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Local Cultures Connected Through a Global Network
Alex Steffen, 15 Apr 06

Worldchanging ally danah boyd has written a fine essay on glocalization, networks and local cultures. Definitely worth the read:

"Glocalization is the ugliness that ensues when the global and local are shoved uncomfortably into the same concept. It doesn't sit well on your palette, it doesn't have a nice euphoric ring. It implies all sorts of linguistic and cognitive discomfort. This is the state of the global and local in digital communities. We have all sorts of local cultures connected through a global network, resulting in all sorts of ugly tensions. Designers who work with networks must face these tensions and design to take advantage of the global while not destroying the local. ...

"The digital era has allowed us to cross space and time, engage with people in a far-off time zone as though they were just next door, do business with people around the world, and develop information systems that potentially network us all closer and closer every day. Yet, people don't live in a global world - they are more concerned with the cultures in which they participate."

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The essay is cool and thought-provoking, but I disagree with the opening (and rather irrelevant) comments on "glocalization". Yes, "glocal" is an ugly word, which is why I prefer to use "worldplace", but it is certainly not an ugly thing. For very good real-life examples, look up the McGill Report -- "Globalization's impact on Minnesota, Minnesota's impact on the world". Furthermore, the local has ALWAYS depended on the global and has always created the global. Read Denis Wood's book Five Billion Years of Global Change -- "For this local scene to exist, the whole world had to be just so".

Posted by: Jane Shevtsov on 15 Apr 06



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