The Influence of Globalization on Arab Culture

Globalization has always been a complex subject to explore due to the variety of factors that play important roles in describing the phenomenon. It is defined as the process in which populations, ideas, and goods spread throughout the globe, encouraging interaction and integration between governments, cultures, and economies. Studying the influence of Globalization on specific societies as well as populations, in general, will show the difference in responses to the process as well as point to possible limitations that require addressing. In this paper, the Arabic culture will be studied in regards to the influence of Globalization, the impact of the process on the country of the United Arab Emirates will be explored, and the overall effect of Globalization on society, in general, will be presented.

Impact of Globalization on Arab Culture

The influence of Globalization on Arab culture is an issue that is associated with far more than mere reports and statistics. In its essence, it refers to conducting a diagnostic analysis line for considering its advantages and disadvantages for the culture. Globalization is associated with political, economic, and political adjustments that people from different cultures can embrace for the purpose of incorporating them into their affairs. To a great degree, the effect of Globalization of culture implies the diversification of cultures and promotes the integration of the world as a whole. This means the removal of existing cultural barriers that existed between countries and the promotion of acceptance of differences.


On the positive side, the Arab culture has shown to benefit from the process of Globalization when it comes to women’s rights issues. In countries like Saudi Arabia, women have been subjected to unequal treatment due to the dominance of the male gender within the Arab culture. However, it should be noted that this dominance is also concerned with the fear for the safety of women. Most women’s rights issues include the freedom of choosing one’s career, achieving the balance between men and women in workplace settings, the freedom to leave their house or even drive.

On a larger scale, the Arabic culture is challenged because of the perception that women are the weaker sex and thus require consistent protection and monitoring. In June 2018, Saudi Arabia eliminated the ban on women driving, issuing first driving licenses (Graham-Harrison 2018). Although the issue of women’s rights remains to be solved, Globalization has shown to play an important role in decreasing the gap between Arab men and women.

Social media is the epitome of the concept of Globalization as they remove barriers between people and bring them to the same level. The influence of social media on Arab culture has been subjected to heated debates. In the recent decade, the use of social media in Arab countries shifted from social to political usage, which points to the growing role of the media not only in cultural but also political affairs.

Several governments in the Gulf region see this trend as a tool for establishing more transparent and inclusive models of governance. Thus, while social media started as a method for social networking between people as well as entertainment, in the modern Arab world, it infiltrated the majority of daily life aspects, influencing their social interactions, the attitude to the government, business culture, and the participation in social movements.

According to the report Social media in the Arab world: influencing societal and cultural change? (2012), social media showed to have a positive effect on users’ views about their society, their sense of identity as global citizens, the sense of identity as regional citizens, their religious identity, the tolerance to different points of view, and the empowerment of change.

To illustrate the penetration of social media in Arab countries, it is important to mention several statistics; however, 2018 statistics are not available. For instance, the number of Facebook users in the Arab world is tripling every several years, reaching more than fifty million users (Social media in the Arab world: influencing societal and cultural change? 2012). However, the percentage of women using social media remains at the same level, with around 35% of Arab women using Facebook.

This is significantly lower compared to the global trend, where female users represent approximately half of the population using Facebook. GCC countries are in the list of the top Facebook users in the Arab region, with Saudi Arabia being at the top, followed by Kuwait, while Qatar being at the bottom of the list (Social media in the Arab world: influencing societal and cultural change? 2012). When it comes to Twitter, the estimated number of Tweets from users in the Arab region was 4000 a minute in 2012, and this figure was expected to grow exponentially in the future years.


When it comes to the Arab culture, in particular, many cultural trustees and nationalists believe that Globalization adversely influences their culture. The conservative view is that Arab culture is not intended to adhere to many globalized notions due to the strict following of the Sharia Law, great importance placed on religion, family, and the respect for privacy (Thomas 2014). For those who view these aspects of the Arabic religion as sacred and indisputable, accepting the significant influence of Globalization is both hard and controversial. Indeed, the Western culture that plays a dominant role in worldwide Globalization sees some of the aspects of Arab culture as regressive and limiting to democracy, failing to accept the deep history and the meaning behind the key values of the culture.

In researching the impact of Globalization on the cultural perceptions of college students, Zamil (2013) revealed that the attitudes toward family authority shifted due to the influence of entertainment programs. This is especially important to note because the attitude of children toward their parents in the Arab culture is much different compared to the attitudes in the rest of the world. Parents play integral roles in the decision-making of their children, including the choice of a spouse or college major. Parents are granted respect and obedience due to their age and previous life experience.

Entertainment programs that air internationally can sometimes challenge this perspective, showing children not obeying their parents and doing what they want to do. This increased the likelihood of Arab children and adolescents trying to rid themselves of traditions and challenge the established norms.

Influence of Globalization on the Nation-States: The UAE


When speaking about the influence of the process of Globalization on a nation-state level, the United Arab Emirates will be discussed. This country is especially interesting to consider since it represents one of the most economically successful and globally integrated states in the Gulf region. On the positive side, Globalization brought along economic integration to the UAE that was made possible with the help of various factors. As the economy of the country is predominantly reliant on oil, it was possible to create economic bonds and connections as wells as jobs and opportunities. The open economy of the UAE allowed importing a large range of cultural services and products that changed the lifestyle of the population.

In addition to boosting the benefits of an open economy, Globalization also brought successful real estate and industrial development. As the UAE opened itself for foreign investment, it started experiencing high rates of earnings, reduced the dependency on oil revenue, and integrated the economy through the use of technology. Innovation is among the most beneficial aspects of Globalization that improved the profitability of the country in general.

The increased access to the Internet drove the integration of the UAE economy due to its close connection with networks used for enhancing communication with other companies. The establishment of trading blocks such as NAFTA and the EU is evidence for the growth of economic cooperation. Globalization also put an end to the era of communism and encourages the process of free trade of the country with others. The links that the nation has constructed are beneficially intertwined with both Asian and European markets, which serves the UAE well.

Globalization also positively influenced the UAE in that the country discovered opportunities for locating labor and capital power anywhere, besides the ability to sell and buy within any nation. Despite the fact that the country became more dependent on the economic prosperity of other countries, Globalization was the catalyst to creating fruitful trade relations among a variety of other benefits. Lastly, it is crucial to mention the increased choice for the population.

Globalization eliminated the barriers that limited the selections of products and services. The population of the UAE is now enjoying imported goods that come as a result of free trade. Importantly, the domination of corporations increased with the help of decreased barriers. For instance, the Emirates airline company is very successful in the global arena, which improves the overall reputation of the country and increases business possibilities.


While there is an abundance of positive aspects associated with the impact of Globalization on the United Arab Emirates, mentioning the disadvantages is crucial for the exploration of the issue. One of the key weaknesses of Globalization is the phenomenon’s contribution to the erosion of the culture of the UAE. While the cultural problem has already been mentioned previously, the UAE is unique in this context. While most of the countries in the Arab world have been subjected to the negative cultural changes associated with Globalization, the UAE managed to preserve its national traditions and culture through implementing a variety of careful policy tracks. This was possible with the help of the Dubai Media City, pinning the dogmatic system of values of GCC countries.

In addition to the battle against the negative cultural influences of Globalization, the UAE has also experienced some growing concerns associated with environmental pollution. Despite the fact that the majority of the global population shares a sentiment that environmental pollution should be controlled and stopped, the barriers preventing the complete elimination of pollutants persist. For instance, the UAE has been challenged by its own inability to curb trade barriers as well as ensure that all of the country’s businesses are environmentally responsible and accountable.

In addition. Analysts have confirmed that for the UAE, globalization results in the increased exploitation of labor, the depletion of renewable resources, and the possible degradation of the overall economy. In summary, if to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of Globalization’s influence on the state of the United Arab Emirates, it can be concluded that there are many more pros to the worldwide integration of the studied country than there are cons. The economic integration of the UAE allowed the country to reach the increased financial prosperity.

Impact of Globalization on Society

The purpose of the final section of this paper is to examine the impact of Globalization on the overall global society. The past century has shown an immense surge of economic growth and expansion, with more and more people ridding themselves of the burden of poverty. After the end of WWII, the global society began its road toward eliminating the barriers that existed between countries and slowly moving in the direction of integration.

Despite the optimistic view associated with the concept of Globalization, it is important to acknowledge different perspectives regarding the effect of the phenomenon. On the one end of the spectrum, Globalization is seen as a natural result of advancements in communication technologies, especially with respect to the Internet and satellite transmission of information. On the other end, there is a view that Globalization is merely a capitalist movement that pushes its values and ideas to nations worldwide. In fact, Globalization has been underway for several centuries, while in the twenty-first, its impact increased significantly.

Initially, the process began with the establishment of colonies in the new world that was supported by the economic development of already prosperous countries. This economic development increased by ensuring that the colonized regions remain underdeveloped. Today, however, strong states do not involve themselves in the conquest of weak nations; instead, underdeveloped regions are used as a source of cheap labor and raw materials in order to produce goods.


As Globalization helped corporations around the world expand and become more profitable due to the increased economic integration, companies started working with developing countries and therefore generated employment for them. This has given an opportunity for companies to invest in developing markets and get the talent that is available in those regions. In developing countries, the capital is often lacking, which limits the growth of their domestic companies and thus decreased employment opportunities. Because Globalization has global business nature, people in developing countries now can have access to jobs provided by international companies.

When it comes to the creation of job opportunities, there is a range of new positions that have started developing as a result of Globalization. For instance, the demand for interpreters and translators has increased in the surge of Globalization as they are needed for supporting communication through translating messages or written text from different languages (Friginal-Sanchez 2018). Both interpreters and translators are vital to international relationships because they allow people from different countries to communicate with each other. Apart from the mentioned profession, the demand for market research analysts has skyrocketed due to Globalization.

As the global environment changes and differences between countries increased, the need for collecting valuable information about regional, national, and international market aspects has become a necessity. Information technology professionals represent another category of jobs that became popular due to Globalization. With the rise of technologies and innovation, there is a need to create a workforce of specialists that will sustain their development.

Globalization has also brought an increase in cross-cultural communication. Despite the fact that this trend is most prevalent in wealthy countries in which educated people interact within a westernized context, the fact that the connection has increased in the last several decades is indisputable. The use of social media has helped to bring communication to a level that could not have been possible without them.

The global expansion of social media enhanced the connectivity between people irrespective of the places in which they live. Like-minded populations exist anywhere in the world, and social media is the tool for bringing them closer in an effortless and effective way. Regardless of location, religion, culture, race, and other variables, people around the world can revive and sustain relationships on an international level. This is important not only for maintaining friendliness between countries but also for enhancing business strategies.

Businesses use social media to their advantage because the latter can offer cheaper advertising, the opportunity to reach wider consumer demographics, two-way communication between consumers and companies, and the sharing of information. From the learning perspective, social media is helping students and teachers get access to an abundance of information by contacting renowned experts and professionals. In addition, the use of social media can also be associated with welfare activities such as the promotion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


One of the first and most prominent effects of Globalization on modern society is associated with an increased gap in income among countries. This occurs because some states show higher rates of development and financial stability compared to others. This is illustrated by the fact that the eight richest people in the world have the same amount of weal as the poorest fifty percent (Elliott 2017). The trend is also consistent in national wealth distribution, with wealthy countries that do not account for a large percentage of the world population accounting for up to seventy percent of the world’s income. Because of the income inequality, billions of people in underdeveloped countries have to live on $1 or $2 or less per day.

Income inequality also contributes to discrepancies in the use of the world’s resources. For instance, wealthy countries consume more than eighty percent of the world’s paper, steel, and commercial energy supply, as well as forty-five percent of all fish and meal (Sharma 2005). One child born in the US, Western Europe, or Japan will consume as much of the planet’s resources as an African village. In addition, the amount of grains fed to the livestock in the US is equal to the total amount of food that China and India consume combined.

Apart from the income inequality and the unfair use of world resources, Globalization contributes to gaps in healthcare. The majority of people infected with HIV are from impoverished countries and do not have access to effective treatments that are available to the citizens of wealthy states. Thus, as a result of this gap in healthcare, the number of deaths associated with AIDS is decreasing in the Western world while increasing in countries where medical treatment is unavailable.

According to the statistics of UNAIDS (2018), 95% of new infections of the HI virus occur in North Africa, eastern Europe, central Asia, and the Middle East. This also has an adverse effect on the newly-born population that gets infected by the virus from their birth mothers.

Gaps in the provision of appropriate education also exist as a result of Globalization. Populations in emerging countries are unable to provide the same high level of education enjoyed by wealthy countries, with children not being enrolled even in secondary schools. According to the findings of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization (2018), since 2010, in twenty-four out of fifty-two countries, fewer than 25% of the entire children population have had the opportunity to participate in pre-primary programs. In forty out of ninety-three countries, fewer than 50% of the poorest population of children have completed primary school (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization 2018).

In addition to these limitations in children’s access to proper education, discrepancies exist in regards to the gender distribution of students studying at schools. In underdeveloped countries, fewer than 90 girls for every 100 boys completed lower secondary school (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization 2018). The issue of education is especially complex because Globalization should have decreased such barriers instead of strengthening them.

As Globalization showed to adversely influence the educational environment in underdeveloped regions, it also has had a negative effect on children as a population. With the burden of poverty spreading unevenly across the world, low-income countries with the poorest households showed to be the ones with the higher numbers of children. This leads to such events as children being involved in labor for the sake of sustaining their living and helping parents. Most of these children work in unethical conditions and cannot defend their rights. The practice of child labor subsequently perpetuates global poverty, with the children enrolled in this activity growing up to be uneducated and poor adults.


In conclusion, it is imperative to mention that in the context of Arabic culture, Globalization has brought many cultural and social advancements, such as the use of social media and bridging gender gaps. However, the influence of Western culture is considered negative when applied to the Arabian context. This is explained by the fact that the latter significantly values the role of family and the respect for the elderly, which are gradually being diminished in the Western world. The exploration of young adults’ attitudes toward this issue showed the adverse influence of television programs on the cultural values of Arab nations.

On the bright side, the slow elimination of gender gaps in terms of human rights is considered a positive influence. This is illustrated in Saudi Arabia’s elimination of the ban on women driving. The UAE is the country that has especially benefited from Globalization due to the expansion of its economic potential. When speaking of the society in gender, Globalization adversely affected gaps in income, healthcare, and education. From a positive perspective, it has driven technological advancements, the creation of jobs, and enhanced connections between different people.

Reference List

Elliott, L 2017, ‘World’s eight richest people have the same wealth as poorest 50%‘, The Guardian. Web.

Original-Sanchez, M 2018, New jobs that are growing in the era of Globalization. Web.

Graham-Harrison, E 2018, ‘Saudi Arabia issues first driving licenses to women,’ The Guardian. Web.

Sharma, S 2005, Impact of Globalization on world society. Web.

Social media in the Arab world: influencing societal and cultural change? 2012. Web.

Thomas, 2014, Arab culture values. Web.

UNAIDS 2018, Global HIV & AIDS statistics – 2018 fact sheet. Web.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization 2018, Explore disparities in education across and within countries. Web.

Zamil, R 2013, Globalization and cultural attitudes of Saudi Arabia’s college students: impact of satellite entertainment. Web.

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