The Anthropology of Globalization: Cultural Anthropology Enters the 21st Century

By Ted C. Lewellen | Go to book overview

Chapter 13

Afterthoughts, by Way of Conclusions

McWorld is the problem, not the solution.

Benjamin R. Barber 1

Any conclusions to a book on globalization cannot help but convey an artificial sense of finality and closure. Thus, I hope the reader will settle not for any grand summation, but for a few personal impressions.


IS THERE A METANARRATIVE OF GLOBALIZATION?

After finishing the rough draft of this book, I reread an article from Current Anthropology titled “Ethnography and the Meta-Narratives of Modernity” by Harri Englund and James Leach (2000). A “metanarrative” is defined as “a set of organizing assumptions of which only some may be enunciated in a given anthropological narrative” (226). Because “the history of anthropology can be seen as a progression through a series of meta-narratives” (227), it would seem that the term, as employed in the article, is very close to some definitions of paradigm. In any case, the basic argument is that anthropological analyses employing the concept of modernity are replete with presuppositions that are never fully explored because they are never consciously articulated. Because modernization overlaps to a great degree with globalization, it was inevitable that I find some of these assumptions quite applicable to the present work. For instance, the idea that “modernity, full-fledged and recognizable, is everywhere” certainly has its

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