It is a very interesting interview, and I would love to read about neo-cannibalism and brain death. But I think Scheper-Hughes’ focus on globalism is too much. It is hype. Just because everyone is talking about it, so do we. In reality though, there’s no such thing as globalism. It is irrational to believe there is. Remember that science is based on scepticism, and be more sceptic. Dont just believe what everyone else is saying, try to find out if it works. Pragmaticism.
Ofcourse, I am exaggerating here aswell. Just because something is a social construction does not make it less “real". But I am using the argument of reductio ad absurdum, to get a point across. Hope it worked
Well, I am not sure I got your point. Of course, we need to be skeptical. We need to be pragmatic. And we can’t believe in “what everyone else is saying". That is what anthropology should be all about. And of course, social constructions are just as real and powerful as any other constructions. I guess it is also what N. S-H shows here quite clear. That the global flow doesn’t exist… well, I just don’t agree. And I hardly can understand that somebody does.
Yes, that is just what I said. “Everyone” believes in, and talks about, a world that is more globalized every day. It’s hype. There is no tangible thing called globalization. There is no way of measuring globalization. There is no way of discerning globalization. There is no way of telling exactly what is being globalized. There is no way of telling exactly what is means for something to be globalized. It is no more a word used to describe a kind of general feeling (that is different between cultures), and a kind of lived-experience (that is different between cultures). “I do not understand the technologies of the young", “I miss the comfort of having a steady job at the local factory", “I get confused by the increasing quantities".
Practically, this means that globalization as a social construct is very similar to human races as a social construct. How many groups of genes to make up a race, how many abandoned factories in order to blame it on globalization. Who belongs to which race, what factory was abandoned due to globalization. The list can go on.
So, academics in particular, but everyone in general, should definitely stop talking about globalization as if it was something “out there". Well, that is ofcourse, unless we really enjoy being exploited and such. Because that is the thing with social constructs. They show us an alternative to how we think the world looks like. Usually they are not that value-laden, like the question of gender for instance. But in this case I think it is safe to say that globalization puts people in two camps. Appadurai says so atleast, rather convincingly, in his “Fear of small numbers". It is very hard to say something about globalization that is neither positive nor negative.
I am not saying “ignore it". Quite contrary. I am saying “be aware of it". And the way Scheper-Hughes’ talks about globalization kinds of scares me, because it seems to be devoid of this awareness. It almost feels like reading a book by Giddens on The Third Way. Or like listening to the news.
We have to remember, as a academics and anthropologists, that we dont have to assume that the world is like how society perceives it. If they are afraid of terrorists, that does not mean we have to be. If they experience something they designate globalization, that does not mean we have to. If they…
Ok, I now understand where you were heading. You have some good points when it comes to ”blaming the globalization”, but it is somehow political question which is not the subject here at all. But this discussion is important, of course.
Nevertheless, you see ”globalization” in a normative way. As far as I understand the interview, there is no value-laden use of this term or phenomenon at all, especially that it is mentioned in the discussion on methodological challenges. It has nothing to do with ”explotation” which you mention, division of the world into camps etc. That is why I wrote ”the global flow” in my previous comment so as to avoid this normative connotations I supposed you might have.
I cannot speak here on behalf of N. S-H, but in my opinion speaking about ”globalization” meaning global flow (of people, objects, ideas, capital etc) is absolutely correct. And thinking ”flow” more than ”monopolization” (or whatever connotations people might have) makes it absolutely possible to ”say something about globalization that is neither positive nor negative”. And this is what I mean when I say that I can hardly agree with people who mean global flow (or flow over the globe) doesn’t exist. Of course, we can discuss who, what and to what extent… but still, it’s hard to deny it does.
And speaking of ”globalization as if it was something ’out there’” – of course, it’s rather ”right here”.
And I absolutely think that usually ”the world IS like how society perceives it”. Or for some, the world is like the academics perceive it.
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