Bob Geldof is to team up with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on a project to digitally catalogue all known human existence. They want to create the "largest ever living record" of films, photographs, anthropological histories, philosophies, theologies, economies, language and art, as well as people's personal stories, according to afp
Might sound good but reading Geldofs statements ("In an age of globalisation, we face the growing homogenisation of cultures") and their plans to "capture all 900 of the separate groups of people anthropologists believe exist in the world", one begins to doubt: It seems that Geldof and the BBC are going to reproduce old fashioned racist anthropology ("Völkerkunde"). Although they call it an "anthropological project", they can't have read much anthropology.
Here we see again the widely popular notion of “cultures” as distinct, static and unchanging entities threatened by Western-led globalization.
It seems a pity that this outdated view should be perpetuated by the BBC who in its reportages so often manages to portray a very different image of the cultural dynamics in globalization: i.e. in which a new diversity is created by the encounter between global consumer goods, media, ideas and institutions with local ways of doing and thinking.