The question my case study answered was, "How does globalization shape media products and industry?". I focused specifically on how globalization has produced some negative effects as seen in Disney’s strategies of how they represent and portray certain cultures.
Globalization is an effect of cultural transmission processes and the breaking down of boundaries. Disney’s globalization strategy consists of targeting various racial backgrounds and ethnic groups and tailoring their films toward that population, such as Aladdin representing the Arabian culture. In addition, Disney uses stereotypes from the American point of view and incorporates music/rhythmic beats and melodies pertaining to that culture. The primary issue associated with globalization is reflecting racist stereotypes (Spector, Alan J.). Aladdin illustrates Disney’s globalization strategy by employing negative stereotypes which are less empowering. There was a significant amount of controversy over Aladdin, including the lyrics in the song “Arabian Nights”, the scene where an Arab merchant attempts to slice off Princess Jasmine’s hand, and feminists objecting to Disney’s derogatory representation of Jasmine. Through my case study, I learned in order for a company to be successful globally, it needs to be diverse and sensitive to the cultures and customs for its desired market. Ultimately, heavy Western influence across the globe can cause the blending of cultures, thus creating a more narrow perception. Through this process, you lose what makes your culture unique, as explained by Cowen.
The class discussion sparked other perspectives on additional Disney controversies, which included the film Mulan. The only question that took longer for students to answer was “What advice would you give Disney research and development on a future film project incorporating globalization?” I was able to rephrase my question and state my answer. I agreed that they should submerse themselves in the culture for several months before writing the script.
James, Randy. (2009). Top 10 Disney Controversies: Aladdin, Time, pp. 2
Lebedko, Maria G. (2014). Globalization, Networking and Intercultural Communication. Intercultural Communication Studies, pp. 28-41.
Lustyik, Katalin. (2013). Disney's High School Musical: Music Makes the World Go 'Round', Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, pp. 239-253.
Spector, Alan J. (1998). Disney Does Diversity: The Social Context of Racial-Ethnic Imagery. Cultural Diversity and the U.S. Media, pp. 41-309.
Straubhaar, Joseph, Robert Larose, and Lucinda Davenport. (2013) Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.
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