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The Globalization Reader, 5th Edition by John Boli, Frank J. Lechner

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Introduction

Modern media are carriers of globalization. Assisted by the telegraph, nineteenth-century mass newspapers brought information from around the world to the breakfast tables of the Western middle class. From their very beginning, movies were distributed on all continents, creating a common leisure culture among far-flung fans. While radio may have had a mostly domestic reach, broadcast television allowed viewers in many countries to enjoy the same shows, and since the 1960s satellite transmission has further increased that sense of connection by enabling viewers to watch the same events at the same time. Especially with the advent of the World Wide Web in 1991, the internet dramatically increased both connections across space and awareness of those connections by making traditional “content” available and enabling users to communicate with each other in radically new ways. Though none of the modern technologies actually reach everyone in the world – a majority of the world's population does not keep up with the latest Hollywood movies and almost two-thirds have yet to get online – the images, emotions, and information conveyed through the web of mediated connections has tied distant publics far more closely together than ever before.

In this section, we explore questions about the implications of this cultural globalization, focusing on the traditional media of television and film. If more people are exposed to more similar sounds and images, or experience many of ...

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