Monday, September 24, 2012

Appadurai + Granovetter

I want to try to connect Appadurai’s piece with Granovetter’s to see if there’s a productive way to think through the five different landscapes suggested by Appadurai as various “strong” or “weak” ties and how such a connection could lend itself to our understanding of these ‘scapes.’ First, though, I want to point to a quote in the Appadurai that I happened to find particularly interesting. “Thus, although some anthropologists may continue to relegate their Others to temporal spaces that they do not themselves occupy…post-industrial cultural productions have entered a post-nostalgic phase” (4). I think that perhaps what lies beneath and connects all of the various scapes that Appadurai describes is a matter of temporality – if temporal spaces have collapsed, no longer permitting the self and the other to reside in different temporalities, then it seems that one important aspect of Appadurai’s scapes is the ways in which they demand some level of temporal synchronization. Ideology travels alongside media, then perhaps breaks off and travels alongside technology; they do not travel separately and concretely, but rather as concurrent temporal flows.

Moving along to the Granovetter, I wonder what his theorization of “local bridges” does to Appadurai’s argument. The rest of the arguments seem to fit together – various strong and weak ties work together in the process of globalization, manifester in the five scapes discussed by Appadurai. But a local bridge implies a complete disjuncture. The scapes and flows no longer move simultaneously alongside one another, but encounter a certain location in which there is an almost complete break. This seems antithetical to the argument of Appadurai – an ethnic community traveling from point A to point B does not exist solely within the ethnoscape, but also brings with it components of each of the four other scapes. If there are bridges at all, they are already so multiplicitous as to deny the import of a local bridge as described by Granovetter. If Granovetter thinks it necessary to connect mirco and macro levels, then how does one reconcile his analysis with that of Appadurai? This seems more than a mere small “paradox” (1137) as welcomed by Granovetter, but something bigger. 

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