Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A fragement I wrote quite a while ago...

Mike Featherstone, in his book _Global Culture: Nationalism, Globalization and Modernity_ (London : Sage, 1990) [I think], begins by asking if a global culture actually exists. There certainly doesn’t exist an integrated global culture (like a nation-state of cultural homogenaety and integration). Featherstone discusses the changes in the world economy in the 1970s and 1980s which have been represented by the de-monopolization of economic structures as well as the deregulation and globalization of markets. This globalization resulted in the formation of a new line of professionals, such as international lawyers and accountants. This, in turn, led to a process of interconnectedness between national legal systems. Featherstone suggests that this destruction of barriers favoured the strongest performers: North America. These professionals work outside of the traditional nation-state framework of commerce and experience difficulties of intercultural communications first hand. They demand the creation of a new form of habitus.

He discusses the global flow of tourism, in which the experience is sanitized and controlled. Neither of the above examples (professionals and tourists) are particularly cosmopolitan. Featherstone adds, “we can posit varieties of cosmopolitanism, such as in diplomacy, in which other culture is largely mastered and there is the capacity to communicate the fruits of this competence to others via third languages, such as diplomatic languages.” (9) He is discussing a kind of capital regarding the assumption of culture. The stranger is a figure which cannot be integrated into the local/cosmopolitan model: the stranger is indeterminate. He concludes:

"The varieties of response to the globalization process clearly suggests that there is little prospect of a unified global culture, rather there are global cultures in the plural. Yet, as several contributors have pointed out, the intensity and rapidity of today’s global cultural flows have contributed to the sense that the world is a singular place which entails the proliferation of new cultural forms for encounters." (10-11)

Featherstone suggests the notion of the local versus the cosmopolitan, and that the global context demands a new global habitus. He throws the stranger into the mix as one who doesn’t fit into the binary model. Where would one place Morrissey? Is he a cosmopolitan or a local, or is this binary problematized when there is only a small cultural change, as in diasporic movement within Western society? Or is he a stranger? He doesn’t seem to fit any of the three figures completely, whether it be local, cosmopolitan or stranger. He forces his audience towards a “slight” cosmopolitanism, a kind of Morrissey “third language,” to use Featherstone’s terminology for diplomacy, and perhaps a greater habitus for those audiences who are latino, or culturally further from the North American experience of England.

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