In a series of emails with Kamla, a blogger from India, I provided the following example of how to participate in this project:
how do you get a taxi in your country? how are they recognized from other vehicles? While this may be a very simple task, there are so many variations to the theme that someone who doesn’t know the rules of engagement will be at a disadvantage. In Mexico I’m always careful to take the red taxis parked outside of certain hotels. Not the green ones running wild through the city. In Canada their paint colors are not standardized. I wonder what tricks are important in India.
While taking a taxi may not be considered a cultural activity, it is part of the body of knowledge that is learnt only once you’re embedded in a particular culture. For those who are pushed away from their original communities, having tools that improve their chances of learning other cultures is very critical. Gaining insight from other people who have gone through the same process will increase your chances of participating in a truly global culture.
So, if you want to participate, pick a very [...]
Erick Schonfeld writes in B2Day about a new tool that will leverage the culture of participation to showcase the best of each neighborhood around the world by paying freelance filmmakers to upload short videos.
TurnHere is truly a remarkable initiative in that it is not only set to become a popular destination on the web by taking advantage of the latest technologies, it proposes a viable business model and manages to make local cultures more relevant.
It will be interesting to see how this tool evolves from a place where producers can showcase their local communities to a research tool for those embarking in a journey across the globe. Some ideas on how to make this happen:
allow filmmakers to submit videos in their original languages, opening the initiative for a far larger group of content producers.
allow other users to act as “bridges”, either translating or tagging the content in a meaningful way
allow for a folksonomy to emerge from common tags across videos. I’m sure people have their favourite markets in each city.
As part of my research for this project I came across Global Voices, a project sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School.
Their primary goals are to showcase the most interesting conversations taking place in the blogosphere across the globe, by indexing, aggregating and summarizing posts from notorious bloggers in as many countries as possible. In order to accomplish this, they’ve created a Bridge Blog Index, which lists many bloggers who are considered relevant within their local communities but speak with a global voice.
Following up on previous posts regarding how this project will work, consider that many Bridge Bloggers are currently living in a foreign country, feeling a strong bond with their original local communities (recent immigrants, maybe). It is this fact that gives them the courage to try to use their wealth of cultural knowledge in a context that is completely new. In the process of doing so they effectively bridge the two communities in one of many possible ways:
providing insight to their community of origin on the inner workings of the new community, possibly making it easier for others to follow
providing their adopted community with valuable cultural [...]
In a series of posts, Chris presents a well formulated summary of the various thesis accepted by academics when studying culture and its relationship with globalization:
Culture and Commodity: Globalization and the Culture Industry is an introduction to the paper
Culture and Globalization: Polarization, Homogenization, Hybridization explains in simple terms the 3 most accepted thesis.
Polarization or the “Jihad vs. McWorld” thesis
Homogenization or the “McDonaldization of Culture” thesis
Hybridization which proposes a balance between the previous two
The Commodification of Culture: Arendt and Adorno presents a couple of critics that challenge the use of culture as a commodity, which in turn provides a strong framework to refute the main thesis
Culture and Globalization Reconsidered states the fundamental flaw of mistaking culture for consumerism and asks whether it is possible to break that deadly relationship.
I couldn’t have created a better theoretical framework to justify this project. As stated in the previous post, the objective of this project is to provide the tools for the real culture to be released of its current deadly dance with globalization and give it a chance to shape the society of the future.
In what contains both a brilliant exposition of the recent history (last 100 years) of cultural influence across continents and a terrible use of such history to defend large global corporations, the article “American Culture Goes Global, or Does It?” (2002) written by Professor Richard Pells for The Chronicle of Higher Education states its fundamental position:
globalization has become the main enemy for academics, journalists, and political activists who loathe what they see as a trend toward cultural uniformity.
It then proposes a few reasons why American culture seems to be so ubiquitous:
the ability of American-based media conglomerates to control the production and distribution of their products has been a major stimulus to the worldwide spread of American entertainment.
Unlike, for example, German, Russian, or Chinese, the simple structure and grammar of English, along with its tendency to use shorter, less-abstract words and more-concise sentences, are all advantageous for the composers of song lyrics, ad slogans, cartoon captions, newspaper headlines, and movie and TV dialogue. English is thus a language exceptionally well-suited to the demands and spread of American mass culture.
The American domestic market has, in essence, been a laboratory, a place to develop cultural products that can then be adapted to the [...]
Perhaps one of my earliest attempts to rationalize the anxiety in regards to the issue of global culture was a series of posts that resulted from a trip to Amsterdam. I had the opportunity to visit the World Press Photo exhibition. At the time (2004) there were mainly two sets being displayed: one with photos depicting the horrors of war and another documenting the lifes of immigrants to the city of Amsterdam. Looking at the many faces of immigrants, I realized that these people had had no alternative but to leave their homes behind and look for other alternatives to raise their families. Conflicts, wars, misery, lack of opportunities, they were all pushing people into the big economic hubs. However, these cities were not necessarily ready to receive them.
That wasn’t my first travel experience, but it was the first time I realized something could be done about it. I tried to articulate the idea in the following way:
Travelling is one of those experiences that affect you in many different ways. You’re suddently thrown out of your context, trying to make a living in a place where the rules are different.