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Nicole McCauley

February 22, 2015

Research Brief

Keeping It Glocal
Define the Boundaries
The concept of globalization is currently reaching the masses on a phenomenal level. It
is a part of most societys everyday lives and it requires a balancing act. Hidden behind the
negative aspects or effects of globalization, such as crude misrepresentations of cultures (despite
surface efforts), a dominance of Western-European postcolonial ideals, and technological or
environmental waste, there lies an ocean of positivity and possibility. The technologically driven
shift in the evolution of globalization in recent years has created a complex virtual network of
people from every facet of life; a global community (Appadurai, 2000; Brown, 2004; Carroll,
2007; Hallam & Street, 2000) . It seems that this is what we have been working towards as a
species, becoming connected to one another and transforming singularities into mass
The beauties and dangers of globalization are vast and require deeper investigation to
truly find the possibilities or impossibilities that may lie within. For some cultures, such as the
Bush Negro People of Suriname or the Secoya people of Ecuadors Amazon region, the onset of
globalization yielded negative effects on their way of life, their environment, and their cultural
beliefs and practices. However, it is the same globalization that opened the positive flow of
attention and understanding that resulted in a positive reconstruction and redefinition of their

cultural values, perhaps making them individually stronger in the days of looming
homogenization (Jiesamfoek, 2009; Bode, 2009; Carroll, 2007; )
Find a Middle-Ground
There is no reason to lose ones individuality, to fear becoming part of a mass-unified
global culture (homogenization), or to feel completely alone in the world because somewhere inbetween the local and the global lies a beautiful compromise; a way to be connected to the
people of the world, while expressing and embracing a personal and cultural identity (Robertson,
2012). Glocalization is a term that was first introduced in Japanese business methods during the
1980s, was popularized as a marketing strategy, and was later defined as the heterogeneous
counterpart to a homogenizing globalization structure. Robertson (2012), a cultural sociologist
and theorist, maintains that although globalization can be viewed as a large-scale attack on the
individuality and sanctity of cultures, it is not its only function.
There are always at least two sides to a situation and it is important to investigate every
aspect and possibility that lies within even the seemingly negative. For example, without
globalization, Jiesamfoek (2009) would not have investigated the journey of the Bush Negro
communities in Suriname and shared the ability of a culture to maintain and strengthen their
identity amidst a trend toward urbanization, media influences, and eco-tourism (p. 27).
Similarily, without communicative advances within the channels of globalization, David Poritz
would not have been introduced to or investigated the Secoya people of Ecuador and begun his
ongoing efforts to bring clean water to people all over the world (Bode, 2009).
Learn About Yourself
After reading about Poritz and his passion for counteracting the negative effects of
globalization, specifically the power and impact of gas companies on indigenous cultures, I

began to see the positive aspect of globalization as a connector; as a way for us to help one
another in the best way we can. My way to connect and help is through teaching and creating
art. Learning about my own passions for the environment, humanity, art, and the relationships
that bind them has allowed me to find a way to express my connections to myself, nature, and the
people of the world.
While my first and foremost passion lies within using art to find commonalities between
people and promoting environmental and cultural sustainability, I have more recently taken a
step back to examine myself more closely, to fully explore my identity, to understand why I am
passionate about those things in the first place. I began this journey by investigating my family
heritage, which resulted in an artwork entitled Family Mark, comprised of two generations of
family photos situated within a footprint shape against a backdrop of the continents of my family
history. This inspired me to view my family members as individuals in a completely different
light, and as a result, caused me to look at myself in a different light.
The second artwork that I completed recently, as a continuation of defining my own
globalization, is entitled My Glocal Print, and is comprised of a copy of my thumbprint made up
of the words, love and educate, in 30 different languages. It is an answer to my own questions of
glocality, of how to address individuality in a world that is connected by the basics of humanity.
As an art teacher, I believe it is my professional and philosophical duty to understand and
embrace the connectedness that runs through the multitude of cultures that coexist in a complex
world of visual and verbal communication, and to share that connection with my students.
Join the Collective
I have accepted my role as a progressive art educator, one that evolves with the times,
while balancing the knowledge of the past, and one that promotes self-discovery, creative

thinking, and meaningful participation in life. Among the most important connections I have
made lies in my relationships; with nature, education and art professionals, the community, and
myself. I have truly begun to understand where my passions come from and how I can be an
active member of both a local and global society. One of the major benefits of globalization and
the spread of technology is the ability to connect to peers, educators, professionals,
organizations, and classrooms in a growing number of diverse areas throughout the world.
Gudes ideas are based on a democratic principle that what we do as individuals can
impact the world around us through self-awareness, collaboration, and communication. Gude
(2009) explains that through art education students recognize strategies for making meaning
[and] contemplate and collect ways of understanding, seeing, being in the world (p. 9). I think
these principles need to be practiced by educators to guide their interactions with the world as
well. If it is crucial for our students to be prepared to fully participate in and benefit from life, it
is even more crucial that we, as educators, demonstrate and practice that participation. A simple
way to do that, if one is able, is through the regular use of research, technology, self-reflection,
and the practice of creating.
Appadurai, A. (2000). Grassroots globalization and the research imagination. Public Culture
12(1), pp. 1-21.
Bode, P. (2009). The circulatory system of oil contamination, visual culture, and Amazon
indigenous life. In E. M. Delacruz, A. Arnold, M. Parsons, and A. Kuo, (Eds.),
Globalization, art, and education (pp. 269-277). Reston, VA: National Art Education
Brown, M. F. (2004). Heritage as property. In Verdery, Katherine & Humphrey, Caroline

(Eds.) Property In Question: Value Transformation in the Global Economy, Oxford: Berg
Publishers, pp. 49-68.
Carroll, N. (2007). Art and globalization: Then and now. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art
Criticism, 65(1), Special Issue: Global Theories of the Arts and Aesthetics, pp. 131-143.
Gude, O. (2009). Art education for democratic life [NAEA Lowenfeld Lecture]. Retrieved
from http://www.arteducators.org/research/2009_LowernfeldLecture_OliviaGude.pdf
Hallam, E. & Street, B. (2000). Introduction. In E. Hallam and B. Street (Eds.)
Cultural Encounters: Representing Otherness, London: Routledge, pp. 1-11.
Jiesamfoek, H. (2009). Effects of globalization on the arts practices of the Bush Negro people
of Suriname. In E. M. Delacruz, A. Arnold, M. Parsons, and A. Kuo, (Eds.),
Globalization, art, and education (pp. 27-34). Reston, VA: National Art Education
Robertson, R. (2012). Globalisation or glocalisation? The Journal of International
Communication 18(2), pp. 191-208.