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9.6 Globalized Culture after 1900

5 min readjanuary 8, 2023

Harrison Burnside

Harrison Burnside

Natalie Pineda

Natalie Pineda

dylan_black_2025

dylan_black_2025


AP World History: Modern 🌍

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Introduction

In 1964, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time, kicking off a wave of "Beatlemania" that swept across the globe. This moment, which has come to be known as the "British Invasion," marked a major turning point in the history of globalized culture, as the Beatles and other British bands introduced new styles and sounds to audiences around the world. The success of the Beatles and other British bands reflected the increasing interconnectedness of the world in the 20th century, as advances in transportation and communication made it easier for people and ideas to cross national borders. In this study guide, we will delve into the many ways in which globalized culture has impacted and influenced the world in the 20th century, exploring the ways in which it has enriched and challenged traditional ways of life and impacted art, music, literature, and other cultural forms.

Consumer Culture

In the later half of the 20th century, consumer culture became popular in the context of a globalized world. In the United States, citizens experienced economic prosperity after recovering from World War II and the Great Depression. Many families earned three times as much as they did before WWII, and they were ready to spend it 🤑
Many economies became dependent on one another through trade. Media helped to facilitate advertising which, combined with the growing population of the middle class, both contributed to consumer culture. Commerce transcended borders and led to the creation of convenient consumerism. Companies like eBay, alibaba, and Amazon are examples of convenient online commerce. Global brands like Toyota and Coca-Cola facilitated the global economy and blurred the lines between borders. 

The Media

Political and social changes in the world change the way artists present and view themselves. Changes in the world also changed media consumerism. The spread of common wealth and access to technology gave rise to a shared cultural experience between borders. Western influence in music and movies spread across borders. 
Similarly, music from different nations spread across the globe. For example, the genre of Reggae, originally from Jamaica,  spread in the United States, Great Britain, and Africa. This came with the rise of the popular artist Bob Marley, who sold more than 75 million records at the height of his career. The Hindi film industry, Bollywood, became a globalized industry and produces the most movies out of any film industry each year. These films are viewed by non-Indian countries and bollywood actors have found popularity in Western media.
Social Media, the coined term for interactiveness via websites and social applications, undeniably led to cultures becoming connected through shared experiences online. To those who have access to it, social media creates a way for information to be shared instantaneously. In 2003, Facebook, an online social network, was launched and has since gained 2.8 billion active users per month. That's nearly half the world population participating each month!

A Brief History of 20th Century Art

The 20th century was a time of great artistic change and innovation, with many new movements and styles emerging on the global stage. One of the most significant movements of the century was Cubism, which was developed by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Inspired by the work of Paul Cézanne, Cubism sought to break down the traditional barriers between art and reality, creating a new way of representing the world through fragmented, geometric shapes.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/74/PicassoGuernica.jpg

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937.

Another important movement of the 20th century was Dadaism, which emerged in the aftermath of World War I as a reaction to the chaos and devastation of the war. Dada artists rejected traditional aesthetics and embraced absurdity, creating works that were meant to shock and provoke.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Marcel_Duchamp%2C_1917%2C_Fountain%2C_photograph_by_Alfred_Stieglitz.jpg/1280px-Marcel_Duchamp%2C_1917%2C_Fountain%2C_photograph_by_Alfred_Stieglitz.jpg

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.

Abstract Expressionism was another major movement of the 20th century, and it had a particularly strong impact on the art scene in the United States. This movement, which was led by artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, focused on the emotional power of abstract forms and lines, and was seen as a reflection of the tumultuous times in which it emerged.
These are just a few examples of the many artistic movements and styles that emerged in the 20th century, and it is clear that the global context of the time had a significant influence on the direction of these movements. From the devastation of World War I to the social and political upheavals of the 1960s and beyond, the art of the 20th century reflects the many challenges and changes of the time. You're not required to be an art expert for the AP World Exam (check out AP Art History for that!) but understanding how global processes in the 1900s affected culture is important.

Global Culture in Sports

Television and social media gave rise to sports being broadcast around the world. National teams were no longer secluded to a certain region—instead they were now on display for the globe to see. This led to heightened competition among countries and international sports competitions. 
For example, the Olympic Games, an ancient Greek sporting event,  became internationalized in 1924 in France when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was created to revitalize the Olympics. They created an international athletic competition to be held every four years. The Olympics was broadcast on television in 1936 during the Berlin Games. The five interlocked rings in the official symbol represent the interjoining of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2016, the Olympic Games had 3.6 billion people watching. That’s almost half of the world’s population—talk about globalization!
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-NtZF9dVWKWTa.png?alt=media&token=f8c95bd1-a7c2-4c8a-bf64-1a89b3aacbb0

This image is courtesy of the International Olympic Committee, and demonstrates the Olympic symbol.

The FIFA World Cup is an international soccer competition where teams from every nation compete for the title of World Cup. The World Cup started in 1919, but didn’t proclaim itself to be the highest footballing authority until 1928. The World Cup competition was organized outside of the Olympics and was the biggest soccer tournament in the world. By 1932, over 32 countries were a part of the World Cup. In 2010, 204 countries were in the qualifying round to participate in the competition. 
This event is broadcast every four years on nearly every cable channel. Many soccer players like Neymar da Silva, Mia Hamm, and N’Golo Kante, to name a few, have become internationalized celebrities from their titles won in the FIFA World Cup.
These topics have actually been addressed in an AP World exam before! Check out the 2008 DBQ.

Religion

The ease of transportation and exchanging of ideas on social media promoted new religious developments. These exchanges of ideas were displayed in music, art, and television; artists use their art as a form of self expression and a way to share their religious ideologies. 
For example, in the 1970s George Harrison, former Beatles band member, went to India and was captivated by the Hare Krishna religion. Hare Krishana is a mystical sect of Hinduism based on traditional Hindu scriptures. Shortly after, the Beatles debuted their song called “Inner Light” which contains lyrics that pay ode to Hare Krishana beliefs. This affected American culture and planted the Hari Krishna movement in the United States.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
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