On Globalisation and Diversity. Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope. Introduction. In an address at the 2005 International Conference on the Humanities, author Mary Kalantzis argues that globalization and diversity ground the world of our times.
Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope
Globalization and diversity are 2 of the grounding phenomena of our time.
One theory called neo-imperialism wants to suggest that globalization and diversity are at odds.
Three cases of this theory suggest that globalization is the enemy of diversity.
Economic- tracing the colonization by the commodity form of the last recesses of older materialslifeworlds.
Cultural- McDonalds being built on every corner, watching the news on TV as it is happening, and or technology
Political- i.e.. The US seems easily able to dominate others (showing freedom and democracy to those in need and using force when necessary)
It is incompatible with diversity.
Except in these superficial and trivialized forms:
Human beings are global creatures. Our first act was to fill every habitat and walk the ends of the earth.
We walked from the moment we became a species and did not stop until there was no where else to make a home.
The process was unprecedented for any species in natural history.
Then, we became different. With our poor communications compared with the wires of modernity and in relative isolation our languages and cultures drifted in their various directions.
Having globalized, we drifted into a state of separation and this created difference.
Kalantzis and Cope suggest something else happened during this time. They argue that the state of difference was more integral and more systematic. It was more deeply, intrinsically global than the fact of dispersal and the accident of separation.
The differences of the languages of the first globalization are more than accidental and more than the result of the evolutionary drift.
They are endemic to their modes of production of meaning and reproduction of material life that these systems of meaning support.
The people dealt with difference by being multilingual and developing interlanguages. What emerges is an integrated globalism with the dynamics of diversity or active processes for making and then negotiating symbolic differences.
The result was the emergence of a species that could make and remake its representations of the world and by remaking these meanings remake itself.
Divergence is done by people, and its effect over time is the making of a difference.
The people of this time had a fluidity and dynamism the depth and extent of which is hard to grasp today. The world was being renamed. Every person had an equal chance to have their voice be heard in the making and remaking of meanings.
One of its effects was the global spread of farming.
(independently in 5 different places over 6000 years)
Another effect was the emergence of writing.
(4 different places over several thousand years)
With these new material and symbolic modes came inequalities of a type never experienced in the first globalization.
A measure of the progress of the second globalization is the mass displacement of the languages of the first globalization.
Occurs on a global basis. It brings not just the sameness that is to be found within large language groups, “world religions” and civilisations”. The handful of domesticable plants and animals that spread like wildfire across the globe. The religions which even share common figures. The inventions that are swapped and copied.
Modernity arrives at the end of this second globalization and at first intensifies the processes of civilization.
The huge unbalancing in which the agency of the few habitually dominates the agency of the many.
i.e. Ideal wife and child subjected themselves to the discipline of the head of the household
The ideally cultured person sat appreciatively in the mass audiences of the mass media of modernity.
The predisposition towards sameness of the command society with its production by command, politics by command, and culture by command.
Of course we are not because modernity continues on, filled with all its predictable wonders and terrors.
There are some signs that modernity is beginning to do difference in ways that appear contrary to the underlying dynamics of the second globalization.
Changing modernity is starting to look a little more like the first globalization than the second.
Today’s state –
Around the world the creation of new states is throwing up an interesting phenomenon. Actions to secure regime change have not produced what the nationalist intentions in each place imagined. (Iraq and Afghanistan)
UN and US administration thought it would be fairly easy to replace evil powers with new, resilient states that would be democratic and in their own image.
Things did not turn out that way. Instead what has emerged is a civil society with two facets –
One- doctors, teachers, local government officials who just want to do their job, live their lives and basically govern themselves.
Two- ongoing violent resistance not just from local forces but thrown up by the grievances of a transnational (reaching beyond national boundaries) society.
Today the financial costs of even small scale adventures are crippling.
This is as much as anything because the US has shrunk its budget. (Cut taxes, programs from welfare to funding the US military)
This is why what has achieved on a global scale as recently as 50 years ago is difficult today.
In almost every country of the world the central state is getting smaller or it is under attack. Communities are filling in the gap by taking matters into their own hands.
The society or self regulating community is becoming more a significant part of action and decision.
One might even say to a point is a gradual withering away of the modern state.
The customer is always right and products and services need to be customized with the multiple opinions of markets. (SUVs, sports cars, individual orders)
Mass production is being replaced by mass customization.
In everyday family life-
Video games- be the characters
Radio – build own playlists
TV/Movies – read narratives of DVD in depth
Sports Telecasting- angles, replays, stats
No two video games are played the same way. No IPOD has the exact same playlist. No two digital television programs are watched in quite the same way.
We are in the midst of a transformation that is creating new forms of subjectivity and new kinds of personality.
Whatever the domain, there is a shift in the balance of power and in the moral economy of agency which favors egalitarianism and liberty.
The Nintendo generation will “walk up the wall” flip if the pedagogy does not engage every fiber of their being.
Discovery of existing agencies in the massively plural command society with its one-people, one-state nationalism, of the regime of mass production and mass consumption, and of the pretensions to cultural homogeneity of the mass media and mass culture.
English- forms (subcultures, peer cultures, fashion and fad and fetish, second language speakers, local and regional dialects) All of these are becoming less and less intelligible rather than more.
Returning to a deep logic of divergence and diversity not witnessed since we spoke the languages of the first globalization.
5000 years later after the beginning of the transition from the first to the second globalization.
The next globalization may not be at odds with diversity to the same extent the second one was.
Diversity may be intrinsic to it.
Partial return to multilingualism, divergence, and deep diversity.
Shift back to balance in the political economy of agency.
Do you hear the echo of the first globalization?
It could never simply be a return. The future will be incomparably different to any of our pasts.
Cope, Bill, & Kalantzis, Mary. (2006). On globalisation and diversity. Elsevier Inc.