Postmodernism is a very key word in our times; it’s not just another buzz word. Postmodernism conditions our thoughts as well as our politics, it conditions our art as well as our architecture, it conditions our frames of entertainment, and it conditions and shapes our economic, social, and cultural activities. In this post modern world, all that we do is expected to be in line with the current dictates of postmodernism. We can watch postmodernism, hear it, feel it, experience it, read it, be awe- struck by its activities, shop in its precincts live and even breathe it. It’s certain that slowly but surely that postmodernism is taking over the control of the world and its inhabitants; in fact postmodernism has taken over our being, and inculcated its traits into our system, where it’s yet, its hurriedly taking that direction. Postmodernism transcends modernity and traditions which includes culture and identity. Globalization is a notion of postmodernism and dictates channel without allowing for a position of different opinion (FAV, 2000).
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David Harvey, while looking at the condition of post modernity, explained how the extraction of the surplus profits since the inception of post modernism from the productivity of multinational companies as well as the completion between them as opposed to territorial natural differences. He pointed out that now territories are forced to compete amongst themselves so as to attract transnational capital investment. He argues that cities region and/ or organizations are required to make themselves attractive if they have to attract into their territories the manufacturers, tourists, services or convections which given their nature of mobility can potentially be placed at any position in the globe. The strategies of differentiation of spaces are defined by Harvey as “active Production of Places” having some special qualities. This production fabricates the characteristics making a place idiosyncratic and peculiar which is a very significant in drawing investors to a city (Harvey, 1992).
The issue of constructing and ‘selling’ a city’s or region’s image has become vital in the new urban politics and the current market strategies in most of the post-industrial regions and cities. The characterization of Hervey’s development of city marketing and/ or place making that is often accompanied by a change to postmodern styles of urban design and architecture as novel urban entrepreneurialism. Harvey argues that “the active production of places with special qualities becomes an important stake in spatial competition between localities, regions and nations” (Harvey, 1989, p. 295).
At this point it’s good to mention that the consequences on the population (city, region dwellers) remain somewhat unclear. The effects of identity formation and the changes associated with the marketing strategies remain unclear. The question of whether they will alienate some parts via social and cultural strategies or integrate the population is also not clear. The issue of the identity that would be found most suitable for the entire city or region is hard to decipher. The question of the segment of the population that is represented is also found to be hard to answer. The redefinition of a city’s identity may keep taking place as more postmodernism and globalization continues to take place (Heidenreich, n.d).
Case Study: Batam
The citizens of Indonesia perceive Batam Island as a”heaven of opportunities.” Its one of the three thousand islands making up the Riau Archipelago. This island has a rapid growing population. The island over the last few years has been experiencing development into a major tourist and industrial area attracting many investors and business people from the other Indonesian islands. The area has changed from the traditionally fishing community to the current business status. The history of this island took a new direction from 1969 when it was made the support base ‘PERTAMINA Oil Company (State owned) In 197, the region was declared as an industrial area through a prudential decree and after four years Batam authority was formulated. All this changes took place as a result of industrialization and globalization (Good & Hyde, 2008).
The growth of Batam Island led to many changes in the initial cultural and economic life, consequently the identity of the region and of the individuals. The transformation of Singapore resulted to a profound change on Batam Island. The island was just a mare fisherman and coconut growers land by 1960, with very few people knowing anything about it; by then it had only three thousand fishermen and farmers. There was an immense growth with a population of about 700, 000 by year 2005. It’s believed that many of the immigrants had been lured by rumors of a booming economy in the island. The culture of the residents have completely changes with very little farming and fishing taking place, to day the islanders are associated with golf courses, gated community coexistence, marinas, karaoke bars, squatter communities, brothels and prostitution business because of the booming hotels and tourism industry. The island is also renown today for its “Batam/Riau entertainments Web site” that is known for its fantasy, all this changes are as a result of postmodernism and globalization impact in the society (Good & Hyde, 2008, p. 223).
The culture of the working class has also fallen victim of active production of places that aims at making Batam island an investment land. The working-class has been increasingly marginalized in this new culture and economy. Most of Indonesian men lead conspicuous consumption lifestyles, with the availability of drugs and sex at lowered prices depending on an individual’s economic power. On the other hand the women labor for the rapidly increasing middle class, catering for the desires of Singapore men. Its has been observed that gender roles and identities have changed with the changes in this island, women are found to be managing well in the formal as well as informal roles as opposed to years back prior to the newly developed active production of places (Good & Hyde, 2008).
Manila in Philippines:
The city of Manila has a unique position in the county’s political geography. The city has over the years defied the law common to governance of the other cities forcing the administration to formulate special laws as well as government systems from the 16th century during the Spanish rule. It’s a metropolitan city. The establishment of the city was for merchants and trade center between the Chinese and South East Asian merchants. The colonialism of the Chinese living here by the Spanish forcing them to pay tax and denying them free trade led to a number of conflicts between the Chinese and the Spanish (Chacko, 2004).
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Globalization and postmodernism did not bypass Manila city residents in the endeavor to make all the cities productive and attract investors from without. Creative destruction argues that if evolution is to take place, new ways of doing things must emerge and be proven superior to the old systems. Globalization of any city or region is reflected through variety of hotels, restaurants, clothing worn, and language spoken among many other traits. The city architecture is also a clear depiction of globalization effect within a region. The city has over the years made efforts to embrace the new economy while struggling to maintain her traditional and cultural traits. The sky scrappers within the city that stand parallel to traditional building are a clear reflection of the struggle. There are some citizens who have refused to sacrifice their cultures for economic prosperity while others argue that the cost is worth it. This has led to many of the citizens adopting the contemporary approaches to accommodate the development and to attract more investors into the city while there are some few communities and individuals who continue to uphold to old traditions, identities and cultures (Chacko, 2004).
In the endeavor to provide a better environment that will attract more investors, the cities and regions authorities have formulated policies that are meant to protect the immigrants and to enable them to be uttermost productive. There are new concepts that are been adopted by countries and cities that will facilitate human rights of the labor force so as to avoid their being treated as tradable commodities. Many of the states have institutionalized the human rights via the United Nations Human Rights Charter. This has led to doing away with some traditional cultures that violate such rights, consequently altering cultures of some people. Some of the issues that the people in the international bodies that are established takes care of is like trafficking, gender violation, protection of children rights among other major factors that affect the immigrant labor force (Piper, n.d.).
The protection of human rights have shifted from the local bodies to the international human rights bodies such as the United Nations, International labor Organizations, KFSB, CATW, GAAT just to mention but a few. All these bodies have policies that they inculcate in their member countries that force the governments of those nations to adopt them renouncing any local policy that contradicts those policies. For example, there were some nations where traditional commercial sex was permitted as a right of a right of a woman to sell her body as any other product that she may be taking to the market place. Such rights contradict with the policies of STV which is a foundation of women against trafficking. The implication of any nation accepting STV is that some of the rights that can create loopholes opening women to violation have to be withdrawn, whether traditionally acceptable or not (Piper, n.d.).
Postmodernism has become an inseparable component of the contemporary world. Everything is done in line with the demand of the postmodern world. Postmodernism has brought about the concept of globalization with every region adopting it as a means of keeping at par with development. Cities, regions and nations have over the years been changing in the endeavor to attract investors, for their growth. The changes as shown in the two case studies: Batam city and Manila the capita city of Philippines have led to changes in some traditional cultures and traditions. In today’s world all the systems have become global in an attempt to attract more investors consequently changing their cultures and traditions to accommodate the international investment-climate.
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