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Pop culture in the Arab world

TED Talks At TEDGlobal University, Shereen El Feki shows how some Arab cultures are borrowing trademarks of Western pop culture -- music videos, comics, even Barbie -- and adding a culturally appropriate twist.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED talk cleverly discusses the cultural processes of globalization by examining two examples from the Islamic world.  The examples of the TV station 4Shbab and the comic book series The 99 show that all global cultural interactions don’t have to result in a homogenous “melting pot.”  Local cultural forces can tap into the powers of globalized culture that can create dynamic local cultures that are both intensely local and global. 


Questions to Ponder: What does the speaker mean when she by refers to cultural interactions as a mesh (as a opposed to a clash or mash) of civilizations?  What other examples of cultural meshes can you see that show these processes? 


Tags: TED, religion, culture, Islam, globalization, popular culture, unit 3 culture.

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Max Krishchuk's comment, April 30, 2013 9:44 AM
This is an interesting TED talk that centers on the integration of western culture with Arab culture. The Arab pop culture is very different from what I thought that it would be. It takes hard work to produce a culture that is modern yet still centers on Islamic foundation, but is seems like the Arab world has put in the work. The new culture is significant because that means that the people in the Arab world know what pop culture is and why it is important. The speaker says that the culture is a mesh of the old and new. She does not call it a mash or clash because there are certain parts that are being used from the West, such as superheroes and music videos, but the overall culture is centered on Islam. The people in the Middle East still learn about Islamic ideas and thought, but now get to learn about the subjects with superheroes. This is relevant in modern times and even in my life because as a Christian, I try to find movies, music, and entertainment that is different from the world. It is also hard for me to do so because there is a lot of nonsense out in the world that is portrayed as being normal.
Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 16, 2013 3:01 PM

Religion plays a huge role in the Arab world and although times are changung they are trying to stay true to their culture. Sherren el feki says that meshing of civilization is important.  Taking popular culture and meshing it with culture will be successful. For instance the comic book 99, fitst Islam superhero. The 99 I to represent the 99 attributes. The 99 superheroes will hopefully join forces with Americas superman,etc. it is not meant to be a clash but to  mix the different cultures in both ancient in modern ways. 

Denise Pacheco's curator insight, December 17, 2013 11:23 AM

I don't think popular culture and folk culture interact very well. They believe in completely different things and live different types of lives according to their values. The speaker means that the cultural interaction is intertwined together because of the islamic people who have borrowed cultural ideas from other ancient and modern civilizations and adapted it to their own. That's why it's meshed as a opposed to clashing or mash. For example, the music video channel that's like MTV. I think it's kind of funny how they made the people in that music video, that's from the USA, look like we also worship Allah. Also, the comic books show religious values in it, especially since the characters come from it. They want young people to not get sucked in to the outside world or modern culture from different societies, so instead they want to incorporate their religion with our ideas of culture.

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