Thursday, March 4, 2010

The following essay looks at tracking Global flows; from the opening of the essay in the book 'The Anthropology of Globalization'. From this essay I will comment critically on the three key arguements discussed.

The understand the three key arguements, we must understand Globalization. What is Globalization? It is hard to define. In general, Globalization refers to countries joining together economically, through education, society and politics and viewing themselves, not only through their national identity but also as part of the world as a whole. It is said to bring people of all nations closer together, espeically through common mediums such as the internet.

Globalization according to Inda and Rosaldo is the intensification of global interconnectedness, suggesting a world full of movement and mixture, contact and linkages, cultural interaction and exchange, but it is not as easily explained as this.

The first arguement is the impact Globalisation has had on space and time. Yes, we live in a interconnected world but there are limits to the areas where this exists. There are limits to the mobility and connections some people have. The world is shrinking and distances are becoming shorter, but the world is not shrinking for everyone and in all places. Some people cant afford that ticket, that phone call or an Internet connection. There is a small minority with no access at all to any of these things.
Although in saying that, the places that do have rapidly growing flows of capital, people, goods, images and ideologies are drawing more and more places of the globe into interconnection.

Globalisation according to Inda and Rosaldo suggests that there is more to it than increased global interconnectedness. It suggests a reordering of time and space. To try and explain this we will take a look at David Harvey and Anthony Giddons.
David Harvey wrote that 'Time and Space compression' is the speeding up of economic and social processes. It has shrunk the Globe, so basically distance and time do not hold people back anymore, it is overcoming the barriers of space. For example, if a major, violent, riot broke out in the DIT Dublin, people from all over the world would be able to watch it at the same time, real time. It is shrinking space and shortening time, speeding up the pace of life.

The satellite communication systems deployed since the early 1970's have rendered the
unit cost and time of communication invariant with respect to distance. It costs the same
communicate over 500 miles as it does over 5,000 via satellite'.
Inda, J. X. and Rosaldo, R. (2008) 'Tracking Global Flows' (eds.) (2008, 2nd Ed)
The Anthropology of Globalization: page 10. David Harvey.

Anthony Giddens, like Harvey, considers Globalisation to involve a reorganizing of time and space in cultural and social life. Giddens wrote that 'Time-Space Distanciation' is the stretching of social life across time and space. There are two types of social interaction, Firstly there is face to face and secondly there is a more remote form, taken place across time and space.
Over time localities have come to rely less and less on face to face connections and more on interactions across distance. For example, in Bangladesh, the workers are making clothes for the stores Penny's, Tesco's, and ASDA. (although according to the 'War on Want' organisation, the conditions and wages of these workers are horrific).

The second argument in 'Tracking Global Flows' is that 'Globalisation has pulled culture apart from place', or de/territorialization.
Borders and boundaries have become easily crossed making cultures no longer geographically fixed. People are travelling from all over to find a new homeland, turning places into spaces of cultural juxtaposition and mixture. Objects from cultures, for example, food, clothes, music etc, are circulating in the expanding networks. The reasons people leave their own country is usually due to war, poor economic conditions or as the case was many years ago, colonisation.

The third argument in the text is the notion of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism suggests thedomination of some cultures over others. The infuence of the Western countries are the most evident. There are millions of immigrants in Western countries today. They bring with them their traditions, customs, practices and cultures.
You could argue that it could lead to the downfall of some cultures, the dominant cultures of that country could destroy the smaller ones, but in saying that, there are widespread chains of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian restaurants across Western countries. The people that have come to live in different countries are holding onto their traditions, practises, beliefs and cultures. Hopefully this will continue so we dont all become the same, with the same beliefs, cultures and practices.


Inda, J.X. and Rosaldo, R. (2008) 'Tracking Global Flows' in Inda and Rosaldo (eds.) (2008, 2nd Ed) The Anthropology of Globalisation: 3_36

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