November 13, 2013
The reality is, it could happen anywhere – even here in Canada. Here’s University of Waterloo researcher and What Matters Now participant talking about homegrown terrorism. The scariest thing is that potential terrorists are “unremarkable” and “ordinary.”
Adjusting goals is not ...
Deborah Durbin | January 12, 2015On January 1st many people set bold exercise goals for themselves as part of their New Year resolutions. Come Valentineâ€™s Day, though, most of those goals have fallen by the wayside, tossed aside along with empty heart-shaped candy boxes. read more Â»
Let shopping be your ...
Noreen Fagan | December 18, 2014Hereâ€™s a fun fact â€“ Canadians eat more sushi than the Japanese. At least thatâ€™s what Mark Cleveland says, and he should know. Cleveland is a professor of marketing at Western University. His research focuses on the integration of cultures on a global scale and the effects of cosmopolitanism, which according to Cleveland is, â€śthe cultural openness and the ability to successfully navigate between different cultural groups.â€ť In other words, people who want to understand and experience other cultures do so by fully immersing themselves in that culture. â€śYou want to live the life of cultural authenticity, by trying to understand the culture through that cultureâ€™s eyes,â€ť he says. Clevelandâ€™s interest in cultural openness started when he was a Masterâ€™s and then a Ph.D. student at Concordia University in Montreal. He started researching how new immigrants, primarily ethic minorities, adapted to Canadian culture by finding ways to combine their traditional identities, culture and values into mainstream society. â€śI have always believed that just because you learn another culture does not mean you give up the original culture. You can be bicultural or multicultural and the two can reinforce each other,â€ť says Cleveland. â€śNot only are minorities affected by cultural exchange but the majority are as well.â€ť Canadaâ€™s multiculturalism prompted Cleveland to extend his research into globalization, with a focus on how global cultures affect majority populations around the world. In the last decade Cleveland has conducted research in 15 to 20 countries exploring cultural exchange and cosmopolitanism. He says a person no longer has to travel abroad â€“ although it helps â€“ to become cosmopolitan. A person can experience different cultures in the comfort of their own home or neighbourhood, simply by watching TV, surfing the Internet, playing videos on You Tube or buying and consuming different products. â€śWhen we buy products, and types of brands and the reasons for buying them, they are like extensions of ourselves,â€ť he says. So how do the sushiâ€“eating Canadians fit into all of this? Cleveland believes if a person wants to experience cultural authenticity they will gear their shopping towards achieving that aim. In other words, a person is not going to go for the North American version of sushi (think Californian Roll), when they can get the real thing â€“ think Unagi. He says there is probably a general global trend towards cultural openness as people become more educated and have more exposure to other cultures but he warns, there is another side. â€śA lot of people are really opposed to what is happening with Globalization and they see their culture as under threat,â€ť says Cleveland adding that the threat is heightened when people feel insecure. If people are feeling secure in their surroundings (financially, emotionally and physically), the more open they are to cultural exchange and the more cosmopolitan they become. Being cosmopolitan however, does not mean buying local is a thing of the past; in fact what makes cosmopolitans stand out is that they strive for cultural authenticity. â€śThe more cosmopolitan you are means you are not only interested in preserving differences but also interested in the environment, like getting the best locally,â€ť says Cleveland. In terms of cosmopolitanism Cleveland thinks Canadians are more accepting of other cultures. â€śWe are a new country, most of us go back two or three generations and have one or two grandparents born somewhere else. We have a more fluid identity,â€ť he says, adding that as large cities go, Toronto is well integrated. â€śWe are not just living in these areas dominated by our own ethic group, there are more opportunities to mix, and I think that allows us to become more open-minded.â€ť