Tuesday, September 25, 2012

spatial dynamics

I'm interested in Appadurai and Granovetter's discussion of networks and changes in spatial dynamics that result within them. Appadurai identifies a change in "spatial dynamics" rooted in the relationship between production and consumption in the global economy. He discusses an idea of “production fetishism,” identified as “an illusion” which masks transnational production networks and processes in “the spectacle of local.” This spectacle becomes “a fetish which disguises the globally dispersed forces that actually drive the production process. This generates alienation (in Marx’s sense) twice intensified, for its social sense is now compounded by a complicated spatial dynamic which is increasingly global.” (16) The consumer is therefore separated from the reality of the global economy. Additionally, global advertising creates the illusion of consumer agency, but in reality agency lies in the producer’s hands. “The consumer is consistently helped to believe that he or she is an actor, where in fact he or she is at best a chooser.” (16) The consumer is operating under the illusion of connectivity, but in fact he or she is separated from the processes of production. Granovetter also identifies a paradox of the global and local, in regards to network ties. He says, “Linkage of micro and macro levels…generates paradoxes: weak ties, often denounced as generative of alienation are here seen as indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and to their integration into communities; strong ties, breeding local cohesion, lead to overall fragmentation.” (1378) Granovetter is talking about networks generally, not specifically economic networks as Appadurai is, but both identify the possibility of alienation and fragmentation that result within global networks.. how can we interpret each of their claims in terms of the other’s?

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