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The Relationship Between Politics and Culture

Discuss about the cultural and political issues of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Politics entails all activities relating to governance, power, and jurisdiction over a country or region (Williams & Gonzalez, 2018). The concept involves exercising power, creating alliances and advancing specific ideas based on the ruling party. Notably, ideologies such as democracy, communism, and dictatorship directly relate to politics and governance; and influence the development and peaceful coexistence of different sub-cultures (Soukias, 2018). For democracies, the leaders assume office based on popular vote by the existing communities. Also, public institutions answer to the public affairs, rather than one ruler, a dictator.  On the other hand, culture describes the customs, ideas and social practices of a particular group. It also involves morals, norms, language, organizations and physical objects such as architecture. This paper examines politics and culture concerning specific influences on the society.

The relationship between political concepts and cultural forms is vast. The governing political system must uphold underlying cultural values, beliefs, and attitudes to govern effectively. In this way, social norms directly influence governance. Globally, leaders must study the critical perspectives and complexities of different cultures to control the communities; and respect cultural objects. Also, political processes such as voting must adhere to the society’s sentiments with practices such as rigging, violence and voter bribery discouraged. Ogunnubi and Isike (2018) suggest that the close relationship between politics and culture resulted in the description of the society as the “upstream” of governance.

Notably, cultural practices such as dances, poetry, and games such as the Olympics promote good governance – this is because they provide platforms for different societies to display their superiority over others. In recent times, the Olympics are the most prominent sporting event in the world with its influence on political culture evident (Meyer & Fine, 2017). However, its diminishing influence allows for new controls which change the cultural and governance systems - this includes racism, “mass culture” and emerging moral issues such as race relations, violent extremism, and Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights among others. The influence of “popular culture” is evident with literature, poetry, movies, and music used to deploy political messages such as militarism, imperialism, and authoritarian to a global audience.

In recent times, the capitalist economy has grown its influence on culture and governance. Today, the commercial value of customs exceeds its exchange value with individuals buying more of the foreign culture and less of their own. However, people favor particular segments rooted in their art, such as folk methodology, dace, medicine, and music. According to (Luhtakallio & Thévenot, 2018), the folklore emanates from social interactions with multinational companies seeking to employ mass culture to accumulate wealth. The goal here is the exchange value rather than the social control considering the vast nature of entertainment crowds. Another aspect of capitalism is that it allows individuals to purchase a camera to record a movie or music. The recording is sold or exposed to a global audience via the internet.

The Influence of Culture on Governance and Social Norms

Notably, the World Wide Web interconnects the world allowing more comfortable sharing of information, ideas, and events. The publications educate the public on cultural issues as well as political matters. These concepts, however apolitical in intent, have a political impact regarding the propagated imagery and values (Kaelber, 2018). For instance, recorded music may suggest political messages which are mainly militaristic, imperialist, authoritarian, consumerist, racist and even sexist. The advent of the internet provides easier access to peoples cultures regarding literature, poetry, songs, union societies, and even summer camps. This process by which profit-oriented groups demonstrate individual’s norms increasingly promotes cultural imperialism.

Martínez (2018) explains that new cultural distinctions create a platform for minority groups to challenge the dominant class with struggles such as gay rights, ethnic equality, feminism, and racial discrimination. Notably, the higher grade resists pressure to equalization through identity politics; or by employing lifestyle issues such as abortion rights as targets to redirect from meaningful complaints. However, changes to correct the problems primarily retain institutional interests rather than address the subject. For example, when feminists reject the concept if militarism, the resulting changes reduce the number of women in the army, as per the armed forces interests. Notably, the modern changes in law and the legal system require transformations in law enforcement, judiciary, prison and leadership among other subjects. For instance, the influence of social justice needs attention to the AIDS epidemic and prisoner rights.

According to (Lobstein et al., 2015), some influences on politics and culture no longer exemplify the intended messages with recent changes in modernization. An example is the aspect of socialization. The concept does not operate effectively because different sub-cultures hardly adopted into the dominant culture. Notably, when the majority faces differences in social ideology and actuality, they become skeptic – this limits the adoption of minority cultures into the prominent custom.

Initially, the Olympics attracted individuals from all over the world with over 200 nations participating. The event allowed different groups to showcase their cultures, customs, and social practices; and compete with each other. Additionally, the platform allowed individuals to promote their political ideologies. For instance, countries considered “superior” showed great supremacy in their real art, and sport. An example is China which commercialized its culture to boost the economy. Koven & Mausolff (2012) explain that the Olympics allow different countries to adopt specific themes concerning the cultural value. For example, the opening ceremony in Sydney utilized the ocean theme while that of Athens had Greek mythology. Marthe (2012) explains that hosting the Olympics or other sporting events was a symbol of national status or strength, and promoted cultural transformations of the host country. An example is Beijing which attained political stability, economic growth, and overcame poverty after hosting the 2008 Olympics.

The Commercialization of Culture and the Growing Capitalist Economy

The advent of technology dramatically limits the cultural heritage with a focus on new inventions and their impact on global issues exceeding social practices. Today, the political culture emphasizes problems involving human rights, food safety, security, and the natural environment. For instance, political issues facing China’s bid to host the international conventions include human rights violations, gender equality and topics related to freedom of speech. The concept of equality allows female athletes to receive similar political recognition as their male counterparts. An example is Africa where women continually engage in sporting activities as their male colleagues with “cultural male superiority” abolished.


Lin et al., (2017) suggests that racism is a politics and culture influence no longer relevant. Initially, the labor relations between different ethnic groups in the United States were violent. Notably, the blacks faced discrimination in political, social and economic settings based on their skin color, rather than the merit. Merely having a dark skin meant an individual being searched for drugs and continually profiled as "violent." Over the years, diverse programs improved the attitudes and perception of the blacks, Latinos and other minority groups. Today, anti-discrimination and affirmative action policies promote peaceful coexistence of different groups in schools and other public institutions. Podrug (2011) describes that legislation regarding speech codes and race relations reduce conflicts and ethnic intolerance among Americans.

According to (Wu et al., 2016) issues such as social responsibility, freedom of speech, and artistic expression continually change in a modernizing world. The impact of music, movies and TV programs involving crime, religion, telecommunication, and racial relations among other topics increasingly influence the society. For instance, rap music promotes race relations, social tolerance, and economic equality. Further, it suggests the African traditions in with the American identity which allows easier integration. Today, rap musicians such as Ice Cube, Ice T, and Naughty by Nature utilize music to address controversial topics such as sexism and censorship. However, some individuals review the art as controversial, based on morality and crime.  The concept initiates a debate on freedoms of information and national security – this is because it inspires transformations of thought concerning democracy, safety, and interracial relations. Lee & Donlan (2009) explains that contemporary case studies on the limits of free speech in schools, public gatherings, and the internet protect individual liberties and security. Further, the changes allow implementation of specific constraints to free speech; an example is the creation of virtual "speech police" with specialized training to protect the public from certain offenses.

The Impact of Technology on Cultural Heritage and Political Culture


Today, moral issues regarding LGBT rights, violent extremism, and race relations continually influence politics and culture. The new trends in religious affiliation affect the relationship between governance and customs. Depending on different perceptions, religion creates social justice, compassion and harmonious coexistence among diverse groups of individuals.  Further, it provides a rationale for justice and tolerance towards the other persons. In this way, religion shapes social values and political power in global cultures.

Another influence that changed over time is the widening gap between income equality, wealth and opportunity. The widening disparity impacts politics and culture because families face poverty and violence from time to time. Consequently, the national government continuously enacts legislation to provide better housing, employment and improve the living conditions for these groups. Notably, poverty creates other implication such as illiteracy, crime, substance abuse, and violence. According to (Kurtz, 2014) one-eighth of Americans live below the poverty line, resulting in the criminalization of the youths, especially blacks. The concept arises in increased prison spending and reduced education levels. Also, it has adverse effects on development on the national scale.

References

Donlan, J. L. (2009). Cultural, Social, and Political Influences on State-Level Indigent Health Care Policy Formation. Journal of Policy Practise, 8 (2), 129-146.

Fine, R. M. (2017). Grassroots Citizenship at Multiple Scales: Rethinking Immigrant Civic Participation. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 30 (4), 323–348.

Gonzalez, K. W. (2018). Organisations and Policy-Relevant Knowledge Production. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 31 (2), 127–129.

Isike, O. O. (2018). Nigeria’s Soft Power Sources: Between Potential and Illusion? International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 31 (1), 49–67.

Kaelber, L. (2018). The fundamental concepts in Max Weber's Sociology of Religion. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 230-232.

Kurtz, D. (2014). Culture, poverty, politics: Cultural sociologists, Oscar Lewis, Antonio Gramsci. Critique of Anthropology, 34 (3), 327-345.

Lin, C. (2017). Cultural effects on the association between election outcomes and face-based trait inferences. PLOS.

Lobstein, T. (2015). The impact of economic, political and social globalization on overweight and obesity in the 56 low and middle-income countries. Social Science & Medicine, 133, 67-76.

Marthe, A. (2012). Can Culture Explain Culture? The Influence of Cultural Change on Municipal Spending on Cultural Policies. Urban Affairs Review, 49 (3), 408 - 434.

Martínez, F. (2018). Francisco Martínez. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology , 232-234.

Mausolff, S. K. (2012). The Influence of Political Culture on State Budgets. The American Review of Public Administration, 32 (1), 66 - 77.

Podrug, N. (2011). Influence of National Culture on Decision-Making Style. South East European Journal of Economics and Business, 6 (1), 37–44.

Soukias, J. (2018). Producing Knowledge, Producing Credibility: British Think-Tank Researchers and the Construction of Policy Reports. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 31 (2), 161–178.

Thévenot, E. L. (2018). Politics of engagement in an age of differing voices. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 1-11.

Wu, F. (2016). Crisis communication in context: Cultural and political influences underpinning Chinese public relations practice. Public Relations Review, 42 (1), 201-213

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