The global market and the purchasing power of an increasingly wealthy and urban population are driving the homogenization of lifestyles and popular culture. The late 20th century 'consumer society' can be characterized by a growing emphasis on the individual, a search for wider opportunities and experiences, a desire for comfort and autonomy, and personal material accumulation.
The diminishing power of the State and its capacity for control in economic and not infrequently also political matters is producing a shift of individual identity and allegiances to the ground of religion, ethnicity and culture. Economic markets, markets for goods, systems for interchange of technology and knowledge are very rapidly becoming global. Cultures, however, are taking a different and sometimes opposite path. As cultures open up to knowledge and exchanges often on a worldwide scale, reaction is occurring with the strengthening of individual identities. The resurgence of identities is a phenomenon concomitant with that of globalization. As in all aspects, it has brought a salutary affirmation rs of cultural identities, together with a tendency to exacerbation of ethnic/nationalist forces and discourse, with the dramatic consequences that we have seen in diverse parts of the world in recent years.