Globalization has become the dominant factor driving social change in the world today. Kuwait is an example of how tradition and modernity are being balanced. The country is situated in the middle of two powerful opposing forces: its traditional, Islamic past and the pressures of globalization that are pushing it to develop along ‘Western’ lines. The current generation of young adults is the one that has to balance traditional family values with the new modern environment. The impact and significance of globalization is undeniable. Yan’s (2002) concept of ‘managed globalization’ is evident in Kuwait. The data demonstrates that most Kuwaitis believe the effects of globalization are beneficial for Kuwait. However, many still have a few reservations in terms of how modernization, as a result of globalization, manifests in Kuwaiti society. Most Kuwaitis who were interviewed believe that the effects of globalization are more at a superficial level and do not really penetrate the core of Kuwaiti society. There are still other Kuwaitis who only see globalization as a negative development that is importing immoral and detrimental ideas and values that are causing the deterioration of Kuwaiti culture. However, in opposition to this view, several of the Kuwaiti respondents saw their culture as evolving and changing with the rest of the world. While globalization is definitely having an effect on Kuwaiti society, the effect is not perceived as one that is destroying Kuwaiti culture. Instead, the changes are representative of a new culture that is evolving. These multiple perspectives within one country show just how complex the effect of globalization is on notions of culture and identity.
Moreover, personal agency is at the core of all decisions made. “People are not passively accepting, as they have great freedom to select the way of their lives” (Wang 2007: 84). Just because foreign goods and services are available for consumers to use, people still have the choice whether they want to be involved or not.
Wang, Yi. (2007) Globalization Enhances Cultural Identity. Intercultural Communication Studies XVI(1) pp. 83-86.
Yan, Y. (2002) ‘Managed Globalization: State power and cultural transition in China.’ in Berger, P. & Huntington, S. Many Globalizations: cultural diversity in the contemporary world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.