Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the local-global-local

Connecting Anderson’s notion of nationalism to the local/global tension of 9-11.

Anderson says that, while Nationalism has historically specific roots, it is an invention “there, so to speak, for the pirating” (156). In other words, a local (limited) imagining of simultaneity becomes a model which can be used globally. This concept, that a specific representation can have a universally resonant structure is instinctively understood. However, Anderson does not clearly qualify the change the execution of the subsequent global to different local adoption would incur on the previously locally specific event.

Let’s take 9-11 as a tangential example of this local/global tension. I would argue that the collapse of the Twin Towers was an extremely geographically localized event that took on global signification. The event, although broadcast far and wide -- as we viewed in class this past week – was traumatic for the New York City community in a fundamentally distinct way than it was for the rest of the world. In particular, the victims and their families, NY Fire Dept., the people in the geographic vicinity of the dust and debris. 9-11, then, was quickly snatched into the global sphere, a different ballgame of signs. Yes, the local and global were conflated to some extent --- for example, in commemorative trinkets the hero imagery of the NYPD is often inseperable from the American Flag. Nevertheless, in the transition from the local to global, the rights of those locally involved were diminished. One need only look at the current construction battles, and the Victims Families and Lower Manhattan community board oppositions. What is altered, lost, detrimental, in the hyphen between global-local ?

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