Posts Tagged ‘globalization’

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Another turn after Actor-Network Theory: An interview with Bruno Latour

May 3, 2013

Bruno Latour’s forthcoming book, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. We discuss his intellectual trajectory leading up to actor–network theory and the pluralistic philosophy underlying his new, ‘positive’ anthropology of modernity.

Bruno Latour’s work on actor–network theory (ANT) put him at the forefront of a wave of ethnographic research on scientists ‘in action’ in their laboratories and in the wider world. Starting with 1979’s Laboratory Life, his many books, written independently and in collaboration, have traced the chains of reference that connect instrumental inscriptions in labs to factual statements in journals and, eventually, to the laws of nature found in textbooks. Along the way, he has shown, facts take on increasing ontological weight, growing increasingly ‘universal’ through extensions of the scale and reach of networks and alliances between humans and nonhumans. His work has also contributed to rethinkings of modernity, leading scholars to study how scientists, engineers, and their heterogeneous allies have redefined and transformed both nature and society. Compelling, controversial, and constantly on the move, Latour’s arguments and collective projects have helped orient many research perspectives in Science and Technology Studies (STS) over the past three decades, creating bridges between science studies and anthropology, history, literary studies, art history, and environmental studies; philosophers have also increasingly engaged with his ideas (e.g. Bennett, 2010; Harman, 2009; Rouse, 1987; as well as Latour, 2010).

Read it HERE

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Chinafrica

August 27, 2012



“We have turned east, where the sun rises, and given our backs to the west, where the sun sets” — Robert Mugabe speaking about the relationship between Africa, the West and China.

To quench its thirst for oil, its hunger for copper, uranium and wood, Beijing has sent out its state companies and its adventurous entrepreneurs to conquer Africa. For the 500.000 Chinese who have emigrated to the ‘dark continent’ there is the promise of a 21st century Wild West. Some have struck gold and run large conglomerates that span whole regions of Africa, others are still selling their cheap goods on the burning hot roadsides of the poorest countries in the world. For the Africans, the arrival of the Chinese is perhaps the most important event of the forty years of independence. The Chinese do not look like the former colonialists. They build roads, dams and hospitals and win over the people. They speak neither of democracy nor transparency and they win over the dictators. In 2007, Paolo Woods set out with journalist Serge Michel to meet the Chinese stirring up Africa. They accompanied them along the railroads of Angola, through the forests of the Congo and the karaoke bars of Nigeria. From the barren countryside of Central China to the leather armchairs of African ministries, the photographs capture the adventures of the Chinese who came to Africa to make their fortunes and who invested their lives and their money in a continent that the West has long considered fit only for hand outs. These are rare images: Beijing wants to keep a low profile for its conquest. But though it remains largely unexposed these photographs portray a phenomenon and a new dimension that is not just a product of globalization, but is its ultimate realization.

See +++ of this photo essay by Paolo Woods HERE

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A Small World After All?: On the paradox of our increasing insularity in the era of globalization

July 15, 2012

When the Cold War ended, the work of America’s intelligence analysts suddenly became vastly more difficult. In the past, they had known who the nation’s main adversaries were and what bits of information they needed to acquire about them: the number of SS-9 missiles Moscow could deploy, for example, or the number of warheads each missile could carry. The U.S. intelligence community had been in search of secrets—facts that exist but are hidden by one government from another. After the Soviet Union’s collapse, as Bruce Berkowitz and Allan Goodman observe in Best Truth: Intelligence in the Information Age (2002), it found a new role thrust upon it: the untangling of mysteries.

Computer security expert Susan Landau identifies the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran as one of the first indicators that the intelligence community needed to shift its focus from secrets to mysteries. On its surface, Iran was a strong, stable ally of the United States, an “island of stability” in the region, according to President Jimmy Carter. The rapid ouster of the shah and a referendum that turned a monarchy into a theocracy led by a formerly exiled religious scholar left governments around the world shocked and baffled.

Excerpt of an article written by Ethan Zuckerman, at The Wilson Quarterly. Continue HERE
Image via

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The Center for Design and Geopolitics

June 12, 2012

D:GP begins with the supposition that the heavy carbon economies inherited from industrialization have reached an unsolvable impasse, and must at their core must be redesigned, reformed and replaced. Furthermore, as it is now amplified by planetary-scale computation, industrial modernity is now so radicalized that its ubiquity is matched only by its imminent dissolution. But other conditions are possible. They have to be. Computation does not (necessarily) replace what comes before it, but under the right circumstances it can and does, and under more rarified conditions still, it should. Deep systemic crises invite three interrelated and apparently opposing responses: modernism, inertia and fundamentalism: fight, hide, and flight, accordingly. Toward this D:GP recognizes the emergence of another, alternative modernity. Where industrialization provided heaviness, expansion, production, and consumption, our successor modernity is one of lightness, contraction, subtraction and restoration. It is an interfacial modernity not of identity and maximalization, but of externality and transference. Where industrialization was a modernity for tabula rasa, today a subtractive modernity curates a world that is infinitely full. Its radicality is not drawn from the historical or geographic momentum of a “new world,” but rooted in the precarity of globalizations that are as irresolvable as they are interconnected.

The Center for Design and Geopolitics is a think-tank based at Calit2 and the University of California, San Diego devoted to using Art and Design to develop new models for how planetary-scale computation transforms political, urban and ecological systems. D:GP was founded in 2010 by Visual Arts professor, Benjamin H. Bratton.

Text via D:GP

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Cultural Morphing: Klaus Filip / Nicolaj Kirisits / et al.

May 19, 2012

Statement:

Cultural Morphing is an experiment in creating a multi-perspective image of reality from the simultaneous experience of a geographic line by the individual expression of a perceived personal reality. Twelve invited artists traveled by train from Vienna to Shanghai, and selected stops along the route served as their workspace where they would meticulously work out an project that outlined various aspects of cultural transition experienced on the journey. Stopovers at Ulan-Ude, Ulan Bator, Beijing and Shanghai were used to exhibit the works that were created en route.

China emerged as the focus and destination for Cultural Morphing because of the mutual, cooperative, and also oppositional status of digital art between China and Europe. Europe and China are two antipodes in cultural history that have been in steady interchange, but have also developed differently and independently from each other. This cultural deviation is the starting point and the ultimate potential of our project. Adequate to the technology of morphing, the realization of the individual artworks will be a consummation of the artistic interpretations of many keyframes on the tracks between Vienna and Shanghai.

The broadcast for Radius will feature a score developed through filming a dinner at a Chinese rotating table. The images captured through filming from above the table during the course of the dinner were sonified with data and acoustic recordings collected along the journey. The artists involved created individual sound files based on a video score that were later combined into one stereo track.

Via Radius

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The Perils Of Technology Prediction

March 6, 2012

The outside of the map contains a series of predictions that get more playful and more provocative as you move out towards the edges. Click image to Enlarge. For example:

– There will be a convergence of health care & financial planning
– We will have face recognition doors & augmented reality contact lenses
– Online communities will start physical communities

The center of the map contains some mega-trends such as globalization, urbanization, sustainability, volatility, the power-shift Eastwards, ageing, anxiety and so on. But be careful. Trends like these can get you into all kinds of trouble. In fact they can easily get you into more trouble than predictions because people believe them.

Excerpt of an article written by Richard Watson at Fast Company. Read it HERE

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Why Do Languages Die? Urbanization, the state and the rise of nationalism

January 6, 2012

“The history of the world’s languages is largely a story of loss and decline. At around 8000 BC, linguists estimate that upwards of 20,000 languages may have been in existence. Today the number stands at 6,909 and is declining rapidly. By 2100, it is quite realistic to expect that half of these languages will be gone, their last speakers dead, their words perhaps recorded in a dusty archive somewhere, but more likely undocumented entirely. (…)

The problem with globalization in the latter sense is that it is the result, not a cause, of language decline. (…) It is only when the state adopts a trade language as official and, in a fit of linguistic nationalism, foists it upon its citizens, that trade languages become “killer languages.” (…)

Most importantly, what both of the above answers overlook is that speaking a global language or a language of trade does not necessitate the abandonment of one’s mother tongue. The average person on this planet speaks three or four languages. (…)

The truth is, most people don’t “give up” the languages they learn in their youth. (…) To wipe out a language, one has to enter the home and prevent the parents from speaking their native language to their children.

Given such a preposterous scenario, we return to our question — how could this possibly happen?

One good answer is urbanization. If a Gikuyu and a Giryama meet in Nairobi, they won’t likely speak each other’s mother tongue, but they very likely will speak one or both of the trade languages in Kenya — Swahili and English. Their kids may learn a smattering of words in the heritage languages from their parents, but by the third generation any vestiges of those languages in the family will likely be gone. In other cases, extremely rural communities are drawn to the relatively easier lifestyle in cities, until sometimes entire villages are abandoned. Nor is this a recent phenomenon.

The first case of massive language die-off was probably during the Agrarian (Neolithic) Revolution, when humanity first adopted farming, abandoned the nomadic lifestyle, and created permanent settlements. As the size of these communities grew, so did the language they spoke. But throughout most of history, and still in many areas of the world today, 500 or fewer speakers per language has been the norm. Like the people who spoke them, these languages were constantly in flux. No language could grow very large, because the community that spoke it could only grow so large itself before it fragmented. The language followed suit, soon becoming two languages. Permanent settlements changed all this, and soon larger and larger populations could stably speak the same language. (…) Text via Lapidarium Notes. Continue HERE