Cultural Hybridization Of Starbucks

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In this epoch of globalization, cultures surge globally at a rapid pace. Be it listening to Western music in Taiwan, watching Japanese animation in Indonesia, or consuming Thai food in America, the everyday life of most people involves experiencing cultures brought in from another part of the world. This flow of cultures, according to George Ritzer and Paul Dean (2015), has three divergent dynamics: cultural convergence, cultural hybridization and cultural differentialism. Cultural convergence highlights that cultures are becoming increasingly similar while cultural hybridization suggests the production of distinctive blends due to the merging of global and local cultures. In contrast, cultural differentialism emphasizes on the difference between cultures (Ritzer and Dean 2015). The flow of global cultures include not only media but also physical forms such as food and beverages. In particular, one of the most successful and…show more content…
In particular, hybridization of Starbucks could be observed from the chain store in Insadong, Seoul. Insadong is one of the most historical streets in Seoul with traditional stores selling Korean culture and artworks. The long-established shops along Insadong undoubtedly have their signboards in Hangul. Thus, to fit into such street, Starbucks, with its conspicuous English billboard, has decided to ‘Koreanize’ itself by having a signboard in Hangul – the first ever Starbucks shop with a non-English logo. In addition, they also sell traditional Korean food like rice juice and rice cake (Song 2012, 31). Hence, Insadong’s Starbucks is an example of cultural hybridization where the modification of Starbucks marketing strategies resulted in a unique ‘Koreanized’ Starbucks chain store containing mixtures of Western and traditional Korean
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