Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Globalization and Marginalia

In response to a post in blogcritics on a couple of items that are sublime and ridiculous, a variety of comments were adduced. Somewhere along the way, I made the point that
Is globalization a crunching of global marginalization? What, then, of marginalia - that essential element of criticism?

Another blogcritic, Sandra, asked,
do you mean global marginalization is the same as marginalization and the term global needn't be there?. What about marginalia? Clearly, I am still confused:)

To clarify, I explained,
Global marginalization is not the same as marginalization, although the marginalized might disagree. Global marginalization, IMHO, refers to the overriding of local cultures with other dominant cultures. It would be facile to consider this as referring to Americanization, but Americanization is only the latest of the many waves of globalization. Possibly one of the most effective was the Muslim expansion of the medieaval ages - the effects are still evident in as far flung places as Spain, Indonesia and Africa. In fact, I recommend V S Naipaul's books "Among the Believers" and "Beyond Belief" as excellent demonstrations of global marginalization. Americanization does much the same with it's emphasis on a homogenous response to social situations.
Case in point: South Indian communities who practise Arab (desert) customs in conjuction with their own local customs, rituals and so on, are strong participants and identify with the Islamic movement, yet are marginalized within the movement itself, mostly because of poor education and lack of self-expression.

Which brings one to marginalia as a form of self-expression. Marginalia, besides being an excellent book of poems by Billy Collins, is the form of annotations on documents, books, medieaval manuscripts and blog posts. Perhaps the marginalized will have to resort to marginalia as a form of self-expression, even in Putin's Russia.

I truly believe that modern globalization must be an inclusive effort, else it will fall the way of all such past efforts, and be relegated to a niche phenomenon that will linger, in various mutated forms, for a long time to come.

Very resilient societies can transform and localize the forces of globalization, and perhaps that is what is needed - a survival of the fittest of global societies, for not all societies are vibrant and capable of standing up global change.


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