Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Agency in Appadurai

I'm intrigued by the issues of agency raised in the Appadurai article. The temporal disjunctures that complicate our conception of past, present, and future can 'play havoc with the hegemony of Euro-chronology' (3). This puts cultural phenomena such as Filipino renditions of American pop music in a complicated position: they simultaneously subvert Western chronology and reinforce notions of the primitive Other.

Appadurai addresses this conflict of active appropriation and passive homogenization by emphasizing that the landscapes are 'deeply perspectival constructs' (7). On one hand, the subjective and malleable nature of these landscapes make agency possible. On the other hand, the lack of any objective perspective ensures that local empowerment will remain universally insignificant. Is this idea damning or hopeful?

Two issues further complicate issues of agency. To piggyback on the Lee article, the (performative) act of navigating these landscapes is implicitly contributing to their construction. Moreover, competing actors (nations, states, advertisers, etc.) are waging war to control the imagination that 'is now central to all forms of agency' (5). What implications does this have for personal or communal agency?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this video, in the context of this discussion. (Watch it to the end). I think the context of the prison, the gender roles, and the mock violence raise some interesting questions.

1 comment:

Christina Ducruet said...

I am going to have such bad nightmares from watching that. agghhhh