The battleground of the twenty-first century will pit fundamentalism against
Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives
INTRODUCTIONSome years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the author Vikram Seth, who had
then just published his epic novel from the early 1950s in India, A Suitable Boy. As
it happens, we spoke extensively about cultural mixing — his main characters were to
varying degrees 'Westernized', yet remained distinctively Indian in their values and
way of life. As we spoke, the waitress arrived with a tray, pots and cups. Taking his
first sip, Seth sputtered and exclaimed that he had been served a mixture of tea and
coffee! Must be horrible, I opined, but Seth insisted that he saw the concoction as a
new, exciting mixture.Mixing is always a result of movement, but repulsion and encapsulation are also
possible outcomes. This chapter looks at both sides of the coin — cosmopolitanism
and hybridity on the one hand, withdrawal and boundary-marking on the other. First
of all, we should make it clear that the cultural dynamics of globalization cannot be
seen as 'Westernization tout court, but must be understood as a multidirectional and
truly complex process (Amselle 2001, Appadurai 1996, Hannerz 1996). Second, we
should keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 'pure' culture. Mixing has always
occurred, although its speed and intensity are higher than before. Third, the identity
politics positing cultural purity as an alternative to mixing are direct reactions to the
mixing. Puritanism, thus, is a consequence of perceived impurity.In earlier chapters, I have presented views on globalization that suggest that there
is a drive towards homogeneity, but I have also emphasized that
|• ||there is reflexive resistance to this, resulting in glocal forms blending the particular and the universal;|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Globalization: The Key Concepts.
Contributors: Thomas Hylland Eriksen - Author.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2007.
Page number: 107.
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