Monday, September 24, 2012

can we choose our nationalities?

“I want to argue that we are increasingly a part of a ‘movement-space’ which is relative rather than absolute – but which, as I have already pointed out, relies on an absolute space for its existence – in which ‘ matter or mind, reality has appeared to us as a perpetual becoming. It makes itself or it unmakes itself but it is never something made’ (Thrift: Movement –Space, 597)

Our understanding of the world has never been so difficult and abstract as it is now.  In the past, we learnt about the stability of institutions and the philosophy of political systems, most of which are theories of stability. But now, as both Nigel Thrift and Arjun Appadurai pointed out in their articles, we are struggling to comprehend and live in a “movement-space” (Thrift, 597) or a world that seems “rootless” (Appadurai, 3) and “schizophrenic” (3). The only certain as mentioned by Thrift is that relative space that we are in is built on an absolute space (Thrift, 597), which as Appadurai puts it, “the social imaginaire [that] built largely around re-runs” (Appadurai, 4).

Even though Thrift and Appadurai builds on the understanding of the world on a similar thought, Thrift’s understanding of the world is more contemporary and focuses more on the construction of continuous calculation and the human cognitive approach to this space. His idea of “qualculation”, the artificial construct of massive continuous calculations, is fundamental to the idea of relative space. Yet, Appadurai takes on a more cultural-focused approach to understand the flow of space. His approach to separates the disjunctures into five different forms allow us to understand the major flows or instability happening around the world. What strike me the most is his understanding of how culture, due to the increase in ethnoscape and the conflict between ideoscape and ethnoscape, has become a choice and not a transmission of transgeneration of knowledge. This leads me to think of the Arab Spring and how the younger generation in the Arab countries fought for their rights doesn't exist in their own culture. The idea of the honor of women also provides a understanding of the struggles of women to form a new culture in the fragmented cultural setting around the world. If culture is inevitably correlated to nationhood, will we be able to choose our own nationhood eventually (ignoring the official documents that details our place of birth)?

I also find it difficult to comprehend the idea of “touch” and “sensatorium” of Thrift’s article. He mentioned, “the hand will extend, be able to touch more entities and will encounter entities which are more ‘touchable’” (598), does he means that in a qualculative world, human hands can “touch” the new “qualities” that are generated in this relative space? What exact “qualities” then, is he referring to?

No comments: