are representations of the “cultural, social and political norms within which they are constructed” (25). Consequently, when these thoughts are presented in media, they sway the receivers’ thoughts about the subject(s).

  • The South is viewed as a poor place that is in need of help (Glyn Williams 27).
  • From the written accounts of European exploration, the people of the South are thought to be abnormal (Glyn Williams 28). The European way of living was at that time viewed as the baseline for determining how life should be lived.
  • Similar accounts, which are arrogant demonstrations of superiority, can be found in the modern media. Traveler magazines that feature the South and its various travel destinations are the biggest culprits. Images of natives of the Global South dressed in traditional regalia always dot their pages and the accompanying descriptions and tags accomplish nothing short of declaring that the South is underdeveloped.
  • Paintings done in the past portray the South as “exotic, mysterious and static compared with the dynamism of the West” (Glyn Williams 28). As such, the West is acutely compared and contrasted with the South highlighting how different the people of the South are from the superior Northern people.
  • The South is often represented as a conflict zone, which is politically unstable (Glyn Williams 38).

Some representations in the media have real life impacts. For example:

  • Aid advertisements often depict deplorable conditions of some places in the South. This has helped attract the attention of donors who, in turn, support the “poor” people of the South.
  • Representation of the South as a conflict zone where people hardly live in harmony has brought adverse effects to many countries in the South. Whereas it is true that some of them have conflicts, it does not concern all Southern countries; the abovementioned assumption may at times deter potential investors from the countries of the South.

2. Discuss two effects of globalization and neoliberal economic policies on urbanization and migration.

Globalization and neoliberal economic policies have influenced urbanization and migration both negatively and positively. Globalization, being an ongoing process, is responsible for exchange of ideas amongst human beings. Through globalization, technology has spread out far and wide, and day by day, the world is becoming a smaller place. No longer is physical distance a barrier. The spread of Islam, for example, influenced architecture, as it is evident in the coastal towns where Arab traders used to sell their produce. Innovation is also taking up shape pretty well all over the world as people try to improve their lives. Neoliberal economic policies, on the other hand, have also brought a fair share of positive as well as negative contributions.

  • Globalization and neoliberal economic policies have increased the intensity of urbanization and migration. As people interact and mingle with one another in different parts of the world, they discover resources and opportunities in various areas. Discoveries in profitable businesses may encourage migration of more people to such areas. This enhances the exchange of ideas. Such migrations lead to growth of towns and cities as people look for opportunities to earn a living. Service industries sprout to offer services to the immigrants. Schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and other infrastructures are built to provide the livelihood for immigrants. In this spirit, urbanization takes effect. Neoliberal economic policies have a similar impact. Privatization of state owned assets and companies presents opportunities to investors who readily step in to make huge profits for themselves. Therefore, globalization and neoliberal economic policies speed up urbanization in the respective places where they occur and consequently increase migration.
  • Globalization and neoliberal economic policies have brought about imbalances to the urbanization process. For example, according to “Paula’s Story: Growing up in Durban” by Glyn Williams, the colonizers of South Africa brought the apartheid rule upon the natives of South Africa. The immigrants developed schools for the white students who never mingled with the black natives of that country. Consequently, developments were only realized around the areas where the immigrants settled, a factor which made the natives even poorer. Neoliberal economic policies in this country have seen the poor remain poor even years later after South Africa gained independence.

3. Youth in Rio De Janeiro and Cairo contested the state. Discuss the similarities between those contestations in both countries, and the role urbanization may have played in both cases.

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In the youth contestations in Brazil and Cairo , there are many similarities.

  • First and foremost, these two countries belong to the Global South’s ‘developing countries’ bracket.
  • Both cities in this context are overpopulated and can barely support their dwellers. Catering for the residents’ housing is a huge task for these states to accomplish. This has seen many people live in deplorable conditions where they barely meet their basic needs. Brazil, in particular, has one of the biggest slums in the world popularly called the favela. Cairo’s slums are heavily populated too.
  • In both cities, there are high levels of unemployment. It, in turn, leads to high levels of insecurity as people struggle to satisfy their basic needs. Both cities have a poor infrastructure, which has led to a slow economic growth.
  • Urbanization has played a huge role in the aforementioned contestations.
  • Since education is not free in both states, people who cannot afford primary education end up without the basic skills required for employment in city firms and companies. This has rendered most of them jobless.
  • Lack of a source of income for many young people means that they have to find a way of earning their daily bread. As such, the youths engage in illegal activities like drug trafficking and violent crime in order to provide for themselves.
  • Due to the high number of unemployed citizens in the two cities, the provision of social amenities like health care is a huge task for the two states.

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