M@L, Ch 2: Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy

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  • today’s interactions are much more protean than before (no longer restricted to big groups w/ financial backing)
  • “the forces of cultural gravity seemed always to pull away from the formation of large-scale ecumenes, whether religious, commercial, or political, toward smaller-scale accretions of intimacy and interest” (28) –> significance of the decentralization of cultural exchange!
  • Marshall McLuhan’s “global village” assumes a certain closeness/kinship that doesn’t exist today, despite tech potential for closeness
  • “one of the central ironies of the politics of global cultural flows, especially in the arena of entertainment and leisure [is that] it plays havoc with the hegemony of Eurochronology” (30)
    • instead of one dominant perspective of history, there are now many more origins for stories/experiences/chronologies to start…therefore the chance for many more conversations to occur without the Euro-supervision that was assumed in the past (i.e. India w/ Hungary creating its own dialogue & historical dev)
  • shift away from linear history towards a more fluid network/map; even the way that culture is formed (type of “uprooted” identity = flexibility of construction of reality w/ circulation of images)
  • Homogenization and Heterogenization
    • “What these arguments (referring to the claim of globalization = Americanization) fail to consider is that at least as rapidly as forces from various metropolises are brought into new societies they tend to become indigenized in one or another way” (32)
      • this reminds me of glocalization (not sure which person/group came up with that term)
    • the older models of info flows are obsolete now; imagined communities are now woven into existing infra/pol systems
    • **What does A mean by “disjunctures between economy, culture, & politics” (33) –>I think this is answered partially below in the explanation of the different “scapes”, but: the fact that there are so many possibilities of exchange points means that there are a lot more disconnections/etc
    • 5 dimensions of cultural flows: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, ideoscapes
    • Ethnoscape: “the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live” (33)
    • Technoscape: “the global configuration, also ever fluid, of technology and the fact that technology, both high and low, both mechanical and informational, now moves at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries” (34)
      • remember, technology is ALWAYS linked somehow to the mvmt/circulation of money
    • Financescape: “the disposition of global capital is now a more mysterious, rapid, and difficult landscape to follow than ever before” (34)
    • Mediascape: “both…the distribution of the electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information (newspapers, magazines, television stations, and film-production studios), which are now available to a growing number of private and public interests throughout the world, and to the images of the world created by by these media” (35)
      • complex experiences being captured in symbols/pictures that are easily transferable and “recreated”…but at what cost to the originals?
    • Ideoscape: “concatenations of images [related to] the ideologies of states and the counterideologies of movements explicitly oriented to capturing state power or a piece of it” (36)
    • “the fluidity of ideoscapes is complicated in particular by the growing diasporas”  (37): I can tie this to the shifting codes of Indian film songs and the idea of interpretation
    • A also mentions deterritorialization as one symptom of this disjuncture
    • weakening nation-state means more countermvmts (more disconnections)
    • flows of commodities also following new paths
  • The Work of Reproduction in an Age of Mechanical Art
    • the  “transgenerational stability of knowledge” (43)  from the past no longer exists; constant negotiation of inter-relations (as dislocation increases)
    • cultural reproduction within new global context = very sporadic, always changing
  • Shape and Process in Global Cultural Formations
    • A asserts that the models of analysis must change to be relevant w/ these disjunctures
    • we must remember that cultural forms are converging (can no longer see them as separate/isolated/autonomous)
    • the chaotic mvmt of ppls will only increase; such interactions are “context-dependent” (47)

M@L, Ch 1: Here and Now

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  • The Global Now
    • Appadurai arguing that modernization is more complex than a sudden moment/area of change, yet “the first step in [his] argument is that electronic media decisively change the wider field of mass media and other traditional media” (3)
    • pervasive influence of electronic media to change the rules/frameworks of communication: differences in time/space
    • not only that, but ppl can create/recreate themselves more fluidly
    • constant circulation of electronic media = no clearly defined borders
    • “this mobile and unforeseeable relationship between mass-mediated events and migratory audiences defines the core of the link between globalization and the modern” (4)
  • Work of the Imagination
    • how mind has been affected by modernization: imagination’s shift
      • its role in daily life: growth in possibility of mvmt/migration (role of the diaspora)
      • imagination and fantasy: elec media’s contribution to more people having a feeling of agency (reacting to media)
      • indiv/collective sense of imagination: mediating through circulating ideas and images (transcending borders)
    • electronic media and ability of mass migration as 2 influences of modernity; yet this goes further than tradition theories of the “rupture from the past”:
      • it doesn’t assume teleological (believing that final causes exists) explanations
      • it focuses on continuing daily practices (vs. a certain isolated event causing big change)
      • it doesn’t assume anything in terms of elec media’s role in soc. development
      • it revolves around ideas of transnationalism & postnationalism
    • experiencing modernity through everyday encounters = rel. recent phenom
    • “electronic mass mediation and transnational mobilization have broken the monopoly of autonomous nation-states over the project of modernization” (10)
    • emergence of new “diasporic public spheres” (10)
  • The Eye of Anthropology
    • globalization has not let to just an increase in similarities; always the presence of standing/new differences to balance it out
    • here A looks at role of word “culture” and “cultural” in his work; wants to be careful of any assumptions tying race & culture together
    • “culture is not usefully regarded as a substance but is better regarded as a dimension of phenomena, a dimension that attends to situated and embodied difference” (12-13)
    • casual use of “culture” assumes certain generalities of group identity in relation to race; A wants to use it only to signify where difference occurs; doesn’t want to tie ethnicity to ideas of bio/genetics but rather an ongoing construction of identity
    • p14 = VERY confusing 😦
    • to A, culture = “process of naturalizing a subset of differences that have been mobilized to articulate group identity” (15)
    • culturalism as being actively aware of cultural differences in the context of how the nation-state forms its policies
  • How Areas Get Studied
    • it is critical to analyze the reasons behind certain identity formations as well as the formations themselves
    • “area studies” as a much-neglected region of study; shows values/aims of academics (esp in US) to want to prioritize some fields and downplay others
    • A stresses again that globalization is NOT a homogenization of Americanization
    • importance of the link between diaspora and deterritorialization
  • Social Science after Patriotism
    • A feels like the nation-state is becoming increasingly obsolete  in era of globalization
    • feels gov systems are often overly corruptible w/ ideas of how to best perpetuate nationalism
    • also, nation-states have become more and more troubled (and shaped) by cultural tensions
    • again, growth of diasporic public spheres (no longer limited to national contexts) are being actively influenced by mass media and global migration