Beyond Globalization: Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices

Beyond Globalization: Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices

Beyond Globalization: Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices

Beyond Globalization: Making New Worlds in Media, Art, and Social Practices

Synopsis

Does living in a globally networked society mean that we are moving toward a single, homogenous world culture? Or, are we headed for clashes between center and periphery, imperial and subaltern, Western and non-Western, First and Third World? The interdisciplinary essays in Beyond Globalization present us with another possibility--that new media will lead to new kinds of "worldmaking."

This provocative volume brings together the best new work of scholars within such diverse fields as history, sociology, anthropology, film, media studies, and art. Whether examining the inauguration of a virtual community on the website Second Life or investigating the appropriation of biotechnology for transgenic art, this collection highlights how mediated practices have become integral to global culture; how social practices have emerged out of computer-related industries; how contemporary apocalyptic narratives reflect the anxieties of a U.S. culture facing global challenges; and how design, play, and technology help us understand the histories and ideals
behind the digital architectures that mediate our everyday actions.

Excerpt

A. ANEESH, LANE HALL, AND PATRICE PETRO

Contemporary accounts of an emerging “Global Village” or “One World” system—whether in relation to economics, culture, communication, or language—may seem naïve descriptions of global integration. But discourses on globalization are perhaps not all rhetoric. To take but one example: worlds studied by anthropologists are no longer protected by geography and distance; in fact, they continue to disappear. Obstinate languages, values, norms, and practices have been either exterminated or brought out of seclusion, full of wonder and spectacle via research, representation, and multiple mediated views. Two decades ago, linguists rushed to a Turkish farming village in order to record the Ubykh language, once spoken in the northwestern Caucasus, from its last known speaker, a frail farmer whose death in 1992 also marked the death of the Ubykh language. Indeed, 90 percent of the world’s languages are expected to disappear in the next one hundred years. It is not surprising, then, that the unprecedented integration of the world through money, media, and communication is often experienced as disturbingly threatening and altogether “real.” After all, satellites never set on the empire.

And yet, the nature of integration, captured by the term “globalization,” is often poorly understood, resulting in misplaced battles over homogeneity versus heterogeneity, as if the functional expansion of markets and media could turn the world into irremediable cultural sameness. Responses to an imaginary threat of homogeneity quickly lead to demonstrations of cultural distinction, such as in claims that the English spoken by Americans, Britons, Indians, and Australians (and all others) varies in each instance. One rushes to show how new diversities and cultural hybrids emerge through such . . .

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