Hugo, Paco & Luis are Mexican farmers. They came to Canada as part of its Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Their employer is an old Italian with a small farm a couple of hours away from Toronto. While I could describe in detail the painful story of their season as foreign workers, I’ll keep it simple: they wish they had never ended up in this farm; they can’t afford to go back home without the much needed money; they don’t know the language therefore they can’t complain to other people; they will likely come back next year, praying to the Virgin Mary that next time they end up in a better place.
For a really good insiders look at what these workers have to endure, the Canadian documentary “El Contrato” (the contract) offers what is probably the best perspective.
Canada’s SAWP is one of the best efforts I know to implement this type of multi-lateral agreement, with over 30 years from its inception. One of Canada’s independent research organizations, The North-South Institute, has even published research on how this program should be considered a model of best practices in matters related to migrant workers. [...]
The front cover of The New York Times Sunday edition shows a picture of a group of kids playing soccer in a dirt field in Rio de Janeiro, which leads to the article “In Brazil, Unpaved Path To Excellence” by Larry Rohter. Before I continue is important to admit that living in Toronto has a certain magic during the World Cup; it does feel like the “city that always wins the world cup” (thanks Tom) because regardless of who plays, wins or looses there are always people celebrating loudly on the streets, showcasing their national pride. Toronto citizens represent all and every single one of the countries playing the World Cup. So call it fever if you wish, but I had to write about it.
The article explains how while Brazil seems to always produce the top players of the game, this is not the result of a well thought plan. The reality is different:
the country’s record five World Cup championships are more a result of popular passion for the beautiful game, as it is often called here, than of any organized apparatus that methodically finds and develops players.
I haven’t decided if the front cover space is [...]
After having read “Does Globalization Threaten or Nurture Local Markets?” by Randall Frost and On cosmopolitanism by Marco Hewitt, I’m realizing there is an important argument that must be made. But first I should probably provide a quick summary of these articles.
Randall Frost writes on brandchannel.com, which is produced by Interbrand, a global corporation providing advertising services. I mention this not to create some bias, but to provide everyone with the context necessary to interpret the contents of the article. In itself, there is nothing more than a good collection of quotes from various writers, experts and other intellectuals supporting a single argument: globalization is only guilty of creating a renewed interest in local cultures by forcing people to balance their crazy consumption habits with more healthy trends based on ethnic products. Since the article is full of quotes, I guess I would have to double quote everything I use from it:
In Shopping for Identity: The Marketing of Ethnicity, Boston University‚Äôs Marilyn Halter looked at renewed interest in ethnicity in the US (Schocken, 2000). Halter notes, for example, that in their attempt to recapture traditional values, Americans have begun consuming large quantities of ethnic products, such [...]
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended Canada’s immigration policy stating that:
Canada’s diversity, properly nurtured, is our greatest strength
Rob Mickleburgh from the Globe and Mail is covering Harper’s participation at the United Nations’ World Urban Forum with an article entitled “Harper defends Canadian diversity”.
While Harper’s address to the forum was centered around the nation’s efforts to battle terrorism, there were a number of remarks focusing on a multicultural Canada by
preserving and strengthening the cultural diversity
There was mention of budget destined to give young people a better chance through community programs.
Reiterating on some of the comments made in the post “social networking skills”, the government is committed to continue its current immigration policy, and realizes that it must provide support for these people to become active members of our society. The mechanisms are not clear, and to be best of my knowledge, beyond english and french lessons and job search advisory there is very little being done these days. This is where our project at Global Culture can help improve the situation. Our objective goes well beyond the integration of immigrants to their new lives, but it is an important element of our strategy.
We must demand [...]
I will explain how a community of immigrants grows strong by borrowing ideas from the “User delight and the guy-from-the-train phenomenon” post by Kathy Sierra:
You know the story: you take the same train to work every day. One Saturday afternoon you’re in a cafe when you spot a familiar face at the next table. “Hey, it’s the guy from the train!” you think, with a smile. Then the guy from the train notices you, and his eyes light up. You start a lively conversation moving from weather to espresso to geopolitical forces. You exchange URLs.
She goes on to explain that finding the guy outside of the usual context creates some sort of bond that licenses you to approach him and how this is a very powerful notion for those trying to create special relationships with their customers, “user delight” in her words.
For us, immigrants, the story goes a little bit different. In our communities of origin everyone speaks the same language so we never pay attention to what others say around us. It’s just background noise. However, when we move away into a country that has a different language we don’t expect to hear ours in public. [...]
It’s not just a catchy phrase. It refers to the process of documenting how snippets of cultural behavior are moving beyond their original culture, and it is one of the most important tools that I believe we can implement to better understand how Global Culture is evolving.
Memes, a concept first introduced by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene”, are used to describe how cultural knowledge is propagated following Darwinian principles.
To keep the documentation process simple, I propose the following methodology based on the basic principles of how culture is being globalized discussed in the previous post “culture as a commodity”:
Define how the snippet of culture is transfered from its origin:
Polarization in which a meme that represents a core cultural value finds a way to persist in its original form regardless of how far it goes. Typically a group of people from the original community physically moves to its destination and continues to enact the cultural behavior.
Homogenization in which a meme that has propagated through many different cultural groups, continues to do so imposing the behavior changing and replacing others along the way.
Hibridization in which the propagation results in a modified behavior better suited to [...]