content, a lexicon of goods or knowledge. Instead it is a common set of formats and structuresthat mediate between cultures; something more than a fl ow of things, or of the meaningsattached to things, or even the channels along which those things and meanings fl ow.’ Suchformats and structures ‘put diversity in a common frame, and scale it along a limited number ofdimensions, celebrating some kinds of difference and submerging others’. Thus, there is indeedgreater heterogeneity, but it is in the context of and, to a large extent, in response to thehomogeneity of a consumer culture. As Jonathan Friedman (1994: 211) points out, ‘what appearsas disorganization and often real disorder is not any the less systemic and systematic’. Consumer culture is one of the primary forces that both propels increased heterogeneity andchannels it into common differences. A global consumer culture encourages glocalization,hybridization and diversity because the local provides a valuable resource for our supra-localexchanges and therefore leads to increased heterogeneity of content along with homogeneity ofform. Robertson recognizes this:Global capitalism both promotes and is conditioned by cultural homogeneity and culturalheterogeneity. The production and consolidation of difference and variety is an essentialingredient of contemporary capitalism, which is, in any case, increasingly involved with agrowing variety of micro-markets (national-cultural, racial and ethnic; general; social-stratifi cational; and so on). At the same time micromarketing takes place within thecontexts of increasingly universal-global economic practices. (Robertson 1992: 173)The connection between micro-marketing and global heterogeneity should not be a surprisesince the very term glocalization, so pervasive in globalization scholarship, began as ‘one of the9
main marketing buzzwords of the beginning of the nineties’ (Tulloch 1991: 134). In addition,critics of the use of hybridity in postcolonial studies have strongly pointed out its connection toconsumer capitalism (Ahmad 1995). Hutnyk (2000: 36) reminds us, ‘Hybridity and differencesell; the market remains intact.’Global culture seems to track the trend among global consumer goods that marketers havealready recognized. Although there are some global brands, one business analyst observed thatthis ‘does not mean that there is a global consumer for companies to target. International culturaldifferences are by no means disappearing and, in the late twentieth century, individualism is asstrong a world force as internationalism. Consumer goods are becoming more, rather than less,focused on the individual’ (Fitzgerald 1997: 742). Robertson (1992: 46) also makes thisconnection: ‘global marketing requires, in principle, that each product or service requirescalculated sensitivity to local circumstances, identities, practices and so on’. However, theindividuals focused on by global marketing are, as one business leader put it, ‘heteroconsumers’.
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