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ANTB20H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Arjun Appadurai, Anthony Giddens, Social Capital

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Girish Daswani
Study Guide

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Anthropology Culture, Politics and Globalization
Lecture 1 – January 10, 2011
- ‘Globalization as a concept refers both the compression of the world and the intensification
of consciousness about the world as a whole’
oGeneral assumptions around it & debates whether it is new.
- Some common assumptions of Globalization:
oDissolving barriers like time and distance (technological developments such as
oMakes political borders increasingly irrelevant (increased movement and flows
through global migration/transnational capital)
oHybridization of cultures and more mixing
People are constantly moving around, barriers between groups are breaking
oIntensification of connections and our increasing consciousness of this development
oRise of the free market economy (more neo-liberal policies and less trade barriers)
Move towards privatization
- Inda and Rosaldo:
oThe development of worldwide modes of transport and communication
oAn intensification of the links, modes of interaction and flows that interconnect the
oA stretching of social, cultural, political and economic practices across frontiers so
as to make possible action at a distance
oA heightened entanglement of the global and local
- Space-time compression and stretching of social life across time and space
oDavid Harvey globalization involves the shrinking of space and the compression
of time
Labour markets become more flexible through outsourcing, subcontracting,
putting-out and ‘home-work strategies’
This flexibility is aimed at reducing the turnover time of capital
oAnthony Giddens compares globalization to the stretching of social life across
time and space
Remote encounters win out over face to face interaction
Ways of being social are no longer the same. Before in order to make
transactions, build relationships you need face-to-face interactions, but
what’s happening now is that these things don’t matter as much.
Can be in two different time zones to do business
- Globalist versus Skeptics
oThe great globalization debate is between those who are skeptical (the “skeptics
about the process and those who accept is as a reality (the “globalist
- Is Globalization Something New or Old?
- New:
oIt has been argued that there is something new to the present world, that is to say
the world beginning with the end of Cold war in !980-1991
oWith the dissolution of this conflict, the world shifted from a two-bloc system to a
one-bloc system. The world appeared to become a single integrated market place
(free trade and neo-liberal policies)
oThe internet existed in its embryonic form from the late 60s and grew exponentially
around 1990
oThe physical latter became replaced by emails, fixed phone line by wireless mobile
oIn the 1960s, the Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined term ‘global
village’ in speaking about new mass media situation
oNew Media (TV), would create new common frames of references and mutual
knowledge between people across the globe.
- Old
oIt has also been argued that globalization is not something new. The historical depth
of interconnections do not get looked at enough (eg. Patterns of migration, trade,
financial movement and capital formations)
oThe popularity of the term ‘globalization’ signals a need for caution. The word was
scarcely used before the late 1980s – but today it seems you cannot run away from
it in newspapers and academic circles. fuzzy term – what does it mean?
oQuestions about the limits of global do not get asked. Eg. What are the structures
and limits of these interconnecting mechanisms?
oThe world has always been a place where political and economic relationships are
oLong term implications of the exercise of power across time and space
oThe death of the nation-state is exaggerated
oGlobalization is not necessarily creating common ways of being united or seeing
the world as connected but brings about new differences and divisions.
- Globalization promises: finance, flows
- However anthropologist are also concerned with the collective, the counter-flows, the
immobility and the boundedness of people, ideas and culture
- What Gregory calls the ‘nightmare face of globalization’
- ‘The Devil Behind the Mirror’ is a metaphor to illustrate the “dissonance between what
transnational capital promises and what it delivers as this tension is lived, interpreted and
acted upon in the everyday lives of working people
oWe want to be included but we cant afford to
- Globalization is an ‘uneven and awkward process’
oThere are people and places whose experience are marginal to or exluded from
these movements and links
oThey sometimes become ‘invisible’ when speaking about globalization
oAssuming world is becoming smaller place does not mean we are becoming more
alike – that everyone is equal.
- We should pay attention to
oImportance of history & power relations involved
oInvisibility of certain groups who are either not discussed in literature due to focus
of attention on larger political and economic processes of globalization
oChanging cultural meanings people attach to changes in their lives & their ongoing
interpretation and adaptation
- People, cultures, capital and commodities may be anchored in more than one place, but
they are still anchored in a limited number of specific places
oMeans that identity is still anchored in specific context and specific culturally
shared spaces
Lecture Two – January 17, 2011
“Conceptualizing the Global”
Questions for Today’s lecture:
What happens, then, to those processes, events, aspirations and experiences that are not
captures by a particular model and its derivatives?
- People do not always share the notion of a shared culture (that they are part of a larger,
ongoing process)
- Does the local have to be about something specific only or bounded or something that
reproduces something called Culture.
- One way is to say that local is not something fixed, it is not static.
oLocal groups or communities have never always been the same. They are always
have been subject to external and internal forces
- Anthropologist from European countries would go to different parts of the world that they
saw radically different from their own in order to understand “the Other
oThey weren’t just explorers or missionaries, they were meant to be social
scientists/researchers to understand the fact that questions of western civilization
oWhy is it that other groups do not have civilization?
oBy understanding ‘them’ you can understand the western part (this is what they
thought before)
oOne conclusion about how other people are structured is ‘kinship’
- We’ve come along way since then – revolution of writing/culture (more flexible of
anthropologist of thinking about themselves in relation to other)
oCan’t think Others as different or backward – they are the same as us.
oInstead we should follow the argument of ‘rationality’ – we all have minds, we all
oWe have constructed the other in stereotypical way – we have created the
idea/illusion that people have always been specific/static group
- In conceptualizing the global, we need to be perceptive of how people think of their
construction of class, ration, nation gender (same goes for globalization)
- Conceptual framing for the pre-theoretical assumptions that characterize the nature of the
oAnthropologist and others all contribute to the conceptualization of the global
- Article –Appadurai
oTalking about new global culture that needs to be addressed and new theories need
to be created to address the new world
oHe is in favour of globalization. He believes globalization is something new