Monday, September 24, 2012

Disjuncture and Deterritorialization within Sleep Dealer

Appadurai focuses on the disjunctures between the five "-scapes" that he positions the global cultural flow within. The interactions within these five "-scapes" are highly dynamic in that, as Appadurai points out, they can be viewed from infinite locales, persons, and communities. The intersections of these -scapes are where Appadurai says "imagined worlds" are born. In the film Sleep Dealer, Memo's hometown is often represented as secluded and nostalgic of a former simplicity. However, this is seen as fabricated in Appadurai's argument because he shows how the conceiving the past in terms of the present is made even more difficult with the multiplicity of the present. Memo's father references this in the film when he asks, "Is our future a thing of the past?" As a viewer growing up in American-centralist culture, does one find the present culture of other imagined communities a thing of the American nationalist past?

Appadurai says that the fluidity of the -scapes allows for increasingly transparent boundaries between imagined communities, and this is also seen in Sleep Dealer as Memo is able to move into industrial work of San Diego while physically existing in Tijuana. However, even though Memo can transport himself to San Diego via the medium of a drone, it speaks little of the perception of exported labor and the strict boundaries of the physical world. Appadurai speaks of the deterritorialization and bringing labor into the lower-class societies of wealthy nation-states. As Mexican labor is outsourced to the working-class jobs of America, boundaries greatly arise in the physical world. The wall goes up between Mexico and America, and flow between the two nations is near impossible. Although deterritorialization is taking place in one -scape, there is a reactionary structuring that takes place in another. For an individual, like Memo, there is promise in Appadurai's disjunctures of the -scapes. In the end of the film he laments that perhaps there is a future for him "here, on the edge of everything."

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