Monday, September 24, 2012

From Uncertainty to Friend Request.

In “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Appadurai tries to give a broad map that constructs the “global village,” a village that has “no sense of place.” After reading this article, I was stuck with a word ‘uncertainty.’ This word seems to be at the center of all the disjunctures in and outside of landscapes that Appadurai mentions in his article. By uncertainty, I mean the uncertainty of life and death, beginning and end, and space and time.  Since our perception is bounded by visual or physical observation, something that is outside of our reach is definite uncertainty to all of us.  This uncertainty of the world leaves us drenched with curiosity of Others and the world outside of our bubble. And through lens of cameras, we define and imagine the rest of the world, which is virtual reality. With new ideologies and technologies generated from the Enlightenment, imagining the world has been easier than ever before. Influx of technological advancements and immigrants from foreign countries become social and technological outlets to experience Others. Then this constrained curiosity and uncertainty are finally brought to the surface. Media, being the origin of this quenching effect, engender another disjuncture by deluding viewers to believe in the global village that they see on screens. This delusion is, according to Appadurai, what constitutes our imagined community. So I tried applying this concept to Granovetter’s argument. In “The Strength of Weak Ties,” he argues that weak ties are “indispensible to individuals’ opportunities and to their integration into communities” whereas “strong ties, breeding local cohesion, lead to overall fragmentation.” (1378) From Appadurai’s article, I could see that media is becoming a bridge that connects the global village. If this is true, then media is, in a way, integrating them into the global community. However this act of integration becomes illusion, since we cannot make any relationship nor ties with anyone outside of local space. This leaves me to question about the roles of social media. For example, Facebook and Twitter has been the forerunners of today’s internet communities. Are all ties made in the world of Facebook and Twitter weak ties? If so, then aren’t they somewhat essential to integrate individuals into a bigger community? Are social media really essential to our lives? How did we become so addicted to these? 

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