Glocalization: the case of the European brand Hamburger Restaurant Quick

By Jessica Costa

In Friday’s class, we have talked about a new concept, the glocalization, which is the combination of the words “globalization” and “localization”.  According to investopedia.com, the term glocalization describes “a product or service that is developed and distributed globally, but is also fashioned to accommodate the user or consumer in a local market.”   For example, global companies, such as McDonald, adjust their products to the local population, by selling nowadays halal hamburgers.

The same happens with the European brand Hamburger Restaurant, Quick.  Unlike the United Kingdom, fast-food restaurants offering halal hamburgers are surrounded by controversy in France.  In fact, 8 out of 362 restaurants Quick sold only halal hamburgers in 2009.  But we have to say that these restaurants were located in suburbs where Muslims are largely living in the majority.  Bacon was replaced by smoked turkey and beef was certified halal, which means the animal has been killed in the way that is demanded by Islamic law.  This caused considerable discontent among some elected representatives.  According to them this is discriminatory and anti-republican.  A complaint was even registered against the fast-food chain. On the Quick’s side, they refute these accusations, saying that they were just coming up to consumers’ expectations.  Indeed, after this change, the number of people going to halal Quick restaurants doubled.  The group Quick also added that it had to follow the market’s commercial evolution, because two other rivals, one of whom is McDonald, already served halal food.  At the present time 22 Quick restaurants serve halal food, next to “normal” hamburgers.  Like certain observers say, it is not a matter of religion, it is just about business.  If general managers see their turnover increase, they will not hesitate to spread their halal products.

Another example of glocalization is Facebook, which was originally in English, but is at the present time available in 76 languages.

In conclusion, the goal of glocalization is to reach as many people as possible by adapting big companies’ products to the local market.  This often implies more profits for managers, even if the product is altered radically.

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Art in cyberspace

by Agnieszka Miziołek

Nowadays it is becoming more and more popular to present art with the use of the Internet and other digital devices. Since the Internet is such a powerful and widespread medium it seems almost unavoidable for art and culture to have no connections with it. But this situation has both some advantages and disadvantages. It poses also some vital questions and problems.
Let us first take a closer look at the ways in which cyberspace can be beneficial to art. First of all, it makes art available for a bigger number of recipients. Almost everyone on the world has currently an access to the Internet- via personal computers, mobile phones or PDAs- at home, at work or in many public institutions like schools, universities or libraries. What is more, the abundance of electronic devices one may use to present their works of art is also very helpful in popularizing and promoting it. It can be especially useful for young artists as it helps them to make their work known for wider audience and to become famous or at least recognizable artists. Furthermore, it also makes art more popular among young people. It seems to be common knowledge that many youngsters are not very interested in high culture and art, but, since they are the main users of the Internet and other new technologies, art, especially the digital one, becomes more attractive to them. In addition to this, new technologies and the whole cyberspace also give one wider possibilities to create and make up completely new forms of art.
On the other hand, there are also some difficulties connected with art in cyberspace. One of them is the problem of displaying the digital art. Although it is easier thanks to the Internet and other devices, it is more difficult to be done in a normal type of museum as it can be then not available to more than a few recipients at the same moment. Besides, it could be also harder due to the difficulties connected with operating the appliances. In addition to this, presenting it in the Internet poses the problem of gaining money for your work of art. Last but not least, some people watching digital art ask also the question what we should call the true art- is a graphic illustration or a picture true art or just an expression of someone’s talent in IT? But the question about the nature of art is quite antediluvian since traditional (not only digital ones) works of art also raise many controversies.
Taking everything into consideration, art in cyberspace can be a quite controversial issue. But this is usually the destiny of many new things on the world. As far as I am concerned, I think that it brings and will be bringing many positive things, and the majority of problems could be combat with time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQrnhWXmPwA – an example of digital art in cyberspace

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New media, new stories – The Art of Story-telling

by Karyen Chai

Everyone loves stories! Children grow up, but they don’t grow out of their love for stories. Novelists make use of that to appeal to readers. We love stories because out memory stores pieces of information much better when they are attached to a context. Throughout literary and artistic history, artists had used context to tell their stories. The emergence of digital culture continues this legacy of story-telling. Yet with the increasing-realism of the digital technologies, stories may begin to convey more than they are intended to.

Movies and television are excellent illustrations of the concept of dissociation from reality. We specifically examine the genre of movies that attempt to depict events in history, known as docudramas. Docudramas are great for learning. They appeal to the group of people, who are drawn to stories, which, as demonstrated above, is just about anyone, regardless of age and academic achievements. Docudramas, such as The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Elizabeth (1998), The Exocism of Emily Rose (2005), The Duchess (2008), and The King’s Speech (2010) are based on true stories of real people who once walked the earth. Such movies based on intensive research, cross-referencing of documentation and portraits to recreate the time, space, and situation of the topic concerned. Judging from the intensive research involved, the docudramas concerned should parallel the actual events. Or does it?

The problem lies in blank-filling. Assuming that history is recorded objectively, not everything is printed ink-on-paper. Contemporaries, be it docudrama producers or historians, can only speculate and fill in what is missing. Moreover, the need for an overarching storyline creates more gaps between the pieces of facts, resulting in more speculation-bridges. The audience’s impression of historical events is a product of the speculation based on multiple impressions of the actual event.

As information becomes more available, facts become less relevant. When do we, as audiences, take something seriously, and when do we take it as a pinch of salt? Perhaps categorization, into documentary, docudrama, and drama, will help. Or perhaps man’s attraction toward plots and stories will help him/her overlook the speculation-bridges that holds the story together in docudramas.

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Fact or Fiction – Fantasies and Lies

by Karyen Chai

“There’s a fine fine line, between reality and pretend.” ~Avenue Q

With the quickly improving techniques of the digital age, reality can be more closely mimicked. The most apparent concern is to distinguish between reality and its portrayal. On a more profound level, the concern lies not in the ability to distinguish between the two, but rather the acceptance of a manufactured imagery as the reality.

Concerning the ability to distinguish between reality and its portrayal, the question is whether there is a cause for alarm. Doubtless, people are against being trapped in a virtual reality by evil enterprises (although some are happily exploited by the enterprises that they outwardly condemned).However the overriding concern is the masses’ readiness to accept this manufactured culture. Examples of well-constructed reality-mimics, with complete sensory stimulation as presented in the visual and audio mimicry of movies and films, provide inspiration for other reality constructions. The border between imagination and reality becomes blurrier when other support of the construction, such as themed parks and costumes, become available. Disneyland runs the multibillion-dollar business based on this construct, extending business beyond movies and animation to themed parks, hotels, costumes, and other commodities.

Disney has a great infrastructure not only for children to live their fantasies. Some may argue that this is harmless, since this sparks imagination. And perhaps it really matters very little, since children use imaginative play to learn about the world.

However, if the fantasy continues into adulthood, there is a risk of dissociation from reality and societal rejection. Take for example the anime and manga culture in Japan, which result in fairs where people can dress up as their favorite character in any manga and/or anime. In a recent documentary filmed in Japan on this topic, the working class can be seen actively participating in this culture, adopting their favorite characters not only during huge fairs, but also every day after work. It appears that such behavior is exhibited out of an escapist intention, for these participants are able to transform into a different persona, one that they are unable to manifest otherwise, when they put on a costume.

Reality and manufactured space becomes a blur, because of a circular feedback between advancement in technology to more closely mimic reality, and the physical construction of the imagination. The non-distinction is further supported by people’s readiness to embrace it. Whether this is going to develop into a healthy culture or a discriminated behavior in the long run, only time will tell.

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What is Digital Culture – Experiences and Relationships in the Digital Age

by Karyen Chai

The digital culture is both a product and a result of the mechanization.  Referring to the summary of the recorded history, the invention of machines has allowed for the exponential development in all aspects. Whether the development has positive or negative impact is very much subjective. Yet one opinion is almost consistent: the development has radically changed the way of life, which brings about a cascade of secondary results in communication and relationships.

In the digital age, communication is no longer limited to face-to-face conversations. The time taken for a message to be sent and received shortened significantly. Physical distance becomes a negligible factor. With the modification of communication, relationships are redefined. Or are they? No doubt, with online networking resources such as Facebook, “friends” refer to the category of people whom one bothered enough to click the “accept as friend” button. Granted minimal information, shared experiences and contact are required in that relationship. However Facebook’s misprint does not erase the previously established distinction between “acquaintances” and “friends.” Should “friends” refer to the people who share sentiments, then “friends” are not possible without shared experiences. In which case, friends remained an exclusive club where the barrier is greater than the “ignore” button.

However, the digital age does not only speed up communication. New inventions are seeking to alter experiences every day. The generation that was hyped about black-and-white televisions is still around to make the most delicious lemon tarts and apple pies (to clarify, I mean our grandmothers, not Applebees). In less than 50 years, virtual experiences have leaped from fuzzy gray graphics to high definition three-dimensional projections. (Sometimes it seems that such digital images are better experienced than the real object which it was portraying.) And it does not seem like the computer programmers are stopping any time soon. Complete virtual experiences have long been an intriguing subject, and now it seems very plausible in the near future.

Tying in the renovated experiences with relationship, it appears that “friendship” can be established without actual physical encounter between “friends.” Virtual experiences are increasing competent in creating shared experiences between individuals. Would the virtual shared experience be sufficient to foster a bond beyond the superficial acquaintanceship? Should the weakening of interpersonal bonds be a concern, or is it an evolving form of society that we have to learn to accept?

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