Globalization? Maybe it's finished when it started. We use this term but
i think wrongly. We should better say "West-zation" or
"Occident-zation". We have a society model like European and/or
American, that is suited in particular economic/political/society way.
Now it looks like the rest of the world is trying to follow the same
USA/EU model of society. The globalization should, on paper, link every
country to each other at all levels, but there's not seems to happen, or
maybe the global society should became another kind of society
different from all the others came from (But we all know it's not
possible). In conclusion, this "globalization" is a kind forced, and in
this way the thinkable reaction of a culture is to protect itself or
prepare the born of other sub-cultures. I like to discuss of this kind
of topics if someone wants to do :)

Views: 85

Replies to This Discussion

If that were the underlying definition of globalization then it becomes meaningless as a term. Colonialism and neo-colonialism have been with us for a very long time, and globalization is largely understood as the growth of capital markets beginning in the 1980's and taking off after the fall of the Soviet Union.
For the most part globalism has empowered former colonial subjects like India and China. I think you have to look at each example as a case by case basis until general theoretical rules can be applied.
True, I was thinking about the British opium trade.
Exploitation.

"Globalization" is a sort of son of jacobinism, started with the end of the "ancien regime". Jacobinism has dual face: Out of its borders, has got a lot of "nationalism", inside of the borders it tends to make all its system's variables equal and controlled. First trace of jacobinism we can see in south italy, before the revolution time this reign were very rich and modern. After the Italian reunification we got 2 regions of italy: South and North. South was rich and cultural developed, North was poor and has. Exemple: South has the rich value set to 8, the north 2. After the reunion, the global italian rich value is set to 5 north and south (8+2)/2 a forced reunion is an exploitation, everyone could say anything, the historical thruth is made by fights in the street between who invade and who were invaded. France tried to invade Italy before the fallen of the two sicily reign, with charlesV, but king ferranteII never gave up until he was dead and the reign were saved, this was before the french revolution. The jacobinism is another kind of invasion, not only with weapons but ideological too, it was not so often in history, roman empire invaded a lot of countries but never tried to modify the society like jacobinism. As happened in south italy is happened to a lot of countries, who exploits, if you see, is like to use always the same methods.
Rick,

I’m a little confused about your application of cultural core. What you say about superstructure is, I suppose, a propos, but cultural core involves the subsistence strategies that are employed within a culture. Neither the concept of base nor the concept of cultural core are the same as evidential-based conclusions.

I do sympathize with your basic point, however, that no amount of ideology trumps the facts. I’ll hasten to add that we shouldn’t erect such a hard, fast dividing line between ideology and facts. Still, we shouldn’t rush headlong into some kind of relativist’s vertigo either.

Go back and examine what you have written, though. From what you say, there are multiple ideological dimensions to US military engagements in places like Afghanistan. Before I go farther, I’ll mention that I heard on NPR the other day that the Taliban in Afghanistan just hung a 7 year old boy as a spy for Hamid Karzai. I think of my 7 year old nephew, and I can only think that such an act is evil.

But our ideologies of right and wrong aside, there’s something very real about the “superstructural” elements. I see your point that our military is trying to do something new: but I think we’ve been trying to do something like it since at least the Korean War, although in new ways. Namely, we’ve been fighting wars of political intervention since that time, with the possible exception of our blasting through Panama.

In Afghanistan, we want to construct a new civil society based on what we understand as just: democracy. However, we also want to exact retribution for the violent harm done to us and to eliminate the perpetrators of this violence. So, it seems like we’re doing two things at once: exerting our aggression and might, but also asserting our commitment to equality and benevolence at the same time.

It strikes me that the “grunts” of the military are the greater number of people in the military. It just makes sense from an organizational standpoint. It also strikes me that those grunts are likely to be nearly 100% from the middle and lower working classes, that is, proletariat. So, can we say that the military is a special kind of proletariat? My guess is that those soldiers are going to hold attitudes (read: superstructural elements) similar to the rest of the proletariat. So, I can see your point about self-interest being a mitigating factor.

Like the materialist anthropologists after him, Marx tended to focus on base and saw superstructure as a resultant. Today, I think, we tend to recognize that the relationship between base and superstructure is not unilateral, but rather mutual.

As to your comments on globalization, and globalization and history, centralizing history does not make the concept of globalization meaningless. Indeed, one cannot fully understand the current assemblages of local, regional and global formations without understanding the histories behind them. Acting without understanding is more likely to do harm and to complicate matters, and one cannot have an understanding of any given geography (region or state, for example) without understanding its historical formation.

Also, we must be cognizant of how the historical present changes, guides, shapes and limits the histories upon which we make our decisions. That is, our understandings must themselves be placed in their proper historical contexts.

I do appreciate your point, though, that merely pointing to history is inadequate for solving problems in the present. Then again, we shouldn’t employ historical awareness simply to shake our fingers at certain classes of people: what good does that do?

As for neo-colonialism and globalization: we can’t help making claims about the definition of globalization. However, we should recognize that globalization is itself a whole agglomeration of forces. Some are economic, some are a matter of cultural (inter)penetration, and some are a matter of civic interference and sociocultural transformations. Neo-colonial formations and globalism are not the same thing, but they’re like two sides to the same coin. Much, if not all, of globalization has to be seen within the scope of neo-colonialism, hence the mess in Nigeria, where we can’t clearly see if the multinational oil corporations, the Nigerian government or the citizens of Nigeria are the cause of the oil pollution.

Looping back to comment for Jim: the local, regional and global scalars are interlocked with each other. Stealing language from Patricia Hill-Collins, the forces at each scalar are not additive in effect, but rather interlocking, forming a sum effect at each level.
Joel,

I am still trying to get my head around your use of "scalar." To me, it's a familiar term, but in the mathematical sense mentioned in several of the definitions discovered by a "Define: scalar" Google search, i.e.,

----------
of or relating to a musical scale; "he played some basic scalar patterns on his guitar"
a variable quantity that cannot be resolved into components
of or relating to a directionless magnitude (such as mass or speed etc.) that is completely specified by its magnitude; "scalar quantity"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

In physics, a scalar is a simple physical quantity that is not changed by coordinate system rotations or translations (in Newtonian mechanics), or by Lorentz transformations or space-time translations (in relativity). (Contrast to vector.)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(physics)

In computing, a scalar is a variable or field that can hold only one value at a time; as opposed to composite variables like array, list, hash, record, etc. In some contexts, a scalar value may be understood to be numeric. A scalar data type is the type of a scalar variable. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(computing)

In linear algebra, real numbers are called scalars and relate to vectors in a vector space through the operation of scalar multiplication, in which a vector can be multiplied by a number to produce another vector.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(mathematics)

A quantity that has magnitude but not direction; compare vector; An amplifier whose output is a constant multiple of its input; Having magnitude but not direction; Of, or relating to scale
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/scalar

(n.) a single datum that is not an array; or (adj.) not having the property of being an array.
parallel.ru/info/reference/fortgloss.html

Refers to the successive condensing, manifestation or crystallizing of one or more information matrices to energy matrices or further on to a physical organ, for example a kidney. The scalar is a non-space bound link to the information matrix. ...
www.celesteinst.se/eng/dictionary.asp

Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on original by Gary William Flake A single number, as opposed to a multidimensional vector or matrix.
www.orionsarm.com/eg-topic/45b2b9be57dea

An arithmetic object, or a pointer to an object of any type.
www.lnf.infn.it/computing/doc/aixcxx/html/glossary/s.htm

Any physical quantity with a field that can be described by a single numerical value at each point in space. A scalar quantity is distinguished from a vector quantity by the fact that a scalar quantity possesses only magnitude, whereas a vector quantity possesses both magnitude and direction. ...
amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary/browse

A simple value in Perl, like a number or a string.
www.ssuet.edu.pk/taimoor/books/1-56276-420-9/ch22.htm

A data value (number); for example, element a[4] of an array or the value of the variable X.
math.asu.edu/files/support/docs/unix/coping-with-unix/node188.html
(Triple(scalar)Product)
www.astro.physik.uni-goettingen.de/~hessman/rdf/math/dict/T.html

-----

To speak of local, national, regional and global scale makes perfect sense to me, albeit with the reservation that these are only three of a continuum of possible scales whose effects are like those of a zoom lens on a camera or microscope: depending on the scale of the observation (1x, 2x,.....nx), we see different things. I take your word for it that geographers use "scalar" in some more definite sense. Can you point us to a reference or two where we can see how it's used?
"but cultural core involves the subsistence strategies that are employed within a culture. Neither the concept of base nor the concept of cultural core are the same as evidential-based conclusions."

It's involves subsistence strategies, but the culture core was something left vague by Steward as the sum total of a groups exploitative behavior with their environment. You are right that it's out of place in what I wrote, and perhaps I shouldn't have used the term. I was trying to get at the ground reality of things going on within the core, which include more than subsistence; things like reproduction, defense, shelter, etc... I guess I was adding into it later Marxist terms brought in with cultural materialism.
The point of all of it was just to show the influence of rationalism and economic thought on the issue. In organizational or business anth. you see this a lot. In fact, it's basically an assumed given that if an organization asks for help from a consultant, they are having problems between the good ideas developed in the minds of upper management and the realities of those on the ground level. The military example was something that I figured was a good way of explaining the process in detail. McChrystal is a master of understanding the wider political economy of what's going on. Recently, he chided one of his commanders who told him it would take a while to get the Taliban out of Helmand Provence. It was reported in the paper as this:

"You've got to be patient," Lt. Col. Brian Christmas told McChrystal. "We've only been here 90 days."

"How many days do you think we have before we run out of support by the international community?" McChrystal replied.

A charged silence settled in the stuffy, crowded chapel tent at the Marine base in the Marjah district.

"I can't tell you, sir," the tall, towheaded, Fort Bragg, N.C., native finally answered.

"I'm telling you," McChrystal said. "We don't have as many days as we'd like."


You hit the nail on the head of the problem: "the Taliban in Afghanistan just hung a 7 year old boy as a spy for Hamid Karzai. I think of my 7 year old nephew, and I can only think that such an act is evil."

That's the problem. We can't publicly say that we are in a war with anyone but Al Qaeda. In reality we are at war with fundamentalist Islamic expansionism, but saying that gives the enemy massive propaganda fodder. Even in private training soldiers are given the usual PC explanations, which leaves them questioning why we are even there. Soldiers like to think they are defending Americans, not citizens of other places. If they really think that their sacrifice is making a difference to Americans then they'll do it, but they don't see that. They don't see America at war, they see themselves at war. Altruism is a horrible reason for actual war, when you get to the ground. So by trying to counter the narrative in the Muslim world that we are Christians at war with Islam itself, we leave the grunt on the ground with little understanding of why they are fighting. Hence, McChrystal is not being very successful at getting troops to put their lives at greater risk to win hearts and minds. There's a disconnect.

The same is true for typical explanations of global capital expansion. It is often taught as though people didn't want the things that Europeans were offering, and that's not true. For example, one of my brief mentors did his graduate and post-graduate work in Papua New Guinea studying the politics of mines and mine closures there. He found that local people weren't against multinationals mining on their land, and they quite enjoyed the material benefits that the corporations brought. They were distraught with the miners left their area and tried to get them back. What they were upset about was the unequal distribution of mine benefits. They weren't given any voice over how the mines were operated, on employment opportunities, or % of the cut of profit they received. So, they want the miners back, but they want them back on their terms. That makes sense.
I forgot that I actually saw a documentary on this issue in Nigeria. People were upset that oil revenue basically went to a handful of Nigerian elites, and didn't benefit the wider population. So with globalization, I think what will help isn't the reversal of globalization, which is impossible anyway, but a change in how globalization happens in various places. Tsing does a great job in showing the way local actors in places like Indonesia become fully complicit in the destruction of their environments, and it becomes hard to see a central actor in the entire process. A miner or logger on the ground seems to behave in similar ways to a wall street broker.

"In Afghanistan, we want to construct a new civil society based on what we understand as just: democracy. However, we also want to exact retribution for the violent harm done to us and to eliminate the perpetrators of this violence. So, it seems like we’re doing two things at once: exerting our aggression and might, but also asserting our commitment to equality and benevolence at the same time."

Yes and no. The whole thing was based on a rationalization of certain assumptions. It was a mantra under the Bush admin. that two democratic republics had never gone to war with each other. Therefore, if we wanted to end war, all of our enemies would have to become democratic republics. The errors in that logic are pretty clear. One could say that no nuclear power has ever gone to war with another nuclear power, and it would be much easier to simply give everyone nuclear weapons. It isn't the superstructure of politics that keep nations from doing to war, it is the interconnectedness of there economies. Greece is on the verge of bringing down the EU economy, yet the economy of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is larger than Greece's by about 10 billion dollars, and DFW isn't the biggest economy even in Texas. But, Greece is deeply connected to the economy of the EU. Germany didn't finally give into bailing out Greece due to altruism, they did it, because not doing it would have hurt their own economy.

I think Jim is correct in saying that globalization in terms of recent Western interventions is largely a nationalist scheme. Many of the states that were created during European colonialism do not yet have national identities. Italy is a good example of nation building. Japan is another. Both were relatively recently created national identities. Japan basically developed a single dialect of Japanese in the late 19th century so that everyone on the islands could communicate. The linguistic differences between North and South Italy were greater than between Spain and Portugal. In order to really compete within the modern global whatever, you have to be a state that has some sense of national identity, and a unified and interconnected economy.
Whereas Japan was able to do it quickly because of a strong centralized power, most of the colonial states have yet to do it. Many African states and places like Afghanistan have yet to do it at all.

So, in a way the military aspects of globalization are Jacobinism, like Jim says.

"Like the materialist anthropologists after him, Marx tended to focus on base and saw superstructure as a resultant. Today, I think, we tend to recognize that the relationship between base and superstructure is not unilateral, but rather mutual."

I don't think that Marx ever really made it clear what "means of production" or the relationships of production really meant, in an operational way. I think that cultural materialism in the way that Harris has defined it, makes it more clear and helps to account for the dialectic between infra- and superstructure. In the US, the manipulation of the superstructure can have extreme effects, but that's only because people's basic subsistence and reproductive needs are fully taken care of. The propaganda techniques that FOX News uses are things that simply wouldn't work on larger parts of the world's populations. They are able to get away with that shit, because people are so far removed from the various relations of production. Hyperbole can become the natural way of communicating, when the reality of the connections are largely invisible. Obama can become a socialist totalitarian only because, people have little direct experience with actual repressive regimes. Protesters in Arizona can compare non-citizens having to walk around with ID (something that's been federal law for decades) to Nazism, because they've never been to a place close to Nazism. Shit, go to Mexico and refuse to show your ID to a cop and see what happens.
Again, this is only possible because of the infrastructure. A typical Afghani could never reverse that scenario and say that their government isn't corrupt with a straight face, because the police there actually do rob people. A black man living in 1920's Mississippi doesn't have to stretch metaphors or make up vague subconscious double-speak concepts about unconscious racism, he can see racism in very concrete ways every day. In Zen Buddhism there's a saying which is paraphrased, "a behavior leads to a habit, a habit leads to personality, a personality leads to a character, and a character leads to a destiny." Something like that. This is reverse engineered with this saying, "Engineering is applied science; science is applied mathematics; mathematics is applied philosophy; philosophy is applied thought; and thought is applied delusion."
At the end you can see how changes to the infrastructure will affect other parts of the system, but at the end of the day, the superstructure is really just applied delusion in a non-relative sense, which is adapted or maladaptive to various degrees to the material realities of humans.
John,

Try googling "scalar" and "geography."

When I did so, I quickly found a PDF of an article by W.R. Tobler, titled "Geographical Filters and their Inverses." I think it might actually be a chapter of a book, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, Tobler writes:

"Most recently popularized have been filtering methods for the analysis of geographical trends. These are simple extensions of time series decomposition to the two-dimensional case, where a geographical series is partitioned into national, regional, and local spatial trends. In all cases a measure, usually a real scalar, of some geographical event is observed at a set of geographical locations. Contouring of these (scalar) data completely describes the observed spatial series."

Notice the use of national, regional and local spatial trends. Again, to understand one scalar, you have to understand how it particularly connects "laterally" with other localities and "vertically" through multiple scalars.

John McCreery said:
Joel,

I am still trying to get my head around your use of "scalar." To me, it's a familiar term, but in the mathematical sense mentioned in several of the definitions discovered by a "Define: scalar" Google search, i.e.,

----------
of or relating to a musical scale; "he played some basic scalar patterns on his guitar"
a variable quantity that cannot be resolved into components
of or relating to a directionless magnitude (such as mass or speed etc.) that is completely specified by its magnitude; "scalar quantity"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

In physics, a scalar is a simple physical quantity that is not changed by coordinate system rotations or translations (in Newtonian mechanics), or by Lorentz transformations or space-time translations (in relativity). (Contrast to vector.)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(physics)

In computing, a scalar is a variable or field that can hold only one value at a time; as opposed to composite variables like array, list, hash, record, etc. In some contexts, a scalar value may be understood to be numeric. A scalar data type is the type of a scalar variable. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(computing)

In linear algebra, real numbers are called scalars and relate to vectors in a vector space through the operation of scalar multiplication, in which a vector can be multiplied by a number to produce another vector.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalar_(mathematics)

A quantity that has magnitude but not direction; compare vector; An amplifier whose output is a constant multiple of its input; Having magnitude but not direction; Of, or relating to scale
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/scalar

(n.) a single datum that is not an array; or (adj.) not having the property of being an array.
parallel.ru/info/reference/fortgloss.html

Refers to the successive condensing, manifestation or crystallizing of one or more information matrices to energy matrices or further on to a physical organ, for example a kidney. The scalar is a non-space bound link to the information matrix. ...
www.celesteinst.se/eng/dictionary.asp

Text by M. Alan Kazlev based on original by Gary William Flake A single number, as opposed to a multidimensional vector or matrix.
www.orionsarm.com/eg-topic/45b2b9be57dea

An arithmetic object, or a pointer to an object of any type.
www.lnf.infn.it/computing/doc/aixcxx/html/glossary/s.htm

Any physical quantity with a field that can be described by a single numerical value at each point in space. A scalar quantity is distinguished from a vector quantity by the fact that a scalar quantity possesses only magnitude, whereas a vector quantity possesses both magnitude and direction. ...
amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary/browse

A simple value in Perl, like a number or a string.
www.ssuet.edu.pk/taimoor/books/1-56276-420-9/ch22.htm

A data value (number); for example, element a[4] of an array or the value of the variable X.
math.asu.edu/files/support/docs/unix/coping-with-unix/node188.html
(Triple(scalar)Product)
www.astro.physik.uni-goettingen.de/~hessman/rdf/math/dict/T.html

-----

To speak of local, national, regional and global scale makes perfect sense to me, albeit with the reservation that these are only three of a continuum of possible scales whose effects are like those of a zoom lens on a camera or microscope: depending on the scale of the observation (1x, 2x,.....nx), we see different things. I take your word for it that geographers use "scalar" in some more definite sense. Can you point us to a reference or two where we can see how it's used?
Joel, thanks for the reference to Tobler. That said, we seem to be reading him quite differently. Consider the context in which the paragraph you cite occurs.

Most recently popularized have been filtering methods for the analysis of geographical trends. These are simple extensions of time series decomposition to the two-dimensional case, where a geographical series is partitioned into national, regional, and local spatial trends. In all cases a measure, usually a real scalar, of some geographical event is observed at a set of geographical locations. Contouring of these (scalar) data completely describes the observed spatial series. Mathematically it is then assumed that these data, denoted by Z = F (X, Y), can be decomposed into a sum (or, using logarithms, a product) as follows:
Z = f1(X, Y) + f2(X, Y) + ... + fk(X, Y) + ε(X, Y), where the partial sums fk are interpreted as trends (or trend components) and ε(X, Y) is a residual. With rare exceptions, the estimates of the geographical trends are made using least squares methods to minimize the residual ε(X, Y). This least squares approach allows one to consider trend analysis as a special case of multiple regression, generally in curvilinear form, in which the geographical coordinates (X, Y) of the observed measure form the independent variables. As in all multiple regression situations, the choice of the model is critical and the meaningfulness of the results depends directly on the type of equation one chooses to fit to the data. In particular, the interpretation of a trend component as regional or local turns out to be a definition based on the particular model chosen to fit the data.


To my mind what I am reading is a description of mathematical modeling in which "real scalar" refers to the data points being analyzed, and the meaning in question is the usual mathematical one. The data collected are real numbers and are scalars not vectors. The question is whether the methods applied to analyzing this data produce the same results at different scales of which national/regional/global is only one example. In the most straightforward case, topographical mapping, the data points are heights above sea level measured at points on a uniform grid then processed (various methods are possible) to produce a contour map of the area in question. If the method employed is the standard least-squares algorithm for regression, the heights through which curves pass between the measured points will be affected by the scale on which the data were collected. Thus, for example, analysis of a hundred points collected in smaller region A and analysis of a thousand points from a larger region B of which A is a subset will produce different contours and lead to different interpretations of underlying structures. What is at stake here is similar methodologically speaking to the sort of problem that arises when comparing data from a hundred interviews at a Democratic or Republic national convention with data collected using the same questionnaire and a Gallup-scale national sample.

Anyway, it still seems to me that "scalar" and "scale" have very different meanings, with "scalar" referring to the nature of the data and "scale" referring to the size of the region sampled.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
You know, I've been thinking about this and I realized that I've been making this way too complicated, and adding in things to my argument that don't clear anything up. So, I'll make my point simply, and we can see if it has any merit.

I think that the infusion of Marxism in anthropology in the 1960's to the present, brought with it a certain way of viewing the world, which perhaps made more sense in 1960 than it does in 2010. More than the cultural ecology and cultural materialism that Marxist dialectical materialism brought us, was an almost religious conversion among many anthropologists to become disciples of Hegelian dialectics. Capitalism and socialism, exploitation and classless utopia are set is opposition to each other in an a priori way, and in a rather static way; as though Capitalism a la Marx in 1860 is the Capitalism of Western Europe in 2010.

Human beings don't seem to be as encumbered by contradictions as is assumed by many. It seems that various forms of Capitalism can very happily and successfully co-existing along side various forms of socialism. Dependence theory becomes useless in describing the amazing success of the Chinese communist party to utilize global capitalism to do more to bring a higher quality of living standard to its citizens that decades of centralized socialist schemes. Rather than encumbered by centralized control, Capitalism seems to be thriving under it. Socialism seems also to do much better when it is practiced in a Capitalist states. 25 years ago is was Japan that was set to surpass the "West," now it's China. Japan was able to incorporate Capitalism into the state's mode of production without creating any massive inequality. Before the economic collapses after the 1990's in Japan, most of the country, perhaps 80%, were really a true middle class. It was a much better version of a classless society than was ever produced in the Soviet Union.
The globalization theories of 30 years ago could not have predicted that China is now sending many of the lowest skilled factory jobs that were exported from America back to America, which is happening.

Rather than looking as globalization with a priori biases then, what I'm saying is that a more empiric, pragmatic, and evidence based methodology be utilized to understand exactly how capital, ideological, and power flows happen in discrete places, and from that generate testable theories which will lead to more precise generalizations.

Does that make sense?
@ John

"Anyway, it still seems to me that "scalar" and "scale" have very different meanings, with "scalar" referring to the nature of the data and "scale" referring to the size of the region sampled."

Yikes! It may be that I've used the term scalar somewhat loosely. I'll go back and see if I can provide a better example from an anthropological source. It does make sense that scalar would be the adjectival form of scale, though.

Definitely, my apologies to all if I've been using the term incorrectly.

@ Rick

"Rather than looking as globalization with a priori biases then, what I'm saying is that a more empiric, pragmatic, and evidence based methodology be utilized to understand exactly how capital, ideological, and power flows happen in discrete places, and from that generate testable theories which will lead to more precise generalizations."

I agree with what you are saying. It's so easy to slip into generalizations that are half-informed, and that's the real issue with a subject as vast, variegated and dynamic as globalization.

On a somewhat related note, one of my concerns with at least what I've been taught in political geography is that there seems to be a lot of theory on topics such as space, place and non-place; flow; uneven geographies; etc. However, there seems to be little discussion on the methods that were developed in geography to tackle these issues, such as survey data collection and use of GPS.

It may be that I just haven't come across such works in cultural anthropology yet.

I'd like to provide a caution, however. One of the central lessons in the political/cultural geography practiced in anthropology is that a phenomenon (such as flows of capital, ideology or power) cannot be examined properly in discrete places. Indeed, from this perspective, places cannot be seen as discrete, but rather as having porous boundaries, and as interwoven and connected to other places.

I think that globalization is much more complex than what might be apparent at first sight. My work, for example, is on the growing Chinese influence in Zambia; and the Indian influence in Zambia is not something that can be ignored either. The Zambia Tanzania Railroad was build, by the People's Republic of China, from Zambia to the coast of Tanzania between 1970 and 1975, at a cost of about US $500 million and is still, as far as I know, the largest infrastructure development that was ever undertaken in Africa. The People's Republic of China could hardly be said to be a Western, European, or US force, especially not in those days! Also, if you, like me practice an hour and a half of Yoga per day you have been under an Indian influence, however subtle it may be and if you are in a PhD program in the US, like I am, you will find yourself surrounded by many Chinese students these days. This is in no way the end of it, there is a China-town in every major city in the US and now in every major city in Africa and there are little Koreas and little Tokyos ...in New York City there is now a little Eritrea and a little Ethiopia ...etc. etc. Most of our cloths and manufactured goods are made in China and Taiwan and in Bangladesh and the people who answer the phone when you call your service provider and you finally get through are likely sitting somewhere in India, unbeknownst to you (because they have perfect American accents). At some point the US had sold the Rockefeller building in New York City to a Chinese firm, in order to service a loan!

But all of these forces have always occurred ...think of the potato, it came from South America and then a century or two later, the Irish could not live without it anymore ...they were dying in large numbers, during the infamous potato famine! Spaghetti, or noodles in general, came from China and the 0 (read, zero) came from India. When "we" (the Europeans) had "our" dark ages, the middle eastern Muslims preserved the writings of "our Western" philosophers, Aristotle and Plato etc., for "us" and added many of their own thinkers, such as Ibn Khaldūn to the cannon, that the Germans and Americans later quoted. I could go on about this mysterious force, called globalization, forever, but it should be clear by now that it isn't just a Western force and that it never was just that. 

RSS

Translate

@OpenAnthCoop

© 2014   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service