Reflection


ANTH 668100


23 Sept. 2004


Hannerz’s piece shows more clearly how intricate globalization is. The globalizing process is definitely not just a one-way flow; there are smaller flows among peripheries and there are also competitions between the centers. All the interconnectedness and interrelationships are mingled all together, affecting each other in different degrees and scales, namely, in different tiers. Hennerz mentions the interesting controversial characteristic of academic imperialism; those who destroy minor cultural heritage are also those who preserve and study it. This argument reminds me the last point 政良 brought up in his reflection last week which is that both the oppression and the rescue toward the third world are from the first world. The subject of this matter first came to my mind are the “orientalists” in western academics. In all dimensions, there are main flows and also minor or counter flows, especially in the cultural terms. The peripheries do talk back, but we have to notice that how are they being interpreted and who represent (speak up for) them, especially in the media? (Thus, the culture broker, the medium of culture, plays a crucial role is the case.)


Followed is Hannerz’s argument about Alarmism and reminds me the discussion of “what is culture?” in last class. If cultures are accumulation of all human activities, there would be no so-called pure or authentic culture. If something is imported, with the transnational cultural flow, and gradually digested and absorbed into local people’s everyday life, wouldn’t it be one aspect of the local culture? It is not that only living in adobes like Native Americans would be the authenticity. Due to the technology, the globe is shrinking and the confrontation with other culture is irresistible. The diversity of cultures is glorious and splendid. There is no need to deny all external cultures. To stand firm on locality and to brace the rich globe, like the case of Soyinka.


As Appadurai explore deeper in “Disjuncture and Difference,” globalization is featured with both homogenization and heterogenization. The worry of Alarmists is not totally groundless, but is too magnified. Based on Cunningham (2000), the signal of global era is to have a global identity; then the global crisis is actually identity crisis. No matter how many alien cultures people face everyday, as long as they clearly know their position in the global village, there would be no problem. Here is the rise of glocatliy, new senses of place and identity, which points me a way in the chaos of global traffic flows.