Book Report on Anthropology of Globalization by Lewellen

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It was a long, difficult reading of a technical-term-loaded text, but immensely enjoyed! So much more to be said, but I stop here. I look forward to your lively, insightful interactions and discussions.

Major Learnings

Chapters 1-2

o Contemporary globalization is an on-going process of not just economic flows, but also cultural flows—the increasing flow of trade, finance, culture, ideas, and people brought about by the technology of communication and travel and by the worldwide spread of neoliberal capitalism… (7).

o Globalization is a reality, as well as regionalization and localization. Neoliberal capitalism has a global dominance; regionalism, localization, and globalization form a single, unified system (11).

o Today’s globalization was inherent in the birth of capitalism (11).

o Neoliberalism required two changes: the end of superpwer rivarly and the acceptance of neoliberalism by the third world (15).

o Neoliberalism, the idea that trade should be unfettered by government regulation, is crucial to the current definition of globalization (17).

o Negative effects of neoliberalism favors the rich, undercuts domestic production prices, causes unemployment, forces to ultilize child and female labor, disrupts families, disempowers peasants, and encourages environmental despoliation (19).

o Neoliberalism never has the same effect due to the fact that it is always laid over preexisting structures, histories, and cultures (19).

o Why Anthropology for the study of globalization: “There is no such thing as a passive response to globalization. People protest, adapt, invent, accommodate, assimilate, make alliances, whatever. Specific responses will be constrained—not determined—by the global system, but only in conjunction with local history, culture, the physical and social enviroment, leadership, and individual decision making. This is why anthropology is so important to the study of globalization… To understand globalization, we must study it at the level of real people who imagine new lives, make plans, travel, form networks, assume identities, and socialize their children” (26).

o No predictions about the future will be ever possible with all the changes—technological, cultural, political, economical—happening faster than ever before (27).

Chapters 3-4

o Globalization is not a top-down analysis… should be looked at from local perspective too (32).

o Globalization is more than a theory. It merely means a set of data about market forces, transnational flows of people, distribution of foreign aid, commodity chains, and so forth (33)

o Culture is a key component in globalization (33).

o The subjects of globalized Anthropology (33-36)

· Anthropology of development

Negative ethnography: study how development tends to destroy indigenous cultures, disrupt communities and marginalize individuals.

1) Industralization, modern communication, and growth of GNP

2) Applied Anthropology: Work with development agencies to induce planned change at the community level

· Identity

“Who is Alma?” is at the heart of the study of globalization

· Migration

Global labor market have brought about a routinization of transnational migration. Sometimes, migration looks like communting. This makes cultural study more difficult.

· Global-local

The concept of local has become ambiguous. Global/local predictions are difficult

o Lewellen’s globalization is pragmatic postmodernism, which he calls, “a blending of four different trends: interpretive anthropology, critical anthropology, poststructuralism, and postmodernism proper (37).

o Postmodernist globalization challenges the traditional concepts of culture: culture not as something that differentiated one group from another, an identification of otherness, but rather, due to the plasticity of the boundaries between the cultures, as a mosaic of plastic tiles that are melting in the sun, becoming fluid, running...
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