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économiques très poussées su r le p lan de la gestion Ces contrô les sont effectués par des organismes de
forestière. certification indépendants.
• -
Les 10 principes et critères du FSC 6. Les fonctions écologiques et la diversité biologique de la
forêt doivent être protégées.
1. L'aménagement forestier doit respec ter les lois nationales, 7. Un plan d'aménagement doit être écrit et mis en œuvre.
les traités internationaux et les principes et critères du FSC. Il doit clairement indiquer les objectifs poursuivis et les
2. La sécurité foncière et les droits d'usage à long terme sur moyens d'y parvenir.
les terres et les ressources forestières doivent être claire- 8. Un suivi doit être effectué afin d'évaluer les impacts de la
ment définis, documentés et légalement établis. gestion forestière.
3. Les droits légaux et coutumiers des peuples indigènes à la 9. Les forêts à haute valeur pour la conservation doivent être
propriété, à l'usage et à la gestion de leurs territoires et de maintenues (par ex : les forêts dont la richesse biologique
leurs ressources doivent être reconnus et respectés. est exceptionnelle ou qui présentent un intérêt culturel ou
4. La gestion forestière doit maintenir ou améliorer le bien- religieux important). La gestion de ces forêts doit toujou rs
être social et économique à long terme des travailleurs fo- être fondée sur un principe de précaution.
restiers et des communautés locales. 10.Les plantations doivent compléter les forêts naturelles,
5. La gestion forestière doit encourager l'utilisation efficace mais ne peuvent pas les remplacer. Elles doivent rédui re
i des mult iples produits et services de la forêt pour en ga- la pression exercée sur les forêts naturelles et promouvoir
rantir la viabilité économique ainsi qu'une large variété de leur restauration et leur conservation. Les principes de 1 à
prestations environnementales et sociales. 9 s'appliquent également aux plantations.
:-- . = - .-
h
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® Le label FSC apposé sur des produits


en papier ou en bois apporte la garan-
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FSC.
FSC • FSC A.C. FSC·SECR-0045

FSC, le label du bois et du papier responsable

Plus d'informations ?
www.fsc. be
A la recherche de produits FSC ?
www.jecherchedufsc. be
Texte n° 1 .
Cooper, P, « Le concept de mondialisation sert-il à quelque chose?», in Critique internationale nOJO -
janvier 2001, pp. 101-124.

Texte nO 2
Wallerstein, E., « Le système-monde moderne comme économie-monde capitaliste. Production, plu-value
et polarisation » in Wallerstein, Comprendre le monde. Introduction à l'analyse des systèmes-mondes, La
Découverte, Paris, 2006, pp. 43-69.

Texten03
Amselle, J-L., « Globalisation and the futu re of an thropology », in African affairs, nO101,2002.

Texte n04
Castells, M., « Prologue », in Catells, M., The information age: &onomy, society and culture voU : the
rise of the network society. Wiley - Blackwell, Oxford, 2010, pp. 1-27.

Texte nOS
Casteil s, M., « The social theory of space and the theory of tbe space of fl ows», in Catelles, M., The
information age: Economy, society and culture voU : the rise of the network society. Wiley - Blackwell,
Oxford, 2010, pp. 440-459.

Ritzer, G., Rethinking Globalization: Glocalization 1 Grobalization and Sometbing / Nothing, Sociological
Theory, vol 21 (3), 2003, pp 193-209.

Texte nO7
Hannerz, U., ({ The Global Ecumene », in Hannerz, U., Cultural complexity, 1992, Comlubia University
Press, New-York, 1992, pp. 217-267.

Texte nO8
Appadural, A., « Disjonction et différence dans l'économie culturelle globale », in Appaduraï, A., Après le
colonialisme. Les conséquences culturelles de la globalisa/ion, Payot, 2001, Paris, pp. 61-87.

Texte nO 9
Wacquant, L. La fabrique de l'Etat néolibéral « Workfare », « Prisonfare» et insécurité sociale, lN
Civilisations, Revue internationale d'anthropologie et de sciences bumaines, 59-1, 2010, pp. 151-174.

Texte nO 10
Ong, A., « Neoliberalism as Exception, Exception to Neoliberalism », in Ong, A., Neolibera/ism as
Exception, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 1-27.

Texte nO Il
Hi1gers, M., « Les trois approches anthropologiques du néolibéralisme », in International Journal of Social
Science (forthcoming)

Texte nO 12
Hilgers, M. "Autochtony as capital in a Global age", in Theory, Culture and Society. vol2S (1),2011.

Annexe
Aglietta, M., La g1obalisation financière, in L'économie mondiale, Ed. La Paris, pp. 52-67.
D'ailleurs

Le conce t e
mon ia isation sert-i
"'

a ue ue c ose?
Un point de vue d'historien

par Frederick Cooper


1 Ya deux problèmes avec le concept de « mondialisation» :
« mondial » et« isation ». La première moitié du terme implique qu'un système
ullique de connexions - où se reo'ouvent notamment le marché des capitaux et des
biens, les flux d'information, les images mentales - pénètre le monde entier; la
seconde, qu'il le fait mOÎnre11l!flt, que nous sommes 11 l'ère du « global ». Or s'il y
a des gens - à commencer par [es partisans d'un marché totalement libre des capi-
taux -'pour revendiquer que le monde leur soit ouvert, rien ne (lit qu'ils ont eu gain
de cause. Nombre de <:eux qui déplorent la tyrannie des marchés, parce qu'ils y voient
soit la cause du déclin de l'État-nation, soit celle de la montée des particl.ùarismes
en réaction à l'homogénéisation cl.ùrurel!e, donnent à l'esbroufe des « glob'l-
liseurs» un peu trop de crédibilité.
Derrière la vogue de la « mondialisation », il y a l'ambition de comprendre
j'interconnexion encre différentes parties du monde, d'expliquer les mécanismes
nouveaux qui président aux mouvement des capit:mx, des hommes et des cultures,

Cours-librairie. av. P. Héger 42. B-l000 Bruxelles SOCA-D-468 Z/2


-
avoir démoli uu restaurant McDonald a fuit de la mondialisation (pIns on moins
assimilée 11 l'américanisation) une menace immédiate pour la cul ture et le mode de
vie français. Les dÎligeants socialistes y voient plutôt un processus à réguler et à
contrôler. Enfin certains chercheurs pensent qu'il y a là un concept utile pour
l'analyse du monde contemporain l .
il faut savoir si l'on étudie la mondialisation comme discou1"J, c'est-à-dire affir-
mation portée sur le monde, ou bien comme processus, ensemble de changements
ayant des effets réels sur la population de la planète. La difficulté est que nombre
de ceux qui développent le discours font reposer l'essentiel de leur arglill1emation
(nOImative) sur le postulat que la mondialisation est: réelle, inévitable, en marche.
Les chercheurs qui l'utilisent de manière analytique risquent d' être pris au piège
des struCUlTes discmsives mêmes qu'ils voudraient analyser.
Surtout, la popularité du terme au sein de l'université en dit long sur la pauvreté
de la science sociale conte.mporaine confrontée à des processus certes gigantesques,
mais non universels, et il la réalité de liaisons certes O">lllsfrontalières et u·ans-
culturelles, mais fondées sur des mécanismes spécifiques à des espaces bornés.
Que l'on se contente d'opposer le global au local- rut-ce pour étudier comment
ils se constJ.l.ùsent l'un l'autre - souligne bien l'inadéquation des outils actuels à l'ana-
lyse de tout le reste.

Comment le monde parle de mondialisation

Un premier discours sur la mondialisation pourrait s'appeler« la FanrJronnade du


banquier >'. Avec j'effondrement de ['Union soviétique et Je passage de fait de la
Chine 11 l'économie de marché, les investissements
,
som censés pouvoir aller n'im-
porte où. La pression exercée par les Etats-Unis, Je FMI et les sociétés IDlùtina-
tionales fait tomber les barrières nationales qui gênaient les mouvements de capi-
taux. Cette façon de voir est UI1 arguOlent en fuveur d'un régime nouveau de règles
mondiales, qui déferait ce qui reste d'entraves aux flux de capitau.'C et de biens. C'est
aussi un argument sur la discipline: le marché mondi~J, conçu comme un réseau
de trallsactions, oblige désormais les gouvernements à se conformer à ~es diktats.

l. L:ext __ nslon du pouvojr imrtri~1 ct ses limiradons, :unsi que l'innuence ct J'inrohérence des id~ologies coloniales, sont
soulignées par Arut StoJe:r ct Freduk:k Cooper, "" B<tween llle:nopole and coIony : Rethinkiug a rese-"rch :tgend2 », dam
Cooper el Stoler (cds.), u",;'n,.! &.pirr . C.b",i,1 Cul,,,rtI in. 80,"8""' W.,fJ. Ber~e1ey, University of C3Jifonù. P,ess,
1997, pp. 1·56.
2. VOIr. Procès Bavé : b fête de l'anrimvndi..2;lis:ation », iL Momlt, 30 jow 2000 ; Gouverner les forces qo.i $Ont à
0( "œuvre
d2flS b mondiali~cioD "', Lt MonJ(,Z7 juin 2000. Pour l'lI.SQge du conçcpt par les \tnivcrsitaires, YOir (-Tt:mckv (Groupem.enl
~·.conomie mondiale, Tiers monde.. Développement), h[otUJÜ,mntlotl " ks ,,11)11 fi 10 (OOsU, Puis., IUnlu\la, 1999. Vou aussi
Ser~e Cordellier (dir.), ut 1H(mdilllisntion nu-titM tlN1IIytbeJ, Pô\ris, La D~couvmoe, 1000 (lm éd. t997),Jew-PicM"c jo·,lUgtl'e.
Goy Caire et Bert'l'jnd Bellon (dir.), COmJergctô' fI tlivn'Jitl il rlNurr tir lA mtmtiillliSAfÎoll, p;aris, l!.c;onom1C:'iI, 19Q7 et Phlhppe:
Ounl:p1e t1 ,1., LA n""wlk pqlmqttc kMIII/Iif/lle; l'ltt", filet 4 blll,.ndùr/umion, Paris, PUF, 1997.

PUB Cours-Librairie, av. P. Héger 42, B-10oo Bruxelles SOCA-D-468- Z/4


Cette « mondialisation
,
» est sans cesse invoquée pour inciter les pays riches à
faire reculer l'Etat-providence, et les p~ys pauvres à réduire les dépenses sociales,
le tout au nom des nécessités de la compétition dans une économie mondialisée 3.
Ensuite vient« la Lamentation social-démocrate » . Elle accepte la réalité de la
mondialisation telle que les banquiers la voient, mais n'y discerne nul bénéfice pour
le genre humain, bien au contraire. La gauche social-démocrate consacrait une bonne
part de son énergie fi adoucir la blUtaJ.ité du capitalisme par l'intervention du poli-
,
tique. Les mouvements sociaux s'adressaient à l'Etat-nation conune base ÎllStitu-
,
ùonnelle de la mise en œuvre des droits sociaux et politiques. Alors que l'Etat-n~tion
puissant reflétait la pl~ce croissante de la classe ouvr.ière organisée à j'intérieur du
corps politique, la mondialisation sapeJ'ait le projet social en margÎllalisam le pro-
jet politique. On lit donc dans certains écrits que ln mondialisation doit être com-
batme; dans d'autres, elle ,a déjà 11'iomphé et l'on n'y peut pas grand-chose, sauf
déplorer l'effucement de l'Etat-nation, des mouvements syndicaux nationaux et du
pouvoir des citoyens4•
Enfin vient« la Danse des fJu.x et des fragments ». Cette vision-là reprend une
grande partie des deux auttes (réalité de la mondialisation présente et son effet désta-

bilisateur sur les sociétés nationales), mais fait un pas de plus: plutôt que d'homo-
généiser le monde, b mondialisation reconfigurerait le local, mais en tous lieux.
IJexposition de chacun aux médias (aux vêtements, à la musique, aux mirages de
la belle vie) est extrêmement fragmentée, des morceau." d'images sont arrachés 11
leur contexte, et leur origine lointaÎlle ne les rend que plus attractifs. I.:irnagerie
hollywoodielme influence des habitants de la brousse afiicaine ; l'exotisme tropi-
cal se vend Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Cette déconnexion du synlbolisme culturel
vis-à-vis de la localisation spatiale fait que les gens, paradoxalement, prennent
conscience de leurs particularités culturelles et les valorisent. D'où, par exemple,
l'attachement sentimental des migrants 11 leur lieu d'origÎlle : ils n'y vivent pas, mais
soutiennent, financièrement ou autrement, les mouvements identitaires. Comme
les flux de capitaux, de personnes, d'idées et de synlboles ont des parcours sépa-
rés, la Danse des fragments se produit dans un espace globalisé, sans limites 5•
il y a quelque chose de juste dans chacune de ces conceptions. Ce qui est contes-
table, c'est leur prétention à tout embrasser d'une formule et le fait qu'elles voient
dans le phénomène en question Ime caractéristique du seul temps présent. La rela-
tion entre territoire et connectivité a été plusieurs fois reconfigurée, et chacune de
ces reconfigurations mérite une attention particulière6. Les changements qu'ont
apportés ces dernières décennies dans les marchés des capitaux, les sociétés multi-
nationales et les communications doivent être analysés avec soin, mais il ne faut pas
oublier pour autant à quelle échelle se prenaient, au XVIe siècle, les décisions d'in- •

vestissement et de production de la Compagnie hollandaise des Indes, reliant les Pays-


Bas, l'Indonésie ed'Afrique du Sud et se connectant à des réseaux commerciaux e.n

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pleine expansion dans t.ome l'Asie du Sud-Est. La thèse selon laquelle le p~ssé
récent a apporté des changements non seulement quantitatifs, mais qualitalifs, de
l'organiSlltion financière est conv:lincante ; qu'il ait apporté la mondialisation ou
l'internationalisation du commerce des biens est beaucoup moins sûr. La grande
période d'expansion du commerce trdnsfrontalier, ce sont les décennies qui Ont
précédé la Première Guerre mondiale. Les chiffres mesurant 1'« ouverture» au com-
merce et à l'investissement montrent une chute des mouvenlents interuationsllx ii
partir de 1913 ; les niveaux antérieurs 11 cette date ne seront retrouvés que d'lns les
années qua tre-villgt-dix. TI ne s'agit pas de minimiser les changements récents mais
d'apprécier la profondeur des dimensions o-ansconnnentales de la production, cie
l'investissement et des échanges au COUts de ces siècles, la variété des formes d'orga-
nisation, le caractère non linéaire des o·ajectoires. Autrement dit, l'avenir peur
réserver des retours en arrière aussi bien que la poursuite des tendances en cours7.
Les mO\ll'ements de personnes, conune ceux des capit3U,X, révèlent l'absence
d'homogénéité des cOlmexions transfrontalières, et non lute intégt-a tion en pro-
gression régulière. Le point culminant de la migration cie la main-d'œuvre a été
le siècle qui a suivi 1815, Aujourd'hui, loin de voir s'ouvIir devant eux un monde
sans frontières, les candidats à la migration ne peuvent que constater la grande

3. Cest œrre version de.!: 1:1 mondiilisation qu'on lit tons les jOll~ dnns le joum!ll, ct on ta rctnJUve bièTl viv:lCt: d:ms le Ih're du
oorrespond:lfit du Nm lork 7imti Thomes Fliedmln, Tb, u,,'11S (1tf,' tilt Olux Tm) Nt.'w YorL.; Ferrar, Str.nt.<; & Girou:c, 1Q99.
Tooœfois, l'hehekITnad.Ure trk r:worable aa monde des affllires Th! EnJl10misr est plu...;; SttpUl}Llt, ctl" il trouve que ('écOilomie
n'est J»Sassez mondW.isée. Panni les éc'onomistes du clmmp Wliversiœite,les ::w'Oc.usde 1:. mourualtsnûolI oompœm Paul Kl\lgm.\n.
Pop ltllt.nUrNOIltl/üm, Cambridge (A1w.), The MIT PI"CS$, 1996 et Kc:nichi Obm"e, Tin' Bwr!mns U'o,Jd: POUIt.,. lm'; Stn!tegr in
th< Inrcfi>lk-d Ufnfd &momy, New Yori<,, H''1'''r, 1990.
4. 5ns:m Smmge exagère le déclin des Et2ts mais propose une benne anlllyse des« autorités non énniques u. 1We tro\WC le
motglQ/.w/iutiDn dévspérémentvague. S:L~i2 S;lssen mite le tenne comme un :agent ca\lSôll (<fi: La momh;llistltion;'l TrAnS-
formé la signjfiClltion de ... »). Mais une grande p:trtie de ses tr.l\>:lUX consiste en discussiuns utiles el pénétr:tntes sur l'enrre-
croisement, cmns les villes. de 1.:1 migration tranSnat10D'Ote er des mOttv(Jnents 6n;'lJlciers, ainsi que des problèmes de régu-
ladon des activi~ éCOflomiqnes interétotiques. Elle an.ssi insiste sur le poids décroissnm des Ét:1ts. Sm":'ln Stl':mge, Tbr
HttnPI of thr Sltfte., Cambrjd~ Cambridge University Pres.t, 1996, et S:lskia Sassen. Globdlh.lJt;c)1J Hlul itf Diml11cmtJ, New

York, New Press, 1998. Pour d'~mtres versiOns du déclin de l'Etat, voir D~vid Held, DrU/ON'lIt)' 111/11 tJ)r Glo/llIl (hrlrr,
C3mbridge. Polit")' Pr~ss, 1995, Scan Lash tt,John Urry. B'Of101I11o'oISigm ,,"ri Spitct, Londres, S~ge, 1994 et Bt'ltl~nd B.ulie,
Vu momie. 1nru Rf1(Vf:rrdurti : lu I1nrs mtri nltt rt 1'rSf'01lillbiliti. 1?ari~, F:tyolrd, 1999.
5. Arjun Appodurai, Jt.1ot1rrnity lIt Lorge: Clllum" Dm1l11JÙmS o!Globllff.i.lition. Minnl!::lpohs, University of Minnesot,\ Press,
J996. Ce qui est frappant d:a.ns ce livre, pour un historien, c'est qUè 1':mtc1.ll' :'\ffirrne quïl y;1 là quelque chose de nou\'~u
sans faire le m()indre etlon pour e.~uniner le p:!ssé, el qu'il préfère inventer un nom'ean ~OClbuJnare (etb'/OJ(nprl, etc. ) pft\lr
c:antcté~r d~s phblontèncs se d':ploy'ilnt ~ "édlelle mondi:alf': plutôt que de prendrt ln p:inc de dl:cl1~ Ics mf!t.:Zlnb"ll\t!O p:.J.T
lesquels s'effectuent les connUions.
6. ~rttins obseN9reurs décrivent l'~re :lcmelle romrue une ~poque d'« annihilation de )'espoc.."t: (nI" le temps ..... C'est CVI -
demmeDt Wle id& du XLXc siècle (ch~ M3l'x) et I~ CUOlPJ'eSSion C$p:1ce-~mps '.l déjà ool\OU plus;eurs moments, DAvid Harvey.
Tb, O,..(;,,,ms of p.,tJlloJern;ty, C:.mbridgc. BI.chveli. 1989.
7. ûs pomts sont rdev6 dans une litté.l':tture t.n plein développement uù s'exprime un scepcidsll1e VU-2-VlS de la nouve.1mi
et de l'étendue de la glob:tlis.trion ». P~r e!emple P~ul HlTst et Grnh"me ThompsoII, Glohtlliutn'on m QllmlW1, Cambridgt'.
0(

Polity, 1996 r:r plusio= .rtides d.ns KeVIn R. Cor, S/!""" o[C'.ldxJlizmN", . lW=t'illl( tb, P...~rofth< w/, New York. Grillonl
Press, 19'17.

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106 - Critique In tem atlonale nOl0 . janvier 2001

,
capacité des Etats à s'y opposer. La France, p~r exemple, s'est très brutalementfer-
mée en 1974, alors que, dans le monde prétendument moins globalisé des années
cinquante, les Africains des colonies françaises pouvaient entrer librement en
France, où ils étaient d'ailleurs fort demandés par les employeurs. En dehors du
regroupement familial, l'immigration de travailleurs en France est devenue rési-
duelle. Elle se poursuit clandestinement,
,
mais le migrant clandestin ne p'lrtage cer-
tainement pas l'iUusion que les Etats et les institutions ont moins de poids que les
« flux » . La migration illégale (et légale) s'appuie sur des réseaux qui vont cher-
cher de la main-d'oeuvre ici etpas là. D'autres mouvements de population suivent
aussi des voies très particulières. Les déplacements de Chinois de la diaspora en
Asie du Sud-Est et au-delà se fondent sur des str~tégies sociales et culturelles qui
permettent allX hommes d'affain:s et aux travailleurs migrants de s'aj1lSter am dif-
férentes souverainetés tout en maintenant des liens entre eux. Comme le remarque
Aihwa Ong, ,
de tels mouvements ne reflètent pas, ni n'entraînent, un déclin du pou-
voir des Etats concernés; ceux-ci trouvent toujours de nouveaux moyens d'exer-
cer le pouvoir SUl' les gens et les biens 8 . Pour mieux comprendre ces mécanismes
institutionnels, la métaphore du, « mondial» n'est, pas un bon point de départ.
La nouvelle Je la mort de l'Etat-nation ,
et de l'Etat-providence est très exagé-
rée. Les ressources contrôlées par ,
les Etats n'ont jamais été aussi élevées. Dans les
pays de l'OCDE, en 1965, les Etats prélevaient (et dépensaient) un peu moins de
25 % du pm. Ce talL'< n'a cessé de croltre, pour atteindre 37 % au milieu de la décen-
nie quatre-vingt-dix, supposée «mondialisée ,,'J. Les dépenses de sécurité soci~le
restent très élevées en France et en Allemagne, où les projets de réduction les
plus modestes se beurtent à une opposition farouche des syndicats et des partis
sociaux-démocrates, et Ol! les conservateurs traitent eUl[ aussi l'édifice dans son
ensemble comme un donné intangible. La raison en contredit tant la Fanfaronnade
du banquier que la Lamentation social-démocrate, comme on l'a par exemple
relevé par comparaison avec le Brésil: la France ,
comme le Brésil se heurte à la
concurrence internationale, mais en France l'Etat-providence peut être défendu
à l'intérieur du système politique, alors qu'au Brésilla« mondialisation,. est le maître
mot du démantèlement des services publics et du refus de 12 solution évidente: impo-
ser les riches. Dans les pays les plus développés d'Amérique latine, les impôts, en
pourcentage du PIB, n'atteignent pas la moitié des niveaux ouest-européens IO • D
existe des alternatives il la réduction des services sociaux au nom de la mondiali-
sation, que l'État brésilien a préféré ne pas choisir.
Inversement, il ne faut pas s'imaginer que, par le pass~, 1'Él2t-nation • COMU
nne période de prédominance incontestée et a constitué la référence évidente de
la mobilisation politique. Pour revenir alU mOlivemenlS anti-eJcl ...agista da
XVIII. et XIX· siècles, il s'est agi de mouvements o-anmationalU, doot J'Imi"
conceptuelle poUV2Ït êtte oc l'Empire ,., « la civilisation », voire l'bumai'' !DUt

PUB Cours-librairie. IN. P liéger 42. 8-1000 Bruxelles


entièr~ . Les irnaginoires diasporiques remontent aussi très loin dans le temps:
voir l'impomnce des conceptions déterritorialisées de « l'Afrique» chez les Afro-
américains il partir des années 183 0. Les arguments qui s'opposent à c~ux de la mon-
dialisation lie doivent pas devenir une tenta tive de fourrer 11 toute fo rce l'histoire
dans des cadres nationaux ou continentaux : elle n'y entrera pas. La question est
de savoir si ['on peut tromrer mieu.x que ce concept pom comprendre le change-
ment de signification des liaisons spatiales.
Le diSCOllIS le plus commun sur la lDonclialisation prend son inspiration dans
la chute du mur de Berlin, qui donna à penser, à tort ou 11 raisoll, que les barrières
aux relations économiques transnationales étaient en tTain de tomber. Pour les
« pro » comme pom les « anti » , le cadre idéologique de la mondialisation est le
libéralisme. Son imaginaire est cclui du World "Wide Web, cette idée d'une connec-
tivi té réticulée de tout site 11 tout autre site, comme modèle de toutes les fonnes
de communication mondiale. Les acteurs politiques et les chercheurs divergent sur
«ses » effets: diffusioJl des bénéfices de h croissance contTe coneeon'ation accrue
de richesse, hOJuogénéisation des cultures contre diversification. Mais si le mot signi-
fie quelque chose, c'est une intégration r.roissame, et à l'échelle mondiale. Même
la différenci~tion, affirme le « globoliseur », doit être désormais considérée sous
un autre jour, C,lr l'importance accordée aujourd'hui aux spécificités culmrelJes et
11 l'identité etl:U1ique n'a pas le même fondement qu'hier: il ne s'agit plus d'isolats,
mais d'U1ütés juxtaposées.
I:intérêt actuellement porté au concept dc mondialisation rappelle un engoue-
ment assez analogue des années cinquante et soixante: la modernisatioo ll . Ce
SOnt deux« isations », c'est-Il-dire des termes quj parlent de processus, pas néces-
sairement achevés mais en marc-he Ct plus ou moins inéltlcta bles ; et qui définis-
sent ce processus par SOll point d'arrivée supposé. L'un et l'autre som inspirés par
nne observation indéniable, celle d'l1ll changement rapide et omniprésent. Le
pouvoir évocateur de l'lm ct de 1'aulIe vient du sentiment que ce changement
n'est pas III sonUl'l(~ de fragments disparates mais qu'il est fait du IJ10llvemcnt de tous
ces fragments dans unc même direction. La thèse cenu'ale de la théorie de la
mod(;rnis~tion él.:lil Clue d~'S élé.r1l(:nL~ essentiels de la société évoluaient dans le même
sens, procll1isant un mouvcment de la sociéLé traditioIUlCl1e à la société moderne:
de l'.lctlvité cie subsist:lncc ~ l'économie indusn iel1e, de la prédominance du I"Ur~1
11 celle dc l'lIrb~in, de la f~lfIilll! rIal gie il la famille nucléaire, de l'ascriptif à

8, Aihw .. Onrr. f/rnf./r Cm ..""tlup TM C,lltt,J/tIIJlJ{',t oFtltWfII"';WI"ltry.l)whJJ1I, Dulet 1IIÜVf!Ulty l'r~. 19CW
1) , .. A SIUVc.'}' Il ((loh)li-•.lliun "Ild cu.,., nr' /:'..0114",,111', !9 }IlIIV1Cf !O<lO, p. 6
10 . Auho B"'Ofl, .. (jlo"JIII ~.HlCln A 1",(111 Amrn';)11 1""t'1ICC;l!ve ., ttnt' nun publJl"fnu' 1. C'Onf~"'nu 0.xJesno lur .. b
1~llJh!'ljutj'HI (1 Ir' '\ritnl!U '.IK-I,II,.\ _. J()llIfIIl1",lnuf,. 1(.1'IR.
11. D,..fI l,pp', .. M'nl,.rlll/~1111111 rhrrny ,,,,fi It,r cmnp1rJltVr iJtudy lit \o4K.i,.t1f1, , A ("nf'ral pr"J'CChye -, c,m,v",,;w
.\'tuhr-f'II .\'o.lfI'IIiIItIJlu/u" 15(197\),1'1' 1'141 lIt..

PUB COlJfS Ilhl,lilll', ,IV . l'. 1tl'!JI r 47 . Il WOO IllllXf'lh'~


-

r crompli, du sacré au prof.me, du sujet au citoyen, des relations diffuses et mul-


es aux rel"ùons contractuelles .
. il théorie de la modernisation n'a pas accompli ce qu'on est en droit d'attendre
ci' e thêorie, et cet échec devrait éclairer les chercheurs. Ses faill es sont en effet
tre, mbbbles 11 celles de la théorie de la mondialisation. La recherche a démon-
tri ue les principales variables n'on t pas évolué dans un même mouvement. Mais
S'..:rtut:.t. la mode.misation (comme aujourd'hui la mondialisation) apparaît d~ns
cette méQrÎe comme un événement en quelque sorte auto-propulsé. Le discours
de moderniSlltiœl masquait les questions cruciales de l'heure: ses critères étaient-
il:; emopéo-cemrés ou fondés sur lwe vision idéa lisée de la société américaine? Ces
"3U~ments « se produisaient »-ils ou étaient-ils poussés par d'autres fo rces, la
F..tÎssa!:Ice militaire américaine, par exemple, ou le pouvoir économique des sociétés
Di~.:isœs ?

Les contenus des deux approches sont bien sûr différents et je ne veux pas pous-
ser le parallèle au-delà de cette remarque qu'il s'agit de postures analogues face à
es flIO'.""'ssus de grande ampleur. I.:une et l'autre se définissent eUes-mêmes en nom-
ma::, un avenir qui est une projection apparente du présent et qui toume le dos
c.: •p;;ssé_ Le chercheur en sciences sociales doit se demander si de telles théories
pume.reat de poser des questions meilleures, plus précises, ou si, au conuaire, elles
:...é;ruaem SlIns s'en rendre compte snr les questions les plus intéressantes et les
>;l15 problématiques de notre temps.

_<= ::a :>-.2.:Srpe est un système spatial atlantique - au moins


_~, ptenons un anu e point de départ, avec deux livres publiés dans la première
ŒC::îé du XX· siècle, écritS par C.L.R.James et Eric Williams l2 . Ce sont il la fois
-'es ew"'Yses solidement nourries et des textes politiques. James est né dans la calo-
::::e :1I i~nniq-.Je de 'IIinidad en 1901. TI fut un panafriraniste et un trotskiste, un
:;):~î~ -.t des mouvements an ti-impérialistes des années trente qui associaient
l. 7.81e, •
l'E:!:'ope

etles Antilles. Blnek Jacobins (J 93 8) est une histoire de la révo-
_=0:1 :, ,~rie[t:Je, de 1;91 11 1804, qui montre qu'au À'VIlJ' siècle les processus éco-
;: =.i • .1es e: ~ mobilisation poli tique traversaient l'océan aussi bien qu'au XX' .
Po'= J;; :"~ l'esdJVage dans les Antilles n'était pas un système archaïque. Les
:- ... :es cr2<;J:Sl!'ionneIles oui illa ient ca ractériser le capit'JlisIJle industriel moderne
- .
_ es ~''::'' ,e.; ;-6::1Îs en masse et rravÛILmt sous surveillance, la discipline horaire,
:hr .5c;cicn ';lOuelle des ciches, le contrôle sur l'espace résidentiel et produc-
,

::i - cc · ~~ leu: s ? ~er.:lleIS pas aussi bien dans les grJndes phllltatiODS sucrières des
.-.:J::l:es ::ue

d2r-s les usines anglaises. Les esclaves étaient Jfricains. Le capital
v,!-:.;· de f ::u:ce. La terre étai t caroube. Eric Williams, historien et plus tard
?:'"=- - i;, :s ~e ck TrÜlÏdad, a an.lysé le processus de constitution des oonnwons

::, Héger 42 B-1000 Bruxelles SOCA-D-468-Zl9


Le concept de mondialisation sert-il" quelque chose 7 109

trnnsotlantiques. Pour Jui, le commerce négrier a concribué Il la naiss~nce du capi-


talisme en Angleterre, donc :\ la révolution iudustrielle. L'escJavage n'était pas
une chose nouvelle en Afrique ou en Europe. Cc qui était neuf, c'était cette inter-
relation entre l'Afrique, J'Europe et les Amériques qui ~ changé la façon dont les
acteurs agissaient en tous lieux, qui a imposé lUl changement d'écht:Ue et donné
une logique implacable li l'expansion du système jusqu'au XIX- siècle.
Lorsque la Déclar:ltion des droits de l'honune et du citoyen fut discurée JI Palis,
presque personne ne songea que cela pourrait concerner les populations des colo-
nies. Mais ces de.rnières, elles,le C111I1'llt: d'abord les planteurs, qui se considh:liem
comme des Français, propriémires, ayant 11 ce titre le droit de faire part des intérêts
de leur colonie à l'Etat franç-.ùs, ensuite les « gens de coulem ", des propriétaires
mulâo'es qui se considérèrent aussi comme des citoyens, indépendamment de leur
race. Enfin les esclaves prirent conscience, d'une part, du cüscours mùversaliste pari-
,
sien sur les droits et la citoyenneté, d'autre part de l'affaiblissement de l'Etat à 011-
vers les conflits en Haïti enlTe républicains, royalistes et difTercnts planteurs. James
insiste beaucoup Sltf le côté « j3eobin » de la rébellion: le débat Il Pnris pour
savoir si le champ d"lpplication de la Déclaration universelle devait ou non ên'e
borné, la façon dont les esclaves s'emparèrent du discours sur les droits, le mélange
d'idéal et de stratégie qui conduisit un gouverneur français 3 abolir l'esclavage en
1793 et 11 tenter de rallier les esclaves 11 la cause de la France républicaine, enfin b
lutte compliquée et changeante des ann~es d'esclaves, traversée d'alliances et de
trahisons, qui se termina par l'indépendance d'Haïti. TI mentionne au passage que
les deux tiers des esclaves à l'époque de la révolution étaient nés e.n Afrique, mais
ne semble pas s'êu'e intéressé à ce qu'implique Ull tel fait.
Vannée de pamtion de Tl/nck ]t/fobins, 1938, était ccllc du centenaire de la déci-
sion britannique de mettre fin au stamt intermédiaire d'" apprentissage ", par
lequel passaient les esclaves avant l'émancipation complète. Le gouvernement bn-
tannique, qui depuis des années se vantait de son rôle dans l'abolition, décida
d'interdire toute commémoration de ce centenaire. Une série de grèves et d'émeutes
avaient éclaté chns les Indes occidentales et en Afrique centrale depuis 193 S ; de..
célébrations auraient pu attirer J'anention sur la maigreur des bienfaits de l'éman-
cipation. James Je mentionne dans son teltte. II noue ensemble, ct Wsant, une
histoire de libération accomplie en HI04 et une aucre, qu'il espérait voir se réali-
ser sous ses yeux dans les Empires britannique et mançais.
Son tene est sigmficatif à un aucre titre. Hliri n'est pas prkillément ennie
dans l'histoire comme l'avant-garde de l'émancipation et de J. dkolonisation.
Elle fut, pour les élites coloniales, le symbole de l'Illiération ct, poor les .boIilrnniIIes

11_ c.L.R.) ......... 7lrt 730 7rb, LVI"r X" , _1IIrs.o:, "IL ......,...., """ "la" ~ JiM1 (1-'"
1918). [ne WoIt....... c.,......... ,.., "',. Oarcl Hill, URlZJiÏlji olNonlo ûnIIIno "-1914.

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110 - Crttiquein lernationale 0°10 - janvier 2001

du XIX:e, un cas embarrassant, James vmùait changer cette image, il voulait faire de
la révolution haïtienne un soulèvement moderne conu'e une fomle modeme d'exploi-
tation, l'avant-g-arde d'lill processus universel. Michel-Rolph Trouillot a attiré
l'anention sm ce que] ames a laissé de côté pour parvenir à cette fin : il s'agit de ce
qu'il appelle« la guerre dans la guerre », une autre couche de la rébellion conduite
par certains esclaves d'origine africaine qui rejetaiellt les compromis que la direc-
tion du mouvement était en train de faire, car celle-ci chercllait il préserver la pro-
duction des plamations, une SOllctllre étatique, et peut-êo'e une relation avec la
France, tOutes clloses dont ces esclaves ne voulaient p~s, Trouillot note que les
memhres de la classe supérieure de Haïti aimem à se dire descendants directs des
nationalistes de 1791. Ce qui impose un silence délibéré sur certains points!l.
Même si James a laissé bien des faits de côté en vue de ses fins propres de [938,
il bouscule de manière féconde les notions actueUes de temps et d'espace bistoriques.
La révolution est arrivée
,
trop tÔt, Elle a commencé deux ans seulement après la
prise de la Bastille. VErat-nation était transcendé au moment même de sa naissance ;
l'univers auquel s'appliquaient.les droits de l'bomme était élargi au moment même
où ceux-ci étaient définis; les esclaves réclamaient une place dans le corps poli-
tique avant même que les philosophes aient décidé s'ils en fais~ient ou non par-
tie ; les mouvements transocéaniques d'idées produis:uem des effets au moment
même où les mouvements sociaux territorialement situés parvenaient il leurs fins ...
Bien des questions débattues il l'époque deJames étaient déjà posées avec force entre
1791 et [804. Et aussi quelques-unes de celles qu'il ne voulait pas poser, comme
nous le rappelle TrouiUot.
Embrasser d'un même regard [791 et 1938 pel met de voir la politique non
comme opposition binaire entre authentidté locale et domination « globale »,
mais (bns une perspective spatiale transcontinentale, et d'atUibuer sa pleine dimen-
sion ~ la lutte aUlOlli' du seus ~ donner aux concepts autant qu'à leur transmission
dans l'espace, La Révolution française a fait entrer les tenues de liberté et de
citoyenneté dans le lexique politique, mais elle n'a fixé ni leur signification, ni
leurs linùtes spatiales, ni les critères cultuJels nécessaires à leur application. Si
certliins courants politiques (que ce soit en 1791 ou en 2000) insistent sur la limi-
tation territoriale des peuples et des idéologies, d'autres (en 1791 auesi bien qu'en
2000) tiennent des discours politiques déteuitoruhsés. Cene dialcc'ique de la
temtorialisanon et de la déterritorialisation est sans cesoe en mouvement.
LI thèse de Williams, comme celle de James. est ., atlantique .. _L'un et l',U! 'e
auteurs insistent sur un ensemble particulier de connexions, qw ont dei
implications mondiales, mais dont la réalité historique est localement en..,' iMe,lA
développement du capi,alisme est au: de lem ugumentaDoh: api-
tal par la traite afro-européo-américaine des esclaves, . cie Il
turc de roain-d'œuvre, de la production et de J. .. ....

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Le concept de mondialisation sert-il à quelque chose? - 111

velles disciplines de travail aux champs et à j'usine. Et la lutte contre ce capitalisme


tr:lnsocéanique était également transocéanique. Le conflit ne se situait pas, en 1791,
entre une domin~tion mondiale et une résistance locale. En 2000 non plus.
Ce point de vue atlantique a été comidérablement enrichi par l'analyse de l'in-
fluellce de la production sucrière SUI la culnu'e, les relations de classe et l'économie
etll'opéennes proposée par Sidney Minez, ainsi gue par les travaux de Richard
Priee sur les interactions cultureJJes du monde caraïbe. Ces recherches ne s'inté-
ressent pas qu'à la transmission de culntre à travers l'espace (comme dans les tra-
vaux d'autres chercheurs en quête d'« éléments africains» dans les cultures des
Antilles) mais prennent pour objet une zone intercontinentale dans laquelle opè-
rent l'inventivité, la synthèse et l'adaptation culturelles, reflétant et modifiant àla
fois les relations de pouvoir14.
Cela dit, il y avait beaucoup de côtes etdîles de l'Atlantique que le ,ystème colo-
nisant, esclavagis,mt, commerçant, produisant et consommal1t ne touchait quasi-
ment pas, même à l'époque la plus florissante du XVIIIe siècle. Inversement, il y
avait des lieux dans d'aurres océans (par exemple les îles sucrières de l'OCérul Indien)
qui étaient « ~tlantiques » dans lems smlctnres. Aussi puiss<mtes qu'aient été les
forces étudiées par James et \,villiarns, elles avajent leurs histoires, et aussi leurs fai-
blesses. On peut, COlmne le mono'ent ces auteurs, écrire sur des processus de
grande ampleur et de longue durée sans pour aut.1ot négliger les contingences et
les contestations.

Océans, continents et histoires entrelacées


Mais l'histoire des counexions à longue distance remonte pl\IS haut ql1e celle du
capitalisme centré sur l'Europe du Nord-Ouest et l'océan Atlantique. « TI y a eu
bien peu d'époques, écrit un historien, où le monde ait été aussi étroitement inter-
connecté: pas seulement économiquement mais aussi culturellemem et dans ses
traditions ,,15 . S'agit-il de l'ère de la« mondialisation" ? Non, mais de l'Empire
mongol du XIVe siècle: un Empire s'étendant de la Chine à l'Europe centrale, avec
un entrelacs de rout.es commerciales et de systèmes de croyances (mariage d'une
idéologie de la parenté et de la guerre venue d'Asie OIientale, d'uo savoir et d'un
droit islamiques originaires d'Asie occidentale), avec nn équilibre d'économies
nomades, agricoles et urbaines et un système de communications fondé sur des reWs
de cavaliers qui maintenaient informé le cenrre impérial.

1.1 . Michel- Rolph Trouillo~ Tb, Si/n,,,,..! ,Ix PHst . Tbe P.-œn .n ,Ix ProJU,lI" of H/_." Bostoo, Bu.on, 1995 ; 0..01)-
.E.. Fick, Tbt MllkJl1g of Hllm : T1x: Saim [)qult1lgt'~ RnJOI",,~ froNI BrlRf, Knœvillr, Univeaity ofTeaneaee Pre..
14. Sidney Mmt:z., Sw«tJ>dS H>ld Pttwr, Ne", York, P<ogum, 1985 ; Rich.,-d Priee, F;m-Imtr: TIH HiJWiuJ v;. 'EiI tf-J,1e-
A7Jlcr1((fl1 PaJpI" 8:lltimore . .Iohns HoJilcins University Press. 1983.
1S. B.A.r: M""., « Temur .nd th, problem oC. ''QOqueror'' "'~'CY »,J"""'" t{ÙJ< RoJor' AsUtir Sn, .." 8 (1), IQ9II, poll.

~UB Cours-Librairie, av. P. Héger 42. B-1000 Bruxelles


112 _ Critique Intemationale nO I O· janvier 200 1

Sanjay Subrahmanyam s'est demandé ce qu'impliquait une extension à d"mtrcs


régions de la vision « méditerranéenne » de Braudel sur les débllts de l'histoire
moderne l6 . Lisant les chercheurs spécialistes d'Asie du Sud-Est qui affirment que
lew' région était une autre Méditerranée, il est amené à mettre en question la Médi-
terranée braudélienne : les liens sociaux étaient forts en certains points de la wne
ct faibles dans d'auo'es, de sorte que l'idée de« société méditelTanéenne » fait pro-
blème ; Brsudcl a surestimé la France et l'Espagne et sous-estimé les Ottomans,
TI suit le même raisormement avec l'Asie du Sud-Est: ce qui bisait tenir ensemble
le système d'échanges ne « collait » pas panout de la même façon; les ensembles
politiques, et notamment la Chine, n'avaient pas la même influence en toue point
de la région. Les deux Méditerranée furent plus étroitement connectées après
l'arrivée des navigateurs, des commerçants et des soldats européens, Il y avait dif-
férents circuits au sein des réseaux spatiaux maritimes: pèlerinages religieux, trans-
mission de savoirs, Analyser les connexions régionales, c'est se heurter au carac-
tère morcelé du pouvoir et des relations économ iques et au déplacement des
asymétries avec le temps. Subralunanyam refuse l'analyse construite sw' l'opposi-
tion centre/périphérie et considère l'approche en termes de système mondial
comme mécaniste et impropre à saisir l'hétérogénéité et la dynamique d'un tel
système spatial.
Plutôt que d'affilliler l'existence d'un système mondial d'interaction et de pou -
voir au À'VIe (ou aussi bien au XVIIe) siècle, puis d'expliquer par la logique du sys-
tème lui-même toute l'histoire qui suit, on peut soutenir que les strucmres de
pouvoir et d'échanges n'émient pas si globales ui si systématiques! 7. L'élément
nouveau était du domaine de l'imaginaire politique. Avec les voyages et les conquêtes
des Portugais et des Hollandais, il devenait possible de penser la planète comme
horizon d'une ambition ou d'une stratégie politique et économique. Mais on était
encore loin du compte en matière scientifique (en cartographie par exemple) pour
pouvoir donner un contenu quelconque, sans même parler d'un programme
d'action, à un tel imaginaire. La relation entre différents systèmes commerciaux
régionaux, réseaux religiem, projections de pouvoir et connaissances géogra-
phiques présente un tableau historique complexe et très inégalement réparti.
Les Empires sont une sone particulière de système spatial, qui à la fois trans-
cende les frontières mais reste borné. De très nombreux travalu Ont déjà poné sur
leur ambiguïté: leur sn ucture fait la part belle à la différence et à la Iùérarchie, mais
en même temps ils constituent une unité politique, donc lille unité potentielle de
discours moral. Les juriStes espagnols ont beaucoup discuté, entre le XVI' et le
XVTI1e siècle, de la relation convenable entre composantes d'un Empire. Les
forces impériales ont souvent profité de circuits de commerce préexistants, mais
pouvaient aussi être menacées par des réseaux qu'elles ne contrôlaient pas et par
les effets inlprévisibles d'interactions entre agents de l'Empire ct acteurs com-

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Le concept de mondialisation sert-il Il quelque chose 1 - 113

merciaux et politiques indigènes. Les Empires ont donné naiss~nce il des sociétés
créoles qui pouvaient prendre leurs distances vis-à-vis de la métropole tout en se
réclamant de sa « civilisation »18.
Une intervention féconde dans ces questions (qui insuffle, en quelque sorte, une
vie nouvelle à la thèse de James et de Williams) vient d'un historien de la Chine,
Kenneth Pomeranz. TI relève que les économies de l'Europe et de la Chine avant
1800 opéraient de façons u'ès différentes mais qu'il serait impossible de dire ~ue
l'une était meilleUl'e, ou plus efficace, ou plus capable d'investissement et d'inno-
vation que l'autre. Les régions centrales de la Chine et celles de l'Europe du Nord-
Ouest disposaient il peu près 11 égalité des ressources nécessaires il l'indusnialisation.
Pourtant, à partir de 1800, elles divergent. Selon lui, cette divergence s'explique
par les relations que chacune d'elles entretenait avec sa périphérie régionale. La
Chine avait, avec l'Asie du Sud-Est, une périphérie qui était slll' bien des points trop
semblable à elle: c'étaient des sociétés de culture du riz, orientées vers le commerce.
IJexpansion européenne, au contTaire, s'est construite sur de la différence tout en
en produisant, en temles d'écologie et en tennes de force de travail. IJéconomie colo-
niale de plantation, fondée sur l'esclavage, développa avec plusieurs régious impor-
tantes d'Europe des complémentarités que l'Empire chinois n'ét~it pas en mesure
de susciter. La Chine se heurtait à des blocages en matière de ressOlU'ces alimen-
taires et énergétiques que les régions indusoielles d'Europe occidentale avaient les
moyens de surmonter. Ce sont les formes diffél'entes de projection impériale - les
blocages spécifiques sunnontés ou non - qui fubriquère.nt la divergence l9 .
La place de l'Afrique dans un tel tableau est fondamentale: la capacité de dépla-
cer - par la contraime - sa force de travail en certains lieux de l'Amélique (où les
populations indigènes avaient été marginalisées ou anéanties) pelln.it aux Empires
européens de développer des complérnental'ités de main-d'œuvre et de ten-es. Le.s
esclaves africains produisaient, dans les Antilles, du sucre qui apportait des calories
aux ouvriers anglais. Mais comment une complémentarité aussi terrible est-elle venue
au monde? Uniquement grâce à des dispositifs de commerce et de navigation
capables de connecter entre elles différentes parties de cet ensemble atlantique.

16. S2.llpy SlIlu"2hnunyam, «Notts on l."Îrculorion end ~' lImu:tr}' in ['WQ "Meditemmeans·, 1400· UWO ", dans C'Jaude
Guillot, Denys Lomb:ud et Roderich Pok (èds.), FrTI1n tJw MdnfTTlIlJnm l'V tM Chnur SttH. Wiobaden. Hnr.wCl\l'itz, lm,
W· 21 -13.
17. Les crihques de la tbêone du S)'Sllrne lllondi:ll ront 3SSet.SleOlbJables à celles de b modernisation el de lA moruiialisaricn
Voir pn exemple Frederic!.: Cooper, Allen IsaAcn!an. florenCIa ~lIon . Steve Stern et Wtlü'nl RosebelTY, CH"""";'"
/Wtonatl P<Ulltiigms: PMJltnt.t., ùrbot; (Inti rht Ûtpt1lfbrt HwU Sysrr:1/1l inAfrKIf ItJJti ùninA'Jrcriat. l\·b.dlSOO, Unr.asityufWd:arrin
Pr.... 1993.
18. Anthony Pa.gden, SfJ41l1sb hill/mf/JUill und tbl PoIrtltlrl '"",gUll/fit"" New Ho\'C!n. Yalt Uni"ersÎty PI us. 1990; Bea:edict
Anderson, ImngmtJ ûmtmmlitus : Rif/mwns 0/1 t.he Ongin nnd SprreJ 'I NtftiOI1l./iOIf, Londres., Verso. 19tH .
19. KenO(th Pornerllm.., Tht' Grr,,' Dhnrgt7Ul' . Europt. Chili", mM tbr Mtrl-i"g of tb( lH04h, H W"rM e...IittnIIJ. Prinœaon.
PnncttOn UniveC'3iry Press) 2000.

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114 - Critique internationale nO l0 - janvier 2001

,
Uniquement par un appareil institutionnel-l'Etat colonial - capable d'appuyer
la capacité de coercition des propriétaires d'esclaves des Antilles, de définir un
ordre juriclique de plus en phlS racialisé qui allait marquer les Africains asservis et
leurs descendants d'tme manière particulière, et d'imposer les droits de propriété
en différents lieux d'un système impérial, mais dont le pouvoir présentait les points
de vulnérabilité relevés par James. Uniquement en développant des connexions en
,
direction des Etats africains - pour la plupart non conquis - et des réseaux com-
merciaux africains, puis eo influençant ces relations d'une m,mi ère ab·ocement
efficace. Pour bien saisir l'emprisonnement fatal de l'Afrique dans un tel système
spatial, il est nécessaire de poser quelques questions très difficiles sur certaines fOl 1Iles
de pouvoir économique et d'a pprécier les dynamiques de leur interaction 20 .
Pour comprendre le contraste - et l'interrelation - entre l'Afrique occidentale
côtière, les tenes d'agriculture capitaliste et l'industriaüsatioll naissante de l'Angle-
terre, il faut observer l'organisation de la production, pas seulement son insertion
dans un v.ste espace. Marx a montré l'import,mce d'une« accumulati on primitive »
qui, aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, a séparé les producteurs des moyens de produc-
tion. C'est ce processus qui a condlUJUlé les possesseurs de terres et les possesseurs
de force de travail à mettre ensemble leurs actifs avec un minimum d'efficacité. Les
féodaux, les propriétaires d'esclaves etles paysans pouvaient réagir ou non aux inci-
tations du marché; les capitalistes et les ouvriers n'avaient pas le choix.
On poun"3it dire que, dans la plus grande partie de l'Afrique, on se trouve à l'autre
extrême et, en conséquence, que l'Aftique doit avoir une place centrale dans l'étude
de l'lùstoire du capitalisme, aussi paradoxal que cela puisse paraître en 2000. Pour
tout un faisceau de raisons sociales et géographiques, l'exit option (le choix du
départ) d'Albert Hirschman était particulièrement disponible en Afrique 21 : peu
de lieux y offi·aient les ressources nécessaires à la prospérité, mais beaucoup per-
mettaient la survie, et les structures de parenté faisaient de la mobilité un proces-
sus collectif. Les îlots d'exploitation y ét:aient liés les uns aux autres par des diasporas
commerçantes et diverses relations sodo-culturelles, de sorte que le déplacement
et le jeu des clifférentes possibilités politiques et économiques restèrent des stra-
tégies très fréquentes. Cela ne signifie pas que l'Afrique était un continent de pai-
sibles villages, car des efforts s'y accompüssaient pour surmonter précisément les
défis des groupes de parenté et de la dispersion physique_ Le oc roi ,. essayait de
mettre la main sur les gens sans attaches, tombés hors du cercle de leur parenté ou
dont le groupe s'était désagrégé, pour se construire une suite patrimoniale.
quiconque accumulait des terres se heurtait à lm problème de main-d'œuvre: ses
travailleurs pouvaient s'enfuir, oUllnir leurs forces pour résister à leur situation de
subordination. POllf augmenter la production, il fallait souvent faire venir des
éu-mgers, évenruellement sous fOI Ole d'esclaves. Le pouvoir
de l'externe.

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Le concept de mondialisation sert-il è quelque chose? - 115

Et là, nous assistons à une interpénétration d'histoires qui ne peuvent être com-
parées en temles simples. I:économie britannique des XVile et À'VIIIe siècles
était préparée à utiliser ses connexions outre-mer d'une faço n plus dynamique
que les impérialistes espagnols ou portugais d'autrefois. Les rois africains étaient
vulnérables chez eux et puisaient leur force dans leurs conoerions extérieures. Le
commerce d'esclaves n'avait pas la même signifi cation pour les différents partenaires:
pour le roi africain , cela signifiait se procurer des ressources (fusils, métaux, vête-
ments et autres bieos pouvant être redistribués à des fins d'accwissemen t du pou-
voir) sans se donner le mal de sou mettre sa propre population. En préleva nt des
esclaves pat la razzia opérée sur lm autre corps politique et en les ve.ndant à un ache-
teur e.:<1:él;eur, il el(ternalisait le problème de la surveillance comJUe celui .dn recnJ-
tement. À la longue, ce marché extérieur eut sur la poli tique et l'économie de
larges zones de l'AFrique centrale et occident',!Ie des effets que n'avaient pu pré-
voir les chefs qui s'étaient trouvés,
pris les premiers dans ce système transaufilltique.
TI prodillsit et alimenta des Etats militarisés et des mécanismes de u'1 ite plus ef.fi-

caces. C'étaient là, du point de vue des acteurs afri cains du processus, les consé-
quences non voulues de l'eotrelacement fatal: l'existence de débouchés pour les
captifs de guerre créa une logique nouvelle et insidieuse qui devint le moteur de
tout un système de capture et de vente d'esclaves.
De sorre que, d'un côté, certaines structures se trouvaient renforcées en Afrique
par la O'aite tandis que, de l'autre, c'étaient des structures d'un autre type (les ins-
titutions « modernes » de production, de commercialisation et de mouvements de
capitaux décrirs par James et Wùliams) qui se développaient eotre les AntiUes et
l'Europe. Le complexe atlantique s'appuyait sur la connexion de systèmes extrê-
mement différents de production et de pouvoir et avait des effets différenrs en chacun
de ses poinrs.
Lorsque les Européens déciclèrentenfin que le commerce d'esclaves était immo-
ral, la répulsion qu'il suscitait se trouva attachée am: Africains qill continuaient à
Je pratiquer. VAfricain, qui avait joué jusque-là le rôle de l'Autre asservissable, deve-
nait l'Autre asservissant, objet de dénonciation et d'intervention hunlanitairesl2.
Le plus « mondial» au XIX' siècle n'était pas la structure réelle de ['intemction
écouomique et politique, mais le langage dans lequel s'exprimaient les adversaires
de l'esclavage: un discours d'humanité partagée et de droits de l'homme, prntiqué
par un mouvement social transatlantique, euro-américain et afro-américain. Ce lan-
gage fut utilisé d'abord pour extirper le ma 1des Empires européens et du système

10. Cette thèJe est db·dn?pé~ dan1 1. l.:ontribuoun de Cooper l. C'lIifrTllltmg !iUV'DIUW/ p",,,,,,;,,.. .. nr.
Z1 Alberl Q. H,rxhman, Ellf. l''''r~ .THi L.yohy, ('..,,,,bridg< (M ....), H.rnnl Univenity Preu, 1970.
12. Fnxknd: Û><.opo. Tho,,",' Ho/t. R<be=Sroa. B'JfRoti .\lm-ry , E'F.,... tfR.,re, T 7b."""~10
S...,rn", Ch.pd HiU. UniverJity of North Carow.. Pl",", ZOOO.

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116 Critique internationale n·10 - janvier 2001

atlantique puis, à partir des années 1870, pOUI sauver les Africains de la tyrannie
qu'ils exerçaient les uns sur les autres. Le mouvement de conquête coloniale et ses
mécanismes réels étaient bien sûr plus compliqués que ce discours. Les forces
m.ilitaires européennes étaient concentrées en des points espacés, à partir desquels
ellcs progressaient, et la plliss-,lOce coloniale était curieusement peu apte à exercer
un pouvoir systématique et régulier sur les territoires conquis. Un langage « glo-
balisant» accompagnait une stntcture de domination et d'eÀ-ploit.ation extrême-
ment fragmentée.
Cette histoire fort complexe n'est ici qu'esquissée. Entre le commerce ù'esclavcs
du XVIe siècle et l'ère de l'impérialisme conquérant au nom de J'abolition, au
XIXe,l'interrelation entre les différentes parties du monde a été un élément essen-
tiel de l'histoire de chacune d'cntre elles. Mais ses mécanismes émien t contin-
gents et n'avaient qu'une capacité de transformation limitée, comme aujourd'hlli.
En ce sens, le système atla ntique n' était pas entièr ement systématique. Au
xvm· siècle, il ne s'agissait pas non plus d'une « mondialisation » .

La colonisation et les « antécédents )) de la mondialisation,


ou comment fa ire de l'histoire à rebours

Parmi les chercheurs qui se placent dans le cadre du paradigme de la mon dialis~­
tion, certains estiment que la situation présente doit être considérée comme la der-
nière mondialisation d'un e série, chacune ayant été plus englobante qne la précé-
dente ; pour d'autres. elle diffère totalement
,
d'un passé oit les relations économiques
et sociales restaient incluses dans les Etats-nations ou les Empires, avec bien sûr
des interactions entre ces unités qui jouissaient cllacune d'une cohérence interne.
Les deux conceptions ont le même défaut: celui d'écrire l'histoire en remontant
le temps à partir d'une version idéalisée du « présent globalisé », pour mono'er soit
que tollt y conduisait, soit inversement que tOllt, jusqu'~ l'avènement de l'" ère glo-
bale », tirait en sens inverse. Dans aucnne de ces deux versions on ne regarde
l'histoire se déployer dans son temps, produire autant d'impasses que de chemins
qui mènent quelque part, créer les conditions et les contingences dans lesquelles
les acteurs prennent leurs décisions, mobilisent d'autres personnes, entrepren-
nent des actions qui, à leur tour, ouvrent des possibilités et en felment d'autresB •
Prenons un exemple là où j'en étais resté plus haut: les colonisations euro-
péennes en Afrique et en Asie à la fin du XIX' siècle. Au premier abord, elles
paraissent entrer dans lm schéma rnétahistorique d'intégration (alL<;SÎ déplaisante
qu'en ait parfois été la fomle) de régions apparemment isolées dans ce qui deve-
naît une« globalité » particulière, dominée par l'Europe. Les idéologues de la colo-
nisation eux-mêmcs affirmaient d'ailleurs qu'ils« ouvraient» le continent africain.
Mais la colonisation n'entte nullement dans le schéma", réticulé,. que l'on IISIIO-

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Le concepl de mondlalisahon sert-Ii ~ quelque chose 7 - 117

cie à la mondialisation. Au contraire: les puissances coloniales coupaient par de


nouvelles frontières territoriales les réseaux commerciaux à longue distance du
continent africain et imposaient lems monopoles sur ce qui était alors un commerce
extérieur en plein développement, mettant à mal ou détruisant tout à fait les sys-
tèmes mieux articulés de commerce qui traversaient l'OCéàll Indien et le Saharà ml
qui longeaient les côtes de l'Afrique de l'Ouest. Les Africains se vOYJient insérés
de force dans des systèmes économiques impériaux centrés sur les métropoles.
Plus profondément, les r.erritoires coloniaux étaient politiquemenr, socialement et
économiql1ement désarticulés: les colonisateurs faisaient de l'argent en conceo-
o'ant l'investissement et les infrastructures $lU' des formes de production et d'échange
extrêmement limitées, en grande partie exo·actives24 . TIs enseiguaient à certains
peuples indigènes un peu de ce dont ces derniers avaient besoin pour leurs contact~
avec les Européens, puis tentaient de les isoler des auo'es, dont la prétendue divi-
sion en unités politiques et culturelles distinctes (les « tribus ») étJit accentuée et
institutionnalisée. TI y aurait donc plutôt lieu de parler de « démondialisation » il
propos de la colonisation, sauf que les systèmes ~ntérieurs étaient constitués de
réseaux très partic\ùiers, avec leurs propres mécanismes et leurs limites; sauf,
aussi, que les économies coloniales étaient en réalité tra versées de nombreux
réseaux d'échanges et d'interacrions socio-culturelles (également ,
dépendantes de
mécanismes spécifiqnes et bornées de différentes façons). Emdier la colonisation,
c'est étudier la réorganisation de l'espàce, la construction et la destruction de
liens; la qualifier de mondialisation, de mondialisation déformée ou même de
démondialisation, c'est l'étalonner sur une norme abstraite qui a peu à voir avec
les processus historiques.
Peur-on dire alors que la décolonisation a été uo pas vers la mondialisation? Ce
fut littéralement un pas vers l'ÙlleT1lntionnlisatùm, c'est-~-dire vers une nouvelle
,
relation entre les Etats-nations, que, les «globaliseurs» distinguent avec raison de
la mondialisation. Les nouveaux Etllts indépendants voulaient surtOut affim1er
leur caractère national, et leur politique économique s'appuyait souvent sur une

23. Votr par exemple l'OUVI'''J.~ collectif du Gemdev citi nott 2, où Michel B~nd (b'rlC! clt: (( plu~euB nJondi:)lis;tnons""
d't( archéo·monrJl:!.lis~tioJ)s li> et de .. prottHnondiahs::u:ions» (p. Il). Dons le même livre, Gér.lI'd K.8»bdji.'\n soutient b thèse
i!lfCi st, en op~r.lDt une distinction entre I~ sO'Ucturt d'9UjIlUId'hui, « mondi::disée », cl I~ écooomicz coloOlales, qw COU'I-

pomient des écha.ngcs:' f'i.mirieur cie régimes bom~ (pp. 54-55). Une V".\llantlt entl~ les deux, toujoW"$ d.ms le même livre,
vienr de Je.ln-LOULS NL1rgoliJl, qui rechc:1'l"he .-( les précédentes plwes de mondi::ùiSolDon » el JhUie enslJire du « découmt-
ment en impéri..-Usruc colonilll de b puissante V".Iig\le lUondialisatrice issue des révohuions industridle et pol1âq\1C »(p. 127),
dc« hl Olondialis~tion avl)l tée Autour de "l::J.u-ope, lSSO ~ L914", et du « quasi ~ le:uxit de l'éoont')mic mundWe du ùen de l'hwi''·
nitr::» (le oonul1t1nismc : pp. ]27, 130, 131).11 conduc par uo éblouiss.lJlf point final :« lbut <YU pnpare 12 mundialis:tlioD
·propceDleJlt dite.- cI':lujourd'hni • (p. 131). Les rus v.ln ..nres ridwsem ,'histOire i la œ:1~(llogie ~t ne cotn~ft"eu.1 pu gI"01nd-
chose :. la nlAruère dont les hommes :Jglssent dans leur propre q,oque et dans ItD~ propres cuntores.
24 . SUI l'agricuJlure dans J'Afrique coloniaJe et posrcoloniaJe, DOumment sur l'importance de J'. exploitation liN dqx»-
Rss!on ., voir 5,.,...11 Beny, N" ConJ,11M11J P(mumtnt . T'IN Sotiltl Dynm"jull{nl.HulIfll CblfnF III St,..Sd","" .~, Madilon.,
Unrversity ofWiscon.sin Press, 1993.

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118 - Critique internationale n·'0· Janvier 2001

industrialisation de substitution cI'importations et d'autres stratégles typiquement


nationales pom forger une unité économique.
Mais alors
,
encore, l'ère des plans d'ajustemem stnlcmrcl - imposés aux mal-
heure\]]( Etats aflicains par les institutions financières internationales telles que le
FMI - représente-t-el1e enfin le triomphe de la mondialisation sur un continent /'étif ?
C'était certainement le but poursuivi: la politique du FMI est cohérente avec la F.m-
faronnade du banquier, puisqu'elle consiste à impose/' l'abaissement des restTic-
tions aux flux de capitaux, la réduction des rarifs douaniers, l'alignement des mon-
naies sur le marché, etc. Mais cet objectif a-t-il été ~neint ? Il Y 3 beaucoup de
chemin entre la Fanfaronnade du banquier et j'intégration réelle. En fait, la conni-
bution de l'Afrique au commerce mondial et le niveau des investissements extérieurs
qui y sont faits étaielll phlS élevés à l'époque des politiques économiques nationales
qu'en ces temps d'« ouverture ,,25. Faut-il parler de. démondialisation mondialisante
en Afrique, ou, encore lme fois, de mondialisation déformée? L'AfI'ique est-elle l'ex-
ception qui confirme la règle, le continent non mondialisé, et pai e-t-eUe le prix de
son obstination à résister à une tendlU1ce mondiale toute-puissante? Le problème,
si l'on fait cie l'intégration la norme e.t si tout le reste n'est que manque, échec ou
distorsion, c'est qu'on ne s'interroge p~s sur ce qui se passe réeUement eIl Afrique.
,
Le retrait de l'Etat et le relâdlement de la réglementation des investissements
et du commerce sont des tendances impOJ tantes, mais elles reflètent la force des
tbèses pro-mondialisation dans des instimtions comme le FMI bien plus qu'un pro-
CCSS11S en marche. La fabrication de règles n'est ni de la production, ni de l'échange,

ni de la consommation. Tout cela dépend de SITuctnres spécifiques, qu'il convient


d'analyser dans tonte leur complexité et leurs particularités. IJAfrique est pleine
de zones où les investisseurs intemationam ne vOnt pas, même lorsqu'il s'y trouve
des richesses minérales qui récompenseraient leurs efforts. Ce n'est pas faute de
déréglementation, mais d'institutions ec de réseaux capables de s'y rendre.
,
A Ybien reg-arder, au lieu d'une Afrique <' en voie de mondialisation» (ou de
démondiaJisation), on voit des nlatiolls changeantes entre sociétés étrangères,

réseaux régionaux indigènes, et Emrs 2r.. Ccltlines ,
de ces relations, par exemple celles
des sociétés pétrolières transnationales avec l'Etat du Nigeria ou celui de l'Angola,
consistent exclusivement, dans un sens, à l'extraction de ressources, dans l'autre,
à la rémunération
,
des élites étatiques qui en détiennent les clés. Rien de réticulé
là-dedans. A l'autre extrême, on trouve les réseaux iUégatL'< qui exportent les dia-
mants extraits des zones contrôlées par les rebelles de la Sierra Leone 0\1 d'Angola
et importellt des armes et des produits de luxe pour les seigneurs de la guerre et
leur suite. De tels réseaux, constitués de jeunes arrachés à leurs villages d'origine,
prospèrent dans des contextes où les jeunes hommes ont peu d'autres choix de vie
que de s'attacher à 1l1l chef de guerre local. Ces systèmes ont bien des relations avec
les acheteurs de dian~nts et fournisseurs d'armes en Europe (parfois via l'Afrique

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le concept de mondialisation sert-il il quelque chose? - 119

du Sud, ou par le tnlchement de pilotes srrbes ou russes) mais ce sont là des


connexions d'un genre un peu particulier: loin d'intégTer les régions concet"Tlées,
elles accentuent la fragmentation et réduisent la gamme d'activités qui s'offre aux
habitants de zones déchirées par la viol ence 27. Le complexe dinmants-almes rap-
pelle le commerce d'esclaves des XVIIIeet XIX- siècles en ce que, là aussi (comme
l'avaient très bien compris James et Williams), se déroulaient en Afrique des pro-
cessus historiques qui ne pl'enàÏent sens que pal' leur relation au système atlantique.
La version actuelle fournit tm produit don t jouissent des gens tl'ès éloignés, qui ne
se dernand eut pas plus d'où vient telle piene que le consommateur anglais du
À"VllI' siècle ne s'inquiétait de ce que son sucre était baigné du sang des esclaves.
Et voilà que naissent aujourd'hui des réseaux internationaux militants qtÛexpliquent
aux acquéreurs europée.ns ou américains qu'ils achètent des diamants sales, et le
font dans une langue universaliste très semblable à celle du mouvement anti-escla-
vagiste du début du XIX' siècle.

Plus que local et moins que global: réseaux, champs sociaux, diasporas
Comment penser l'histoire africaine de manière à mettre l" lccent sur les connexions
spatiales sans postuler le « global » ? Dans les années cinquante et s oi.~ante, les
anthropologues ont commencé à utiliser les concepts de « situation sociale » , de
« champ social » et de « réseau '> . Les deux premiers impliquaient que, dans des
circonstances différentes, les Africains construisaient des schémas différents d'affi-
nité et de sanction morale et se déplaçaient de l'un à l'antre : l'aFfiliation de classe
pouvait opérer dans une ville minière, la déférence à l'ég-Jrd des a.nciens, au village.
La conquête elle-même déterminait une « situation coloniale » - décrite par
Georges Balandier dans un article pionnier de 1951- définie par la coercition exté-
rieure et ['idéologie racialisée à l'intérietU· de frontières dessinées par le colonisa-
teur ; les Africains, loin de vivre chacun à l'intérieur de sa tribu, devaient manœu-
vrer au sein de la situation coloniale ou tenteJ' de la transformer. La notion de
réseau, elle, renvoyait aux connexions tissées par les gens en se déplaç,mt, et contre-

25. La p;lrt de l'Moque d2ns le commen::e mondial e:;t lomlXe de plus ck 3 % dlns les ~nnées cinqulmte:': moi.ns de 2 %MN
les a.l1n~ 'lll:ltre ~\ringt-clil (l,2 %.\0; l'Olt exclut l'Afrique du Sud). Les AfTiClins ont \I~ ligne réVphonique pour 100 ho;.bi-
ttnts (une pour 200, Afi-Lque du Sud exdue). contre 50 en moyenne mondilolie. I.:élearicicé t.'St :aMente "le nl)mb1'1::~ wn~
ru(l\le~ er functionne. co ville, de ma.nÎ~t jnttIllIÎtt.ente ; les seavlC'e! post:UlX sC' sunt détériorés, ID rocJio est S'Cuvent l.llurih-
s:tble p.,rce que les piles sont trOp chère:! ; des mill ions de gens continuent i1 s'infonner par le boUt.'he-à-ort'iIIe. Banque.
mondiALe, Cali AfrluJ C',ûm tht 21 11 C~nf"ry', Washington. 2000.
,
26. Bi"rncc Hiholl, . f De 10 privaris:ltion des économies l b priv~tisaf1on drs Era~ ", d:'lnS tubou (dic.), Ln priVIIli""ioIt dn
Ét"11. Paris. Lrth.,la, 1999.
27. Plotôt que de CQflstiruer des :tlrern'3thCo\ ~ l'fut, de tels m~"amsm~ vont plutÔllnterlglr 2\'tt les InstItUbons et les lIgrDts
de l'ÉlJtJ:tnet Roivrmn, Thr g'\lT1son~ntrepôl "l Cnh,r.rt ,l'inllks ,,{rittfilj(f 150-152 (1998), pp. 297 -329 i Klrine Benn.lla.
4(

'* L:. fi n c1C'S (èrritoil'cs n:nionaux ? "', PoIiti"", nfrmfirtt 73 (1 999). pp. 24-49 i Jean-Françol!: U"Y'rt. Stephen Ellis et Banice
Hil)(,u, LA ,"";Hum"illt,;,:m dt /,&,11 tll Afr,,}ut, B,.tl):eJlcs, Comple:t~, 1997,

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120 - Critique internationale n010· janvier 200 1

balançait celle, un peu artificielle, de « sitnations » spntiaJemellt c1ist:inctes28. En accor-


dant autant d'impormnce 31lX nœuds et aux blocages qu'aux mouvements, cette
notion attire l'attention sur les institutions - y compris les cono-ôles policiers sur
la migration, les systèmes d'autorisations adminiso·atives ou de protection sociale.
Il évite ainsi le caractère amorphe d'une anthropologie des flux et des fragments.
Ces concepts permettent aussi d'étudier les unités d'affinité et de mobilisation,
les attachements subjectifs que forment les gens et les collectivités dans l'action.
Onll'est pas linù té par des identifications supposées primordial es, « o·ibus » ou
« races » par exemple, ou à un espace spécifique. On peut partir de j'identifica tion
à 1'« Afrique » elle-même et étudier l'imaginaire diasporiqne, car « l'Afrique »,
comme espace de sens, étai t moins défin ie par ce qui se passait au sein du conti-
nent que par sa diaspora. Si, pour les trafiquan ts d'esclaves, l'Afrique était l'endroit
où ils pouvaient légitimement asservir les gens, leurs victimes découvraient dans
leur épreuve le partage d'un sort commun qui les définissait comme peuple doté
d'uu passé, d'un lieu, d'un imaginaire collectif.
Lorsque des militants religieux et politiques afro-américains ont commencé, ,
au
début du X 1Xe siècle, 11 évoquer des images de « l'Afrique » ou de « l'Ethiopie » ,
ils s'inscrivaient dans une couception chrétienne de l'histoire universelle pIns qu'ils
ne se référaient à des affinités culturelles. La conscience africaine a revêtu des
significations diverses et enrreteJ1U avec les réalités de l'Afrique des relations encore
plus variées. J. Lorand Matory soutient que certains « groupes ethniques» afri-
cains se sont dessinés dans le cours du dialogue afro-américain sous l'influence de
descendants d'esclaves revenus dans la région de leurs pères19.
I;imaginaire spatial des intellectuels, missionnaires et militants politiques du début
du XIXe siècle au milieu du XXe, était dOllC des plus variés. TI n'était ni global ni
local mais construit sur des lignes particulières de connexion j et il posait des affi-
nités régionales, continentales et uao<continentales. Ces affinités spatiales pouvaient
se contracter (devenir moins mondiales, dirait-on aujourd'hlù), s'étendre et se
contracter à nouveau. Ainsi le panafricanisme a été lllus en vogue dans les années
tl·ente et au début des années quarante gue dans les années cinquante, époque 11
laquelle les unités territoriales devenaient des cadres pIns accessibles de revendi-
cation et l'imaginaire politique prenait (du moins pour un temps) une coloration
nationale. Les dirigeants français de la décennie de l'après-guen·e Ont tenté d'in-
citer les Africains ~ s'imaginer eux-mêmes différemment, comme citoyens de
l'Union française. et les hommes politiques africains ont cherché à utiliser cette ver-
sion impériale de citoyenneté pour poser leurs revendications face à la métropole.
Mais la citoyenneté d'Empire était grevée de trop de contradictions et d'hypocri-
sies pour constituer une valeur crédible d'identification supranationale aux yeu
d'une majorité d'Africains. Les responsables français, prenant conscience du ooGt
qu'amait représenté le fait de donner véritablement sens à la citoyenneté,

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Le concept de mondialisatIOn sert-il à quelque chose 7 - 121

marche arrière. Le mot de « ten;toriaüsation », lancé au milieu des ~nl1ées cin-


quante, devait llloutrer que, en cédant du pouvoir aux Africains, le gouvernement
leur laissait la responsabilité de répondre aux revendications de leurs citoyens avec
les ressources de chaque territoire Jo. Parnu les diverses possibilités - visions pan-
africai nes, fédérations, citoyenneté impériale. - la citoyenneté territorialement
bornée, ceUe que les Africains ont reçue en partage, il été le produi t d'une histoire
bien précise de revendications et de contre-revendications.
Nombre d'autres circuits s'offrent à l'analyse: les pèlerinages à La Mecque et
les réseaux d'enseignement que les clercs musulmans suivaient dans tout le Sahara,
dès le Ville siècle et, plus intensément encore, à partir du XVIIIe; les systèmes régio-
naux de lieux sacrés en Afrique centrale; les connexions religieuses entre Africains
et missionnaires afro-américains. Le lien entre réseaux incra- et extra-africains est
ancien: voir, par exemple, le complexe de la traite d'esclaves entre le Brésil,
l'Angola et le Portugal; les réseaux commerciaux, religieux et d'enseignement
transsahariens cormectés, en Afrique occidentale, avec les systèmes hausa et man-
din.,oue; les échanges commerciaux s'étendant de l'île du Mozambique, vin la mer
Rouge, le sud de l'Arabie et le golfe Persique, jusqu'au Gujarat j un système, mis
en place à l'origine par les Hollandais, qui connectait l'Indonésie, l'Afrique du
Sud et l'Europe, et qui étendait des tentacules très profondément dans l'Mrique
australe; Je réseau de marchands le long de la côte d'Afrique occidentale, avec de.~
liaisons vers le Brésil, J'Europe, les Antilles et l'intérieur des terres, qui forgea des
communautés côtières racialemem et culturellemem mêlées; et les réseaux atro-
cement efficaces des trafiquants de diamants et d'armes reliant la Sierra Leone et
l'Angola à l'Europe. Décidément, on ne peut pas dire que les réseaux sont de.s choses
douces et confortables et les structures, des choses dures et domi natrices ll .
Et qu'on considère les réseaux miUtants rransfromaüers, dont le mouvement anti-
esclavagiste du début du XIXe siècle a été le grand pionnier H . Si les mouvements
anticolonialistes ont réussi, dès les années 1930, il faire de la caœgOlie autrefois banale

28. Georges Balandie[", La silU~tion coloni:lle : approche théoriql.l~~. CnbitT$ intn71",iontm:( lit sMologit 11. 1951, l'p. 'H-
c:(

19; J\.lal Glucbnan. (C Anthropologiel problems arising from dleAfrican incJnstl;al rt:volntion _, <Uns Aidan Southall (ed.),
SM.' CblllIgt IR MoJ",U'lfritn, Londres, o.ctord Univ<rsity P,=, 1961, pp. 67-Bl ;J. Oyde M;t<hell, S.<1'" N""",I-s,n Url...
SitfUltlons .' .4nttlyru of Puwnn/ Rdlllionrl'/pr in C~ntm/ AfriClTfl TarD'UI, Manchester, M;Ulchcster Urùv~rs.ity PreM. 191'\9.
29. James'C ÛlmpheU, SongrofZion. Tlu AfriCtm klttboJin lipistopnl Ch,,,.ch jll tbe United StHm I11ul Sfllrtb Afiir", New YnrIc.
Oxford University Prcss. 1995 ;J. Lonmd M:ltory,« T11C Engl'!5h professoN of Brnil : On the c.liasponc ruot" uf the Yorubl
nocon », C(Jmpm7ltÎW SN/Jin in Society illld His/ory, .. L, 1999, pp. 72-103.
30. Frederick Cooper, DrfOlOIJiutioFl ntld AfriulII Soârty : Tht L."oo,. QUtitlOfl III Frtn(b ,md Briwb A/,.i,., Cambridge.
Cambriàgc: Unlversiry Press, 1996.
ut
31. Pour une én.de d'un m~ani!)-nle tnl1scc)Jlnnentll de ce f)']>e, voir Joseph Miller, 14"" Dflllh .' Mu·",", C.pitlf"",.
rbr A1tgoltm Slow Trtltlr 1730-1320, M:l<lison, University of WiS<.'Oru.;n Press, 1988.
32. D""d Bnon D,vU, Tb, PlvNrm ,[Shr",'] ln ,b, Ag, ofRroohlrion /77fJ-/823, Ithoca, Corn.1I Un;.emlJ p..... 19751
/,{"g>ret E. Keck er K>mryn S;ltIOnI:, A<Tivnlt bryonJ &,,/m , AhKn'Y N<tœOrln ù, 11_....,;"'..' Ptlitla, 111'_. ean..u
University Pi CSS, t9RR.

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122 - Critique interna tionale nO l 0 - janvier 2001

de « colonie }) quelque chose d'inacceptable dans le discours international, c'est


en gj'~nde partie parce qu 'ils associ~ i ent des militants des villes afri~ines et des
groupes de la métropole qui à leur tour liaient ces questions à la conception que
les démocraties avaient d'elles-mêmes. Des chercheurs ont mis au jour, dans un seul
diso'ict rural sud-africain du début du XX- siècle, des liens avec des organisations
chrétiennes, avec des mouvements de réf01 me constitutionn alisre dans les villes,
avec des mouvements afro-américains, et avec des org-anisations régionales de tra-
vailleurs agricoles H . Les articulations changeantes entre mouvements locaux,
régionaux et inte m ~tiou aux ont façonné un répeltoire politiqne qui g-ardait ouvertes
toute une série de possibilités et permett~i t de trouver des appuis dans la diaspor~
africaine et les réseaux militants euro-américai ns. Finalement, les blancs sud-
afri cains, qui tiraient tant de fierté de leurs propres liens avec l'Occident « chré-
tien » et « civilisé » , ont pc.rdu la bat.Ulle des conn exions.
Peut-êo'e les sociaux-d émocrates aW'3ient-ils mieux à faire que de se lamenter. Les
efforts actuels des syndicats et des ONG pour s'opposer au capitalisme« mondial »
par des mouvements sociaux « mondiaux », tels que ceux qui se sont créés contre les
ateliers de confection et de chaussure sure.xploirnnt l'enfance ou pour l'interdi cti on
du commerce des « diamants de guerre » , ont des pr€.cédents qui remontent à l~ fin
du XVllTe siècle, et qui ont remporté un certain nombre de victOires depuis. Les
« droits de l'homm e» ont autant de pertinence « mondiale » que le « marché ». Et,
dans les deux cas, le discours est beaucoup plus mondial que la pratique.

Repenser le présent
,
li ne s'agit pas de di.re qu'il n'y a rien de nouveau sous le solei.l. A l'évidence,
l'éch~nge des marchandises et des capitaux, les formes de production, les moda-
,
lités de l'intervention de l'Etat dans les sociétés, sans parler des tecbniques de
communication, ont énormément changé. Les circuits esclaves-sucre-biens manu-
facturés du XVIIIe siècle ont eu pour le développement capitaliste un tout 3utte
poids que le circuit diamants-armes d'aujourd'hui. Simplement je plaide pour plus
de rigueur: il faut regaJ'der en détail comment ces circuits de marchandises ~ont
constitués, comment les connexions dans l'espace s'étendent ou trouvent leurs
limites et, dans l'analyse de processus amples et de longue durée tels que le déve-
loppement capitaliste, prêter toute l'attention nécessaire à leur puissance, à leurs
limitations et aux mécanismes qui les façonnent. On peut bien s\Îr appeler cela mon-
dialisation mais, ce faisant, on ne fait que dire que l'histoire se produit à l'intérieur
des limites de la planète et qu'en conséquence toute histoire est histoire mon-
diale. Toutefois, si l'on veut voir dans la mondi~lisation l'intégration progressive
de différentes p~rties du monde en un tout lmique, alors la thèse peut être accu-
sée d'être linéaire et téléologique. Les " globaliseurs » ont raison de nolIS inciter

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Le concept de mondialisation sert-il Il quelque chose 7 - 123

li observer les connexions à longue distance. La diffic1ùté est de n'ouver des c.:oncepts
assez fi ns pour nous dire quelque chose de significatif sur ces counexions. Comme
la théorie de la modernisation, la mondialisation tire sa plùssance d'évocation du
fuit qu'elle unjfie divers phénomènes en Wl cadre conceptuel unique et en un
mouvement unique. Et c'est là que les deu." th éories, loin d'éclaircir les processus
historiques, les obscurcissent.
Mais si l'on renverse h thèse? Admettons qu'il n'est guère intéressant d'affiner
la notion de mondial isation en y ajoutant la dimension historique, et plaçons-
nous plutôt dans l'attitude de cel1ains « globaliseurs » : l'ère du global est main-
tenl/nt, et elle se distingue clairement du passé. Là, je ne m'élève pas contre la
thèse que le présent diffère du passé, mais je me demande si c'est pm' SOll c({mct~'e
g!{)ba/. TI fa ut certes étudier de près les révolutions dans la commWlication, les
mouvements de capitaux et les apllureils régulateurs, ainsi que les relations de ces
phénomènes entre eux, qu'elles les renforcent mutuellemen t ou les entl<went.
Mais pour cela il faut un appareil théorique plus affiné et un discours moins trom-
peur que ceux que produi t la mondialisati on (dans les trois variétés exposées au
début). J'ai soutenu cette thèse en observant, taut dans le passé qu'aujourd'hui, la
mlÙtiplicité des mécanismes de connexion n:ansterritoriam, ce qlÙ me conduit à
affirmer que le suffixe « isa tion » de nou'e concept est fallacieux.
Il ne s'agit pas seulement ici de la recherche académique d'instruments plus
subtils : les enjeux vont bien au-delà. Les institutions financières i.nternationales
qui disent aux leaders africains que, s'ils ouvrent leurs économies, le développe-
ment s'ensuivra, ne résoudront pas au fond les problèmes du continent si elles ne
se demandent pas quelles Oppol'twlÎtés et quelles,
conn-aintes telle ou telle struc-
ture des sociétés africaines (à l'intérieur des Et'Jts ou transfrontalières) offre à la
p.roduction et aux échanges; quelles opportunités et quelles conu'aÎlltes tel ou tel
mécanisme des marchés extérieurs offre aux produits africains. Une myopie ana-
logue a présidé aux politiques suivies par l'Occident envers l'ex-URSS. Convain-
cus que la chute du mur de Berlin signifiait vraiment la chute de la plus haute des
balTières s'opposant aux marchés « mondiaux » des marchandises et des capitaux,
les conseillers occidentaux et les agences de développement ont mis '" l'ou\'erture
des marchés » et la Plivatisation
,
avant la cons miction d'institutions. Souvent, un •
appareil économique d'Etat a été « privatisé » en oligarchies, mafias, réseaux per-
sonnels et autres nœuds de pouvoir économique H . Le résultat a bien été une sone

33. William B,in.rt <t Colin BWldy, Hiddm Sm.ggks rn Rnr.1 Sou,h Afri"', Berkeley. University of Califumia Pre 4, \987.
H. M.rU" Lollkil., . POSt-Soviet Ru",i. : Asociety of networlts 1 » , dans Manden KangospuIU «d.), RIcIM : Mort Diffiutl'
thGII Mosf " Hcbinki, Kikimora 1 199I.J, pp. Q8- 112 . De la n\ème (:tçon. comme le montre Hibou, chap. ciœ,la )kintilatian
des sociétés rutlol\::I lisécs en Afrique ;l produit quelque chose de très dJfférem: d'un .. ,,«beur pli.,!! • d'eouepriles t'OiW$M ..
rentes connectées :ru m:U'ché mondial · les hauts personn.,gt.s du régime peUvtDt pnv,.mser les enmpriKS nataon:de lieur

profil, cc qw c,:onduit l une accumnl:uion pril-ée. (Yo)r le biaIS de J'EtAt ct rétrki[ les t:artaU'( d'inœraction.

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124 - Critique intematlona/e n010 - janvier 2001

de capitalisme, certes lié aux acteurs économiques extérieurs, mais est-on très
avancé tme fois qu'on a défirula réunion d'oligarchies et d'oligopoles comme Ull
réseau de cOlmectivité ? L'ex-Union soviétique est désormais connectée ~tl reste
du monde d'une façon bien différente de naguère. Seulement, l'investisseur éU'an-
ger n'a pas besoin que de capital, mais de bonnes connexions; autrement, il risque
de perdre son argent, voire sa vie H . TI Ya toujours des grumeaux ùans le capita-
lisme de l'après-1989 ...
On ne sera pas surpris que les journalistes comme les uruversitaires soient e,'{ci-
tés par la mu.ltiplicité des formes de commmJÏcation qui se sont ouvertes (mais qui
ne s'offrent qu'à certains) et des stratégies n-ansfronralières de beaucoup d'entre-
prises (panni d'autres formes d'institutions économiques et de réseau.~). La vogue
de la mondialisation est Me réaction compréhensible à ce sentiment de connec-
tivité et d'opporttU1ité, tout comme la théOlie de la modernisation l'était à l'effon-
drement des rigidités des sociél-és européennes et ~ l'émancipation des Empires colo-
niaux dans les années cinquante. Des concepts comme ceu.'(-là engendrent de
nouvelles qtlestioDS, mais ils donnent aussi l'illusion d'avoir des réponses.
Bien sûr, tontes les formes changeantes de connexions transcontinentales, toutes
les formes d'intégration et de différenciation, de flux et de blocag'es, du passé et
du présent peuvent être vues comme des aspects d'un processus unique mais com-
plexe qu'on peut appeler mondialisation. Piètre défense du concept que celle qui
s'appuie sur son peu de contenu! Les mots ont un poids. Le. bavardage incessant
sur la mondialisation, la structure du mot lui-même, les images qui lui sont asso-
ciées, les arguments pour et contre « elle », tout cela reflète et renforce la fusci-
Dation pour une connectivité sans rivages. Les chercheurs ne som tout de même
pas obligés de choisir entre une rhétorique du contenant et une rhétorique du
flux. Les questions, nullement secondaires, qu'il faut nous poser concernent le
présent: qu'y a-t-il de réellement nouveau? Quels sont les mécanismes des chan-
gements en cours et par quoi sont-ils limités? Et surtout, est-il possible de metn'e
au point un vocabulaire assez subtil pour favoriser la réflexion sur les connexions
et leurs limites ?J6
Tr.duit de 1'.0)';1';5 par lèlchcl Bouys.ou

JS. U wste un lien entre cene th~e et I~ critiques de la norion ck« O"lUlSirion » qui. romm~ \:1 nl'mdi::ali~ariQn et la mc.xlel-
nit:ltion, nomme un procesrus cn m:u'\:"he par son point d·2fr~e. Ct qui -apparait comme \lne ~,diti()n pQJt êu e d\lflble
ou subir des changements cycliques platée que pl'og-ressifs. Mich:lel Bw.I'''oy et Katherine Verdely (eds.), UncVftlm
TrnmÎ1iun : litlm<lgrt/(Jbits of CbmJgf ln rhl PQSt100nlist H,qrlrf, unhom (Md.), ROWnl3nd &: Lirdcfiel0 , 19C'J9.
l6.Je remercie les personnes qUI ont commenté des venions :mtérieures de cet: Ilmde, q~lC ce soit au D~(J:I"emtnt d'histoire
de l'Uru~rsüé de C.ùiforrut à lnine,:lu Département des sciences soci.lks de l'Écule numwe sopérieur'l ml au Centre cr'rodes
ct de n::cherches int:ern.\cioHa1~s., ~ P;ll'is : rtottJ1lJl1('1It Kenneth Pomtr:1.n:z.. Éric F.\Snn,Je:'In-Fl'ançors J:by'IUt et Richald Sulq.
J\!. tiens :mssi ~ remercier de sa le<:tl1i( 13tnar.l KoruIr:nieV':).

PUB Cours-librairie. av. P. Héger 42. B-1000 Bruxelles


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1
:~ ser~
i' : .; , ..
- ~l,o,,~ ,plgs f~~i1e . de compren,dre ,
,
. . ~istoriques'i
. dq .
~rst~~e~monde moderne; ses .origines, sa ,géograp4ie, son éyohl:".
.. !.i on ,dan~ Je . ~.emps . et les. cri~es structurell~~ , qu/~l ~ ~onnaît
• aujQurd'hui.
. '"
,; . ; . . :~~.
' , ..

• ,
.; . . 1
.
•, •
. .• ." .' : , • •
,
,•
,
,
·
•• '. '.
• 1 ~.'
, ,.., ,•
, •
. ..
.. . ~.
.
, ~!S spéclfl,c ltés de l' 1 capitaliste ,


, Nous appelons
une , 1

, E •


,
,
Comprendre le monde Le système-monde mOd""e C{)jj"", éaJnomle-monde èapftallste
-u
C et de capital. Par aUJeurs, une-des caraetérbtiqUes'de'.J'éCmionlie-
co .. Et:cet1:e efficacité dépend elle-même de la richesse que le système
("")
0 monde est ' capit,aliste pe~met d'accumuler. Les économies-monde qui ont
c
~

, • économie-monde contient de nombreuses entités politiques, existe 'a vant l époque moderne se sont soit écroulées, soit tIans-
'"
r- ,
-,
cr ellées entre elles de façon lâche au sein d'un système interétatique fOllllées'manu militari en empires-monde. D'un point de vue hlsto-
~

-,
'"
~
- ,
-~dans notre système-monde moderne. Une économie-monde ras- ri~~,e, la seule économie-monde qui a longtemps perduré esUe
-
Cl>
semble une grande variété de cultures et de groupes humains, de systeme-monde moderne et ce, parce que le Système capitaliste s'est
'"<
, --- différentes confessions, qui parlent différentes langues et n'ont pas enraciné et s'est consolidé en son sein.- ' 1
-u
,
•A l ,-
,. les mêmes habitudes de vie. Cela ne veut pas dire qu'ils ne parta-
l
, .8' gent pas certains schémas culturels communs, ce que nous appel-
...-
Cl>
~
lerons une" géoculture ". Mais on ne trouvera pas d'hom,ogénéité
une ~_c:pn91lÙe-monde. C~ gui....uPifte
N ,
culturelle ou lIti ue,,dans le dupouvoit
co
,
• ....,.. _ . ' ' v_
ces der-
~
, us cette structure, c'est la division du travail existant en son sein. sont
0 cas dans les
0
0 On ne peut défuurstIDplèment le capltalislîle par l'existe~~e de la• de leurs întérêts se fera
co
~
personnes ou d'entreprises qui produisent pour vendre sur le
c)(
-
Cl> marché afin de réaliser des profits. Ces personnes, ou entreprises
Cl> .~
'" existent depuis des millénaires à travers le monde. De même, l'exis- , les
, ,.. , .
(
-
tence de personneS travaillant en contrepartie 'd 'un salaire est insuf- , , '" J

, besoin d'llDe
flsante pour définir le capitalisme. Le monde connaissait déjà le 1
avec ces
,
travall salarié il Ya-deS mllliers d'années. On në peut parler , ,. " . ,d'un ,-
sys-
tème le ' donne
,
la à une accu- '1
IlUmitée capital. Dans cette le travail

-=::;;;;;~:':;;':;";';';;;';;:';;;';m;';';;';07derne est un ,~L;:;:::=::i
tlon lIIiiriitée est 110 concêpt rtiiàiIV"ement slffipIê': les hommes '[t
,,

-lesenheprlses aCcUmûlent du 'capital dans 1e but d'en accumuler
encore et encore. Un processus qui ne s'arrête jamais. Quand nous
disons qu'un piocessus «donne lâ'phOiltê • 'à l'acrumulatiort, cela
, signifie qu'U existe des mécanismes structurels qui pénalisent,
d'une façon ou d'une autre, ceux qui suivent une autre logique. Ils
peuvent etre éliminés de la scène sociale, tandis que ceux qui agis-.
sent selon la norme sont récompensés et s'enrichissent en 'cas de

d~ pair.
DIas la mesure ollies économies-monde ne sont pas consolidées
pu politique unique ou par une culture homogène,
\
c:'eIt de la division du travail qui les fait tènir ensemble.'


,
Comprmdre le monde Le système-monde modeme comtm Iconomle-m07tJÙ capltallsœ

n ,est·préférable de parler d'un ensemble d'institutions spécifiques évidente. Supposons qu'il existe réellement un marché mondial où
au système-monde moderne. . '. "; ' tous les facteurs de production seraient parfaitement libres, confor-
Abordons tout d'abord les marchés, puisqu'ils sont traditionnel- mément à la définition habituelle de nos manuels d'économie
, •

-
r- lement considérés Comme la caractéristique majeure du ,système - c'est-à-dire dans lequel les facteurs circulent sans contraintes,
capitaliste. Un marché est à la fols une structure locale concrète au · dans leq~el coexistent un très grand nombre d'acheteurs et de ven-
CI) sein de laquelle des Individus ou des entreprises vendent et achè-. , . de,urs et où leur information est parfaite (i.e: où tout vend ur .e t tout

Q)
tent des biens, et une Institution virtuelle sans frontières où s,e pro.-
l
<
• acheteur connaissent avec exactitude l'ensemble des co!fs de pro- •
"
• dulsent les mêmes échanges. La tallle et l'étendue d'un marché ductio~). Qans un marché aussi parfait, il serait possible
virtuel dépendent des possibilltés réelles dont disposent les ve~­ • pour l'acheteur de négocier à la baisse le prix d'un de sorte
• •
deurs et acheteurs à un moment donné•..~n p~lncipe, dans ~ne ~co- que •le profit du vendeur devienne infime (disons un Un
....
N
• nomie-monde capitaliste, le marché virtuel e~ste au se~n de niveau. dé profit aussi faible rendrait l~ jeu du absolu-
co
, • • •
..... de l'économie-monde. Nous verrons cependant que ces ment sans intérêt pour les producteurs et ainsi les
• •

"8
,
frontières sont fréquemment perturbées, ce .qul crée pes marchés

bases sociales de ce sYjtème.

, ~
, ;xe:
. étroits et plus « protégés ". Il Y a bien sûr des marchés.,virtu~~ La situation ,de monopole a toujours 'e u les faveurs des
~',

I~
. pour les marchandises, le capi~al et les différepts types de puisqu'ils peuvent définir .une marge relativement ortante
- CI)
main-d'œuvre. Mais on observe également avec le temps. qu'il
,
entre le coût de production et le prix de vente, et

, VI
, .' .
",
de ce
existe tin seul marché virtuel mondial pour tous les faéteurs de pro-' fait, des rilveaux de profit élevés. Les monopoles parfaits bien
• •
duction malgré les barrières qui l'empêchent de fonctionner libre- 'SÛItrès difficiles à instaurer, milis ce n'est pas le cas des m
ment. On peut comparer ce marché théorique glo~al .à un alman~ poles. Le plus important est d'avoir l'appui de l'appareil 'un État
qui attire tous les producteurs et acheteurs et dont la force d'attrac~ . relativement fort, capable d'instaurer un quasi-monopole. Il exiSte
,
tion est un facteur politique permanent des déclsions de chacun , de nombreuses façons de procéder. L'une des plus élémerltaires est
_ les ~tats, les entreprises, les ménages, les classes et les groupes de

, le système des brevets, quI protège les droits d'une " in ention,.
statut (ou identités). Ce marché-là est réel dans la mesure où il pour' un: certain nombre d'années. C'est ainsi que les roduits
Influence toute décision, même s'il ne fonctionne jamais 'pleln~­ ~·· nouveaux It deviennent les plus coûteux pour le conso ateur et
ment et librement (I.e. sans perturbation). Le marché parfaiteméht . les plus rémunérateurs pour leur producteur. Les brevets ne sont'
libre constitue une idéologie, un mythe qul'exerce une lnfIuenée évidemment pas toujours respectés ou flnissent de toute façon par
._ certes contraignante, mais lamais une réalité quotldienné. .' ,' .' expirer mais,' globalement" ils préservent la situation de
Sl le marché parfaitement libre n'est pas une réalitéquoti-. , quasi-monopole pendant un certain temps. Les produits protégés
par brevet demeurent en général en situation de quasi-monopole
car il peut y avoir des produits similaires mais non brevetés sur le •

dans la mesure-o;';"ù;;'l~ capitalisme ne peut certainement pas fonc-


marché. C'est pourquoi ces produits de pointe (i.e. des produits


et où les capitalistes eux-mêmes'témoignent .nouveaux et qui représentent une part·importante de l'ensemble du,
de leur attachement aux march~ libres. . mondial des mêlIchandises) s'apparentent en gén,éral à un
n'ont libres,.
, , .'.' 9!i~9Pole plus qu'à un.monopole absolu. Les oligopoles s0-l1t cepen-
libres. La raison en'.l!st, . i' .. ', suffisamment efficaces pour permettre des niveaux ~e profit-
Le systême-monde modeFm comme lconomie-monde cap~talfste
c o"",,,n,dTfl le monde

c" élevés, surtout lorsque les entreprises s'associent entre elles pour , Î ' Mals, s~ les quasi-mon opoles s'autodétruisent, lis subsistent suffi-
co
n , ; samment longtemps (disons u ne trentaine d'années) ,pour per-
0
c:
réduire la concurrence.
~
v> Les brevets ne constituent pas la seule façon pour les ttats de l me~re ,à ceux qui les contrôlent d(accumuler un cap,~tal

r-
- i conSIdérable. Et quand un quasi-monopole cesse d'exister, ceux-ci
~
créer des quasi-monopoles. Il Y en a d'autres: les restrictions gou-
, investis.sent leur capital dans de nouveaux produits ou de qouv.elles
'"-- '
~ vernementales à l'importation et à l'exportation (ce qu'on appelle
" ind1,1Stries de pointe. Se met en place ainsi un ,cycle des prqduits de
-
<n
les mesures protectionnistes), les subventions publiques et les allè-
'"< gements fiscaux, ou encore la capacité d'un État puissant à utlliser
l polp.te ; leur durée de vie est relatiyement courte, .mais Id'autres ,
,
1 prennent le relais en perman en ce. Le jeu peut donc
"
,
la force pour empêcher les plus faibles d'instaurer des mesures
,

:c , Quant aux eD,trep~ises déchues, ~lles d eviennent d; en plus


$ allant à l'encontre du protectionnisme. Les États peuvent aussi
,

<n
~ « concurrentielles », c'est-à-dire d e m oins en moins nr
Nous observons ce schém a très régulièr!!me~t. , ,
A louer le rOle d'acheteurs à grande échelle et aècepter de payer des
-co
N
prix excessifs. Enfin, les contraintes réglementaires qui pèsent sur
, , Les entreprises sont les acteurs principaux du marché.
~

, les producteurs peuvent être assez faciles à intégrer pour les plus
8
co
,
gros d'entre eux. mais paralysantes pour les plus petits: cette asy-
, en gén,é ralles concurrentes d'autres entreprises Df
même marché virtuel. Elles son t également j!I1 ~onfllt avec
sur le
entre-
~

prises auxquelles elles achètent leurs intra~ts et avec


c: métrie entraîne la disparition des petits producteurs et augmente
x aux-
-<n-
<n
donc le degré d'oligopole. Les modalités d'intervention d'un Éti!-t quelles elles ven dent leurs produits. Ce jeu est celui de féroce
v>
dans le marché virtuel sont si variées qu'elles constituent un fac-
, -
- rivalité intercapitallste ; seul le .plus fort et le plus habile sort.
teur essentiel pour déterminer les prix et les profits. Sans ces •inter- Rappelons-nous que la faillite ou le rachat par une ,plus
ventions, le système capitallste ne pourrait pas se développer, donc puissante sont le pain quotidien des entreprises Tous
,
survivre. " , , les entrepreneurs capitalistes ne réussissent pas à du
,.,, Il.y a néallmojOs, dans lloe . êconomle-rnOx:lde capi~~~~~_e!. ~.~ capital. Loin de là. Si tel était le cas, chacun ne pourrait
,
caractérlst!!Lues intrinsèqu~Lqui v~n~ ~ l,'~~contre des ~onopoles. qu' un minuscule capital. C'est pourquoi les « échecs" des
fui Plenrl~I lleu, l'avantage d'u~ producteu~~;;nSitUatioïî.(fe-mofi6" entre_p~ses .éliminent les concurrents les plus faibles et une
'pol.t.Sigiiïfl'ë' ia,i:ièitë pâur_IJO-.autrf ï'iiôdüéieur;:i:es-peiaâ:nts vont " \ , condItion sme qua non de l'açC1lmulation illimitée du
' . _
C' t
es
, .. bien évidemment se battre politiquement pour obtenir la suppres- , ce qw explique le processus permanent de concentration
sion des avantages des gagnants. Ils peuvent le faire dans le cadre çapitallstlque. , .
_~ d'une lutte politique au sein des États où la
se trioudvectrntinles Pdroductech~ " ,r;:~ais vr~i,
il ,Y a, il est une contrepartie à la croissance des en~e-
" monopollstiques. Ils invoquent pour ce es 0 es umar e ',," pnses, q~ elle soit h OrIZontale (par l'extension d'une même gamme
Ubre et apportent leur soutien aux responsables politiques sou- , de ~rodults), verticale (par l'intégration des différentes étapes de la
',' , ,,~ame de producti on ) ou « ,o rthogonale» (par le développement
Ils persuadent d'autres États de défier le monopole sur un marché > d autres produits sans relation étroite) . Car si une taUie accrue
mondial en moblllsant leur pouvoir pour soutenir les producteurs de baisser les coUts grâce aux économies d'échelle, elle aug-
concurrentiels. Les deux méthodes sont utilisées. ""
J\Y..ec.le.JeJ.!l".,Es,
~.
, ' ris u ' le~ coUt~ d e gestion et de coordination et mulliplie les
_~ute- formé de quasi-monopole se trou!.,: <.!~~c <iémantelée par . :" q es d inefficacite/organj.satlonnelle. Ces contradictioI}s expli-
de Ïlouveaux prooucteurÙü!' le-marché. ' - ,, .' quent les va-et-vient de la taille des en treprises, qul grossissent puis
, ,

"
,
,
,
50
, Le sysr~me·mollde modeme comme économie-monde capitallstt 51,
,
,

,
c
CD " se contractent et inversement. Mals il ne s'agit pas là d'un simple à tuer la poule aux œufs d'or. Cependant,'les conséquences étant à
C"')
0 phénomène cyclique. Au contraire, on a assisté au niveau mondial moyen -terme et les avantages à court terme, le pillage existe encore
c:
, ln
~

, à une augmentation tendandelle de la taille des entreprises, selon fréquemment dans notre système-monde moderne, même si nous
-!<
r-
un processus historique qui ressemble au mécanisme d'une clé à nous disons « scandalisés» quand cela arrive à nos oreilles. La ban-
-'"-
~
rochet: deux pas en avant, un pas en arrière, continuellement. La queroute d'Enron, après des opérations financières qui ont vu
ct>
• ume d'une entreprise a également des conséquences politiques passer d'énoImes sommes d'argent entre les mains de
'"< directes: les entreprises de grande taille ont un poids politique plus ,
managers, n'est rien autre que du pillage, Quand des
":r

Important, mals sont aussi plus vulnérables à une agression poli~ sont « privatisés,. et deviennent la proprii!té' d'hommes
mafieux qui quittent rapidement le pays en laissant
,i tique - de la part de leurs concurrents, employés et consommateurs. \
Mals, là encore, le gain est similaire au fonctionnement d'une clé à : entrèprises dévastées, c'est aussi du pillage.
eux des
certes,
,

rochet: toujours plus d'influence polltlque avec le temps. . mais seulement aprês avoir causé diimportants dégâts au de
,

. production mondial et donc à l'économie-monde


, ,
,
L'articulation centre-périphérie •

et les cycles de Kondratleff " " q1,lement et en termes de propriété - . ' La rela-
, , ' ,
travail au sein d'une économie-monde procès centraux tendent à se concentrer
, dans pour
. •, la y cœur de l'activité productive ; les

pérlph611e.~e.,c.Qri,.Ç,Wt,c]_~_centre-périphérie, on l'a vu, es~~n
, ,

·çom;~pÙelationneLquLll;!'\x"Q!iF~·p!~éa~~~!:,l_à~.!ê~.~ ~rocès ,
,
, d~Rl'9d!l~on: ce niveau,étant directement lié au degré ~e.f02$en­
tratIon monopOiIsHque; les' procès de produètlon centraux sont , périphériques, à condition de garder à,Yesptif ~ dés!- ,

,, ' ~4« sa .
, Par o.pposltiop. les procès périphériques sont ceux q~ S90t, ~jll- \ , où il existe un équilibre relatif entre les centraux et les pro-
• s Dans l'échange, les produits concurrentiels se .• i dïiits ' périphériques, pe~vent être qualifiés de .. semilpérlphé-

: trouvent dans une situation de faiblesse face aux produits des . : " riques ». Ils ont, com me nous le vètrUliS, 'des caractéristiques
quasi-monopOles. D'où un flux peunanent de plus-value des pro- . : spécifiques. 9n n e Reut pas p arler, en revanche, de
ducteurs de produits périphériques vers les producteurs de produits ':. procès de semi-périphériques. " , . . .>
centraux. C'est ce qu'on appelle l'échange inég?l. . , Les , on l'a vu à s'épuiser, ce qul
o
• • " L'~change Inégal n'est certainement pas le seul moyen de aujourd'hui un procès de production central deviendra demain '
'&: d~lacer du capital accumulé des réglons politiquement faibles vers procès périphérique. L'histoire économique du système-monde
'w........... les MglOns polltiquement fortes. Le pillage était aussi très souvent est ainsi marquée par un n ombre considérable de:déplace-
.... au début de l'incorporation de nouvelles réglons ' à l'éco!- ou-de déclassements de produits, vers les pays semi-pérlphé-
(par les conquistadores et l'or des AIné. ' 'en premier lieu, puis vers les p ays périphériques. SI, vers
! le est un processus autodestructeur, qui rev.iellt , ' laproduction de 'textiles était m anifestement le p~ocès de
,
.Lt !ystmrt-mondt modtmt comm. kcnomlt-mOl!~ ca.e!tolfstz
52 Comprendre 1. monde

considèrent COIIl,~ç t)n m~yen de parve~. au « géveloppement


""0 production central majeur, li étalt, en 2000, l'un des procès de pro-
C
al ~cono.m1que ~. Dans cet effort, la concurrence ne·vient pas d~ i~ts
duction périphérique les moins rentables. En 1800, ces textiles
b' centraux, mais des aU,tres États seml-périphérique~ qui cherchent,
c n'étalent produits que par très peu de pays (principalement l'Angle-
ül, eux !lus.~~ , ~ accu~j]]jr ~es,çlélocalisations - et tous les can<;lidats !le
r- terre et certains pays du nord-ouest de l'Europe) ; en 2000, Ils
pel,lvent etre satisfaits simultanément et au même niveau. Au début
étalent produits dans presque tout le système-monde, en particulier
du xx.r, ~~de,la.C9rée du Sud, le Brésil et l'Inde sont entré~de toute
les textiles bon marché. Cette dynamique s'est répétée pour beau-
• • évidence dans la catégorie des États semi-pérlphériques ..

<: coup d'autres produits - comme l'acier, l'automobile ou même les

. aux puissantes entreprises exportent des produits l'acier,
""0
• ordinateurs, Ce type de déplacement n'influe pas sur la structure du
l'autQmobile ou le.s produits pharmaceutiques) vers des péri-
l
système. En iooo, d'autres procès centraux (par exemple, l:aérpnau-
2"
ro phériques et importent égale~ent des zon~s centrales des
tique ou le génie génétique) se concentraient dans quelques pays.
....
~

plus .c avancés ». , ~,
Il y a toujours eu de nouveaux procès centraux pour remplacer ceux
dissolJ.·~
'.' , !. .-.... '
N

al
,
L'éyolutionnormale ,pes industries de potD.te -la
~
qui devenaient trop concurrentiels et qui quittaient leur ttat
• tlon des quasi-monopc,>les - explique les rythmes cycliques -l'éco-
§ d'origine. ~om.ie-monde. Une,grande industrie dejlointe sera un
, al~
Le rôle d'un ttat à l'égard des procès productifs est très variable
C
x
m.a jeur à l'expansion de l'économie-monde et entraînera accu-
et.dépend de la part respective des procès centraux et périphériques
-
ro
ro présents sur son territoire. Les ttats forts, où la part des premiers est
~U\atiôn, considérable de capitaL Mais elle permettra une
'" fle~,e ~ugm~t~ti~n du nombre d'emplois d(.lns
lÙS largement majoritaire, ont tendance à en faire beaucoup pour
IIl,9nde,.des ~alair~ plus. élevés et une impression de rela-
1 protéger les quasi-monopoles des procès centraux. Les ttats les plus
~yt;.prospérité, L'entrée de plus en plus d'entreptises sur marché
faibles, où c'est la part des procès périphériques qui est dominante,
• Pp,.quasi~monopole initial engendrera.u~e « . . " (i.e.
n'ont en général pas la capacité d'agir sur la division axiale du tra-
Wle p~oduction ex<;essive par rapport à la demande à un
vaiL Us sont donc contraints d/accepter leur sort. •

., 11l0 !llent dox;mé) et, .par conséquent, un,e con~ence . par les
Les ttats seml-périphérlques, où la combinaison des,procès de
prix qui réduira le tauX de profit, À la lon&u~, les produits
production est relativement équilibrée, se trouvent dans la situa~ . '
~:ilccumuieront et 1(.1 produ.ctlon ralentira. . 1

: . Qu~nd cela se produit, nous observons généralem!nt une


tion la plus difficile. Avec la pression des ttats centraux qui pèse sur \
eux et celle qu'Us imposent aux ttats périphériques, lis cherchent
lI)1lexlOn de la courbe cyclique de l'éc9nomie-r.nonde. On parle
avant tout à· ne pas glisser vers la périphérie et à progresser vers le
!'lors de« stagnation JO ou de «récession » , Le taux de ch()m~ge aug-
centre. Ces deux tâches, difflciles, nécessitent toutes deUX une
dans.1e monde entier. Les producteur~ cherchent alors à
intervention importante de l'ttat sur le marché m,ondial. Ce sont
~
n . les coûts afin de cpnserver leur part de marché mondial. Ùn
J> ces ttats sem1-périphériques qui font appel aux politiques protec-
, Res mécani~IPes, utlllsés est la délocalisation de procès de produc-
...
,
Cl

a>
tionniStes les plus ouvertement agressives. Us espèrent ainsi.·pro,
téger ...leurs procès de production de la concurrence des entreprises
t!-qp. vers des .zones à plus b.as coûts de main-d'œuvre, i.e.Jes pays
1Ct>
N extérieures les plus puissantes, tout en essayant d'améliorer l'efflca~ . . , Ces cp,angem,ents exercent une. pr~sslon à la
.......
W
N dté des entrèprises implantées chez eux afin d'être plus CQncurren,~
.., .'·.baisse
" , . 'sur le niveau . des sa1ai res d es procès de production·rrestant '.
. . da ~, !)-.s 1.es zones centrales" La,demande effective,. qui manqu 't à i'ori-
tiels sur le marché mondial. Ils accueillent· à bras ouverts les .'
".; .~nç à ,çiluse de la surproduction, manque désormais en rais n• de la
délotllisltions de produits anciennement de pointe"qu"Us
Le systrn.e-mond. moderne comme économie-monde capltaiisf"
Comprmdre 1. monde
le pourcentage augmente de façon linéaire dans le temps; 'ëela
diminution des revenus des consommateurs. Dans une telle situa-
tion, tous les producteurs ne sont pas nécessalrement perdants. La
signifié par définitiôn '(puisque l'ordonnée est en'pourcentage) qu'u
• s'arrêtera à un moment donné, atteignant l'asymptote de 100 %.
concurrence est évidemment exacerbée au sein des oligopoles
Ainsi, en cherchant à faire s'élever la courbe pour résoudre les pro-
affalblls concernés par ces procès de production: les entreprises des
blèmes de moyen terme, on peut se rapprocher des problèmes de
ttats centraux s'affrontent violemment, souvent avec l'aide des
- , long terme qui apparaissent à l'asymptote. 1
-'" sttuctures étatiques. Certains ttats et certains producteurs parvien-
0> Prenons un exemple de ce fonctio'nnement dans une
<
, nent à « exporter le chômage» d'un État central vers les autres. 11 y
"0 monde capitaliste. L'un des problèmes que nous avons
• Il une contraction globale de l'économie-monde, mais certains États
l da'n s 'les cycles de Kondratieff est la perte de rentabilité procès
$co centraux et surtout certains États semi-périphériques peuvent s'en , '
de production. importants à un moment donné, ce qui
·
..,.
~
sortir assez bien .
· N
- aprovoquer leur délocalisation afih de réduire les coûts. assiste
r.
,
CP , simultanément à une haUSse du chômage dans les zones
~ industries de pointe quasi-monopolIstiques et contraction lors de
o
. ï'affaibliss~ment, dès quasl-n,.qn9Poles ,:- Re~t ,ê~re re'pré~ên:~€ par
g .. qui fragilise la demande effective mondiale. Les rédui-
,_IID~ cou,kt: enchaînant le~ phases dites A (expansiopl. et B (stagna-
sent individuellement leurs couts, mais il leUr est
"' . " , , ' - . beaucoup plus difficile dé trouver suffisamment ' de
, Hon). On parfois~l':::.:.::::.:.=
teurs. Une façon de rétablir un niveau de demande mon-
:=,-----

,
de Kon
~
diaie adéquate est d'augmenter les salaires de la dans ,
du xx' s!ècJ~. Jusqu'àprésent, la durée d'un cycle de Kondratiëff a lès zones centrales, ce qui est souvent arrivé à 1 fin des \,
.- été de cinquante à soixante ans environ. Leur dUrée exacte dépend phases B du -cycle de Kondratieff. On crée ainsi la \

des mesures politiques prises par les ttats pour pr€venir une phase B '"' nécessaire pour fournir un nombre suffisant de :01 de \
et, plus particulièrement, des mesures appliquées pour se remettre , nouveaux produits de pointe. Mais des salaires plus /
de la phase B, afin de stimuler une nouve:le phase A grâce à de nou- évidemment se traduire par des profits réduits pour les
,neurs. À l'échelle'de la planète, cette perte peut 'ê tre en
velles industries de pointe.
La situation qui suit la fln d'un cycle de Kondratieff n'est jamais \ ,, augmentant dans d'autres parties du monde le pool de .
• identique à sa situation Initiale. En effet, }es mesur~~ prises P?ur salariés disposés à travailler pour des salaires plus faibles ) Pour ce
sortir dE; ,la phase B et reveni,r .à une ph~se A ~h~J:}.&.:~t?e f~çon sigpi- fa~e, il f~ut faire entrer dans ce pool de nouvëaux travaill~urs pour
"ficative les du L!!s changements visant qUi ce faible salaire représentera en fait une"augmentation de leur
~ les d'une " revenu réel. Mais, à chaque fois que de nouvelles personnes vien-
~, Inadéquate l'économie-monde (point essentiel pré- nent grossir ce pool salarié, le nombre de celles qui lui restent exté-
"serv~r la posSibÙHi.Ç,I~!g!iacêl)mulati~Ô jlliîïîlilê"''ilÙ .capital) -
Cl
..,.
, rieures diminue évidemment, jusqu'au jour où il n'yen aura
a>
,CD rétabIiSsêntun équil1bre à moyen terme mais so,ot la "source de pro.: ' :, pratiquement plus. ~ous aurons alors atteint l'asymptote. Nou ,.....-/
W
N
...... 'blèmes à long terme pour la structUre. Le résultat est cê'qu'on'peut .. : . r~viendrbns sur ce pomt dans le dernier chapitre, quand nous abor-
'~.,! '
W
par une courbe dont l'aMCiss~ ." ,derons la crise structurelle du XXI' siècle. :
. . r~

représente le temps et l'ordonnée un phénomène ,défini comme la • • ,


1
proportion d'un groupe présentant une caractéristique donnée. 51
,
.1

,
Le syst~me·monde modeme comme lconomie·monde capitaliste
Compr~ndre I~ monde ,

."
prolétaires et seml-prolétalres : . '.' . , mutuelles et une identité commune, mals qui ne partagent pas ,en ~
C ,
CP
les Impératifs c~ntrlldlctolres du système cllpltlllls~e r
général leurs revenus. En tout cas, celles qui pratiquent un partage .....;
n
o pes reyenus ne conviennent pas au système capitaliste. .
,
V>
C
~ , 1

r- Un système capitaliste n~çessite à l'évidence des travalileur~ qui _. intéressons-nous d'abord à .ce que recouvre le terme «revenus ,..
_.
cr ~
f?,~!nis~ent la ma.ltl'd-\:etIVre-des ~~d":.pro;ductiôri, 'bù dit sou- Il, existe ~ommll11é,ment . cinq nrpe,s <le reyenllS dans le . ~stème-
'"--
~

vent que ces travailleurs sont des prolétaires, c'estTà-dire de~ s~larié~ . m0lël,,:!e, Il!9deme, Eratiquement-tous les ménageli. ~Lar,.g!LIe.:het­
ro

qui n'ont pas d'autres ressources que la vente de leur force de tra- chent et obtiennent: bien ' des
'"<

vail (car Ils n'ont ni terre, ni réserve d'argent ou de, bi~!1s). Cela n'est qui est un point essen " Il Y a

, l
pas vraiment exact. Car Il n'est pas,r.éaliste d'imaginer ies travall-, extérieure en
,$
, ro une en
...
~

N

leurs comme,
. . des Individus isolés; presque tous sont' liés à d'autres
personne~ dans des « m~nages~largis " (households :) r~groupant ~, peut
g~éral des gens de~ deux seXeS et d'âge différent: Nombre de ceS,' être ou ou à L'avan-
structures, S~I)S doute la plupart, sont des famUl~s, mais les liens jage de la rémunération salariée, pour liemployeuf, est la
familiaux ne constituent pas la seule façon de sou,der un ménilg e (la durée du travail est déterlllinée par les besoins de 1
,
élargi. Ses membJes partagent souv~nt une résidence c;:ommune, . même si les syndicats, les autres formes d'organisation
mals moins fréquemment qu'on ne le pense,. leurs et les législations gouvernementales ont souvent cette
, 1 • '.

,Vn ménage ~argl c1asslque comprend entre trois et d~ pe;~ 1 . ..' '. flexibilité. Néanmoins, les employeurs sont fort dans
,
sonnes q~ rassemblent diverses sources de revenus sur une lo~gue. l(obligation de financer à vie les travailleurs. ce sys-
pérlod,e (environ trente ans) afin de subvenir ensemble, ~ l,\urs, tème présente un inconvénient pouf,l'employeur : s'il a de
besoills, En r~gle générale, ces structures ~e soIJ,.t pas égali~es, et plus de :ttavail, la main-d'œuvre n'est pas toujours en
elles ne sont évidemment pas tmmuables (les gens naissent et meu:, particulier en période de croissance économique. dit,
rent, intègrent ou quittent un ménage élargi, et tous ~~illissent, dans le système du travail salarié/l'employeur échange la
changeant,ainsi leur rôle économique), Un ménage élargi se carac- . , de,ne pas payer les ouvriers pendant les périodes de ' activité
,

érise par une sorte d'obligation d'apporter un revenu au groupe et .. . .' . contre la garantie d 'une main-d'œuvre di~onible à tout m,oment.
-":de,partager la consommation qu'Il permet. Les ménages élargis sont· -!' ,L'activité de suhsiHance.est la denxl,ème sourq! .éy.w.~nte de
donc très différents .des dans, tribus ou autres entités. Importantes ,re,venus d'un rn:énag~ ~l~~gi. Cette catégorie de"travail est en 'génér~
, .'
et étend\les, qui partagent souvent des obligations de sécurité. définie de manière trop restrictive, en la limitant à celui de la popu-
lation rurale pOUf se nourrir en cultivant la,terre et pour produire
Vl •
0 les biens de première nécessité qu'elle consomme, sans recourir au
1.

, ('")
>, l [)an. le ,ocabulalre konomlque classIque, terme hOl/smold cocrespana en fnnçali à
, marché. Cette forme de production de subsistance connaît évidem-
0, celuI de «ml.,a,e., qui d~,lgne ,t[lctement la famille nucl~aI[e. Comme l'auteur
....
en
l'opUque Id, fi lUi 0 donn~ une acception plus large que noUS avons choisi de ce fait de ,

:, .nient un fort déclin dans le système-monde moderne - au point
00 traduire par « mtoage ~largI. - plutOt que. foyer " qUI, comme· ménage " [envole l ,
1 l'kit. d'une unI~ deUeu de dsldence (c'~t la partie d~ la famille réunie autour du m!me, , q\l'onla dit souvent en voie de disparition. Mais une dé,flnition
.....
N
• feu .). OIlU \'aèttptlon de l'auteur, fi s'agit bien d'un. ménage oing!. (comme on dIt
....
W
• t.m!lle tIAqIe .) : c'est un mmage au scru où il y. mise en commun des [e,iqurces et j restrictive passe à côté de toutes les autres formes d'activité de
COJU('mm.tIon elle awsi commune, mais fi est tlargt au ,ens où il regroupe de, membres' "'S~~sistance qui se développent.de pius en plus dans leimonde
dont mtdent wnporalnment ou dunblement ll'exUrleur du foyer (le cas type
..' m,o derne. Quand quelqu'un fait lui-même sa cuisine ou lave sa
fIIat l'tmJF) [NdT). •
• 1
- Le système-monde moderne comme économie-monde capitnllste 59,
Compmldrt It monde

vaisselle, c'est une activité de subsistance. De même quand un petit mariage ou d'un décès - ces transferts entre ménages se 'Pratiquent
propriétaire assemble dans son pavillon un meuble aCheté en kit, en général sur une base de réciprocité (ce qui, en'princlpe, ne pro-
ou quand un professionnel envole un e-mail de son ordinateur sans cure pas de revenu supplémentaire dans une vie mais aide à
recourir aux services (payés) de la secrétaire qu'Il employait aupara- résoudre les problèmes de trésorerie). Les revenus de transfert peu-
vant pour dactylographier son courrier. Cette,produ~!?n d: subsis- vent également provenir des dispositifs d'aide publiquel(auquel cas
du revenu des ménages élargis •
la pelsonne récupère
,
de façon différée l'argent de impôts ou
dans les zones

cotisations sociales, dans· une proportion qul dépend de
l'ampleur des péréquations), de dIspositifs (qui se tra-
" (petty dulsent à.tenne par des bénéfices ou des pertes), voire la redistri-.
commodlty production). Une marchandise simple est un biehproduit bution d'une classe économique à une autre: ,

au sein du groupe, mais vendu sur un marché. Ce type de produc- La mise en commun de tous ces types de revenus parles
tion est encore très répandu dans les zones les plus pauvres de l'éco- •

nomie-monde, mais il n'est pas entièrement abseht allleurs (dans moyenne. L'homme adulte a un emploi travaille
les zones riches, c'est ce qu'on appelle souvent le travail '" free- peut-être aussi au noir), la femme adulte est à l'exté-
lance .. ). Cette activité Inclut donc la vente de biens fabrtqués au rieur du foyer,. le fils adolescent distribue des journaux la fille de
· ,
sein du ménage élargi Cy compris des pr,o duits InteUectuels), mais douze ans fait du baby-sitting. A cela 's'ajoute la
aussi le petit commerce: lorsqu'un jeune garçon vend dans la ruè grand-mère qui touche une pension de veuvage et occasion-
des cigarettes ou des allumettes à l'unité à des consommateurs qui nellement un enfant en bas âge, en plus 'de la de la
n'ont pas les moyens d'acheter le paquet habituel, il pràtiquè la pro- chambre au-dessus du garage. Imaginons un foyer
duction de marchandises simples, consistant simplement en , ouvrièr mexicain, où l'homme adulte est un clandestin

l'espèce à défaire les ·paquets et à vendre leur contenu dans un aux États-Unis et envoie régulièrement de l'argent, la
.
marché de rue. . .. son potager, l'adolescente travallle comme (rému-
• •
Le quatrième type de revl!p.!l.s est 1il.l~n,!e : elle peut provenir

neree en argent et en nature) dans une riche fami1le et
d'lÎivesfusements d~' c~pitau~importants (par exemple pour la son petit frère vend de petits articles à la sauvette le marché
location d'appartements, voire de chambres), de privilèges géogra- " a~rès ' l'école (ou au lieu d'aller à l'école)_ Nous pouvons tous Ima-
, phiques (un droit de péage sur un pont privé) ou de droits de pro~ · gmer.toutes sortes de combinaisons de ce genre. 1

prlété (revenus d'obligations, Intérêts d'un compte épargne). Ce , ,,; En p~aqq,}.lt~, l~ .plupa~. d~~ ~~.n:~ges élargis bénéficient èe ces,
revenu n'est le d ' u n e :, .: 5in q re~en~~. Mais il faut souligner que la nature des revenus
,.
c._Sœ qui déflnlt la rente. ' , . '" '~~portés par leurs membres dépend largement de l'âge et du genre,
,: ' Gar·la'plupart des 'tâches correspondantes sont liées à l'un ou à
dlDS l~ monde le « revenu de ,transrert ". Il s'agit d'urt . , •~'autre. Le salaire d'un travail a longtemps été réservé aux hommes
... • individu reçoit en vertu d'un engagement d'un tiers à · . dé quatorze/dix-huit ans à soixante/soixante-cinq ans.lfactivité de
;J.
" _.1(41
n peut prOY(il1r de personnes proches du ménage élargi; ou la production marchande simple revenaient en
les dons ou les prêts qui s'effectuent de généra~ , partie aux femmes, aux enfants et aux personn~ âgées. Les
notamment à l'occasion d'une naissance, <run • de l'État étaient le plus souvent liées au jniveau de
,

-
Le système·monde moderne comme konomie·moncfe..capitaUsœ 61.
60 Comprendre II! monde

salaire, sauf pour certains transferts dépendant du nombre employés moins cher se volt contrecarré par l'~pératif collectl.f de
-c
c: dével?pper ,î! long !enile Uile dt:IDllnde r~~g~ s!gÏÏitîëïïfhiej lans
co d'enfants. Nombre d'actions politiques menées depuis un siècle ont
b' l'économie-monde afin d'accroître les,déboucl;lés de leurs produits.
c d'allieurs visé à réduire le rôle du genre dans ces définitions.
,
~
." l}V!!elnemps~'ces-deüXfàctéÜÏs trèSèllff&,eiifS s~1:'tatln IseLft parune
'" Comme nous l'avons mentionné, <l'importance relative . de <les,
-r-
cr
~
.
~..."..
La ,u
des lente au~entatlon du nombre de ménages prol~taires. Le constat
de cette tendance à Ion? terme contredit évide-mment l'ipée tr~di­


- deux
types d~e~::: ,,-
'"<»
,

::::;=;:.;;::;,:l;a moitie ou tionn,el)e, ,des. ~,ciences sociales selon laquelle le système


, . '
<
• ~" s:urt~\1t besoin de travailleurs prolétaires. Mais, si tel le cas,
1

du revenu global sur une de vie, et. ceux où, .. . ,


,
'

qualifierons la premlère..de ,e ,ménage c~mm,ent exp,liquer lefait que, après quatre ou c:in,q ans, la 1
prolétaire. (car Il semblé dépendre' engrande partie du salaire: ce' ,
proportion
, •
de travailleurs prolétaires
u'elle ne l~rst? PlutÔt que d'envisager la
1;
ne
••
soit pas plus

.
'
comme ;::, 1,
qui correspond à la définition originelle du prolétaire) et la 1 •

e énage semi-prolétaire • (car il est certain ses une nécessité du capitalisme, mieux vaut la comme
l'objet d'une lutte qui s'est traduite par une' montée lente •
regu-
membres perço vent -quand même des revenus salariaux). On
'---;-. remarque ainsi qu'un employeur a tout intérêt à recruter du per- liche - urie tendance séculaire - vers, son asymptote.
/ ', ,
,
""·sonnelissu d'un ménage seml-prolétaire. Car lorsque le •

salarié constitue la part majoritaire des revenus d'un ménage élargi, •

il existe inévitablement un plancher à la rémunération du salarié: Le rôle majeur des assignations Identltalres ,

,,

le montant du'salaire doit être au moins proportionnel à sa part'


dans les ressources permettant la subsistance du groupe. C'est.ce ·n
que l'on peut appeler un salaire minimal absolu. Si, au contraire, le
salarié falt partie d'un ménage semi-prolétaire, il peut recevoit un n'ont ~..! Par

alaire Inférieur à ce salaire minimal absolu sans pour autant travailleurs ont une
tompromettre la survie du groupe - le manque· à gagner peut être , augmentation de leurs salaires; de la même façon, les
<;:))
compensé par d'autres sources de revenus, apportées en général par ont intérêt à s'opposer à ces augmentations. Mais, comme vient
'autles membres du ménage élargi. Dans ce cas, ces derniers trans-o ...:..,_ de le voir, les salariés sont in~tailés dans leur ménage élargf.lAssocier
les travailleurs à une dasse particulière et les autres membres de leur
fètent à l'employeur du salarié une plus-value supplémentaire à.
celle transférée par ce salarié lul-même, en pelllle~t à l'em- /m'énage à une autre n'a pas de sens._ Ce sont les ménages élar is et
--
ployeur de le rémunérer en deçà du salaire minimum absolu. • ~on les individus qui sont inscrits dans des c!ass~s ~od~i~s ::i~; in' l-
, Vl
les pré-', " ,vidus qui veulent changer de c!as~e"èonstate:nferïgenêrar qiitilsdoi-
§, ", 9 , ~ ,. ' aï ,; riaùtre.Ce
o, ==::..::is:.:.sus= de ménages
....0'> .' n~est pas facile, ma,is pas impossible. ' .. -.. ~
, 100 ,I Les ménages élargis peuvent s'inscrlrt! dans d'autres groupes que
.....
N

~ la mesure où elle se tradult par un mCjil-~ ~1<!sses,. Ils appartiennent également à des groupes de statut ou à

salaire. \dentités. (En,utilisant l'expression e groupe de statut" - tra-


de du concept wébérien de Stiinde -, on s'attache à t$ critère
les
.-- ,


Le système-monde moderne co ......e tconomfe-monde ~gp!taflste.
Comprmdrt! It! mOlldt!

." !égalise~ le~ , mariageshomosexuels, pa.r ~xempl'i!,,~' expll~e par


c: objectif: la perceptIon des autres; avec le terme « Identité », on met
.
CD
("') au contraire l'accent sur un critère plus subjectif: la façon dont les çette pression,à la réunlflcatiol1 de l'ideI),tité du ménage élargl, -;
g ménages élargis se perçoivent eux-mêmes, Mais, quel que soit le 'Pourquoi est-il si important!pour les ménages ~largls ,d~ main-
Vl,
tenir leur .appartenance de classe et leur identité de grol.\pe.de statut,
-~
r- terme utilisé, il renvoie bien à une réalité Institutionnelle,dans le
ou du moins dE! prétend,r.e.les main~enir? Cette homqgénéisatlon
système-monde moderne,) Les groupes de statut ou identités sont
aide, bien·sûr _à p~éserver la cohésion du ménage en t ant
es labels assignés, car, en règle générale, nous y sommes né,s (il est
Ç}\1'unité de rev~nus; ~t à éviter toute tendance qui serait
en effet très difficile de rejoindre volontairement un tel groupe,
; • 1 l ,
provoquée par de,s inégalités internes dans la dela
même si ce n'est pas Impossible). Les groupes de statut ou identités
consommation ,et dans les décisions à prendre, Il cepen-,
sont les nombreux« peuples» auxquels nous appartenons: nation,
dant de neyoir ,dans cette tendanc.e ,qu:" n de défense
race, groupe ethnique, communauté religieuse, mais également
interne,
, au groupe"Les à1 au sein des
genre et orientation sexuelle. La plupart de ces catégories sont sou-
structures du
veut considérées comme des reliquats anachroûlque~ d~s te.~ps , ,

, prémodemès, cë qin est'une erreur: l'appartellilft€e ~-UJl'groupe 'de


de base du
starut'ou â une Identité est ati contraire êai:attéhshque de [a'mouer-
- iuté. 'Loin de"dls araÙre ils . ~erui.eùt'd'autant plus d'Importance
~tèm i1 :m"P ct::. Ils Vi,sen t à nous ,apprendre, aux plu
jeunes, le respect des règles sodales auxquelles nous
,
censés
- qû'èla logique du système capitaliste se ren oree e llÏJ.pr gne eplus obéir. Ils so,nt bien évidemment secondés par, les éta-
-engll1s îiotre Vie qu'otldiëïîile.. . __ . tiques, telles que l'école e~ ,l 'armée, mais aussi les reli-
-, Si
~ les ménages élargis appartiennent à des classes et que tous leurs gieuses eUes m,édias. Aucune d'entre elles n'est aussi
,

memb~es font partie d'une même classe, en va-toi! de même pour


,
,
, efficace gu~ ' les ménages élargis. Mais qu'est-ce qui la
les groupes de statut ou identités? Une très forte pression pèse sur fa,çon dont ceux"ci sodalisent leurs ,membres 7 dépend en
,
les ménages élargis pour maintenir une identité commune, pour ~ande partie de la façon dont les fixent le
faire partie d'un groupe de statut ou d'une Identité. Ce poids pèse
, c'!clr,e des choix des ménages élargis, qui dépend de leur
tout partlClJ!lèrement sur les personnes en âge de se marier à qui on p-14S op moin,s grande homogénéité - autrement dit, rôle qu'ils
"r demande, ou on impose, de trouver un partenaire dans le même , !!stimey.t.jouer dans le système soda! historique. Un , élargi
,

. groupe de statut ou identité. Mais le mouvement permanent des qui E!S1 certain de son identité de groupe de statut - natipnalité, ori-
individus au sein du système-monde moderne et les pressions nor- gine, religion, ethnie, orientation sel'llelle - sait p~rfaitement
/ inatives qui poussent à ignorer l'appartenance à un groupe de statut ~omment socialiser ses membres. Celui q~i n'est pa~ StlI de son
, Identité mais qui essaie de s'en donner une, même si ~l1e est diffé-
,, entraIoé un mélange des identités premières au sein des ménages rente, peut y parvenir presque aussi bien, En revanche, la fonction
,/ . élargis. Cependant, ces derniers tendent toujours à évoluer vers une· socialisante sera presque impossible à mettre en œuvre pour le ____
\ Identité unique: de nouvelles identités de groupes de statut, sou-
l peine définies, émergent, permettant précisément d!homo- . ' : .,":' et,sa,survie en t,a nt que groupe sera même m,enacée. ,
!
.
"

la disparité Initiale et, de ce fait; de réunifier le ménagj! ' .


... ",Bi~1) sûr, l~s pouvoirs en place dans ,u n système social
, espèrent
Bug! en termes d'identité de groupe de statut. La démande dë-' .',' tp:\ljours..que,.la socialisation viendra de l'accep~ation des
, 1
,
Comp,end,~ l~ mond~ Le système..monde modeitlt comme économle..moncù capitaliste -
6S

hiérarctties Issues du système. Ils espèren t également que la socIali- dans 'la mesure où il possède lès moyens de preSsion les plus 'effi-
sation permettra l'assimllation des mythes, de la rhétorique et de caces (le droit, les avantages substantiels qu'il peut distribuer, le
la représentation dominante du système. Cela se produit en partie, pouvoir de mobiliser les médias). Mais est
mais lamals entièrement. Les ménages élargis socialisent aussi leurs ce sont les structures
- membres par la rébellion, le repli et la déviance: Jusqu'à un certain lés autres ~:..:;
,"'".
[t> point, cette socialisation antisystémlque peut se révéler utile au sys- si
'"<
,, tème, car elle offre une échappatoire aux esprits agités, à condition les groupes de statut ou identités s'affirment Us
que l'ensemble du système reste relativement équilibré. Dans ce cas, peuvent être en compétition avec d'autres groupes de ou
les socialisations négatives ne peuvent avoir qu'un impact limlté , identités antisystémiques qui leur contestent la ' d'allé-
sur son fonctionnement. Mals quand le système historique connaît geance. Ce tourbillon comp1exe des identités du élargi
une crise structurelle, ces socialisations antisystérniques 'peuvent sous·tend la sinuosité de ,la lutte 'politique au sein du système-
spudain tout déstabiliser. monde. ' .- , ~ ,
,

Nous avons jusqu'à présent évoqué l'identification par la classe


,
.,
et par le groupe de statut comme les deux possibilités d'expression - ,
, ,

,
\'- collective pour les ménages élargis. Mals il existe-bien sûr' une , Universalisme vs racisme et sexisme • ,


, , ,
grande variété de groupes de statut, et tous ne sont pas toujours par- ,

faltement en consonance les uns avec les autres. Par ailleurs, les dif- n Les relations "complexes entre l'économie-monde, entre-
férents types de groupes de statut sont devenus de plus en plus prises/
,
les ttats, , les' foyers élargis " et les « trans-
'nombreux au fil du temps. A la fin du xx' siède, des gens ont par âié'n ages" qullient'les membres des classes et des statut,
exemple commencé à affirmer leur orien!ation sexuelle; ce qui au , sont marqùées' par l'Importance de deux thèmes ues
cours des siècles précédents ne constitualt pas un point de départ ': , opposés (!Jien qu'unis de façon symbiotique), a'une
./pour construire un ménage élargi .. Dans la mesure où nous sommes . ,' part;
,
le racisme et le sexisme d'autre part.
tous impliqués dans une multitude de groupes de statut ou iden- estun
• tités, on peut se demander s'il existe un ordre de priorité des iden- ,.....-~ des
tités. En cas de conflit, laquelle devrait s'Imposer? Quelle est 'universalisme signifie généralement le de'pri-
l'Identité domInante? Un ménage élargi peut·il être homogène en V1Iégier l'appÙcation de normes générales de la même fad m à tous
fonction d'une identité mais pas d'une autre? La réponse est évi- les individus, et rejette par conséquent les particularismeS 'dans'les
demment positive, mals quelles sont alors les conséquences? principales sphères. Les seules règles considérées comme accep-
§.
,
, Intéressons-nous aux pressions exogènes qui pèsent sur les ta~les dans le cadre universaliste sont celles qui concernent directe- •

o,
, ménages élargis. La plupart des groupes de statut disposent de ,.' ' inent le bon fonctionnement du système-monde, défini au sens
....
'O'l
,
, N
,
co moyens d'expression institutionnelle qui dépassent ceux qui s'y " strict.
" '

..... reconnaissent. Ces Institutions pèsent directement sur les ménages formes .
W
CIO élargis, non seulement pour leur imposer leurs nonues ou leurs stra- ," ou à l'école, il signifie par ex~m
c =pl:-=e"; de
".,".- ,
\ tégies collectives, mals aussi pour qu'elles deviennent prioritaires.
'

, , posfes
. à des individus jugés ' sur leur expérience et 'campé-
parllll ces lnstltutions c trans-ménages ", l'ttat est le plus lnIluent , tences (ce qu'on appelle aussi la « méritocratie,,). au


Usysttme-monile modeme comme ttonomfi-mon.e capfliilfSfi ,
Comp,.t"dr~ Je monde

, "
c: ménage, Il implique notamment que.le. mariage se contrac~e par , , Nous ~(?f1najsso~s cett~ hiéqlIchie mondiale a,u sein du systèt;le-
• CD
amour et non en fonction de critères de fortune ou ethniques - ou monde mode~e : ceJ.l.e des hommes SUI les femmes, des Blancs 'sur
b' 1~,NOirS (?u les non-Blancs), des adultes SUI les enfants (ou l~ plus
~, de tout autre particularisme. En ce qui concerne l'État,.,I~se traduit
r-- en particulier par le suffrage universel et l'égalité de tous deyant la âges), des éduqués sur les moins formés, des hétérosexu~ls sur les
-ç;
homos~xuels, des ,bourgeois et des profession,nels surles o~vriers et,
-'" loi. Ces valeurs nous sontfamlllères, puisqu'on les ,retrouve réguliè-
epiln"d~la, population urbaine sur la population rurale. Lj!S hiérar-
rement dans les discours publics. Elles sont censées formel, l'élé-
• chies ,e~ques sont plu~ localisées, mais il y a dans ' pays
'"
< ment central de notre socialisation. Nous savons bien sür qu'elles
~ne, ~th~e domÙ).ante. Les ~érarchies religieuses sont
, ne sont pas également défendues dans les différents secteurs du,sys~ ,

II
ro tème-monde (nous Y reviendrons) et qu'elles sont lolp. si'être plei-
q'Wl pays à,l'.a utre mais, dans une zone par,tlculière, tout monde
te
ro nemént respectées en pratique. Mals elles sont cependant deven1te~
~!li~, ~equoi il retourne. ,L~.na~pnalisme se développ~ , par
....
N
la 1\1~~onqes,versélJlts « supérie~rs » qe c4aqu~ , peu,tse
le leitmotiv officiel de la modernité. , " ,
~~eJ: ajnsi la norme selon laqt!elle les hommes hétéro-
est une norme positive, c'est-à-dire que la plu- • , . J'

_ , ~~~els ~ppar~~nant à \l,n~ certaine ethnie et' à un gro,upe


et
, qO,r)~é sont les seujs à pouvqit être considérés comine 'authen-
Le racisme et le sexisme représentent . . . ' "
tiques nationaux.
des normes, mais des normes négatives,dans la mesure,Q,ù~la glu:, f,t ': \ '
,\ Cette description soulève plusieurs questions. Quel l'intérêt
part des gens les rejettent. Elles sont Immorales pour une grande
1,e , p~êcher l'universalisme tout en prati'q uant
.- majorité d'entre nous, mals restent néanmoins des nonnes. ~Ien
lisrue? Pourquoi l'anti-unlversalisme pr~nd-il des aussi
,
plus, on obserye que l'application des normes I).égatives du racisme
nwnbreuses? Cette contradiction est-elle un élément
-
et du sexisme est au moins aussi répandue (et le plus souvent bien
çu système-monde moderne? L'u~versalisme et'
\ davantage) 'que celle de la norme respectable de l'uni;:~~~allsme .
~me s'appliquent l'un comme i'autre au quotidien, mais des - -
.1. Cela peut sembler une anomalie. Mais ce n'en est pas ).me. " :-"
~~paces différents. L'u~lversalisme est le principe qul s' le,
- Attachons-nous au sens du racisme et du sex1sme. ,L'empl~i de
t;' ces deux termes ne s'est diffusé, que dans la seconde moitié du ,
~o~de - non pas les personnes les plus puls-
XX' slècie. Le racisme et le sexisme sont les manifestations d'un phé,
, ~antes, ni celles ,q ui composeI)-t la majorité des et des
....- nomène plus vaste qui n'a pas d'appellation particulière, mals qUt;
~ep.s ordinaires de toutes professions à travers le monde, mals un
l'on peut considérer comme un anti-unlversalisme 01.1 une,discrirW~
nation Institutionnelle active contre toutes les personne~, d'un.,
o::~oupe Inte~~édiaire d'individus qui sont à la tête de différentes
~~~ûôns ou'y"6ëètiperit aès postes ~l~. C~tte norm~ , . ~
même groupe de statut ou Identité. Pour chaque type d'identité, ily;
a un rang social. On peut s'en tenir ,à un classement rudimentaire;, " '

, La plus ou moins grande tal~e çle ce groupe,


en deux catégories, ou préférer une échelle plus élaborée. ~!lis ,il Y;
, pays, · de la place de celui-cl dans le système-
a toujours un groupe en haut de l'échelle et un ou plusie1,1Is',t,R,H~,::
en bas_ ~ hiérarchies apparaissent à la fois à un ""
Ew.n:~e ,e tqr ~~ situation po~itique intérieure: la position éco-
, du pays est f?rte" ce " ,est, m !~~
et local. Et, dans les deux cas, elles on~ une influ~nce
• • les
sur la vie des gens et sur le fonctIonnement de l'économle-m<?nq~ ' ", " ," norme ,dominante, même
,

, , ~gfl~\ ~anS cert~ines partie~ du système-mond~, illals~e à des


capitaliste. " •

,
Compnmdre le m onde Le système·monde moderne coltlme économie-monde capltalls~ 69

c" dysfonctionnements. Alors, des pressions pol1tiques '(au sein du sadaie. En réalité, elles s.~nt bien un moyçn. d'!rrtégration, mals à
co
(""")
oc pays et venant du reste du monde) s'ensuivent presque Immédiate- ct.~s.:a_~gs inférieurs. Ces nârme~~~~~~t pour justifier' ~t 'r~nforcer
ül, ment, afin de rétabl1r, dans la mesure du possible, les critères de les situatioriira'iIifènoriiê; ët même, de-f"açon perveÎse, pour les
r-
l'universalisme. rendre acceptables à ceux qui les vivent: les normes antl-universa-
Acela, Il y a deux raisons bien distinctes. D'une part, on . listes sont présentées comme des codifications de vérités naturelles
ct>
• dère que ,
donc et éternelles qui ne peuvent être affectées par des contingences
'"
<
• plus efficace, ce qui améliore les possibilités sociales. Non seulement elles sont présentées comme des :Vérités

d'accumuler' dÙ capitâl. C'est .. cettÙaison
J
que ê'eux quïéontrô- culturelles mais, implicitement ou même explicitement,
lént les des traits biologiquement déterm1nés du de
J>.
, suscitent bien sûr une certaine animositélors9:l1'ilS l'animal humain. •
N

sonrmobllisés uniquement à la suite d'un critère particularisté. Si; Elles deviennent des normes pour l'État, le marché du et
co
, , . •

~
par· exemple, les postes de fonctionnaires ne sont ouverts qu'à des \ l'espace public. Mais aussi pour la socialisation de leurs
8
o personnes d'une certaine religion ou ethnie, le choix qui s'opère

:par les. ménages élargis, ce qui a été pratiqué avec


co succès. Ces nonnes justifient la polarisation du
2 dans cette catégorie est peut-être universaliste; mals le choix glo.bal •

x . "
--
ct> ne i'est pas. Si les critères universalistes sont Invoqués lors de la .dans la mesure où cette polarisation s'est accrue avec le le

ct>
V> sélection, tout en Ignorant les critères particularistes qui limitent ~ . . ra~me, le sexisme et autres fonnes d'anti-universalIsme ont de
certaines pèrsonnes la nécessaire formation préalable, aloIS, ie· l'importance, même si la lutte poil tique contre ces est
.
mécontentement se fait à nouveau sentit. Cependant, un (:hoix également devenue un élément plus central du du

opéré de façon purement uruversallste sera également source d'ani- système-monde

.
mosité car toute sélection entraîne une exclusion; on peut avoir

Le 'de la question est •

alors tine pression., populiste" pour permettre l'accès à des postes , . et de l'anti-unl
validàt10n hiérarchisée des compétences. Quoi qu'il en soit, •. devenues une des caractéristiques •

, • èRE ' .. ' =_.. ... _. __ .-


'," . : "",t me7!7,lonJ;I.~,!DQg~Ille. C ' ssociation antinomique . tout
en la division axiale -::-- ' avail
. ; ,c~.ntre-pérlphérle.
·f\ .
.,1',_,:-
,' ,. . ,,.

d'oublier ,,
ont choisis . o~ :',.=, .

les revendications de tous les autres de bénéficier de~


• .f, .•

~ . •

,.

.. .' ,

très confortable pour ceux qui bénéficient du système: Ils .~~~ "

l'impression de mériter ce qu'lls ont. , ' . .' ,,~,


. réJdsme, le sexisme et les autres normes ~t1;up;~:)'
un rôle important . ' d~' •

travaU, du poùvolr et des privilèges au sein du <' •


,
~
moé:lerne. Ces normes semblent '
~tre synonymes. d' •
1,
.
7 7 , , ,
1
• e
,

e

,

. think me a learned, well-read man?" .


. , " replied Zi-gong. "Aren't ~ou?" .
..at all, " said Confucius. "r have sImply grasped one thread whtch
, the rest."
Sima Qian, "Confucius"l
• •

end of the second millennium of the Christian era several


historical significance transformed the social l~dsca pe, of

.... A revolution, cen o,n

, Economi~es:.-:'.=

anew

.. : decentralization and of firms both internally and


ps to a em capi-,
~'-, 'tant decline in influence of the ....

t; increasing individualization and diversification

in Sima Qian (145-c.89Bc), "Confucius," in Hu Shi, The Development of


Methods in
: 125) • Ancient China (Shanghai: Oriental Book Company, 1922), quoted in



2 PROLOGUE PROLOGUE 3
working relationships; massive incorporation of women into the paid · ' :a~d thus, .9f family, ~exllality, and personality. Environmental coo-
Jabor force, usually under discriminatory conditi ons; intervention of . sciousness has permeated down to the-institutions of society, and its
the state to deregulate markets selectively, and to undo the welfare have won political appeal, at the price of being belied and ma-
state, with different intensity and orientations depending upon the in the daily practice of corporations and bureaucracies. Politi-
nature of political forces and institutions in each society; stepped-up are engulfed in a structural crisis of legitimacy, periodically
global economic competition, in a context of increasing geographic by scandals, essentially dependent on media coverage and per-
and cultural differentiation of settings for capital accumulation and leadership, and increasingly isolated from the citizeruy. So-
_-" management. As a consequence of this general overhauling of the capi- movements tend to be fragmented, loealistic, single-issue oriented,
talist system, still under way, we have witnessed the global integration ephemeral, either retrenched in their irmer worlds, or £laring up
of financial markets, the rise of the Asian Pacific as the new dominant, an instant around a media symbol. such a world of uncon-
global manufacturing center, the arduous economic unification of
Europe, the emergence of a orth American regional economy, the
diversification, then disintegration, of the former Third World, the
gradual transformation of Russia and the ex-Soviet area of influence
in market economies, the incorporation of valuable segments of econo-
mies throughout the world into an interdependent system working as £lows of wealth, power, images,
a unit in real time. Because of these trends, there has also been an ." collective or individual, ascribed or constructed, becomes the
accentuation of uneven development, this time not only between North source of social meaning. -This is not a new trend, since
and South, but between the dynamic segments and territories of soci- and particularly religious and ethnic identity, has been at the
eties everywhere, and those others that risk becoming irrelevant from ,. meaning since the dawn of human society. Yet identity is be-
the perspective of the 's logic. the parallel . c?min.g the ~ain, and so~etimes the only, source of meaning in an
forces .; histoncal penod charactenzed by widespread destructuring of organi-
· zations, delegitimation of institutions, fading away of major social
.and ephemeral cultural expressions. increasingly
, theu do
and Mafia-like organizations

ing the means for stimulation


desire, along with all forms of illicit trade demanded by our societies,
from sophisticated weaporuy to human flesh. In addjtjon, a aew-<;:om-
munication increasingly a IIniversal, digital lan~uage,
i i distrihution of words,
them to
computer net-
and
are growing exponentially, new forms and channels of w un-
on, shaping life and being shaped by life at the same time. , , IT .' when communication breaks down, when it does not
Social changes are as dramatic as the technological and economic · eXist any longer, even in the form of conflictual communication (as
processes of transformation. For all the difficulty in the process of be the ~ase m SOCial struggles or political opposition), social
transformation of women's condition, patriarchal ism has come under and mdivlduals become alienated from each other, and see the
attack, and has been shaken in a number of societies. Thus, gender . as a stranger, eventually as a threat. In
relationships have become, in much of the world, a contested domam, ' .. mentation spreads, as

ather than a sphere of cultural reproduction. A fundamental redefini- " . . society, m its global manifesta-
tion ohelarionships betwe<;n women,men..ancLcbildren has foOo:ved, . . tIOll, IS also the world of Aum Shinrikyo, of the American militia, of
t'HUl.UuU'. "!' - -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
4
(sla/mdChrisnan theocratIC ambitions, and of HutufTutsi reciprocal
genocIde. . . Technology, Society, and Historical Change
Bewtldered by the scale and scope of hIstorical change, culture and
thinking in our rrme often embrace a new nl111enarianism. Prophets of >.L....:revolution, because of its pervasiveness
technology preach the new age, extrapolating to social trends and or- the whole activiry, will be my entry point
ganrzatlon the barely understood logic of omputers and DNA. . ,m' the complexity of the new economy, society, and culture
Postmodem culture, and theory, indulge in celebrating the end of his- .." ,ill the making. This methedological-eh0iG~-dQes_no.t...imply.!.h.9J new
- .,

-
II>


tory, and, to some extent, the end of reason, giving up on our capacity ,. .
., ; Of co does not
of technol o~ a l
---.. 2Nor 'dcies
< to understand and make sense, even of nonsense. The implicit assump-
tion is the acceptance of full IOdividualization of behavior, and of so- course smce many factors,
ciety'S powerlessness over Its destiny. individual inventiveness and entrepreneurialism, intervene
The prolect informing thIs EOQk swims against streams of desJ;ruc- \ the process of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and
...
tV
.. rjQii, and takes exception to vanous forms of intellectual nihilism, so- , . applications, so that the final outcome depends on a complex

co dal skeptiCIsm, and political cyniCIsm. I believe in rationality, and in of interaction. 3 Indeed, ~~
,
~ the possibility of callmg upon reason,' without worshipping its god-
§ de s. I believe 10 the chances of meaningful social action, and trans- ,

S<:' formative polincs, ,,,ithout necessarily dnfting toward the deadly rapids :::;::.:...5 Thus, when in the 1970s a new technological paradigm, organ-
c:
)( of absolute utopIas. I believe in the liberating power of identity, with- around information technology, came to be constituted, mainly
-
II>
out accepting the necessIty of either its individualization or its capture •.• in,the United States (see chapter 1), it was a specific segf1lent of Ameri-
fundamentalism. And ro ose the h othesis that aU major trends society, in interaction with the global economy and with world
our n~w, confusmg world a,re re atecf, ~q~a( that materialized into a new way of producing, communi-
1 - interrelati And, yes, I believe, -in managing, and living. That the constitution of this paradigm
. spite of a long (Cadmon sometimes errors, that place in the United States, and to some extent in California, and
L . / observing, analyzing, and theorrzing are a way of helping to build a '.) 1970s, probably had considerable consequences for the forms
different, better world. Not by providing the answers - that will be l'nd evolution of new information technologies. For instance, in spite
specific to each society and found b~ social actors themselves - but by the decisive role of military funding and markets in fostering early
aising some relevant questions. ThiS book would like to be a modest of the electronics industry during the 1940s-1960s, the techno-
omribution to a necessarily collective, analytical effort, already blossoming that took place in the early 1970s can be some-
/underway from many honzons, aimed at understanding our new wo~ld .' related to the culture of freedom, individual innovation, and
on the basis of available evidence and exploratory theoty. . entrepreneurialism that grew out of the 1960s' culture of American
To take some first steps in chis direction: we must ~eac technology campuses. Not so much in terms of its politics, since Silicon Valley
rrure of this inquiry; we need to- , was, and is, a solid bastion of the conservative vote, and most innova-
locate the process of revolutionary 0 . = . . I c!iange in the social tors were meta-political, but with regard to social values of breaking
context in which it taxes place and by which It is bemg shaped; and we away from established patterns of behavior, both in society at large
in mind that the search for identity is as powerful as techno- , . ' . . in the business world. The emphasis on personalized devices, on
in charting the new history. So, having said this, we ,

on our intellectual journey, following an itinerary that will ·


utlO dom. ins, and across several cultures and insti.tu- ,See the interesting debate on the matter in Smith and Marx (1994).
" does not determine society: it embodies it, But nor does society determine
aince the understanding of a global transformation , ' innovation: it uses it, This dialectical interaction between society and technol-
as global as possible, within the obvious limits , IS present in the works of the best historians, such as Fernand Braude!.
~, Classic historian of technology Melvin Kranzberg has forcefully argued against the false
and knowledge.
: dilemma of technological determinism. See, for instance, Kranzberg's (1992) acceptance
of the award of honorary membership in NASTS.
Bijker et al. (1987).
6 PROLOGUE
• •
PROLOGUE 7

~
mterac£1vity, on networking, and the relentless pursuit of new tech- of thousands of computer networks (comprising over 300 million
C
OJ
nological breakthroughs, even when it apparently did not make much : users in 2000, up from less than 20 million in 1996, and growing fast)
g~
business sense, was clearly in discontinuity with the somewhat cau-
tious tradition of the corporate world. T.he information technolo~
"that has been appropriated for all kinds of purposes, quite removed
· the concerns of an extinct Cold War, by individuals and groups
'"-•
.- revolution half-consciously' diffused through the material culture 0 , the world. Indeed, it was via the Internet that Subcomandante
our SOCieties the liber~riall Splnt thadlourlsheg.in the 1960( move- the leader of Chiapas' Zapatistas, communicated with the
--
~ ments. Yet, as soon as new information technologies diffused, and and with the media, from the depths of Lacandon forest. And
-'"
0>
were appropriated by different countries, various cultures, diverse or- Internet played an instwmental role in the development of Falun
<
• ganizations, and miscellaneous goals, they exploded in all kinds of the Chinese cult that challenged the Chinese Communist party
~
• applicatJons and uses that fed back into technological innovation, ac- and in the organization and diffusion of the protest against
celerating the speed, broadening the scope of technological change, . World Trade Organization in Seattle in December 1999.
and diversifying its sources. 7 An illustration will help us to understand . Yet, if society does not determine technology, it can, mainly through
N
~
the importance of unintended social consequences of technology.s state, suffocate its development. Or alternatively, again mainly by

OJ As is known, the Internet origlUated in a daring scheme imagined in intervention, it can embark on an accelerated process of techno-

--' the 1960s by the technological warriors of the US Defense Depart- modernization able to change the fate of economies, military
§ ment Advanced Research Projects Agency (the mythical DARPA) to .""" power, and social well-being in a few years. Indeed, or in-
go prevent a Soviet takeover or destruction of American communications of technology, and
c:
x in the event of nuclear war. To some extent, it was the electronic equiva-
-'" lent of the Maoist tactics of dispersal of guerrilla forces around a vast where ~i- could. say that
'"'" tern tory to counter an enemy's might with versatility and knowledge :.;:. and social c~an-:g",e...:,~_
of terralU. The outcome was a network architecture which, as its in- ,s.Qclenes .to trans-
ventors wanted, cannot be controlled from any center, and is made up to kocieties, always in a
of thousands of autonomous computer networks that have innumer- I , -te put4eir re~hnGkJgi{;aJpotential.9 .
able ways to link up, going around electronic barriers. Ultimately Thus, around 1400, when the European Renaissance was planting
ARPANET, the network set up by the US Defense Department, be- intellectual seeds of technological change that would dominate the
came the foundation of a global, horizontal communication network three centuries later, China was the most advanced technologi-
civilization in the world, according to Mokyr.1O Key inventions
. developed in China centuries earlier, even a millennium and a half
6 There" still to be written a fascinating social hiscory of the values and personal views of ", · earlier, as in the case of blast furnaces that allowed the casting of iron
some of <he key Ulno,·Otors of the 1970,' Silicon Valley revolution in comput~r technologies.
But I few 1J1dlcarions seem to pomr co the (act chat they were lntenuonally rryLDg to undo the .. in China by 200Be. Also, Su Sung introduced the water clock in AD
centrahzJll8 technologies of tbe corporate world, both out of convictio~ ~d as their market I .: 1086, surpassing the accuracy of measurement of European mechani-
ni<be. As evidence, I recall <he famous Apple Computer 1984 .dvertlsUlg spot to launch
MaC1ntosh, In explicit opposition to Big Brother mM of OrwellIan mythology .. As for the
.: 5al clocks of the same date. The iron plow was introduced in the sixth
countercultural chuacter of man)' of these innovators, t shaH also refer. t~ the life story of · - century, and adapted to wet-field rice cultivation two centuries later.
§•
the genius developer of the personal computer, Steve Wo~ak; aher qUlttlng Apple, bored
by itS transformation 1fl[Q another multinational corpora~lOn, he spent a fortune for a few
· In textiles, the spinning wheel appeared at the same time as in the
· by the thirteenth century, but advanced much faster in China
o• yeors subsldizin8 rock groups tbat he lilted, before creanog another company to deve~op
~ technologies of his t.ute. At one point, after having created the personal computer, Wozniak ,because there was an old-established tradition of sophisticated weav-
~ reahzed that be bad no formal education in computer sciences, so he enrolled at UC Berkeley. . , .ing equipment: draw looms to weave silk were used in Han times. The
IN But in order to aVOId embarrasSUlg publicity he used another name.
...... ,: adoption of water power was parallel to Europe: by the eighth century
....
.... 7 For selected evtdence concerning the vanarion of Information tecbnology djffusio~ pat-

terns in ddferent social and institutional contexts, see, among othcr works: Bertazzoru et al.
(1984); Guile (1985); A8ence de l'Inform.tique (1986); Caste lis et al. (1986); Landau and
Roaenberg (1986); Bianclu or .1. (1988); Watanuki (1990); Freeman et al. (1991); Wang · 9 See the analyses presented in Castells (1988b); also Webster (1991).
(1994). · . 10 My discussion of China's interrupted technological development relies mainly on an
8 FOI an informed and caUtiOUS discussion of relationships between society and technol- extraordinary chapter by Joel Mokyr (1990: 209-38) and on a most insightful, although
"IT. - Fivhorr (1985). controversial, book, Qian (1985).
PROLOGUE
PROLOGUE 9
8
the (.Iunese were uSing hydraultc trip hammers, and in 1280 there was · Iholistic approach to development had not impeded technological in-
2! wide dlffu~ion of the vernc;]l water wheel. Ocean travel was easier for , novation for millenniums, nor stopped ecological deterioration as a
0:>
the Chlnese.1t an earlier date than for European vessels: they invented result of irrigation works in southern China, when the conservation of
§' the compass around AD 960, and their Junks were the most advanced nature was subordinated to agricultural production in order to feed a
~
growing population. In fact, Wen-yuan Qian, in his powerful book,
'"•
,- ships in the world by the end of the fourteenth century, enabling long
-~ sea tflpS. In mtlitary matters, the Chinese, beSIdes inventing gun pow- takes exception to Needham's somewhat excessive enthusiasm for the
'"-- der developed a chemical Industry that was able to provide powerful ; • feats of Chinese traditional technology, notwithstanding his shared
~
• '. '. admiration for Needham's monumental life-long work. Qian calls for
It>
ex~loslves, and the crossbow and the trebuchet were used by Chinese
'"<· armies centuries ahead of EU(Qpe. In mediCine, techniques such as acu- . , a ·.closer analytica l linkage between the development of Chinese sci-
puncture were Yielding extraordmary results that only recently have · • ence and the characteristics of Chinese civilization dominated the
"":I: been ulllversally acknowledged. And, of course, the first information J:. i cruclal
. .

$ processing revolUtlon was Chinese: paper and printing were Chinese Chinese
~
A- mventtons. Paper was mtroduced in China 1,000 years earlier than in explanation may steps:
N

the West, and pnnnng probably began in the late seventh century. As was, for centuries, fundamentally in the hands the state;
0:>
~
• Jones writes: "China came Within a halr's breadth of industrializing in after 1400 the Chinese state, under the Ming and Qing dynasties, lost
§ the fourteenth century."" That It did not, changed the history of the in technological innovation; and, partly because of their dedi-
world. When III 1842 rhe Opium Wars led to Britain's colonial impo- lcation to serve the state, cultural and social elites were focused on arts,
~
c
)( smons, China realized, tOO late, that isolation could not protect the humanities, and self-promotion vis-a-vis the imperial bureaucracy.
-:x-
It>
Middle KlIlgdom from the evil consequences of technological inferior- ,Thus, what does' seem to be crucial is the role of the state, and the
orientation of state policy. Why would a state that had been
II)'. It took more than one century thereafter for China to start recov-
erin~ from such a catastrophic deviation from its historical trajectory. , greatest hydraulic engineer in history, and had established an agri-
Explanatlons for such a stunning historical course are both numer- , cultural extension system to improve agricultural productivity since
ous and controversial. There is no place in this Prologue to enter the t;he Han period, suddenly become inhibited from technological inno-
compleXity of the debate. But, on the basis of research and analysis · vation, even forbidding geographical exploration, and abandoning the
historians such as Needham, Qian, Jones, and Mokyr,12 It construction of large ships by 1430? The obvious answer is that it wa::""'s-,
to suggest an mterprecation..sQat may help to in _ the same state; not only because they were of different dynasties,
terms. [be in,grac:tioll between society liiswry, aHd techn~<5SY' .In- _ . qut because the bureaucratic class became more deeply entrenched in
deed most h otheses conc r ltur erences evenmose With- · the administration due to a longer than usual period of unconteste.~d_
out implicitly racist undertones) fail to explain, as Mokyr points out, domination. .
the difference Dot_between Cb!Oa.~nd Europ..:..but b_etwe en q~ma, m ... . ,. According to Mokyr, it appears that the determining factor for tecn"'-
. . 00. Why did a culture ana a kIDgdom that had , ~ol?gical conservatism was the rulers' fears of the potentially disrupt-
been the teehnologtcalleader of the world for thousands of years sud- , . Ive unpacts of technolOgical change on social stability. Numerous forces ~
denly become technologically stagnant precisely at the mom.ent when . , opposed the diffusion of technology in China, as in other societies,
Europe embarked on the age of discoveries, and then on the lIldustrJal ·. ' the urban guilds. Bureaucrats content with the status quo
· were concerned by the possibility of triggering social conflicts that
revolunon? could coalesce with other sources of latent opposition in a society that
Needham has proposed that Chinese culture was more prone than
Western values to a harmOniOus relationship between man and na- had been kept under control for several centuries. Even the two en-
ture, something that could be jeopardized by fa~t technological inno- . Manchu despots of the eighteenth century, K'ang Chi and
vation. Furthermore, he objects to the Western cntena used to measure 'len Lung, focused their efforts on pacification and order, rather
technological development. However, this cultural emphasis on a than on unleashing new development. Conversely, exploration and
contacts with foreigners, beyond controlled trade and the acquisition
of weapons, were deemed at best unnecessary, at worst threaten-
11 J.,.,... (1981: 160), clled by Mokyr (1990: 219). ing, because of the uncertainty they would imply. A bureaucratic state
12 Necdb,m (1954-88, 1969, 1981); QIIO (1985); Jooes (1988); Mokyr (1990).
10 PROLOGUE 11
without external incentive and with internal disincentives to engage in in 1635, and all j apanese ports, except Nagasaki, were closed to
"
c:
technological modernization opted for the most prudent neutrality, as
CD while trade was restricted to China, Korea, and Holland. 14
b' a result stalling the technological trajectory that China had been fol- isolation was not total during these two centuries, and
c:
~
V> , lowing for centuries, if not millenniums, precisely under state guid- innovation did allow japan to proceed with incremental
-r- ance. A discussion of the factors underlying the dynamics of the Chinese at a fas ter pace than ChinaY Yet, because japan's techno log-
_. state under the Ming and Qing dynasties is clearly beyond the scope of was lower than China's, by the mid-nineteenth century the
-.
~
this book. P!lIposes .<If-~ two teachings (black ships) of Commodore Perry could impose trade and
'"

_ . . technological devel- . relations on a country substantially lagging behind West-
'"<

qpment: on the one hand, the state c 1 , and has been-in hist.O..-y, in technology. H owever, as soon as the 1868 Ishin Mei;i (Meiji

-"'-Cliina and elsew ere, a ea ing force for technulugical iruloxation; on created the political conditions for a decisive state-led
the other hand, flE8<;'isely_because_of tbis, wben the state reverses its 11,16 Japan progressed in advanced technology by leaps
in a very short time spanY As just one significant illustra-
~ because of its current strategic importance, let us briefly recall
nation, because of the sterilization of society's autonomous innova- extraordinary development of electrical engineering and commu-
~

8 .' ave energy to create and apply technology. Tbat the Chinese state . applications in Japan in the last quarter of the nineteenth
0

could, centuries later, build anew an advanced technological basis, in . 18 Indeed, the first independent department of electrical engi-
CD
~

c: nuclear technology, missiles, satellite launching, and electronics,13 dem- in the world was established in 1873 in the newly founded
x
onstrates again the e.mptiness uta pred.9IAi[lamly cul~r~l ir:~~:preta­ College of Engineering in Tokyo, under. the leadership of its
-'"- ti.on of technologi cal development il!!d b.adYlar.dnes!i: tue same ~ltute Henry Dyer; a Scottish mechanical engineer. Between 1887 and
'"
V>

may induce very diHerent technolo ical tra ' ect . . on the a leading academic in electrical engineering, British professor
! a e e a nons ps e een state and society. However, the ex- Ayrton, was invited to teach at the college, being instrumen-
elusive dependence on e state has a price, and the price for China in dissemi nating knowledge to the new generation of Japanese en-
--was that of retardation, famine, epidemics, colonial domination, and so that by the end of the century the Telegraph Bureau was
~ civil war until at least the middle of the twentieth century. " to replace foreigners in all its technical departments. Technology
A rath~r similar, contemporary story can be told, and will be told in fr om the West was sought through a variety of mechanisms.
this book (in volume III), of the inability of Soviet. stat.ism to mas~er 1873, the machine shop of the Telegraph Bureau sent a Japanese
the information technology revolution, thus stallmg Its prod~ctIve T anaka Seisuke, to the International Machines exhibi-
'!
capacity and undermining its military might. et we s~oul~ not Jump in Vienna to obtain information on the machines. About ten years
to the ideological conclusion that all state mt~rventlOn IS ~ounter­ all the bureau's machines were made in Japan. Based on this
productive to technological development, illd.ul~mg m ahis~oncal rev- , T anaka Daikichi founded in 1882 an electrical factory,
erence for unfettered individual entrepreneunalism. Japan IS of course Works, which, after its acquisition by Mitsui, went on to
the counter-example: both to Chinese historical ~xperie~~e and to the
inability of the Soviet state to adapt to the Amencan-illItlated revolu- Chida and Davies (1990).
tion in information technology. . Ito (1993).
Historically, Japan went, even deeper than China, through ~ pen~d .' Several distinguished Japa nese scholars, and I tend to Concur with them, consider that
best Western accoun t of the Meiji Restoration, and of the social roots of Japanese mod-
of historical isolation under the Tokugawa Shogunate (established ill is N orm an (1940) . It has been translated into Japanese and is widely read in
1603), between 1636 and 1853, precisely during the critical period of universities. A brilliant historian, educated at Cambridge and Harvard, before
the Canadian diplomatic corps, Norman was denoWlced as a communist by Karl
the formation of an industrial system in the Western hemIsphere. Thus, to the M cCarthy Senate Committee in the 1950s, and was then submitted to
while at the turn of the seventeenth century Japanese merchants were pressure from Western intelligence agencies. Appointed Canadian ambassador to
trading throughout East and South-East Asia, using modern vessels.of he committed suicide in Cairo in 1957. On the contribution of this truly exceptional
to the understanding of the Japanese state, see Dower (1975); for a different per-
up to 700 tons, the construction of ships above 50 tons was prohlb- see Beasley (1990).
Kamatani (1988); Matsumoto and Sinclair (1994).
13 Willi (1993). Uchida (1991).
12 PROLOGUE PROLOGUE 13

c" become Toshiba. Engineers were sent to Europe and to America. And thro\lgh the institu tions of society, including the state. The
CD Western Electric was permitted to produce and sell in Japan in 1899, process through which this development of productive forces
n
0
c
in a joint venture with Japanese industrialists: the name of the com- place earmarks the characteristics of technology and its inter-
~
V> , pany was NEC. On such a technological basis Japan went full speed in social relationships.
.--
_. into the electrical and communications age before 1914: by 1914 total .This is not differe nt in the case of the current technological revolu-
c-
~

-
Q) power production had reached 1,555,000 kw/hour, and 3,000 tele- It originated and di ffused, not by accident, in an historical period
-
~

phone offices were relaying a billion messages a year. It is indeed sym- ott global restructuring of capitalism, for which it was an essential
'"

Q) bolic that Commodore Perry's gift to the Shogun in 1857 was a set of Thus, the new society emerging from this process of change is
<

American telegraphs, until then never seen in Japan: the first telegraph capitalist an d informational, while presenting considerable his-
":::r:

line was laid in 1869, and ten years later Japan was connected to the variation in different countries, according to their history, cul-
""
<0 whole world through a transcontinental information network, via Si- institutions, and their specific relationship to global capitalism
'"
~

A •
beria, operated by the Great Northern Telegraph Co., jointly man- information technology.

N
• aged by Western and Japanese engineers and transmitting in both
,
CD
English and Japanese.
~

0
0 The story of how Japan became a major world player in informa- Informationalism, Industrialism, Capitalism, •
0
CD
tion technology industries in the last quarter of the twentieth century, . Statism: Modes of Development and Modes of
~
c
x
under the strategic guidance of the state, is now general public know- . Production
19
ledge, so it will be assumed in our discussion. What is re~evant for

'"--
'"
V> the ideas presented here is that it happened at the same time as an ution was-ins.t!Jlmc;~taLin allo~ing
industrial and scientific superpower, the Soviet Union, failed this £un-
. damental technological transition. It is obvious, as the preceding re- le process, this
minders show, that Japanese technological development since the 1960s ~~.~ was in its development and manifesta-
did not happen in an historical vacuum, but was rooted in a decades- the logic and 4Jterests of advanced capitalism, without being
old tradition of engineering excellence. Yet what matters for the pur- U~l ) 1 " to the expression of such interests. The alternative system of

pose of this analysis is to emphasize what dramatically different res~lts . organization present in our historical period, statism, also tried
state intervention (and lack of intervention) had in the cases .o f C~na . redefine the means of accomplishing its structural goals while pre-
and the Soviet Union, as compared to Japan in both the. Me1Jl period the ~sse~ce of these goals: that is the meaning of restructuring
and the post-Second World War period. The characteris~lcs of the Jap- . perestrOIka, ill RUSSian). Yet Soviet statism failed in its attempt to
anese state at the roots of both processes of moderruzatlon and devel- '. ~oint of collapsing the whole system, to a large extent becaus~ of
opment are well known, both for Ishin Meiii20 and for the contemp~rary the illca~a clty of statism to assimilate and use the principles of
developmental state,21 and their presentation would take us exceSSively . . em bodied in new information technologies, as I shall
away from the focus of these preliminary reflections. ,What mustJ:>e ill thi~ book (volume ill) on the basis of empirical analysis.
relationship between technology stausm seemed to succeed by shifting from statism to state-
"'-=.:::.
~~
is that the role the state,
~~
'==: capitalism and integration in glo bal economic networks, actually
closer to the developmental state model of East Asian capi-
than to the "socialism with Chinese characteristics" of official
~ as I shall also try to discuss in voln me ill. None the less, it
expresses the ability of a into " . hkely that the process of structural transformation in China
'will undergo major p olitical confl icts and institutional change in
corrung years.• The collapse of statism (with rare exceptions, for
19 Ito (1994); Japan InfO(JDatizaoon Processing Center (1994 ); for a Western perspective, .'
••e Fortller (1993).
20 See NO(JDln (1940); Dower (1975); Allen (1981a).
21 Johnron (1995). Nolan and Furen (1990); Hsing (1996).
14 PROLOGU E 15
."
C
example, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, w~ich are, nevertheles~, in the cultural '
co process of linking up with glo bal capitalism) has estabhshed a .
close relationship between the new, glo~~~aplt~hst sys.t.~m! shaped
n
g
~

'"r_., , by its relatively successfuqierestroikd, and the emergeoce of 0forma-


tionalism, as the new material, technological baSIS. of .econoIlllc aC~lv­
iry and social organization.. Yet both ~r?cesses (caPltali~t restru~turlOg,
-. the rise of informationalism) are dlstmct, and thm lOter~ct10r: ~n

'"'" only be understood if we separate them ~aly~ically. At .thiS pomt lO
<
my introductory presentatlon of. the b.o~k s :dees fortes, ~t ~eems nec-

essary to propose some theoretical. d~stlOctlO~ and defmltlons con- .


cerning capitalism, statism, i~?ustnalism,. and mformatlOn~h~m. :
It is a well-established tradition III theories of post-mdustnallsm and . •
informationalism, starting with classic works by Ala~n Touraine a~ld ::
23
• . structured
,
OJ
~
Bell,l ' to place the distinction between pr~-Illdustnalism, Ill-I ' relationships, historically organized around the
a and informationalism (or post-mdustnahsm) on a differ- '. , and characterized hitherto by the dom ination of men over
a
a Family relationships and sexuality structure personality and
co ent axis from the one capitalism and statism collectivism,
2 Bell's terms). co .
symbolic interaction.
x
--'" , axes that we have statism, industrial capitalism, and so is. founded upon the state and its institutionalized monopoly
'"'" o although w hat Fo ucault labels the microphysics of power
'::0::=:::- t -----

. . in institutions and organizations, diffuses throughout th~
lism statism ) and modes of developmen.t
[
- . , . To root these distinctions in a theoretical
soclery, 'from workplaces to hospitals, enclosing subjects in a
framework of fOlmal duties an d informal aggressions.
. will inform the specific analyses presented ~ this book, it
• •

basis,
, is unavoidable to take the reader, for a few paragraphs, lOto the some-
what arcane domains of sociological theory.. .
new SOCial [11. cultures and

[uct.· . is a socially complex process because each one of its


~s mternally differentiated. Thus, humankind as collective
u'. ~cludes both ~abor and the orga nizers of production, and
IS highly differentiate? and stra tified according to the role of
worker III the production process. Matter includes nature hu-
nature, human-produced n ature, and hu man na~e it-
'. the labors of history forcing us to move away from the classic
.stulcti . betwe~n humankind and nature, since millenni ums of hu-
~- action have Illcorporated the natural environment into society,
us, matenally and symbolically, an . p art of this
lIiruw' between
of work involves the use

23 TouralDe (1969). h 6 d" h'ch


24 Bell (1976). First published 1973, but .11 quotes are £rom t e 197 e mon, WI .
includes a new, substantial "foreword 1976." surplus. Social structures interact with
16 PROLOGUE ~ ________________~17
production processes by determining the rules for the appropriation, ability to decentralize the use of energy throughout the production
distribution, and uses of the surplus. of cllculatlon processes. In the new, 'n for!l!3tiona-I-111vdc-ef.developw
and these modes def;,::in:.::e....::.:: c- ;..::.::.= lies in of knowledge
To
are critical elements in all modes
and c( since the process of production is always based on
II) the twentieth century we lived, essen- of knowledge and in the processing of information. 2S How-
'"

modes of : capitali~an,d the


'"<
capi producers anOthetr
of production, the commodification of labor, and the private
ownership of means of production on the basis of the control of capi- technology of information processing as a source of
tal (commodified surplus), determined the basic principle of appro- , in a virtuous circle of interaction between the knowledge
priatio n and distribution of surplus by capitalists, although who is of technol~gy and .the appircauon of technology to improve
(are) the capitalist class(es) is a matter of social inquiry in each histori- , generation and inf~rmatJon processing: this is why, rejoin-
cal context, rather than an abstract category. Under statism, the con- popuJar .tashion, I call thIS new mode of development informa-
trol of surplus is external to the economic sphere: it lies in the hands of constituted by the emergence of a new technological paradigm
the power-holders in the state - let us call them apparatchiki or ling- on information technology (see chapter 1).
dao. Capitalism is oriented toward profit-maximizing, that is, toward lC! mod~ o~ development has also a structurally determined per-
increasing the amount of surplus appropriated by capital on the basis , pr,lll~lple, around which technological processes are organ-
of the private control over the means of production and circulation. , , rn?~stnalism IS onented toward economic growth, that is toward
Statism is (was?) oriented toward power-maximizing, that is, toward . , output; mformationalism is oriented towards technologi-
increasing the military and ideological capacity of the political appar- " . , develo~ment, that IS toward the accumulation of knowledge and
,
atus for imposing its goa ls on a greater number of subjects and at higher levels of complexity in information processing. While
deeper levels of their consciousness. ' leve!s of ~owl~dge may normally result in higber levels of out-
Ihe social relationsb;ps of proQuction, and thus the mode ,.o!.pro- , per urnt of ~put, It IS the pursuit of knowledge and information
duction dete ' " IJd IIses of surpl,us. A separate charactenzes the technologica l production function under
yet undamental question is the level of such surpl~s, determined by ,
,
the productivity of a particular process of productIOn, that IS by the and technical relationships of are
ratio of the value of each unit of output to the value of each 'urut of
input. Productivity levels are themselve~ dependent on the relation-
hip between labor and matter, as a functJon of the use of the,means of diffuse
roduction by the application of energy and know!edge. 1?IS process ,
s characterized by technical relationships of producuon, defmmg modes
of development. Thus, modes of development are the technological , " For the sake of clarity in this book, it is necess~;o provide a definition of knowledge
through which labor works on ma~er to generate the , , even If such an mtdle~tually satlsfymg gesture introduces a dose of the
m the discourse, as s~clal SClennsts who have struggled with the issue know well. I
product, ultimately determining the level and quali~ of surplus. Ea~h no~cKn
compellmg
1 d reason to unprove on Daniel Bell's (1976,. 175) own def'Inltlon
" 0
fk now-
mode of development is defined by the element that IS ~damenta! 10 ow e ge: ~ set of organized .sta~ements of facts or ideas, presenting a reasoned
in the production process. Thus, mthe agraoa n , 0:an ~enmental result, whIch 15 transmitted to others through some communi-
medIUm" m som~ systematic form. Thus, I distinguish knowledge from news and
the source of increasing surplus results from '. , , As for ~nformatlon, Some established authors in the field, such as Machlup,
quantitative increases of labor and natural resources (particularly defjn~ mformatlon as the ;ommu,nication of knowledge (see Machlup 1962: 15),
in the production process, as well as from the natural endowment this lS because.Machlup s definttlon of knowledge seems to be excessively broad
. . Th ~s, I wo u1d relom
Bellinargues " thwe operatJ~nal
' ?efwition of information proposed by,
these resources. In !l ' e the marn source . his CIa;~SIC work (1977: 2): .Informanon lS data , that have been organized .ni!
of productivity lies in the introduction of new energy sources, and in "
18 PROLOGUE 19

-0
26-•Thus, of 1974 and 1979 threatened to spiral inflation out of con-
c: • , of rol, go:v~rnments and f~rns engaged in a process of restructuring in a
'"
C">
0
,I process of trial and error that continued into the 1990s
c
VI,
\ a more decisive effort at deregulation, privatization, and the dis-
_.
r- of rhe social contract between capital and labor that under-
CT
~ the stability of the previous growth model. In a nutshell, a series
_
-.
Q>
~ reforms, both at the level of institutions and in the management of
-'"
Q>
fjli a imed at four main goals: deepening the capitalist logic of profit-
<
• ill capital-labor relationships; enhancing the productivity of
-0
• and capital; globalizing production, circulation, and markets,
I Informational ism and capit alist perestroika the opportunity of the most advantageous conditions for profit-
'"
(Q
everywhere; and marshaling the state's support for produc-
'"....
~ Shifting from theoretical categories to historical change, what truly
matters for social processes and . flesh of sOcl- gains and competitiveness of national economies, often to the
-N
of social protection and public interest regulations. Tech-
'"•
~
. innovation and organizational change, focusing on fIexibil-
a
8 cur- 'and ~daptability, were ~bsolutely critical in ensuring the speed
Thus, the effiCiency of It can be argued that without new ,

'"
~

c
x societies, have been very different Gorbachev had
'"-- succeeded in his own perestroika, a target that was politically diffi-
'"'"
cult but not out of reach. Or if the Asian Pacific had not been able to
ble~d its traditional business networking form of economic organiza-

tion with the tools by information IS
to . expansion and rejuvenation of capitalism, as industrial-
was hnked to its constitution as a mode of production. To be ,
the process of restructuring had very different manifestations in
and societ!es around the world, as I shall briefly survey in chap- I
1
as in 01 mational c . /ism. 2: It was diverted from its fundamental logic by the military
e eynesian mo e of capitalist growth, which brought unpre- . . o.f the Reagan administration, actually creating even
eden ted economic prosperity and social stability to most market ~con­ . . dif~c~nes for the :Ame:ican economy at the end of the euph-
mies for almost three decades after the Second World War, hit the .9na of arnflclal snmulatlOn; It was somewhat limited in Western
wall of its built-in limitations in the early 1970s, and its .cris~s v.: as because of soci~ty's resistance to the dismantling of the wel-
manifested in the form of rampant inflation.27 When the oil pnce m- . s.tate and to one-Sided labor market flexibility, with the result
. . nSill~ unemployment in the European Union; it was absorbed in
~
r> Without dramatic.changes by emphasizing productivity and com-
:» 26 When technological innovation does not diffuse in society, because of institutional
o• . . on the .basls of technology and cooperation rather than
obstacles to such diffusion, what follows is technological retardatio'} because of the absence
....

of necessary social/cultural feedback into the institutions of mnovatJOn and lOtO ~e mnova- mcreasmg explo~tation, until international pressures forced Japan
a>
co
I
tors themselves. This is the fundamental lesson that can be drawn from such unportant offshore productIOn and to broadening the role of an unprotected,
N
...... experiences as Qing's China or the Soviet Union. For the SovIet Uruon, see volume III. For , labor market; and It plunged into a major recession in the
'"
a China, see Qian (1985) and Moleyr (1990) . ,
27 _, presented some years ago my interpretation of the causes ?f the 1970s worldwld~ :
. ' :he econ.omies. of Africa (except South Africa and Bot~wana)
economic ctlSis, as wen as a reotatlve prognosIs of avenue~ for caPltallst resuuc~lOg. Not LatI? Amenca (With the exception of Chile and Colombia), when
withstanding the excessively rigid theoretical framew?rk Ijuxtaposed .to the. emplflcal analy- . Mo~etary F~d policies cut the money supply and re-
sis, , think that <he main points' made in that book (written In 1977-8),lncl~dIDg the predIction
of Reaganomics under that name, are still useful to understand the qualitallve changes that , u wages and trnports ill order to homogenize conditions of glo-
operated in capitalism during the last twO decades of the twentieth cenrury (see Castells 1980). capItal accumulation around the world. Restructuring proceeded
20 PROLOGUE 21
on the basis of the politicaJ defeat of organized labor in major capital- ,already informational, 11 although of different kinds in different
. and with specific cultura~~stitutional expressi~ns. A theory
."
C
co ist countries, and the acceptance of a common economic discipline by
n
0 countries of the OEeD area. alth when the infor~atlonal SOCiety, as dlstillct from a globallinformational
c:
~ , Will always have to be attentive to historical/cultural
,
V>
r-
- as mU,ch as to ~tructural similarities related to a largely shared
U
~ e...early 1980s using paradigm. As for the actual content of this common
-
Q>

new information technologies. Under conditions of global financial Structure that could be considered to be the essence of the new
-
~

co

Q>
'nt~gration, 'autonomous, national monetary policies became literally , , I'm afraid I am unable to summarize it in one
< ...--unfeasible, thus equalizing basic economic parameters of restructur- . i~d~ed, and PE<?~<os_se~.Jha.t chru:acterize infor-
."
societies ect matter covered in this book. •

I
ing processes throughout the planet. - - -'
-
<1>
to
While capitalism's restructuring and the diffusion of informational-
co
~ ism were processes on a global scale, societies ' ;:...

.to
N The Self in the Informational Society
,
co
, . Thus
~

a .§..~iety," whi~h wou).d imply ,.... net-


a
a !, _.::.::..;:uCO!l\ci.er..the ncw system. of instrumentality.
c:
co
~ is an inc;r empirically and theoreti-
x
co cally. Yet ~e CQlIld speak of an informational soGiety in the same way
-
-co that sociologists have been referring to the existence of an "industrial
V>
society, n characterized by common fundamental features in their socio-
28
technical systems, for instance in Raymond Aron's formulation. But
with two imPQ_rt...rulLq~ali.fi£!!.!i9ns: on the one hand, infQrmatienal
s'ocieries, as they e~st currentll, are capit~list (unlike industrial socie-
ties, some of which were statist); on the other the

Japanese or is' not going to fade away


in a process of cultural in . marching anew toward ."m-
versal modernization, this time measured by rates of computer diffu-
sion. Nor is China or Brazil going to be melted in the global pot of
informational capitalism by continuing their current high-speed de- .
velopmentaJ path. But Japan, Spain, China, Brazil, as ~ell as the ~nlt~d
States are and will be more so in the future, informatIOnal societieS, In
the se~se that the core processes of knowledge generation, economic
productivity, political/military power, and media communication are .. th xhi . society, n such as
already deeply transformed by the informational paradigm, and are are or .';illtate, e b bIt feature:' mat go beyond the networking logic although
connected to global networks of wealth, power, and symb~ls ~orking "the ne I, u~nce d y such 1081c, as characteristic of the new social 'structure.

under such a logic. Thus, all societies are affected by ca'pltahs~ and 0
w \h ft
h ~ork clety dO~,not exhaust all me meaning of the "informational society"
er a t~se precJSlons, have I kept The ["fonnarion Age as the overall tide ~f
Urtormationa\ism, and many societies \certamly all malor . . WI out InC u mg, medleva! Europe in my inquiry? Tides are communicatin de-
s~otd b~ ~er.fr7n~IY, clear enough for me reader to guess what is me real ~OPiC
Th~o~ e In aIdsb i~f' that does not depart excessively from me semantic frame
' 10 a wor UI t, around information technologies informarion society
informaClOn superhighway and· L l'k (all ' I "ogles ongmated
"
..: h o. ' me I e termlOO in Ja·'
o .. aka!, lO,lapanese - and transmitted to me west in 1978 by
the mdu1~ng In exori~ism), ~ title such .s The bt(ormat;on Age
questIOns to be raIsed, WIthout prejudging the answers.
22 PROLOGUE

"U a vast array of virtual commllnities. Yet the distinctive social and pol- Raymond Barglow, in his illuminating essay on this matter, from a
c:
OJ itica l trend of the 1990s was the construction of social action and perspecti points to the paradox that while
("")
0 around primary identities, either ascribed, rooted in history and human '
c:
~

, , or newly built in an anxious search for meaning and


'",-
_. ~t to
Q' F=
-'" to information to subvert the
- ~

of sovereignty and self-sufficiency that have provided an ideo-


'"'"

anchoring for individual identity since Greek philosophers elab-
<
'1 "U
the concept more than two millennia ago. In, short. technology
:J:
,derence to other social structures. AHirmation of identity does not helpingto~mantle the very vision of th e wo rld that in the p,j'st it
$ necessarily mean Incapacity to refate to other identities (for example, ='" l--" 36 Then he goes on to present a fascinating comparison be-
'"
~

~
women still relate to men) or to embrace the whole society under such classic dreams reported in Freud's writing and his own patients'
N
• identit{(for example, religious fundamentalism aspires to convert in the high-tech environmen t of 1990s' San Francisco: "Image
,
OJ
~
everybody). But social are defined vis-ii-vis the others a head ... and behind it is suspended a computer keyboard ... I'm
on the basis . 1:')?-i. programmed head!"37 This feeling of absolute solitude is new in
§ stance, Yoshino, In on (ideas Japanese unique- ) D to classic Freudian representation: "the dreamers ... ex-
OJ
~

c: ness), pointedly defines cultural nationalism as "the aim to regenerate '. •press a sense of solitude experienced as existential and inescapable,
x
-'" the national community by creating, preserving or strengthening a " . built into the structure of the world .. . T orally isolated, the self seems
'"
'" people's cultural identity when it is felt to be lacking, or threatened. trretrievably lost'to itself. "38 Thus, the search for new connectedness
The cultural nationalist regards the nation as the product of its unique ". around shared, reconstructed identity.
history and culture and as a collective solidarity endowed with unique J. However insightful, this hyp othesis may be only part of the ex-

attributes."32 Ca lhoun, although rejecting the historical newness of the On the one hand, it would imply a crisis of the self limited
phenomenon, has also emphasized the decisive role of identity in defin- , shaken by ble

ing politics in contemporary American society, particularly in the wom- IS
en's movement, in the gay movement, in the civil rights movement,
movements "that sought not only various instrumental goals but the
affirmation of excluded identities as publicly good and politically sali- The Aum Shinrikyo in Japan in 1995, particu-
ent.")) Alain Touraine goes further, arguing that "in a post-industrial among the young, highly educated generations, could be con-
society, in which cultural services have replaced material goods at the . . a s.ymptom of the crisis of establish ed patterns of identity,
core of production, it is the defense of the subject, in its personality and co~pled wl0 the de~~erat~ need to build a new, collective self, sig- •

in its culture, against the logic of apparatuses and markets, that re- nificantly mlXillg spmtuality, advanced technology (chemicals, biol-
places the idea of class struggle. ,,)~ Then the key issue becomes, as stated : ogy, laser), global business connections and the Culture of
by Calderon and Laserna, i.o a war! . b simultaneous .' " millenari a n ist doom. 39 '

gIQbali.z.a tign and fragm~lJtatiw, ."how to combine Dew rechnologl _.


and col\c!=tiv:c;. mCCIAQry, !l niyt'J"sai science and commun ita ria n cui tmes,
passion and reason?"J5 How, indeed! And why do we observe the op- a
posite trend thioughout the world, namely, the increasing distance be- la~ge extent connected to the emergence of a D ew_global.sy~~~IJ?. Thus,
tween globalization and identity, between the Net and the self? w despread currents of racism and xenophobia in W es tern Europe may

36 Barglow (1994: 6).
32 Yoshino (1992: 1). 37 Barglow (1994: 53 ). .
33 Calhoun (1994: 4). 38 Barglow (1994: 185).
34 Touraine (1994: 168; my translation, his italics). 39 For the new fonns of revolt linked to identity in explicit opposition to globalization,
3S Calderon and Laserna (1994: 90; my translation). see the exploratory analysis undertaken in Castells ot aI. (1996).
t"I'\OLVuVe

be related, .as Alain Toql'ai[)e4~.and Miciliel Wie v io.rk a " h1!v.c suggcstcd, ~~~h=ere on the of the self in the

'"
c::
co (0 an identity crisis on becomin.&-an. abscraGtion-(EuropeaIl)•.JU..the the of my in-
("')
0
same time tqat ,Eu,[ope.an societ1~,-while-seejng ·their natip.!1_alideJ!tity nOt to before-
c
~ hIm-LCd, discQv_cred within themselves the lasting existence of ethnic •
'", I
minorities in European societies (a demographic fact since at least the •
--
r-
0'
1960s). Or again, in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union, the strong devel- •

_.
~

'"-- A Word on Method


~
opment of nationalism in the post-conununist period can be related,
'"

as I shall argue in volume Ill, to the cultural emptiness created by 70
'"<- years of imposition of an exclusionary ideological identity, coupled is not a book about books. While relying on evidence of various
"I- with the return to primary, historical identity (Russian, Georgian), and on' analyses and accounts from multiple sources, _.:'
as the only source of meaning after the crumbling of the historically s s
$
fragile sovetskii narod (Soviet people). thorough, balanced presentations of these theo-
'"....
~

The emergence of religiousJJlJ1.dame.ntalism se~ITI§~lso to be linked are available,43 as well as various critiques," including my own.45
N

co
, trend and crisis. We knowtrom , I shall not contribute, except when necessary for the sake of
~

0 that ideas all brands are always in stock waiting argument, to the cottage industry created in the 1980s around
8 to catch fire under the right circumstances'<! theory,46 being for my part fully satisfied with the excel-
criticism elaborated by David Harvey on the social and ideologi-
foundations of "post-modernity,"47 as well as with the sociological
of postmodern theories performed by Scott Lash. 4! I cer-
lly owe many thoughts to many authors, and particularly to the
of infonnationalism, Alain Touraine and Daniel Bell, as well
the one Marxist ¢,eorist who sensed the new, relevant issues just
his death in 1979, Nicos Poulantzas. 49 And I duly acknowledge
concepts when I use them as tools in my specific analyses.
I have tried to construct a discourse as autonomous and non-
as possible, integrating materials and observations from
sources, without submitting the reader to the painful revisit-
of the bibliographical jungle where I have lived (fortunately, among
activities) for the past 12 years .
.In a similar vein, while using a significant a mount of statistical sources
. empirical studies, I have tried to minimize the processing of @ta
:.:::.:::.:.:=~book. Therefore, I tend

overview of sociological theories on post-industrialism and informational ism


. For the intellectual and terminological origins of notions of "information
" see Nora and Mine (1978) and Ito (1991a). See also Beniger (1986)' Katz (1988)'
(1988); Salvaggio (1989). "
:' For critical perspectives on p()st-industrialism, see, among others, Woodward (1980);
- (1986); Lyon (1988); Sho)1 (1990); Touraine (1992). For a cultural critique of our
.. emphasis on information technology, see Postman (1992) .
· For my own crItique of post-industrialism, see Castells (1994, 1996).
, ,See Lyon (1994); also Seidman and Wagner (1992).
40 Touraine (1991). _. Harvey (1990).
41 Wieviorka (1993). " Lash (1990).

42 See, for instance, Colas (1992); Kepel (1993). - · Poulantzas (1978: esp. 160-9) .

PROLOGUE PROLOGUE
. ,f

--c I to use data sources that find broad. a ccept~asenslls a moQ~ocial . b~en discussed ix:- s?me depth throughout the intellectual journey
C
co f' .. scientistS (for example, OEeD, United Nations, World Bank, govern- on which the reader IS uwited by this book . The first the
b' ments' official statistics, authoritative research monographs, generally
c
~ reliable academic or business sources), exce t w ources seem
'",
r
-CJ' to be erroneo!U; (such as Soviet GNP statistics or the Wod a
~
Q)
report on adjustment policies in Africa ). I am aware of limitations in
_. lending credibility to information that may not always be accurate, .•
Q)
yet the reader will realize that numerous precautions have been taken ,
<
• in this text to form conclusions usually on the basis of convergent .
--c

trends from several sources, according to a methodology of triangula- .
tion with a well-established, successful tradition among historians,
policemen; and investigative reporters. Furthermore, the data, obser-
vations;- and references presented in this book do not really aim at
co
, demonstrating but at suggesting hypotheses while constraining the ideas . While volume ill is more con-
~

o within a corpus of observation, admittedly selected with my research with processes of historical change in various contexts,
8 questions in mind but certainly not organized around preconceived the whole book I ied my best to accomplish two
l co
~ answers. The methodology followed in this book, whose specific im- , .

eonza-
cx
plications will be discussed in each chapter, is at the service of the
--'"
overarching purpose of its ' to some
. ments of ;:an=~~~

broad scope of my is req1lired


. the object of such analysis (informationalism
throughout social domains and cultural expressions. But I certainly do, .
not intend to address the whole range of themes and issues III contem- .
__ porary societies - since writing encyclope~ias is not my trade. . . •

The book is divided into three parts which the pubhsher has wisely ·.
transformed into three volumes. They are analytically interrelated, but, '
~ theY.ha ve been organized to make their reading independent. The.only ..
exception to this rule concerns the !=onclusion, in volum~ ~, whlch.!s
the overall conclusion of the book, and presents a s thenc mterpreta- ;
tion of its {indin sand id .
.vi" - es while making the book publishable ·
, 11 "
and readable, raises some problems in ..~.Qmmllni~ati~ __~!_.<:.vera .

in this book are presented in the second volume. Such IS the case, •
particularly, of the analysis of women and patriarchalism, and·of power .
relationships and the state. I warn the reader that I do not share a ·.-
traditional view of society as made up of supenmposed levels, With
technology and economy in the basement, power on .the mezzanine, :i •

and culture in the penthouse. Yet, for the sake of cla.:1ty, I ~m forc~d .
to a systematic, somewhat linear presentation of topiCS which, .while
relating to each other, cannot fully integrate all the elements until they . •
406 f!..!! '~lfUR( Of R(AL VIRTUAlITY_ _ __

6
-
the .

...<
-0
:r:
~.... •

~cria ha bits: electron=-:i'=-c:::-:':-::: =...:::::.:


-N

mt~ract\Ve fundamentalist networks are a more efficient, more •

etratmg form of mdoctrinatlon in our societies than face-to-face


mission of distant, chammatlc authority. But by having to and time are the fundamental, material dimensions of human
the earthly coexistence of transcendental messages, on-demand Physicists have unveiled the complexity of such notions, beyond
nography, soap operas, and chat-hnes within the same fallacious intuitive simplicity. School children know that space
pcrior ~pltltual powers still conquer souls but lose their time are related. And superstring theory, the latest fashion in phys-
~Iatus. The final step of the secularization of society follows, even advances the hypothesis of a hyperspace that articulates ten di-
sometimes lakes the paradoxical form of conspicuous including time. I There is of course no place for such a
re-hglon, under all kmds of genenc and brand names. in my analysis, strictly concerned with the social meaning
{mally and truly disenchanted because all wonders are on-line and time. But my reference to such complexity goes beyond
b~ combined Into self-constructed image worlds. pedantry. It invites us to consider social forms of time and
co nun u :.:r;==:::::-i'::. "'::'=77 that are not reducible to what have been our perceptions to
based upon socio-technical structures superseded by current his-

expenence.
space a nd time are intertwined in na ture and in society, so •
.will be in my analysis, although for the sake of clarity I shall
• •
sequentially first on space, in this chapter, and then on time in

me IS In new commUllicatlon system


and future can be programmed to interact with each , next one. The ordering in the sequence is not random: unlike most
same message. The and . time a::.:r.;.e-=T social theories, which assume the domination of space by time,
rerial foundations that so-

common-sense extrapolations of techno-


For instance, it appears to be obvious that

(1994).
408 THE

."
advanced telecommunications would make location of offices ubiq places_
C
co rous, rhus enabling corporate headquarters to quit expensive,
b' and unpleasant central business districts for custom-made sites in s Thepw:-
c tiful spots around the world. Yer Mitchell Moss's empirical itinerary IS to profile of this new
Ul•
r- of the impact of telecommunications on Manhattan's business in process, the space of flows, that is becoming the dominant
-
cr manifestation of power and function in our societies. In spite
~ 1980s found that these new, advanced telecommunications
-_ .
Q>
~
were among the factors responsible for slowing down corporate . all my efforts to anchor the new spatial logic in the empirical
-
III
Q>
location away from New York, for reasons that I shall expose afraid it is unavoidable, toward the end of the chapter, to
<
• Or, to use another example on a diHerent social domain, home- the reader with some ~~ of a social theory of
-c

electronic communication was supposed to induce the decline of
urban forms, and to diminish spatially localized sociaUnteraction. Yet my ability to communicate a rather abso:.tr::':a~ct:"=;=;'?u,
the first mass rliffused system of computer-mediated ' n "':n-e-w-spatial forms and pr.ocesses will, I hope, be enhanced
...-
N the French Minitel, described in chapter 5, originated in the 19 a brief survey of available evidence on recent spatial patterning of
(0 an intense urban environment, whose vitality and face-to-face economic functions and social practices. 3

~
action was hardly undermined by the new medium. Indeed, 10_
8o students used Minitel to successfully stage street demonstra tions
co
~ the government. In the early 1990s telecommuting - that is, Advanced Services, Information Flows, and the
cx
at home on-line - was practiced by a very small fraction of the . Global City
-
III
I II force, in the United States (between 1 and 2 percent on a given •

II>
Europe, or Japan, if we except the old, customary practice of ro~ informational, global ::::;: and
sionals to keep working at home or to organize their activity in
ible time and space when they have the leisure to do SO.2 While Advanced services, .
4
---r
• at home part-time seems to be emerging as a mode of estate, . legal services, advertising, •

activity in the future, it develops out of the rise of the network ~u, marketing, public relations, security, information gathering,
prise and of the flexible work process, as analyzed in preceding management of information systems, but also R&D and scientific
ters, not as the direct consequence of available technology. w .tion, are at the core of all economic processes, be it in manu-
theoretical and practical consequences of such precisions are crit agriculture, energy, or services of different kinds. s They
It is this complexity of the interaction between technology, be reduced to knowledge generation and information flows. 6
and space that I shall address in the following pages. advanced telecommunications systems could make possible their
To proceed in this direction, I shall examine the empirical :.()r
,
the transformation of location patterns of core economic activities
a large' extent, the empirical basis and the analytical foundations of this chapter rely
the new technological system, both for advanced services and for . work 1 did in the 19805, summarized and elaborated in my book The Infor.
facturing. Afterwards, I shall try to assess the scarce evidence CIty: [n fonnatton Technology, Economic RllStmcturillg, and the Urban-ReglOna
interaction between the rise of the electronic home and the 1989b), A1tbough this chapter contains updated. adelitional informatio
nU as well as further theoretical elaboration, 1 still refer the reader to the
of the city, and I shall elaborate on the recent evolution of urban fd detailed analysis and empirical support of the analysis presented here
in various contexts. I shall then synthesize the observed [ shall not repeat here the empirical sources that have been used and cited i
under . that I label I above-me1ltioned book. This note should be considered as a generic reference to the
and material contained in The Infomlational City. For an up-to-date discussion on
such logic of our matters, see also Graham and Marvin (1996; 2000). For an historical, analytical, and
~~.~. see . Sir Peter (19~8 ) . For ,
2 For an excellent overview of the interaction between telecommunications and
processes, see Graham and Marvin (1996). For evidence of the impact of of current of spatial and ptocesses at
tiODl on bllsiness disuicu, see Moss (1987, 1991, 1992: 147-58). For a unu global level, see Hall (1995: 3-32).
evidence on teleworking and telecommuting in advanced societies, see Kone et .1. ,-- . Daniels (1993).
(1993).
&lid Qvortup (1992).
4 0 THE SPACE OF FLOWS THE SPACE O'F 411
scattered location around the globe. Yet more than a decade of As shown in our study,H in the 1986--90 period foreign direct
"a:l
c:: 011 the matter have established a different spatial pattern, in Madrid and in Madrid's stock ~xchange fueled a period
n ,.--...Jized by the simultaneous dispersion and concentration of rapid regional economic growth, together with a boom in real es-
o
c
V>
~

,
services'? On the one hand, advanced services have substantially and a fast expansion of employment in business services. Acqllisi-
r- creased their share in employment and GNP in most countries, of stocks in Madrid by foreign investors between 1982 and 1988
they display the highest growth in employment and the highest' ed from 4,494 million pesetas (pts) to 623,445 million pts. For-
ment rates in the leading metropolitan areas of the world. s direct invesunent in .Madrid went up from 8,000 million pts in
'"<»

~-:--:"'-:- and are located of the ~ to almost 400,000 million pts in 1988. Accordingly, office con-
<
• in downtown Madrid, and high-level residential real estate,
in the late 1980s through the same kind of frenzy experienced in

York and London. The city was deeply transformed both through
urban centers, with the higher-level saturation of valuable space in the core city, and through a process
....
N tions, in terms of both power being concentrated in .. massive suburbanization which, until then, had been a somewhat

,
a:l major metropolitan areas. 1O Sassen's classic study of the phenomenon in Madrid.
~

o own the int dominance ew the same line of argument, a study by Cappelin on services
o ,..-:.-~r:..:-.
o in European cities shows the increasing interdependence
a:l
~ u tv between medium-sized urban centers in the
c
>< Union. He concluded that: "The relative importance of the
-'"-
relationships seems to decrease with respect to the import-
'"
V>
of the relationships which interlink various cities of different re-
centers are important, and even more some
segments of trade, for example Chicago and Singapore in futures' . and countries ... New activities concentrate in particular poles

tracts (in fact, first practiced in Chicago in 1972). Hong Kong, that implies an increase of disparities between the urban poles
Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, their hinterlands. "15 Thus, the
Milan are also major centers both in finance and in international be r ..
ness services. 12 And a number of "regional centers" are rapidly j04
the network, as "emerging markets" develop all over the
drid, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Taipei, Moscow,
among others.
As bal and incorporates new


case pomt
veiy a backwater of the global economy squatter settle-
that year Spain joined the European Community, opening .up that account about of the megapolitan popula-
foreign capital investment in the stock exchange markets, m playing any distinctive role in the functioning of Mexico "-
operations, and in acquisition of companies equity, as well as international business center. 16, Furthermore, globalization
In his studies ·on European regions in the
Philip Cooke has shown, on the basis of available evidence,
7 Graham (1994). the growing internation . omic activities thro
8 Enderwick (1989).
9 Daniel. (1993).
10 Thrift (1986); Thrift and Leyshon (1992).
11 Saueo (1991). a summary of the research report, see Castells (1991).
12 DuicIa (1993). '.. Cappelin (1991): 237.
U lIC>ija etal. (1991). • Davis (1994).
41 2 THE SPACE OF FLOWS


-0 Origin Destination ' ,

c
CD ,
("') New York 4,523 Los Angeles
0
c ~
Los Angeles 4,391 New York ,;.
'",
r- , •• 'U
- ' 2,7611 c
0' New York Washington '"
i'" co
~
,
'"-,- ,
~
Washington 2,249 New York '"c
-'"•
CD 0
• ,-
Cl
'"
<

Los Angeles 2,182 San ", II>
'-
9
-0

:r:
New York 2, 161 Boston -
'U
'-
0
ct>
<0 New York 2,077 Philadelphia ,
.

;:
CD

....
~
'-
0
.~
...
~

N

Boston 1.947 New York ' CD
E '"'"
~

0
,
CD
New York 1,691 Miami 0
+" ...IE
~

-
'-

0
1.684 '"
II>
~
0 Philadelphia New York +"
CD
• co
+"
~ Vl '0
c Atlanta 1.654 New York c
x 'U
--
CD II>
.-
+" "'0
c
CD
'"
San Francisco

New York
1.632

1.628
New York

Atlanta
'c
:;,
II>
-.
~

.<:
,-v
,

.s:
+" :2
Dallas 1.6U9 E ~
0 '0
'-
Chicago 1.555 '+- 2J
C
.-
0 '
0"
'-
,
• .....co ..0
Figure 6.1 Largest absolute growth in information flows, 1982 .
, ~4
E
-.
"'

1990 • '-
0
Source: Federal Express data, elaborated by Michelson and Wheeler (1994)
~ \ '+-'"
.- '"~
C ~


'+-
0
, '0'"
out Europe has made regions more dependent on these activities,
/cordmgly, regions, illIder dIe imp@se of their' governments ana
t'"
0
a..
..
~
~

'-
a.
x .:l
w
ness elites, have restructured themselves to compete in the -
economy, and they have established networks of cooperation
regional institutions and between region-based companies. ,

gions and localities do not disappear, but become integrated in I


" national networks that link up their most dynamic sectorsY
,
_- An approximation to the evolving architecture of information ,

in the global economy has been obtained by Michelson and


on the basis of data analysis of traffic for one of the leading
couriers, Federal Express Corporation. IS studied the 1990s' ,

17 Cooke and Morgan (1993); Cooke (1994).


18 Michelson and Wheeler (1994).
.......--...... ......-... .-.
ment oE d boxes between US experienced in cities such as Bangkok, Taipei, Shanghai, Mexico
-"
c:: or Bogota, on the other hand, Madrid, along with New York
co
, C"">
o
and Par.is, went into a slump that triggered a sharp downtur~
c pnces and halted new construction. Then in the late
London's and New York's real estate revalued 's~bstantially,
Vl,
r-
_. particularly New by Los over
cr
~ (b) selected national aQd iQternarional ,c ircuits of connection, As til the u.:~an cores <:>f major Asian cities were severely struck by a
'" conclude: crISIS, partly mduced by the bursting of the bubble of their
-
(t)
markets (see volume ill). This urban roller-coaster at dif-
'"<
• periods, across areas of the world, illustrates both the depend-
-"
• and vllinerability of any locale, including major cities, to changing
flows .

.£ication, deregulation and ... ? Here aga in,


• ever] as the current epoch unfolds, the importance of flexibility as
OJ
,
research by herself and other re-
basic coping mechanism, and of agglomeration economies as the
~

o eminent loeational force will persist. The importance of the city as contexts, offers convincing answers. She argues
o
o center of gravity for economic transactions thus will not vanish.
OJ
~

c ./ with the impending regulation of international markets ... with


x uncertainty about the rules of the economic game and the players'
--
(t)

(t) valved, the concentration of the information industry will slow and :r~':
V>
tain aspects of production and distribution will filter into lower
of an internationalized urban hierarchy."

Indeed, the hierarchy in the network is by no means assured or



it is subject to fierce inter-city competition, as well as to the '. as
. 0

highly risky investments in both finance and real estate. Thus, P.: .
Daniels, in one of the most comprehensive studies of the
cities, or rather, their business districts, are information-based,
explains the partial failure of the major redevelopment proj ','
' - nT. . . complex~s, where corporate headquarters and ad-
Canary Wharf in London's Docklands as the result of the '
finanCial frrrns ca!1 find both the suppliers and the highly skilled,
strategy of its developer, the notorious Canadian firm Olympia & Yi ,
labor they reqllire. They constitute indeed networks of pro-
unable to absorb the office development glut of the early 1990s,
and management, whose flexibility needs not to internalize
wake of retrenchment of financial services employment in both
J fI ~er.: and suppliers, but to be able to access them when it fits and
don and New York. He concludes that: tIme and quantities that are required in each particular inst~nce.
and adaptability are better served by this combination be-
The expansion of services into the international market place has
fore introduced a greater degree of flexibility, and ultimately . . . of core networks, and global networking of these
tion, into the global urban system than was the case in the past. As and . therr dispersed, ancillary networks, via telecornmunica-
experience with Canary Wharf has shown, it also made the outcome and rur transportation. Other factors seem also to contribute
large-scale planning and redevelopment within cities a hostage to . c.oncentration of high-level activities in a few nodes: once
nal international factors over which they can have limited controPO : .. are constituted, heavy investment in valuable real estate by cor-
explains their reluctance to move because such a move
Thus, in the early 1990s, while business-led explosive urban devalue their fixed assets; also, face-to-face contacts for critical

19 Michelson and Wheeler (1994: 102-3).
20 Daniell (1993: 166). (1991: 3-4).
THE SPACE OF FLOWS
THE SPACE OF flOWS
417
decisions are s rill necessary in rbe age of widespread I and business capitals in the early twenty-fir th
since, as Saskia Sassen reporrs rbar a manager confessed to her . al' st century u,
a major re Ignment in the. global geography of adv~nced
an interview, sometimes business deals are, of necessity, But for the sake of the spabal analysis I am h
illegal. 22 And, finally, major metropolitan centers still offer the if I miss my prediction. Because, ere,
est opportunities for the personal enhancement, social status, and ' .
dividual self-gratification of the much-needed upper-level "
--
ro
from good schools for their children to symbolic mem
,
heigbts of conspicuous consumption, including art and en prt
'"<
• Nevertheless,
"

indeed d
areas, to linkages with

-;;:;;;;~~~activities have emerged in the States (for
OJ
, Atlanta, Georgia, or Omaha, Nebraska), in Europe (for example, •

~
celona, Nice, Stuttgart, Bristol), or in Asia (for example, Bombay, The New Industrial Space
kok, Shanghai). The peripheries of major metropolitan areas
bustling with new office development, be it Walnut Creek in San advent of high-technology manufacturing, namely micro-
cisco or Reading near London. And in some cases, new major computer-aided manufacturing, ushered in a new
centers have sprung up on the edge of the historic city, Paris's La of industrial location. Electronic firms, the producers of new in-
being the most notorious and successful example. Yet, in technology devices, were also the first to practice the
instances, decentralization of office work affects "back offices;" strategy both allowed and required by the information-based
is, the mass processing of transactions that execute strategies ci( process. During the 1980s, a number of empirical studies
and designed in the corporate centers of high finance and by faculty and graduate students at the University of Cali-
services.2S These are precisely the activities that employ the bulk , . Berkeley'S Institute of Urban and Regional Development pro-
semi-skilled office workers, most of them suburbanite women, a solid grasp on the profile of "the new industrial space. "27 It is
of them replaceable or recyclable, as technology evolves and the by the technological and organizational ability to sepa-
nomic roller-coaster goes on. the production process in different locations while reintegrating
this of unity through telecommunications linkages, and micro-electronics-

activities IS precision and flexibility in the fabrication of components. Fur-
geographical specificity of each phase of the production
is made advisable by the singularity of the labor force required
each stage, and by the different social and environmental fearures
predict in the early 1980s thatT in the living conditions of highly distinct segments of this
or Buenos Aires could emerge as important This is because high-technology manufacruring presents
nancial and business centers? I believe that the megalopolis Hong composition very different from traditional manu-
Shenzhen-Guangzhou-Zhuhai-Macau will be one of the it is organized in a bipolar structure around two predomi-
groups .of roughly. similar size; a highly skilled, science- and
22 Personal nOles, reported by Sassen over a glass of Argeminian wine, labor force, on the one hand; and a mass of un-
April 22, 1994. workers engaged in routine assembly and auxiliary operations,
23 For an approximation to the differentiation of social worlds in global
York as an illustration, see the various essays collecled in Mollenkopf (1989); •
and Castell. (1991); see also Zukin (1992).
2.. Fat evidence on spatial decentralIzation of services, see Marshall ot al. (1988); See Henderson (1991); Kwok and $0 (1992, 1995).
(I989b: ch. 3); Daniels (1993: ch. 5). For an analyrical summary 01 the evidence gathered by Ihese studies on new patterns of
25 S« Castells (1989b: ch.3); and Dunford and Kalkalas (1992) . location, see Castells (19880). See also Scott (1988); Henderson (1989).

OF FLOWS
418
on the orher hand. While au tomation has increasingly ena bled .. . res ist fo r a long time quitting "fortress Japan, n both for reasons of
panics co eliminate th e lower tier of workers, the staggering increase in .· alism (at the request of their government) and because of their
the volume of prod ucti on still employs, and will for some time, a . on "just-in-time" networks of suppliers. However,
sidera bl e n umb er of uns killed and semi-s ki lle d w or kers wh congestion and sky-rocketing prices of operation in the
location in the sa me areas as scientists and engineers is neither Yokohama area forced first regional decentralization (helped
nomically feasible nor socially suitable, in the prevailing social :01 MITTs Technopolis Program) in less-developed areas of Japan,
In between, skilled operators also re present a distinctive group that r'; in Kyushu;30 a nd then, from the late 1980s, Japanese com-
e separated from th e high levels of high-technology . proceeded to follow the locational pattern initiated by their
cause of the light weight of the fi nal product, and because of easy competitors two decades earlier: offshore production facili-
munication linkages developed by companies throughout the in South-East Asia, searching for lower labor costs and looser en-
electronics firms, particularly American, developed from the :01 constraints, an d dissemination of factories throughout
f the industry (as early as Fairchild's location in Hong main markets in America, Europe, and Asia in order to pre-empt
1962) a }It . 31 Th us, the end of Japanese exceptionalism con-

28 Roughly speaking, micro-electronics and the accuracy of the locational model that, together with a
puters, four different types of location were sought for each one of of colleagues, we proposed to understand the new spatial logic
four distinctive operations in the production process: high-technology industry. Figure 6.3 displays schematically the
logic of trus model, elaborated on the basis of empirical evi-
1 R&D, innovation, and prototype fabrication were gathered by a number of researchers in different contexts. 32
highly innovative industrial centers in core areas, generally
good quality of life before their development process degraded
environment to some extent.
2 Skilled fabrication in branch plants, generally in newly "33 By '9 i -
izing areas in the home country, which in the case of the US ..
ally meant in medium-sized towns in the Western states. ., . .
3 Semi-skilled, large-scale assembly and testing work that from , .
very beginning was located offshore in a substantial the
particularly in South-East Asia, with Singapore and of. milieu does not include a spatial dimension, I
eering the movement of attracting factories of American that ill the case of information technology industries, at least in

corporations. c~ntury, spatial proximity is a necessary material condition for
4 Customization of devices and aftersales maintenance and, eXistence of such milieux because of the nature of the interaction
nical support, which was organized in regional centers
the globe, generally in the area of major e1ectroni,?, markets, Ii: . ,.that is, the added 9~lue
inally in America and Western Europe, although ill the in the
Asian markets rose to equal status.
and H all (1994).
(1995).
European companies, used to cozy locations o~ their protcc.ted .. , . Castells (1989b: ch . 2).
turfs, were pushed to decentralize their production systems ill a . co,!ce?t of milieu of innovation, as applied to technologicallindustrial develop-
lar global chain, as markets opened up, and they started to eme~ged m the early 1980s in a series of exchanges, in Berkeley, between Peter Hall,
Philrppe Aydalot, and myself. We were also influenced by some economic writings
pinch of competition from Asian-based operations, and from. matter, around the same time, by B. Arthur and by A. E. Anderson. Peter Hall and 1,
29
can and Japanese technological advantage. Japanese companIes papers, attempted formulations of the concept in 1984 and subsequent years;
Europe the research network originally organized by Philippe Aydalot, the Groupe de
. les Milieux lanovateurs (GREMI), undenook sysrematic research on the matter,
28 Cooper (1994). .In 1986 and s u bs~quenr years. Among GREMI researchers, Robtrto Camagni
29 CheJDa;s (1994). In my personal opmion, the most precise analysis on this topic.

THE
INFORMATION-BASED PRODUCTION PROCESS-ORIENTED PRODUCT ,, . •

milieu but from their interacu~m_ Milieux of innovation are the funda-
c"

. ~e~tal SOllrces of innoyatioD aDd of generatioa ",f ·{&1..8 added in tns
OJ
(")
, process of . , .. . e. Peter Hall
Innovative Need fo r Sharp te chnical Functional
0
c foottooseness
an studied for several years the formation, structure, and dynamics
~
labor as access to and soci al
,
II>
the main techno- division of the main technological milieux of innovation around the world,
r_.
CT factor of logical labor within the actual and supposed. The results of. our inquiry added some ele-
_._.
~
knowl edge Industry
0>
~

en
-
production
--' --' -- Use of information-
'ments to the understanding of the locational pattern of information
.technology industry.34
processing devices
0>
<
• allows spatial
First of all,

disjunction of
"I

Innova~ve Segmentation production process notably, I t is that in most countries, with the
en- environment of production
to
en of the United States and, to some extent, Germany, the
~ as a general
.... condition of Milieu of
technopoles are in fact contained in the leading metropolitan
-OJ
N
production for Innovation
- - - --- ,
;:r Paris-Sud, London-M4 Corridor, Milan, Seoul-Inchon,
, Innovative I and at a considerable distance Nice-Sophia
~
labor to be a I Spatial division
80 productive : self-rep roducing : of labor Taipei-Hsinchu, Singapore, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Barcelona,
force :L.process : so on. The partial exception of Germany (after all, Munich is a
OJ
~
____________ j

c
)(
'or metropolitan area) relates directly to political history: the de-
en
-
-
eII>n Segmented between , of Berlin, the pre-eminent European science-based industrial
decentralization product of , . and the relocation of Siemens from Berlin to M1Inich in the
\ . - - - - - , of different industry months of the Third Reich, under the anticipated protection of
production process of
Hierarchical
functions Its users . occupation forces and with the subsequent support of the
decentralization L .-"
of secondary
CSU party. Thus, the excessive of upstart
. I
milieux of Standardized there :;::...::;;
is
Innovation production ~

Undifferentiated Specific
market market as ill ser- '-_"';'

Customized _-; the most' innovation centers of in-


production

Spatial Spatial ,
diffusion an traditional manufacturing
), the southern California technopole, North Carolina's re-
V>
0 ,
triangle, Seattle, and Austin, among others, were by and large
(")
», latest wave of information-technology-based industrial-
Worldwide diffusion of a
0, 'H. We shown that their development resulted from the
....en segmented pattern of
industrial location Flexible of specific varieties of the usua l factors of production: capi-
,C/O following the location
N pattern labor, an d raw material, brought together by some kind of institu-
technological hierarchy , •
----
en
N of production functions entrepreneur, and constituted by a particular form of social
n. Their raw material was made up of new knowledge,
,u to strategically important fiel ds of application, produced by
Figure 6.3 System of relationships. between th~ charac;eristi~ of ',' .
information technology manufactUring and the Industry s spatial • Castells and Hall (1994),
pattern
Source: Castells (1989a) •
422 THE SPACE OF FlOWS 423
major centers of innovation, such as Stanford University, CalTech, ~L This is why some researchers, such as Amin a nd Robins, argue
~ MIT schools of engineering research teams, and the networks the new industrial system is neither global nor local but " a new
~ r--around them. Their labor, distinct from the knowledge factor, ,articulation of bal and local dynamics."36
g the concentration of a large number of highly skilled scientists However, vision of the
;t engineers, from a variety of locally based schools, including those
~ tioned above but also others, such as Berkeley, San Jose State, or
s: Clara, in the case of Silicon Valley.
,<t> willing to take the
<» can even re-
<

imperative on rmance •

" spending), or else because of the ~gh. of venture ca~ital. . as the industry expands thro ughout the world, and as competi-
~ ~ on the extra rewards of risk-takmg lOvestments. The aruculatlOn .on enhances or depresses entire agglom erations, including milieux of
~ these production factors was generally the fact, at th~ onset of the . themselves. Also, second ary milieux of in novation are con-
~ cess, of an institutional actor, such as Stanford Umverslty sometimes 'as decentralized systems spun off from primary
N

the Stanford Industrial Park that induced Silicon Valley; or the but they often find their niches in competition with their original
CD ,
-' Force commanders who, relying on Los Angeles boosterism, won examples to the p oint being Seattle vis-a-vis Silicon Valley
8o southern California the defense contracts that would make the Boston in software, or Austin, Texas, vis-a-vis New York or
CD
~
Western metropolis the largest high-technology defense COl in computers. Furthermore, in the 1990s, the develop-
c of the electronics industry in Asia, mainly under the impulse of
>< world. Finally, social n
'"-- uted to -=..:.:....~ Japanese competition, has complicated extraordinarily the
of the industry in its mature stage, as shown in the analyses
and Borrus and by Dieter Ernst.37 On the one hand, there
been substantial upgrading of the technological potential of Ameri-
" our research on the new milieux of innovation, in the US
What multinationals' subsidiaries, particularly in Singapore, Malaysia,
elsewhere shows is that while rhe"e i5 indeed spatial continuity· Taiwan, and this upgrading has trickled d own to their local sub-
, .- " the right On the other hand, Jap anese electronics firms, as mentioned
that the . the have massively decentralized their production in Asia, both to
''::'=::::''
globally and to supply their onshore parent p lants. In both
a substantial supply base has been built in Asia, thus rendering
the old spatial division of,labor in which South-East and East
subsidiaries occupied the bottom level of the hierarchy.
,rtl. . o~ the basis of the review of available evidence up to
• mcludmg his own company surveys, Richard Gordon convinc- •

innovation both compete and cooperate between differen~ the one


creating a network of interaction that brings th~m together m .a
mon industrial structure beyond theL! geographical dlscontmwty.
search by Camagni and the research teams organized around milieux detailed
GREMI network 3S shows the growing interdependence of these "1 ' . the importan ce of extra-regional rela-
ieux of innovation all over the globe, while at the same time for the most technologically sophisticat ed and transaction-
ing how decisive for its fate is ~e cap~city of each milieu to interactions ofregional high-technology firms. T hus he argues
its synergy. Finally, milieux of mnovauon corom.and global •

of production and distribution that extend their reach all over


Amin and Robins (199 1).
3S Camago; (1991). Ernst (1994c); Cohen and Borrus (19950) .

THE SPACE OF FLOWS 425
TH[ SPACE OF HOWS
424 -- - - .-
'voided of their functional necessity. Processes of spatial transforma-
m rhls n~w I!lobal cont~xr, 1,,<:.lIiZCU .1AAlomerauon, far fro111 constitut- ..
inK ~n dlternduve to ~panal dlSp"rslon, becomes rhe prinCipal baSIS for , : n are. of cow:se n:uch more complicated, as history shows. There-
participation In a global network of regIOnal economies . . . Regions i,; It IS worthwhile to conSider the scant empirical record on the
and network~ 111 face consutuee Interdependent poles within the new , '.- r. JY
spatial mo~alc of global Innovation, Globalization lU thiS context in- . A drama.tic increase of teJeworking is the most usual assumption

-
~ volve~ not the leavening Impact of universal processes but, on the con- . the lITIpact of mformatlon technology on cities, and the last
trary, the calculated syntheSIS of cultural diversity in the form of . fo~ me~ropolitan transportation planners before sw:rendering to. ~
differentiated regionalll1novanon logiCS and capablhtl~s." ' mevttablltty of the mega-grid lock. Yet, in 1988, a leading Ew:o "---..
researcher on telecommuting could write, without the shadow of
The new IIldustrial space does not represent the demise of old, . joke, that "There are more people doing research on telework than
tabltshed metropolttan areas and the rtSmg sun of new, high-tech ' are a~tual teleworkers. "40 In fact, as noted by Qvortup, the whole
gtons. Nor can tt be apprehended under the simplistic ' ~s bIased by the lack of precision in defining telework, leading
4
. between automation at the center and low-cost manufactw:mg at
N
... penphery. It t~ organized III a hierarchy of innovation and
conSIderable uncertal11ty when measuring the phenomenon. ! After
. available evidence, he adequately distinguishes between three
0:> arttculated 111 global networks. But the direction and architecture (a) "Substitutors, those who substitute work done at home


these networks arc submitted to the endless changing movements '·
cooperation and competltlon berween firms and berween locales,
work done in a traditional work setting" (these are telecommuters
the strict sense); (b) self-employed, working on-line from their homes'
~ umes hlstoncally cumulanve, sometimes reversing the established ' supplementers, "bringing supplementary work home from thei;
C
)(
tern through deliberate mstirutlonal entrepreneurialism. What onal office." Furthermore, in some cases this "supplementary
-
to
rem.lIn as the characteristic logic of the new industrial location " takes most of the working time' for example according to
geographical dlsconrmUlty, paradOXically made up of territorial . 42'In th cease 0 furuverSlty
" ' By most reliable
professors. , accounts,
ducnon complexes. around first c~tegory, telecommuters stricto sensu employed regularly to
of on-hne ~ t home, IS very small overall, and is not expected to
upon cycles or firms -~ subst~ ntla lly m the foreseeable future.· 3 In the United States the
the logic of mformatlon technology manufactu ring down estlmates evaluated in 1991 about 5.5 million home-based
the producers of informatIon technology devices to the users of but of this total only 16 percent telecommuted 35 hours
deVices 111 the whole realm of manufacturing, so the new .more per week, 25 percent telecommuted less than one day a week
. .
rwo days a week being the m.ost common pattern. Thus, the per:
of worke.rs who on any given day are telecommuting ranges,
. on estlITlatc:s, berween 1 and 2 percent of total labor force
major ~etropohtan areas in California displaying the highes~
. O n the other hand, what seems to be emerging is
Everyd ay Lif e in t he Electronic Cottage: the End . from telecenters; that IS, nerworked computer facil-
Cities7 ill 0e suburbs of metropolitan areas for workers to work
§• and
thelf companies. 45 If these trends are confirmed, homes
o• not workplaces, but work activity could spread con- •
....
18!. functions: work, For sources on topics covered in this section, see Graham and Marvin (1996)' Wheeler
.....
...... -...... entertamment, heaIthca re, education, public services, Aoyama (2000). '
~ Steinle (1988: 8).
/ ' the like. Accordingly, futurologists often predict the demise of the Qvortup (1992: 8).
or at least of cities as we have known them until now, once they: Kraur (1989).
Nilles (1988); Rijn and Williams (1988 ); Huws et aL (1990).
Mokhcar~an (1991a, b); Handy and Mokhrarian (1995).

3. Gordon 11'' ': 46).



Mokhtanan (1991b) .
THe SPACE THE SPACE OF 427

-0
siderably tbcoughout the metropolitan area, increasing urban of on-line sales in the US over Christmas 1999, is a major, new
c: tralization. Increase in home work may also result as a form of elo{ (see chapter 2). Nevertheless, the growing importance of
co
C"")
0
tronic outworking by temporary workers, paid by the p transactions does not imply the disappearance of shopping
c
~
information processing under an individualized subcontracting and retail stores. In fact, the trend is the opposite: shopping
,,
_ .
V>
ment.46 Interestingly enough, in the United States, a 1991 proliferate around the urban and suburban landscape, with show-
cr
~ survey showed that fewer than a half of home telecommuters that address customers to on-line ordering terminals to get the
-.

_.
~ computers: the rest worked with a telephone, pen, and paperY goods, often home-delivered. 54 A similar story can be told for
'"


pIes of such activities are social workers and welfare fraud . on-line consumer services. For instance, telebanking55 is spread-
<
• tors in Los Angeles County.48 What is certainly significant, and on . fast, mainly under the impulse of banks interested in eliminating
-0
• rise, is the development of self-employment, and of " offices and replacing them by on-line customer services and
::r: either full-time or parr-time, as part of the broader trend toward machines. However, the consolidated bank branches

<0 "" disaggregation of labor and the formation of virtual business . as service centers, to sell financial products to their custom-
'"...
~

as indicated in previous chapters. This does not imply.the end of .. through a personalized relationship. Even on-line, cultural features
N

co
, office, but the diversification of working sites for a large tr . localities may be important as locational factors for information-
~

0
the population, and particularly for its most dynamic, transactions. Thus, First Direct, the telephone banking branch
0
0 segment. Increasingly mobile telecomputing equipment will Midland Bank in Britain, located in Leeds because its research
co
~
this trend toward the office-on-the-run, in the most literal sense. West Yorkshire's plain accent, with its flat vowel sounds but
c
x How do these tendencies affect cities? Scattered data seem to . diction a nd apparent c1asslessness, to be the most easily under-
-'"- cate that transportation problems will get worse, not better, and acceptable throughout the UK - a vital element of any tele-
'"
V>
increasing activity and time compression allowed by new lOIle- business. "56 Thus, it is the system of branch office sellers,
organization translate into higher concentration of markets in tellers, customer service-by-telephone, and on-line trans-
areas, and into greater physical mobility for a labor force that that constitutes the new banking industry .
previously confined to its working sites during working hours. 50 .... Health services offer an even more interesting case of the emerging

related commuting time is kept at a steady level in the US between concentration and centralization of people-oriented
tan areas, not because of improved technology, but because of a On the one hand, expert systems, on-line communications,
decentralized location pattern of jobs and residences that allows high-resolution video transmission allow for the distant intercon-
suburb-to-suburb traffic flows. In those cities, particularly in of medical care. For instance, in a practice that has become
, where a radioconcentric pattern still dominates daily commuting if not yet routine, in 1995, highly skilled surgeons supervise by
as Paris, Madrid, or Milan), commuting time is sharply up, p surgery performed at the other end of the conntry or
lady for stubborn automobile addicts,5t As for the new, the world, literally guiding the less-expert hand of another surgeon
metropolises of Asia, their coming into the Information Age runs human body. Regular health checks are also conducted via com-
aUel to their discovery of the most awesome traffic jams in :or and telephone on the basis of patients' computerized, updated
from Bangkok to Shanghai. 52 . Neighborhood healthcare centers are backed by infor-
§, Teleshopping was slow to live up to its promise, and ultimately
pushed out by the Internet's competition. It supplememed rather
,-' systems to improve the quality and efficiency of their primary-
Yet, on the other hand, in most countries major medical
c,
.,.. replaced commercial areas. 53 However, e-commerce, with billions . emerge in specific locales, generally in large metropolitan

Usually organized around a big hospital, often connected to
46 See Lozano (1989); Gurstein (1990). . .' and nursing schools, they include in their physical proxim-
a> 47 ·Telecommuting data form link resources corporation," cited by Mokhtarian (1991
c.n private clinics headed by the most prominent hospital doctors,
48 Mokhtarian (1992:12).
49 ·The New Face of Busmess," in Busmess Week (1994a: 99ff).
50 1 bave relied on a balanced evaluation of impacts by Vessali (1995).
51 C ...ua (1989,1991); Bendixon (1991). Business Week (1999d).
Castano (199 1); Silverstone (1991).
52 Lo and Yeung (1996).
Fazy (1995).
53 Miles (1988); Schoonmaker (1993); Menom (1995).
-
428 or nows THE SPACE OF fLOWS
- Till "iPAC(

radIology eel/len, test laboratories, specialized pharmacists, and; ' complexes, consumer services outlets, recreational areas, comrner-
infrequentl)/, gift shops and mortuaries, to cater for the whole streets, shopping centers, sports stadiums, and parks still exist and
of pOSSIbilitIes. Indeed, such medical complexes are" major exist, and people will shuttle between all these places with io-
and cultural (orce In the areas and Cities where they are located, mobility precisely because of the newly acquired looseness of
tend to expand in their surrounding vicinity over time. When arrangements and social networking: as time becomes more
to relocate, the whole complex moves together. s7 places become more singular, as people circulate among them
Schools and universities are paradoxically the institutions an increasingly mobile pattern.
affected by the virtual logic embedded in information the interaction between new information technology and
spite of the foreseeable quasi-universal usc of computers in the I processes of social change does have a substantial impact on
rooms of advanced countries. But they will hardly vanish into , i'n and space. On the one hand, the urban form is considerably
space. In the case of elementary and secondary schools, this in its layout. But this transformation does not follow a
cause they are as much childcare centers and/or children's universal pattern: it shows considerable variation depending
as they arc iearmng institutions. In the case of universities, the characteristics of historical, territorial, and institutional con-
because the quality of education is still, and will be for a long . . On the other hand, the emphasis on interactivity between places
associated with the intensity of face-to-face interaction. up spatial patterns of behavior into a fluid network of exchanges
large-scale experiences of "distant universities," regardless of · underlies the emergence of a new kind of space, the space of flows.
qualtty (bad in Spain, good in Britain), seem to show that th .' both counts, I must tighten the analysis and raise it to a more
second-option forms of education which could playa' . level.
in a future, enhanced system of adult education, but which
hardly replace current higher-education institutions. What is
IIlg, however, III good-quality universities is the combination The Transformation of Urban Form: the
line, distant learning and on-site education. This means that the ,][ Informational City
higher-educanon system will not be on-line, but on
tween nodes of information, classrooms' sites, and students' . Information Age is ushering in a new urban form, the informa-
vidual locations. Computer-mediated communication is , city. Yet, as the industrial city was not a worldwide replica of
around the world, although with an extremely uneven the emerging informational city will not copy Silicon
mentioned III chapter 5. Thus, some segments of societies alley, let alone Los Angeles. On the other hand, as in the industrial
globe, for the time being concentrated in the upper professional ., in spite of the extraordinary diversity of cultural and physical
interact with each other, reinforcing the social dimension of the on there are some fundamental common features in the
of flows. 51 development of the informational city. I shall argue that,
There is no point in exhausting the list of empirical . of the nature of the new society, based upon knowledge, or-
the actual impacts of information technology on the spatial. . i .. around networks, and partly made up of flows, the informa-
of everyday life. What emerges from different observations ~s a , is not a form but a process, a process characterized by the
picture of simultaneous spatial dispersion and concentratIOn via' , domination of the space of flows. Before developing this
formation technologies. People increasingly work and manage . it is first necessary to introduce the diversity of emerging
from their home, as the 1993 survey of the European Foundation forms in the new historical period, to counter a primitive tech-
the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions sho~s.s9 vision that sees the world through' the simplified lenses of
"home centeredness" is an important trend of the new society. freeways and fiber-optic networks.
does not mean the end of the city. Because workplaces, schools,
America's last suburban frontier
17 Moran (1990); Lincoln.f aI. (1993); Millet and Swensson (1995). . . image of a homogeneous, endless suburban/ex-urban sprawl
.58 &.tty IUId a.... (1''''); Grabam and MarvlO (1996); W.lIman (1999).
59 MOle (1993). the city of the future is belied even by its unwilling model, Los
• THE SPACE OF
430 TH E

Angeles, whose contradictory complexity is revealed by Mike the development of these loosely interrelated ex-urban con-
marvelous City of Quartz.60 Yet it does evoke a powerful trend ltiOl emphasizes the functional interdependence of different units
relentless waves of suburban development in the American processes in a given urban system over very long distances, mini-
olis, West and South as well as North and East, toward the end the role of territorial contiguity, and maximizing the coromu-
millennium. Joel Garreau has captured the similarities of this -" . networks in all their dimensions . Flows of exchange are at
model across America in his journalistic account of the rise core of the American Edge City.64
City, as the core of the new urbanization process. He , this spatial form is indeed very specific to the American
• because, as Garreau acknowledges, it is embedded in a classic
fines Edge City by the combination of five criteria:
of American history, always pushing for the endless search for
Edge City is any place that: (a) Has five million square feet or more land in new settlements. While the extraordinary dyna-
leasable office space - the work place of the Information Age ... that this represents did indeed build one of the most vital na-
Has 600,000 square feet or more of leasable retail space ... (c) in history, it did so at the price of creating, over time, staggering
more jobs than bedrooms (d) Is perceived by the ,population as and environmental problems. Each wave of social and physical
place ... (e) Was nothing like 'city' as tecendy as thirty years ago. 61 (for example, the abandonment of inn er cities, leaving the
social classes and ethnic min orities rrapped in their ruins) deep-
He reports the mushrooming of such places around Boston, the crisis of American cities,65 and made m ore difficult the man-
Jersey, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Texas, southern California,' :~D of an overextended infrastructure an d of an overstressed
Francisco Bay area, and Washington, DC. They are both . Unless the development of private "j ails-fo r-rent" in Western
areas and service centers around which mile after mile of '[lcn is considered a welcome process to complem ent the social and
dense, single-family dwelling residential units organize the lic disinvestment in American inner cities, the "fuite en avant»
centeredness" of private life. He remarks that these ex-urban culture and space seems t o have r eached the limits of
stellations are: to face unpleasant r ealities. Thus, the profile of America's
ltiC city is not fully represented by the Edge City phenom-
tied together not by locomotives and subways, but by freeways, but by the relationship between fast ex-urban development, in-
and rooftop satellite dishes thirty feet across. Their characteristic m( decay, and obsolescence of the suburban built environment. 66
ment is not a horse-mounted hero, but the atria reaching for the sun rnpean cities have entered the Information Age along a different
shiel<ling trees perpetually in leaf at the core of corporate nt of spatial restructuring linked to their historical heritage, although
fitness centers, and shopping plazas. These new urban areas are ,fil' new issues, not always dissimilar to those emerging in the
not by the penthouses of the old urban rich or rhe tenements of the context.
urban poor. Instead, their landmark structure is the celebrated
family detached dwelling the suburban home with grass all around
made America the best h~used civilization the world has ever known. •
62
, The fading charm of European cities
Naturally, where Garreau sees the relentless frontier spirit of ber of trends constitute together the new urban dynamics of
can culture, always creating new forms of life and space, James European metropolitan areas in the 1990s.67 The business center
Kunsder sees the regrettable domination of the "geography of . America, the economic engine of the city, networked in the
where, "63 thus reigniting a decades-long debate betwe.en . economy. The business center is made up of an infrastructure
detractors of America's sharp spatial departure from its European . communications, advanced services, and of-
cesrry. Yet, for the purpose of my analysis, I will retain just two space, based upon technology-generating ceorers and educational
points of this debate.
. ', " See the collection of papers gathered in Caves (1994).
," Goldsmith and Blakely (1992).
60 Davis (1990). .' Gottdiener (1985); Fainsrein er al. (1992).
61 Ganeau (1991: 6-7). ," For developments on European cities, see Borja et al. (1991); Deben et aI. (1993);
62 Garreau (1991: 4). (1993); Siino (1994 ); Hall (1995); Borja and Cam Us (1997).
63 Kunst1er (1993).
OF FLOWS THE SPACE OF FLOWS 433
institutions. Ie thrives upon information processing and control . ', business and the upper middle class, and the invasion attempts of
tions. It is usually complemented by tourism and travel facilities. It , . (Amsterdam, Copenh agen, Berlin) trying to reappro-
node of the inter-metropolitan network. 68 Thus, the business the use value of the city. Thus, they often become defensive
does not exist by itself but by its connection to other for workers who only have their home to fight for, being at the
cales organized in a network that forms dle actual unit of time meaningful popular neighborhoods and likely bastions of
mene, innovation, and work. 69 . and localism.
The new managerial-technocratic-political elite does create The new professional middle class in Europe is torn between atttac-
sive spaces, as segregated and removed from the city at large ai> to the peaceful comfort of boring suburbs and the excitement of a
bourgeois quarters of the industrial society, but, because the and often too expensive, urban life. The trade-offs between the
sional class is larger, on a much larger scale. In most European . spatial patterns of work of dual-job families often deter-
(Paris, Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam), unlike in America - if we the location of their household.
New York, the most un-American of US cities - the truly central city, in Europe as welL, is also the focus for the ghettos
residential areas tend to appropriate urban culture and H owever, unlike American ghettos, most of these
locating in rehabilitated or well-preserved areas of the central city .;· are not so economically deprived because immigrant residents
so doing, they emphasize the fact that when domination is clearly ,' generally workers, with strong family ties, thus counting on a very
tablished and enforced (unlike in nouveau-riche America) the elite :OI supp ort structure that makes European ghettos family-oriented
not need to go into suburban exile to escape the populace. This unlikely to be taken over by street crime. England again
is, however, limited in the case of the UK where the nostalgia for exceptional in th is regard, with some ethnic-minority
life of the gentry in the countryside translates into up-scale in London (for example, Tower Hamlets or Hackney)
in selected suburbs of metropolitan areas, sometimes urbanizing closer to the American experience than to Paris's La Goutte d'Or.
ing historic villages in the vicinity of a major city. . it is in the core administrative a nd entertainment dis-
The suburban world of European cities is a socially diversified of European cities, be it Frankfurt or Barcelona, where urban
that is, segmented in different peripheries around the central city. makes its presence felt. Its pervasive occupation of the
are the traditional working-class suburbs, often organized around streets and public transportation nodal points is a survival strat-
public housing estates, lately in home ownership. There are the , . destined to be present, so that they can receive public attention or
towns, French, British, or Swedish, inhabited by a younger . ,. business, whemer it be welfare assistance, a drug transaction,
of the middle classes, whose age made it difficult for them to deal, or the customary police attention.
the housing market of the central city. And there are also the r>r European metropolitan centers present some variation around
eral ghettos of older public housing estates, exemplified by P.aris's structure I have outlined, depending upon their differential
Courneuve, where new immigrant populations and poor working . in the European network of cities. The lower their position in the
lies experience exclusion from their "right to the city." S~b.urbs informational network, the greater the difficulty of their tran-
also the locus of manufacturing production in European cmes, from the industrial stage, and the more traditional will be their
for traditional manufacturing and for new, high-technology' structure, wim old-established neighborhoods and commercial
that locate in the newest and environmentally most desirable playing the determinant role in the dynamics of the city. On
cries of metropolitan areas, close enough to the communication :eI hand, the higher their position in the competitive structure
but removed from old industrial districts. ,J.<:: new European economy, the greater the role of their advanced
Central cities are still shaped by their history. Thus, traditional in the business district, and me more intense will be the re-
ing-class neighborhoods, increasingly populated by s~rvice of urban space.
constitute a distinctive space, a space that, because It IS the most ,The critical factor in the new urba n processes, in Europe as else-
nerable, becomes the battleground between the redevelopment \Vh is the fact that urban space is increasingly differentiated in so-
terms, while being functionally interrelated beyond physical
68 Dunford and Kafkal .. (1992); Robson (1992). !lti . There follows the separation between symbolic meaning,
69 Tan and Dupuy (1988). of functions, and the social appropriation of space in me
434 THE SPACE OF

metropolitan area. This is the trend underlying the most


transformation of urban forms worldwide, with particular force in 0
newly industrializing areas: the rise of mega-cities. ~
0 e>{l!sQ
'"
Third millennium urbanization: mega-cities 0
ellMJl!::>
The new global economy and the emerging informational society ha • '"mm
~

indeed a new spatial form, which develops in a variety of social


geographical contexts: mega-cities. 70 Mega-cities are, certainly, OJlauer ap OIl:!
large agglomerations of human beings, all of them (13 in the
Nations classification) with over 10 million people in 1992 (see
6.4), and four of them projected to be well over 20 million in
But size is not their defining quality. They are the nodes of the
economy, concentrating the directional, productive, and .-c
upper functions all over the planet: the control of the media; the ' ~
politics of power; and the symbolic capacity to create and
messages. They have names, most of them alien to the still
..0-..
C
rtI

rtI
EuropeanINorth American cultural matrix: Tokyo, Sao Paulo, .c
York, Ciudad de Mexico, Shanghai, Bombay, Los Angeles,
,
SaJI\( soueng .-c
c
Aires, Seoul, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Calcutta, Osaka. In .-o
Moscow, Jakarta, Cairo, New Delhi, London, Paris, Lagos,
--
.E-
Karachi, Tianjin, and possibly others, are in fact members of the \;1l
Not all of them (for example, Dacca or Lagos ) are dominant II
~

the global economy, but they do connect to this global system ABQ W08
~

C
segments of the human population. They also function as
their hinterlands; that is, the whole country or regional area
..
o
,-

~
41
they are located. Mega-cities cannot be seen only in terms of their ', E
o
but as a function of their gravitational power toward major -
the world. Thus, Hong Kong is not just its six million
Guangzhou is not just its six and a half million people: what is
ing is a mega-city of 40-50 million people, connecting Hong
Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Macau, and small towns 10 the
River Delta, as I shall develop below. Mega-cities articulate the ~JOA MeN
economy, link up the informational networks, and
world's power. But they are also the depositories of all these -
of the population who fight to survive, as well as of ~hose gr?~PS
want to make visible their dereliction, so that they Will not die
in areas bypassed by communication networks. Mega-cities

70 The Dotion of mega-cities has been popularized by several urban experts in the
t10nalarena most notably by Jamce Perlman, founder and director of rhe New
·Mega-citie~ Project." For a iournalistic accounc of her vision, see Time (1993 ), , o III o
(')
offecs basic data on the topic.
71 See Borja and Castells (1997). ,
'"
(SUOIII!W U!) S\UB\lqellul
OF flOWS 437

-0
trate the best and the worst, from the innovators and the powers •

C be to their structurally irrelevant people, ready to sell their ' • Olngyu,n


CO

b' or to make "the others" pay for it. Yet what is most significant a •

c Guangnlng It
~
mega-cities is that they are connected externally to global Hu.on
V> ,
.-
- and to segments of their own countries, while internally Conghua
local populations that are either functionally unnecessary or --""
disruptive. I argue that this is true of New York as well as of
.' • .' '•. Boluo
or Jakarta. It is this distinctive feature of being globally connected Hullh ••
Z~•• ql"g
'"< locally disconnected, physically and socially, that makes mega- •

IS
"
-u
• new ..rban form. A form that is characterized by the functional
ages it establishes across vast expanses of territory, yet with a " .. 1
1
1
Xlllan J1 Dongguan
deal of discontinuity in land-use patterns. Mega-cities' ,,,
1

social hierarchies are spatially blurred and mixed, organized in ,,,


"
p:enched encampments, and unevenly patched by unexpected . _- ,,, ",GBornlng
._--- ,_." 101

of undesirable uses. Mega-cities are discontinuous constellations ,,


,,, '" "
2.
. ' .' . Hulyang I
' .. '
spatial fragments, functional pieces, and social segrnents.72 .'
To illustrate my analysis I shall refer to a mega-city in the
,,
,
Nansha
-Y ..
Humsn
that is not even yet on the rna p but that, in my opinion, will be one ••,
the pre-eminent industrial, business, and cultural centers of the • .. '..,./ Zhongshan .. ,
first ce ntury, without indulging in futurology: the Hong
Shenzhen-Canton-Pearl River Delta-Macau-Zhuhai metrop .. ..
,

regional system.73 Let us look at the mega-urban future from this '.'---' Talcheng
tage point (see figure 6.5). In 1995, this spatial system, still " Baa'an

Shenzhen ' -
name, extended itself over 50,000 km2, with a tOtal population of Hong !I
tween 40 and 50 million, depending on where boundaries are
Its units, scattered in a predominantly rural landscape, were
.. ._- .......... .. ,- "
-' .' " Kong

ally connected on a daily basis, and communicated Ooum.n


Macau
multimodal transportation system that included railways, /
country roads, hovercrafts, boats, and planes. New superhighways Major city
under construction, and the railway was being fully electrified
double-tracked. An optic fiber telecommunications system was in Intermediate city
cess of connecting the whole area internally and with the world,
via earth stations and cellular telephony. Five new airports were Malor town •

construction in Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Zhuhai,


Guangzhou, with a projected passenger traffic capacity of 150 Road linkage In kIn

per year. New container ports were also being built in North .. -- ...." .. - ~
Road to be completed
(Hong Kong), Yiantian (Shenzhen), Gaolan (Zhuhai),
6.5 ~iagrammatic representation of major nodes and links in
urban region of the Pearl River Delta
72 Mollenkopf and Castells (1991); La and Yeung (1996). Woo (1994)
73 My analys.. on the emerging soutbern China metropolis is based, on the one
my personal knowledge of the area, particularly of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, where I
ducted ~searcb in the 1980s; on the other hand, particularly for developments in the ,
on a number of .ources of which the most relevant are the following: Sit (1991);
(1993); Lo (1994); Hsmg (1995); KwoK and So (1995); Ling (1995).
FLOWS THE 439

(GuangzllOU) and Macau, adding up to the world's largest port Hong Kong (actually surpassing the value of Hong Kong-made
icy in a given location . At the heart of such staggering exportS), although the building of new container portS in Yiantian
development are three interlinked phenomena: · and Gaolan aimed at diversifying export sites.

1 The economic transformation of China, and its link-up to the This accelerated process of export-oriented industrialization and
bal economy, with Hong Kong being one of the nodal points linkages between China and the global economy led to an
such connection. Thus, in 1981-91, Guandong province's urban explosion. Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, on
grew at 12.8 percent per year in real terms. Hong Kong-based Hong Kong border, grew from zero to 1.5 million inhabitants be-
vestors accounted at the end of 1993 for US$40 billion invested 1982 and 1995. Local governments in the whole area, full of
China, representing two-thirds of total foreign direct ' from overseas Chinese investors, embarked on the construction
At the same time, China was also the largest foreign investor·, major infra structural projects, the most amazing of which, still in
Hong Kong, with about US$25 billion a year (compared planning stage at the time of writing, was the decision by Zhuhai's
Japan's US$12.7 billion). The management of these capital government to build a 60 Ian bridge over the South China Sea to
was dependent upon the business transactions operated in, by road Zhuhai and Hong Kong.
between, the various units of this metropolitan system. • The southern China metropolis, still in the making but a sure re-
Guanghzou was the actual connecting point between Hong , is a new spatial form. It is not the traditional megalopolis identi-
business and the governments and enterprises not only of Gotnnan in the 1960s on the north-eastern seaboard of the
I.
province, but of inland China. States. Unlike this classical case, the Hong Kong-Guandong I

2 The restructuring of Hong Kong's economic basis in the 19905, . region is not made up of the physical conurbation of
to a dramatic shrinkage of Hong Kong's traditional Vp urban/suburban units with relative functional autonomy in

ing basis, to be replaced by employment in advanced services. one of them. It is rapidly becoming an interdependent unit, eco-
manufacturing workers in Hong Kong decreased from 837.\)l , functionally, and socially, even more so after Hong Kong
1988 to 484,000 in 1993, while employees in trading and Macau rejoined China. But there is considerable spatial dis conti- ,
sectors increased, in the same period, from 947,000 to 1.3 within the area, with rural settlements, agricultural land, and
Hong Kong developed its functions as a global business areas separating urban centers, and industrial factories
3 However, Hong Kong's manufacturing exports capacity did scattered all over the region. The internal linkages of the area
fade away: it simply modified its indUStrial organization the indispensable connection of the whole system to the global
spatial location. In about ten years, between the mid-1980s via multiple communication links are the real backbone of
the mid-1990s, Hong Kong's industrialists induced one ofthe new spatial unit. Flows define the spatial form and processes.
est-scale processes of industrialization in human history in the . each city, within each area, processes of segregation and seg-
towns of the Pearl River Delta. By the end of 1994, Hong . take place, in a pattern of endless variation. But such seg-
investors, often using family and village connections, had diversity is dependent upon a functional unity marked by
lished in the Pearl River Delta 10,000 joint ventures and 20 technology-intensive infrastructures, which seem to know as
processing factories, in which were working about 6 million limit the amount of fresh water that the region can still
ers, depending upon various estimates. Much of ~his po the East River area. The southern China metropolis, only
housed in company dormitories in semi-rurallocanons, came . · perceived in most of the world at this time, is likely to become
surrounding provinces beyond the borders of Guandong. . . most representative urban face of the twenty-first century.
gantic industrial system was being managed on a dally baSIS " . trends point in the direction of another Asian mega-city on
a multilayered managerial structure, based in Hong Kong, · even greater scale when, in the early twenty-first century, the cord-
larly traveling to Guangzhou, with production runs being , Tokyo- Yokohama-Nagoya (already a functional unit) links up with
vised by local managers throughout the rural area. .' -vbe-Kyoto, creating the largest metropolitan agglomeration
technology, and managers were being sent from Hong Kong. " history, not only in terms of population, but in economic
Shenzhen, and manufactured goods were generally exported .. technological power. Thus, in spite of all their social, urban and
FLOWS 441
environmental problems, mega-ci ties will con tinue to grow, both in w spatial forms and processes are currently emerging. The purpose
size and in their attractiveness for the loca tion of high-level the analysis presented here is to identify the new logic underlying
and for peop le's cho ice. The ecological dream of small, quasi-rural forms and processes.
munes will be pushed a way to countercultura l mar ginality by the ,. The task is not an easy one because
corical tide of mega-city development. This is because mega-cities
of
• centers of econom ic, techno logical, and social dynamism, in of
co untri es and o n a global scale; they are the actual
engines; their countries' economic fate, be it the United States
China, depends on mega-cities' performance, in spite of the derived from conflicts and strategies between social actors play-
town ideo logy still pervasive in both countries; out their opposing interests and values . Furthermore, social pro-
• centers of cultural and political innovation; influence sp ace b y acting on the built environment inherited
• connecting points to the global networks of every kind; the previous socia-spatial structures. Indeed, space is
cannot bypass mega-cities: it depends on the approach in the simplest possible terms I
and on the "telecommunicators" located in those centers. step by step . •
• :__,-=:.;i:=.s7' physics, ircannot be Qefllled olltside the dynamics
To be sure, some fa ctors will slow d own their pace o f I.g social ;h@ocy, it cannot be defined without reference to I

pending on the accuracy and effectiveness of policies designed to This area of theorizing being one of my old trades, I
mega-cities' growth. Family planning is w o rking, in spite of the approach . issue under the assumption that "space is a material
can, so we can expect a continuati on of the decline in the "c. in relationship to other material products - including people

already taking place. Policies of regi o nal development may be engage in [historically] determined social relationships that pro-
diversify the concentration of jo bs and p opulation to o ther areas. space with a fo rm, a function, and a social meaning. "74 In a con-
I foresee large-scale epidemics, and disintegration of social control and clearer for mulation, David Harvey, in his book The

will make mega-cities less attractive. However, overall, mega-cities of Postmodernity, states that I
I
grow in size and dominance, because they keep feeding •

population, wealth, power, and innovato rs, from theIr extended .


terland. Furthermore, they are the no dal points to the
bal networks. Thus, in a fundamenta l sense, the future of
and of each mega-city's country, is being played out in the
and management of these areas. Mega-cities are the nodal Jll
the power centers of the new spatial form/pr ocess of the for example those in
Age: the space of flows. . . society that underlie the emergence and consolidation of new
Having laid out the empirical landscape of new ternto~lal forms and processes.
ena we now have to corne to grips with the understanding of
ne~ spatial reality. This requires an unavoidable excursus !
uncertain trails of the theory of space.
-
• •
m tlme.
The Social Theory of Space and the Theory of =:.. ,-=+
se",n.:,:se to vis-it-vis society.
Space of Flows notion was to contIgUIty. fundamental that

Space is the of society. Since our societies are : Castells (1972: 152) (my own translation).
reasonable hypothesis to suggest . (1990: 204).
442 THE

we separate the basic concept of material support of simultaneous


tices from the notion of co ntiguity, in order to account for th e
exis tence of material supports of simultaneity that do not rely on
cal contiguity, since this is precisely the case of the dominant
r-- practices of the Information Age. like railways regIOns"
I argued in tbe markets in the industrial economy; or the boundary-
'-== institutional rules of citizenry (and their technologically ad-
armies) defined "cities" in the merchant origins of capitalism
democracy.
architecture and content IS
in our world.

are exchangers,
a role of coordination for the smooth interaction of all the
integrated into the network. Other places are the nodes of ,
network; that is, the location of strategically important functions I

build a series of locality-based activities and organizations around ,


,,
function in the network. Location in the node links up the local- I
ity with tbe whole network. Both nodes and hubs i
-
large.
The abstraction of the concept of the space of flows can be
understood by its content. T=hc::e..::.t:=::..
form of

ne examples of networks, and their corresponding nodes, will


to communicate the concept. of network to visu-
as of the
r (micro-electronics-based devices, telecommunications, ~

puter processing, broadcasting systems, and high-speed system.


tion - also based on information technologies,L.:= ..=I. than a
the we have 'a~s~~ "-=
a ~~, .
:=:.,cmes
port of simultaneous practices. Thus, it is a spatial form, just
could be ~the city" or "the region" in the organization of ,~
chant society or of the industrial society. The spatial .
dominant functions does take place in our societies in the
interactions made possible by information technology devices. a sys-
network, no place exists by itself, since the positions are ancillary firms providing the support services, a specialized labor

1
444 THE SPACE O F SPACE OF 445
market, and the system of services required by the professional · ies and management ce?'ters in ~olombia , which were subsidiary, nn-
force. '" 1995, to the Medellin or Cali headquarters, themselves connected
As r showed above, what is true fot top managerial functions , to financial centers such as Miami, Pa nama, the Cayman Islands and
financial markets is also applicable to high-technology .:- . .. and to .transportation centers, such as the Tama~lipas
(both to industries producing high technology and to those or TIjuana traffIC networks in Mexico, then finally to distribu-
technology, that is all advanced manufacturing). The spatial ) l l points in the main metropolitan areas of America and Western

of labor that characterizes high-technology manufacturing None of these localities can exist by itself in such a network.
into the worldwide connection between the milieux of innovation, Medellin and Cali cartels, and their close American an d Italian
skilled manufacturing sites, the assembly lines, and the rna would have been out of business a long time before being dis-
oriented factories, with a series of intra-firm linkages between the Itl by repression without the raw materials produced in Bolivia
ferent operations in different locations along the production lines; · Peru, without the chemicals (precursors) provided by Swiss and
another series of inter-firm linkages among similar functions of · German laboratories, without the semi-legal ftnancial networks of free-
duction located in specific sites that become production . paradises, and without me distribution networks sta rting in
Directional nodes, production sites, and communication hubs are Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, or La Corno a.
fined along the network and articulated in a common logic by the di-
munication technologies and programmable,
flexible integrated manufacturing.
The functions to be fulfilled by each network define the
tics of places that become their privileged nodes. In some
most unlikely sites become central nodes because of historical
that ends up centering a given network around a particular making that of
or instance, it was unlikely that Rochester, Minnesota, or the I
---ian suburb of Villejuif would become central nodes of a world I

work of advanced medical treatment and health. research, in


interaction with each other. But the location of the Mayo Clinic
Rochester and of one of the main centers for cancer treatment of
French health administration at Villejuif, in both cases for
historical reasons, have articulated a complex of knowledge
rion and advanced medical treatment around these two odd
Once established, they attracted researchers, doctors, and patients
around the world: they became a node in the world's medical
work.
to the Thus, elite that
~~ , positions in our societies will also have specific
requlfeme~ts regarding the material/spatial support of thei
and pracuces. The spatial manifestation of the informational"--
its money-laundering constltut,es another ~ndamental dimension of the space of flows.
raphy that has redefined meaning, structure, a nd of IS thIS spaual mamfestation?
eties, regions, and cities connected in the network.16 Thus, in fundamental form of domination in ~o~u~r~~!X-
production and trade, the coca production sites of Chapare or
Beni in Bolivia or Alto Huallanga in Peru are connected to the

76 Arrieta ot al. (1991); Laserna (1995). only •


THe SPACE Of FLOWS 447
446 -,-,TilL \PACI .9" ,
-, easy access to cosnlopolitan complexes of arts, culture, and entertain-
t. Segregation happens both by location in different places and by
control of certain spaces open only to the elite. From the pin- ........
of power and their cultural centers, a series of symbolic socio-
hierarchies is organized, so that lower levels of management
mirror the symbols of power and appropriate such symbols by
second-order spatial communities that will also tend to
themselves from the rest of society, in a succession of hierarchi-
segregation processes that, together, are tantamount to socio-
fragmentation. At the limit, when social tensions rise, and cit-
decay, elites take refuge behind the walls of "gated communities,"
'. major phenomenon around the world in the late 1990s, from south-
78
California to Cairo and from Sao Paulo to Bogota.

more a /
IS in its institutions, the more the have to
clearly distinct from the populace, so avoiding the excessive
tion of political representatives into the inner world of strategic
cis ion-making.
, decoration, from the design of the room to the color of
,,
towels, is similar all over the world to create a sense of familiarity
I,
the inner world, while inducing abstraction from the surround-.-/ ,,
world; airports' VIP lounges, designed to maintain distance vis-a-
society in the highways of the space of flows; mobile, personal,
,access tp telecommunications networks, so that the traveler is
lost; and a system of travel arrangements, secretarial services, •

- reciprocal hosting thar maintains a close circle of the corporate


together through the worshipping of similar rites in all countries.
community as a spatially bound, interpersonally networked
~ ure. I propose the hypothesis that the of flows IS made elite
= the regular use A installations (even , and
practice of jogging; the mandatory diet of grilled salmon and green
with udon and sashimi providing a Japanese functional equiva-
nt' the "pale chamois" wall color intended to create rhe cozy atffiOS-

of the inner space; the ubiquitous laptop computer, and Internet


old days. But such decisions will be executed in instant . the combination of business suits and the unisex
~,,::-;, processes over telecommunicated computers which can style, and so on. AI~1
ger their own decisions to react to market trends., the .E
economy across
the ' residential and
for cultural connectedness of the space of flows between
, its
tend to cluster dominant funcnons
,
Blakely and Snyder (1997).
77 See 7.nkin (1992).
THE SPACE O F FLOWS 449
_ _!IiC SPACE OF FLOWS
448- . - pretacion of the formal expression of social values. But as research by
diifcrefl( nodes IS .rlso reflected in the tendency tOward the and analysts has revealed, and as works by architects have
turaJ umfnnmty of the new dorcctlonai centers in various societies.' there has been a
--'ParadoXically, the attempt by postmodern architecture to break th~
molds and patterns of architectural discipline has resu lted in an .
ovcnmposed postmodern monumentality which became the
ILcd rule of new corporate headquarters from New York to .U·w
during the 1980s. Thus, the

" as represented for


the works Philip Johnson or Moore, under the
breaking down tIle tYranny of modernism,
to cut off all ties with specific social environments. So did
in its time, but as the expression of an historically rooted
of the of flows.
that asserted the belief in progress, technology and rationality.
conrrast, .p-ostmodern architecture deda~e$ the end of all SyStems of
a mixture of har-
The Architecture of the End of History , ••
,
I
• I
Nomada, Slgo siendo un "omada.
Ricardo
I

ce of flows is truly the dominant

( 83
. . recover their identity glo- .
logiC of uncontrolled power of flows, the more they need an archi-
forms.
L----;:'::" on Gothic cathedra ls, Tafuri on American that exposes their own reality, without faking beauty from a
/' Venturi on the surprisingly kitsch American city, ~ynch o~ s~atial repertoire. But at the same time, oversignificant
ages, Harvey on postmodernism as the expresswn of . m rrymg t? give a very definite message or to express di-
compression by capitalism, are some of the best Illustrations the codes of a given culture, is too primitive a form to be able to

~ " See BurIen (1972).


'nant values. a be sure, there is no sim ~" I fd
m my 0w,0
unders.tandmg
' of postmodermsm . and postmodern architecture very close
Harvey s analysiS. But I shall not take responsibility for using his work in suppOrt

79 Opening ..a!emen! of Ricardo BofiiJ'. architectural autobiography, Espacia y a balanced, intelligent discu~sion ?f the social meaning of postmodern architecture,
(1990); for a broader dlScusslon of the interaction between globalization!
(Bolin 1990). processes and architecture, see Saunders, (1996).
80 Pano(.ky (1957); Lynch (1960); TafUli (1971); Venturi et al. (1977); Harvey \ •.
-, 1
~
450 451


,. .. '. .
'-':

,:f ...'.' ",•.: .•
,
':

, n
. 0
c •
~
, . .,
_.
r-
CT ,
I ~'
1,


.•
"5
••'
" •
- •
C;;
-_.
~

,
.•

I .'"
\, <»
<
, , . .,. . :
< •

, "
. "

A
N

,
CD
~

g
CD
~

C
x 6.7 The entrance hall of Barcelona airport
'"-- Original drawing by Ricardo Bofill; reproduced by kind permission of
'"
V> Bofill
Figure 6.6 Downtown Kaoshiung (photograph: Professor Hsia
Chu-joe)

people experience in an airport. No carpeting, no cozy rooms, no


lighting. In the middle of the cold beauty of this airport pas-
penetrate our saturated visual imaginary. The meaning of its have to face their terrible truth: they are alone, in the middle
will be lost in the culture of "surfing" that characterizes our space of flows, they may lose their connection, they are sus-
behavior. This is why, para in the emptiness of transition. They are, literally, in the hands
cha with Iberia Airlines. And there is no escape.
." That is, the Let us take another example: the new Madrid AVE (high-speed train)
are so neutral, so pure, so diaphanous, that ther- designed by Rafael Moneo. It is simply a wonderful old sta-
not pretend to say anyrhing. And by not saying anything they exquisitely rehabilitated, and made into an indoor palm-tree park,
front the experience with the solitude of the space of flows. Its of birds that sing and fly in the enclosed space of the station. In a
Vl
sage is the silence. structure, adjacent to such a beautiful, mODumental space, there
o For the sake of communication, .;.;... real station with the high-speed train. Thus, people go to the
s;:, from Spanish architecture, an architectural mi lieu is to visit it, to wallc through its different levels and paths,
,. ....
0
' -ognized as being currently at the forefront of design. Both .they go to a park or a museum. The too-obvious message is that we
a>
lao not by accident, the design of major communication nodes, where in a park, Dot in a station; that in the old station ew, and
N
......
.., space of flows materializes ephemerally. The Spanish festivities of ,jr nested, operating a metamorphosis. Th e high-spee tr in
.., provided the occasion for the construction of major functional the oddity in this space. And this is . act the question every
ings designed by some of the best architects. Thus, the new in the world asks: what is a high-speed train doing there, just to .
airport, designed by Bofill, simply combines beautiful marble .. Madrid to Seville, with no connection whatsoever with the
dark glass fa~ade, and transparent glass separating panels in an j'''': high-speed network, at a cost of US$4 billion? The broken
mense, open space (see figure 6.7). No cover up of the fear and of a segment of the space of- flows becomes exposed, and the
THE
THE
tan or Colonial New England. For that matter, we have l.eft even much
, of present day New York far below on the ground. Standing inside the
c" " .. Holl atrium we have got OUI head in the clouds and OUI feet firmly
CD
n , . planted on solid air."
0
c
~
V>

,- ., Granted we may be forcing Bofill, Moneo, and even Holl into dis-
-
CT
~ that are not theirs. 85 But the simple fact that their architecture
-
Q>

allow me, or Herbert Muschamp, to relate forms to symbols,


-
~

(t)

Q>
functions, to social situations, means that their strict, retained ar-
< • (in rather formally different styles) is in fact full of meaning .

-0
,
• • architecture and design, because their forms either resist or
:r: "
I $ the abstract materiality of the dominant space of flows, could
(t)

...
~

N

, .- essential devices of cultural innovation and intellectual
lto'no,n in the informational society through two main avenues .

OJ

the new architecture builds the palaces of the new masters, thus
~

0 their deformity hidden behind the abstraction of the space of


0
0 , , or it roots itself into places, thus into culture, and into people. 86
OJ
~

C •
both cases, under different forms, architecture and design may be
x . the trenches of resistance for the preservation of meaning in
--
(t)

( t)
V>
generation of knowledge. Or, which is the sa me, for the reconcil-
on of culture and technology.

• Figure 6.8 The waiting room at D.E. Shaw and Company: no ficus : Space of Flows and Space of Places
trees, no sectional sofas, no corporate art on the walls
Source: Muschamp (1992)
E~:::;;;;of flows to the whole realm of

use value of the station recovered, in a simple, elegant design that a


not say much bur makes everything evident. •
Some prominent architects, such as the designer A to illustrate my argu-
the Lille Grand Palais Convention Center, I
quartier of Belleville.
of de-localization, and to
was, a.s f~r so many immigrants throughout its history, my
o
V> to Pans, ill 1962. As a 20-year-old political exile, without
n " Or,

, instance of a growing self-awareness of architects about the
...en
o •
transformation of space, the American Institute of Architects' a
Muscbamp (1992) .
For Bofill:s own int 'i"etation of Barcelona airport (wbose formal antecedent, I be-
7
00
1
winning design of D.E. Shaw and Company's offices by Steven Holl, ve,1S his deSlgn for 1''';'''' s Marche St Hono,,!), see his book: Bofill (1990). However, in a
N
...... New York's West 45th Street (figure 6.8): personal conversation, a,ftcr readmg tbe draft of my analysis, he did not disagree with
, ...... . of the project of an "architecture of nudity," although he conceived it
00
as an mnovanve attempt to bring together high·tech and classic design. We both
offers (in Herbert Muschamp's words) a poetic interpretation of ... that the of our epoch are to be built as "commu- •
space of flows ... Me Holl's design takes the Shaw offices to a place as : (airports, '
novel as the information technology that paid to build them. When we and compurerized trading centers).

walk in the door of D.E. Shaw we know we are not in 19605 Manhat- : debate on the matter, see Lillyman et al. (1994).
THE SPACE Of flOWS
THE

6.10 Las Ramblas, Barcelona, 1999: city life in a liveable place


Figure 6.9 Belleville, 1999: a multicultural, urban place raph: Jordi Borja and Zaida Muxi)
(photograph: Irene Castells and Jose Bailo)
modernism, and sanitized gardens on top of a
much to lose except my revolutionary ideals, I was given shelter housing stock. And yet, Belleville in 1999
Spanish construction worker, an anarchist union leader, who clearly i place, both from the outside and from the in-
duced me to the tradition of the place. Nine years later, this time figure 6.9). Ethnic communities that often degenerate into
sociologist, I was still walking Belleville, working with . toward each other coexist peacefully in Belleville, although
workers' comminees, and studying social movements against track of their own turf, and certainly not without tensions.
renewal: the struggles of what !labeled "La Cite du Peupie, " .ew middle-class households, generally young, have joined the
in my first book. 87 More than thirty years after our first . because of its urban vitality, and powerfully contribute
both Belleville and I have changed. But Belleville is still a place, . its survival, while self-controlling the impacts of gentrification.
I am afraid T look more like a flow. The new immigrants . an~ histo~ies, in a truly plural urbanity, interact in the space,
Yugoslavs) have joined a long-established stream of Tunisian ~vi meanmg to It, linking up with the "city of collective memory" a
Maghrebian Muslims, and southern Europeans, the~selves the . . Boyer. 89 The landscape pattern swallows and digests sub-
cessors of the intra-urban exiles pushed IDto Belleville lU the .IlU· physical modifications, by integrating them in its mixed uses
century by the Hausmannian design of building a bourgeois . active street life. < . ,
Belleville itself has been hit by several waves of urban renewal,
sified in the 1970s. 88 Its traditional physical landscape of a poor com-
harmonious historic faubourg has been messed up with But
of their is marked by their characteristics, so that
are indeed good and bad places depending on the value judgement '-.
87 Cutells (1972: 496ft) . •
88 For an updared social and spatial, iIIusuated history of Belleville, see me ,
Boyer (1994).
book by Morier (1994); on urban renewal in Paris in me 1970s, see Godard et 01.
457

....

"

1 Mile
1000 4000

==~ ==;==:S
. ~==3000=r====
4000 5280
1
o 500 1000 i
soo 1000 1609M=
Figure 6.11 Barcelona: Paseo de Gracia 6.12 Irvine, California: business comp lex
Source: Jacobs (1993) Jacobs (1 993)

of what a good life is (see figure 6.10 )..In Belleville, its dwellers, . all places are socially interactive and spatially rich. It is pre-
out loving each other, and while certamly not bem~ loved by because their physical/symbolic qualities make them different
lice have constructed throughout history a meanmgful, they are places. Thus Allan Jacobs, in his great book about Great
spa~e, with a diversity of uses and a wide range of functions 90 examines the difference in urban quality between Barcelona
..... ressions. They actively interact with their daily physical
In between home and the world, there is a place called . .. Jacobs (1993).

TH E SPACE O F f\"'OWS
FLOWS
,.
and Irvine (the epitome of suburban southern Ca lifornia) on the
of th e nllmber and f r equency of intersections in the street pattern:
fin dings go even beyond wnat any informed urbanist could'
(see figures 6 .11 and 6.12). S.Q a
special kind of where ru -';;;;i=n ~
over ho f-,

cultural, are
of flows between these two forllls of space, we may heading life in
~
nniverses whose times cannot meet because they are warped
!!!.!!~!!.!..~ ~ ~~~~For instance, Tokyo underwent a different dimensions of a social hyperspace.
" stantial process restructuring during the 1980s to live
its role as "a global city," a process fully documented by
/I The city government, sensitive to the deep-seated Japanese fear •

the loss of identity, added to its business-oriented restructuring •

an image-making policy of singing the virtues of old Edo, nr


Tokyo. An historical museum (Edo-Toky o Hakubutsakan) was •

in 1993, a public relations magazine was published, exhibitions


lady organized. As Machimura writes, "Although these views
go in totally different directions, both of them seek for •

the Westernized image of the city in more domestic ways. •

"Japanization" of the Westernized city provides an important cc


for the discourse about "global city" Tokyo after modernism."'l
citizens were not . loss of
r:-=-=-==;.;.; ,

instrumental logic of the global city. A project .


the celebration of a world City Fair in 1997, a good occasion to
another, major business complex on reclaimed land in Tokyo
Large construction companies happily obliged, and work was
underway in 1995. Suddenly, in the 1995 municipal election, an
pendent candidate, Aoshima, a television comedian without
from political parties or financial circles, campaigned on a
program: to cancel the World City Fair. He won the election by a •

margin, and became governor of Tokyo. A few weeks later, he


his campaign promise and canceled the World City Fair to
belief of the corporate elite. The local logic of civil society was
ing up with, and contradicting, the global logic of international
Thu

to places, becomes

91 Macbimura (1995: 16). See his book on the social and political forces
restrw:turing of Tokyo: Macbimura (1994).

Rethinking Globalization: Glocalization/Grobalization and


Something/Notbiog*

GEORGE RITZER

University oj Mary/and

The concept of "grobalizalion" is proposed to complement the popular idea of


"glocaiization." In addition, a sociologically relevant concept of "nothing" is deJmed
and juxtaposed with "something." Two continua are created grobalization-
localization and nothing-something and their intersection creates Jour quadrants:
the grobalization of nothing. gloca/ization of nothing, grobalization of something, and
glocalization of something. Of greatest importance are
, as well as the conflict between them. The grobal-
ization of nothing threatens to overwhelm the laller and everything else. Other issues
discussed include the loss of something in a world increasingly dominated by nothing,
the disappearance of the local, and the relationship of the triumph of nothing to ,
political economy, especially social class. I conclude that no social class is immune
10 this process and that the poor and lower classess may be "doomed" to something .

This essay seeks to offer a unique theoretical perspective by reflecting on and inte-
grating some well-known ideas in sociology (and the social sciences) on g1obaliVltion
and a body of thinking, virtually unknown in sociology, on the concept of nothing
(and, implicitly, something).1 The substantive focus will be on consumption, and all of
the examples will be drawn from it. 2 However, the.implications of this anaJysis extend
far beyond that realm, or even the economy more generaJly.3
It is beyond the scope of this discussion to deal fully with globali z ation,4 but two
centrally important processes glocalization and grobalization will be of focal con-
cern. c; the

the
--.:..
.1 his paper u based 00 a forthcomlng book, The Gtobaluotion of Nothing. Many people ba~ had
important roles JD helping to shape Ibis work; 1 would paru~rly tike.to thank Bob Antonio, Kolt"'u.
Hahn, Jeff Stepnisky, Mike Ryan, N1Ck Wilson, and, ~pec"lIy. Todd Silliman for thou mnwhuablc
contributions. Address correspondence to: George Ritzer, t of Sociology, University of
Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, E-mail: ntzer@socy.umd.edu.. .
'Thus, it iJ an example or metatbeonzms, IpeclrlC&lIy mel2lbeonzmg ID order to create a new theoretical
pClSpective (Rlcur 1991). . ' .
'While interest in this topic in Amencan SOCiology (and other lcadeullC fields) continues to la, bebind that
in !lUny other parts of tbe world, th .... is grawin& intelest in the topic, u reflected in, among other pia •••
the JOIImo/ ofCon.sumu Cultur~. which began publication'!' 2001. '
'E1sewbere (Rl\7eT forthcoming), 1 demonstrate bow these .dell can be extended to aleu such U u-.t icio•
and education (both clearly aren'" of con!UmptJon) and even to pohllCl, law, and 10 on.
'For an .. cellent oveTVIOW, sec Antonio and BonDlno (2000)
'It ~n plaY' a role in I worle, Emplr' (Hardt and Negd 20(0), .. bleb Othel aill! articu1ate. a
clolCf to our nouon of grobaliz.ation.

SocioWlical TMory 21:J SeptemMr 200J


C A_rictut Sociolorical Association. / J()7 Nt .. york A,: ilk' NW. Wuithrp", DC 200054101

PUB Cours.llbratrle. av P Heger 42 , B-1000 Bruxelles


194 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY

United States in particular (Featherstone 1995:8- 9) are leading to economic, political,


institutional, and most importantly cultural homogeneity.6
,"-oJ .one of the [esseN fGr tI~i flop~llarity of theories of glocalizatiou is tbat tbe¥ stand
ill stark contrast to the much hated and malj2Ded modernization /heary that had sllch
• ••

Some of the defining characteristics of this theory were its orientation to issues of
central concern in the West, the preeminence it accorded to developments there, and
the idea that the rest of the world had little choice but to become increasingly like it
(more democratic, more capitalistic, more consumption-oriented, and so on) ..While
modernization and to
ele""'m""'-e:;"'n7ts=';: t

processes ; Kuisel 1993; Ritzer 1925). Such concerns point to the .need
for a 7 coined here for the first time as a much-needed com-
;7:-7-=:......::'='~~~ oes not Importance of

s "
Having already begun to use the concepts of nothing and something/ o we need to
define them as they will be used here. Actually, it is the concept of nothing that is of

1995;63). " .
71 feel apologetic about adding yet another neologIsm, especIally such an ung.aml.y one, I~ a field already
rife with jargon. However, the elCi~ten.ce and populanty of the ~ncept of g}ocalizatlon requires the ~I'eation
of the parallel notion of grobahzatton 10 order to emphaSIze that whIch the fOlmer concept Ignores,
downplays, or rejects. .. . . .
"I am combining a number of different enttues under thIS heading (naltons. corporations, a wide range of
organizations. and so on), but it should be clear that there are I?rofound dtfferences among them, including
to which Dnd tbe ways in which they seek to grobahze.
or thlte of
ri

of nothing and has some

of kind
. and (Spencer). and organic
(Durkheim) folk and urban sacluJ and. secular (Ila:i.er), and so on (McKinney 1966). Thea ..
there is 3 traditional distinction in soctal thought between Kill/lIT (moral cultivatioD) and
Zivflisa/ion (gadgetry and materialism) (Schafer 2001; Tiryaklan 200 I). However,
d,stinction not out or thIS body of work but rath.:..:;e-,;;r':;7.;;j
. "'as

PUB Cours.ltbratne. avo P Heger 42. 8-1000 8ruxelles


RETHINKING GLOBALIZATION 195
well as to earlier
.

, nothing is a notoriously obscure concept: "Nothing is an awe-inspiring


yet essentially undigested concept, highly esteemed by writers of a mystical or ex:ist-
entialist tendency, but by most others regarded with anxiety, nausea, or panic" (Heath
1967 :524).
While the idea of nothing was of concern to ancient (paremenides and Zeno) and
medieval philosophers (St. Augustine) and to early scientists (Galileo and Pascal) who
were interested in the physical vacuum, the best-known early work was done by
Shakespeare, most notably in Much Ado About Nothing (Barrow 2000). Of more direct
interest is the work of some of the leading philosophers of the last several centuries,
including Immanuel Kant (2001), Georg Hegel (1998), Martin Heidegger (1927
[1996], 1977), and Jean-Paul Sartre ([1943J 1958). However, this is neither a work
in philosophy nor the place to offer a detailed exposition of the recondite thoughts
l1
of these thinkers. Overall, the following generalizations can be offered about
the contributions of the philosophical literature on nothing. First, it confilms a
wi despread and enduring interest in the topic, at least outside of sociology. Second,
it fails to create a sense of nothing (and something) that applies well to and is usable in
this analysis. Third, especially in the work of Kant and, later, Simmel ([1907] 1978),
it leads us in the clirection of thinking about fOlD! and content as central to con-
ceptUalizing nothing/something. Finally, it suggests issues such as loss as related to
any consideration of nothing and its spread.

CONCEPTUALIZING NOTHING (AND SOMETHING)


is defined here as a that is controlled.
~~
;;..::.;:.:.:...of

. While
presented as a dichotomy, this implies a continuum something to nothing, and that is
~ IS
precisely ;:th~e~
A "'.<u.

conceptually is the work in social geography by anthropQlogist Marc Auge (995)

to look 1 \
common elemenlS. as well. bo wever. such as the des ire to
tend to

II . f ch o f thIS work see Barrett (1958). u _II u the a ppendix


For an OVCTVlew 0 mu I

(forthco ming). ~ rms of nothing th at are &locally co nceived and/or controUed.


"As _ will see. there are someboOt the deliniti on of notbi ng. thei. are so ...e form. o f . omethin, thal_
"As in the ca,. of the caveat a u
cenlnlily conceived a nd/o r controlled.. k' n sec Baldamus (1976) a nd Mudimbe· Boyi (2002).
"For a critique of d ichotomoUS I~~nt 'c.g~ be subsumed und er tbe broader aomelhina/DolhiD, CODdavum
I~Ci' are also live subcon linu~ p t~ and concreteneSS; unique/,. """ic. local aeoaraphic IieI,I\Iok ol locilJ
and that serve to give .1I far ~ore le urne.le" (thaI which cannot easily be tied 10 a Ii- Iimc l*iocI),
ties. SpecifiC 10 the urnes/r. alive~.nted/d ...ru:haoted. FOT DIOrc on u.e. IUbeoDliDu &lid ~
hum.n'z.ed/dehumaOi~ and e Ritzer (for\heOminc: chapler 2).
relauonsb,p to something/nothmg. ICe

PUB Cour~.Llbralrie . av P H~er 42 . 6·1000 Bruxelles


196 •
SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY
SOMEt HING NOTHING
Place (community b.nk) .................. Nonplace (credit card company)
Thing (personal lo.n) ........................ Nothing (credit card loan)
Pen;on (personal banker) ................... Nonperson (telemarketer)
Service (individualized assistance) .... Nonservioe (automated. dial-up aid)

Figure I. The four major subtypes of something/nothing (with examples) presented as


subcontinua under the broad .something/nothing continuum .

. on the concept of nonplaces (see also Morse [1990J on "nonspaces"; Relph 1976): T<?
Auge, nonplaces are "the real measure of our time" (Auge 1995:79). This gm. be
&eneralized to say that nothim: is. in many ways: the, true measure of our tline! The
present work extends the idea of nonplaces to nonthings, non people, and nonservices
and, following the logic used above, none of these make sense without their polar
'- opposites places, things, people, and services. In addition, they need to be seen as the
poles of four subtypes that are subsumed under the broader beading of the something/
nothing continuum. Figure 1 offers an overview of the overarching something/nothing
continuum and these four subtypes, as well as an example of each.
Following the definition of nothing, it can be argued that a credit card is nothing
(or at least lies toward that end of the something/nothing continuum) because it is
centrally conceived and controlled by the credit card company and there is little to
distinguish one credit card (except a few numbers and a name) from any other (they
aU do just about the same things). Extending this logic, a contemporary credit card
company, especially its telephone center, is a nonplace, the highly programmed and
scripted individuals who answer the phones are nonpeople, and the often automated
functions can be thought of as nonservices. Those entities that are to be found at the
something end of each continuum are locally conceived and controlled fOlIllS that are
rich in distinctive substance. Thus, a traditional line of credit negotiated by local
bankers and personal clients is a thing; a place 16 is the community bank to which
people can go and deal with bank employees in person and obtain from them
individualized services.

NOTHING/SOMETHING AND GROBALlZATION/GLOCALIZAnON

something/nothing. offers the basic possibilities that emerge when


we cross-{;ut the grobalization/glocalization and something/nothing continua (along
with representative examples of places/nonpiaces, things/nonthings, people/nonpeople,
and services/nonservices for each of the four possibilities and quadrants). It should be
noted that while this yields four "ideal types," there are no hard and fast lines
them. This is reflected in the use of both dotted lines and multidirectional arrows in
Figure 2.
Quadrants one and four in Figure 2 are of greatest importance, at least for the
purposes of this analysis. They represent a key point of tension and conflict in the
world today. Clearly, s
stands iq its lHay ip tenllS of achieving global he2emouy is the glocaliQtion of some-
thing. We will return to this con!1ict and its implications below.

" Ray Oldenburg (1997. 2001) has written extensively about places. specifically what he call1-lleat, I\'GCI
places."

PUB Cours-librairie. avo P Heger 42. B· 1000 Bruxelles


RETHINKING GLOBALIZAnON 197

Glo<nl
,,
I
!
I
I

,I

Place: Crafl Barn
Thing: Locnl Cmf.,
i NODpla~ Souvenir
Nonthing: Tourist Trinkets
Person: Crnflsperson Nonpe.n;on: Souvenir Shop Clerk
Service: Demonslrotion Nonurvice: Help- Yourself

Somethmg-····. __ .........................................t . :...l ...................... _._._ ........... _....... Nothing


f •.• f
® Pl~co: Museum NonpJacc: Disney World 0

Thmg: Touring Art Exhibit Nonthing: Mouse-Ear Hot
Person: Knowledgeable Nonperson: Ca~( Member
Guide ! Nonscrvice: Queuing for
Service: Guided Tour o f ! Attractions

CoUection J

I
I

I

•••
•••

Grobal

Figure 2. The relationship between glocal-grobal and something-nothing with


exemplary (non-)places, (non-)things, (non-)persons, and (non-)services.

While the other two quadrants (two and three) are clearly residual in nature and of
secondary importance, it is necessary to recognize that
~egree, a glocalizMion of nothing (quadrant two) and a grobalization of ,
~uadrant three). Whatever tensions may exist between them are of far less signifi-
cance than that between the grobalization of nothing and the glocaIization of some-
thing. However, ~, discussion of the glocalization of nothing and the grobalization of
something makes it clear that grobaJjzatjop i~ not an pgmitisated ,ource ofnotbjng (it
can involve . . s
.something (it can jnyolve nothing) .

The close and

The idea of elective affinity, 17


derived from the historical comparative sociology of Max Weber, is meant to imply
that there is not a necessary, law-like causal relationship between these elements. IS
........ That is, neither in the case of grobalization and nothing nor that of glocalization and
something does one of these elements "cause" the other to come into existence.
Rather, the development and diffusion of one tends to go hand in band with the
other. Another way of putting this is that grobalization/nothing and g1ocaJization/
something tend to mutually favor one another; they are inclined to combine with one
another (Howe 1978). Thus, it is ' .
. of grobalization creates a fa and
~
is far easier to
glocalize something than nothi~g: . . of
able ground for the development and prohferatJon is
easily glocaJized). .. ..
However, the situation is more complex than thIS, smce we can also see support for
the argument that grobalization can, at times, involve something (e.g., art exhibits

17And there is not an elective aiTllli1y between grobalization and something and Slocalizetion .nd notbia..
' "Indeed, it is difficult to accept the view that there are any such relationships in the 'Odal worIcL

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198 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY

that ~o~e among ~rt galleries throughout the world; Italian exports of food such as
ParuuagJano Regglan.o and Culatella ham; touring symphony orchestras and rock
bands. that. perf01 III m. venues throughout the world) and that glocalization can
sometImes mvolve nothmg (e.g., the production of local souvenirs and trinkets for
touri.sts from around the world). However, we would not argue that there is an elective
_ afflIDt~ between grobalization and something and between glocalization and nothing.
The ~xlstence o.f examples of the grobalization of something and the glocalization of
notlling makes It clear why we need to think in terms of elective affinities and not law-
like relationships.

THE GROBALIZATION OF SOMETHING


Some types of something have. been ~robalized to a considerable de[p"ee. For example,
goullllet foods, handmade crafts, custom-made clothes, and Rolling Stones concerts
are now much more available throughout the world, and more likely to move
transnationaIly, than ever in history. In a yen specific example in the arts, a touring

series of "Silk Road" concerts recently brought together Persian artists and music, an
American symphony orchestra, and Rimsky-Katsakov's (Russian) "Scheherezade"
(Delacoma 2002).19
Returning to Figure 2, we have used as examples of the grobalization of something
touring art exhibitions (thing) of the works of Vincent van Gogh, the museums
throughout the world in which such exhibitions occur (place), the knowledgeable
guides who show visitors the highlights of the exhibition (person),20 and the detailed
infOlmation and insights they are able to impart in response to questions from gallery
visitors (service).
In spite of the existence of examples like these, why is there comparatively lit~le
affinity hetl!'IlBB glOballMlIon and softl8t h ing? First, there is simply far less demand

throughout the world for most fOllllS of something, at least in comparison to the
demand for nothing_ One reason for this is that the distinctiveness of something tends
to appeal to far more limited tastes than nothing, be it gourmet foods, handmade
crafts, or Rolling Stones or Silk Road concerts. Se~nd , the complexity of something,
especially the fact that it is likely to have many d.~erent ele~ents, means. that it is
more likely that it will have at least some charactenstlcs that wIn be off-puttmg for or
will even offend large numbers of people in many different cultures. For example, a
Russian audience at a Silk Road concert might be bothered by the juxtaposition of
Persian music with that of Rimsky-Korsakov. . "-
are usually more expe>l~ive frequently much more expensive th~n competing fOIms
·of nothing (goUlmet food is much more costly than fast food). HIgher cost means, of
·course, tbat far fewer people can afford som.etbing. As. a result, the global ~emand ~or
expensl ·ve fo I
ms of something is minuscule lD companson to that for the mexpenslve
. . .
. u·
vane es 0 n f othl·ng ..F Qurth ' because the PTlces are hIgh and the demand IS .compara-
,
on the of somethmg, which
serves to keep demand low.
and, in some cases (Silk Road concerts, van Gogh

~'!!"-~~small number of people who can afford it are willing, and to

, .. ·n which hybridity and glocalization are not cotenninou•.


w"ThlS IS clea~IY a case I' of the trend toward nothingness is the inw ...lOg " . . of audio gukIeIlllId Jellted
An IOterestmg elUlJIlp e rall
tape playe~ at such shows, and at muscWllS more gene y.

,
I

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RETHINKING GLOBALIZATION 199

pay almost any price), tbere is less need to mass-map ufacture it (assu ming it could be
produced in this way) i~ order to lower prices. Seventh, the costs of shipping (insur-
ance, careful packing and packagIng, specia l transports) of somethmg (gounn et foods,
the van Gogb paintings) are usually very high, a dding to the price and thereby
reducing the dema nd. .
It could also be argued that the fact (compared

to no
Because it is
something came to be mass-produced and grobalized, it is likely that it
woul d move toward the nothing end of the continuum. This raises the intriguing
question o f what comes first nothing, or grobalization and the associated mass
prod uction. That is, d oes a phenomenon start out as nothing? Or is it transformed
into nothing by m ass production and grobalization? We will return to this issue below .

THE G ROBALIZATION OF NOTHING


-The example of tbe grobalization of nothing in Figure 2 is a trip to one of Disney's
worlds. Any of Disney's worlds is a nonplace, awash with a wide range of non things
(such as mouse-ear hats), staffed largely by nonpeople (the "cast members," in
costume or out), who offer nonservices (what is offered is often dictated by rules,
-....:cregul atio ns, and the scripts followed by employees).
. for the elective

nothing than something. This is the case because nothing tends to be.less expensive
tha n something (although this is not always tTue21 ), with the result that more people
......
can afford the fOIlller than the latter. Large numbers of people are also far more likely
to want the various fOlIllS of nothing, because their comparative simplicity and lack of
dis tinctiveness appeals to a wide range of tastes. In addition, as pointed out earlier,
that which is nothing largely devoid of distinctive content is far less likely to
, bo ther or offend those in other cultures. Finally, because of the far greater potential
sales, much more money can be and is-devoted to tbe advertising and marketing of
nothing, thereby creating a still greater demand for it than for something.
Given the great demand, it is far easier to mass-produce and mass-distribute the
em pty forms of nothing than the substantively rich fOl ms of something. Indeed, many
forms of so mething lend themselves best to limited, if not one-of-a-kind, production.
A ski lled po tter may produce a few dozen pieces of pottery and an artist a painting or
two in, perhaps, a week, a month, or even (a) year(s). While these craft and artworks
may, over time, move from owner to owner in various parts of the world, this traffic
barely registers in th e to ta l of gl oballfa de and commerce. Of course, there are the rare
masterpieces that may bring milli ons of dollars, but in the main these are small-ticket
,- items. In con trast , thousands, even many millions, and sometimes billions of varieties
of nothing are mass-pro duced and sold throughout the globe. Thus, the global sale of
• Coca-Cola, Wh oppers, Benetton sweaters, Gucci bags, and even Rolex watches is a
far greater facto r in grobaliza tion than is the international sale of pieces of high art or
of tickets to the R oll ing Stones' most recent world tour.
_.of

2'Gueci bags are nothing, as thaI concept iJ defmed here, but Lbcy a re ca hlin/y expcn.i>c .

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200 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY

iiobal trade in something.


- Furthermore, the economics of the marketplace demands that the massive amount
./' of nothing that is produced be marketed and sold on a grobal basis. For one thing, the
economies of scale mean that the more that is produced and sold, the lower the price.
This means that, almost inevitably, American producers of nothing (and they are, by
far, the world leaders in this) must become dissatisfied with the American market, no
matter how vast it is, and aggressively pursue a world market for their consumer
products. The greater the grobal market, the lower the price that can be charged. This,
in turn, means that even greater numbers of nothing can be sold and farther reaches of
the globe in less-developed countries can be reached. Another economic factor stems
from the demand of the stock market that corporations that produce and seJl nothing
(indeed, al1 corporations) increase sales and profits from one year to the next. Those
corporations that simply meet the previous year's profitability or experience a decline
are likely to be punished in the stock market and see their stock prices fall, sometimes
precipitously. In the . is forced, as

that is constantly to expand globally. In contrast, since something IS likely to be


produced by corporations certainly by the large corporations listed in the stock
market there is far less pressure to expand the market for it. In any case, as we
saw above, given the limited number of these things that can be produced by artisans,
skilled chefs, artists, and so on, there are profound limits on such expansion. This, in
turn, brings us back to the pricing issue and relates to the price advantage that
nothing ordinarily has over something. As a general rule, the various types of nothing
cost far less than something. The result, obviously, is that nothing can be marketed
globally far more aggressively than something.
Also, nothing has an advantage in tellns of transportation around the world. These
are things that generally can be easily and efficiently packaged and moved, often over
vast areas. Lunchables, for example, are compact, prepackaged lunch foods, largely
for schoolchildren, that require no refrigeration and have a long shelf life. Further-
more, because the unit cost of such items is low, it is of no great consequence if they
go awry, are lost, or are stolen. In contrast, it is more difficult and expensive to
package something say, a piece of handmade pottery or an antique vase and losing
such things or having them stolen or broken is a disaster. As a result, it is far more
expensive to insure something than nothing, and this difference is another reason for the
cost advantage that nothing has over something. It is these sorts of things that serve to
\ greatly limit the global trade in items that can be included under the heading of something.
It is important to remember that while most of our examples in this section are
non things, it is the case thalnonplaces (franchise.<U. nonpeople (counterpeople in fast-food
chains), (automatic teller machines ATMs) ~
While the obalization of nothing dominates in the arena of consumption as it is

enerally deftned, we find omams ceu ca s inanciaJ


Times ,10 ec 0 ogy bate 2002), education. and others in which the gro-
balization of something is of' far greater im ortance. While these areas have ·experi-
eoce t elr s are 0 t e grobaJization of nothing, they are also characterized by a high •

degree of the grobaJizadoIi of son~ething. fiot ex.ample,. the ",:orldwide sCientific


community benefits from the almost mstantaneous dlstnbutlOD of Important scientific
findings, often, these days, via new jou~als on the Intern~t. Thus, our focus on the
grobalization of nothing should not bhnd us to the eXIstence and importance
especially in areas such as these of the grobalization of something.

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G GLOBALIZATION 201

THE GLOCALlZATION OF NOTHING


Just
:::=:7:~been a similar trend in recent years among globalization over-
_ -It seen by many as
not only the alternative to the evils of grobalization, but also a key source of mu ch
that is worthwhile in the world today. Tpeorists often pri vilege (he glocal SQmet~ng
22
_over the grobal nothing (as well as over the glocal nothing, which rarely appears in
their analyses). For example, Jonathan Eriedman (I99~) associates cliltural pluralism
with "a enforced
n Later, he links the "decline of

ony" to "a liberation of the world arena to the free play of already extant but
...... suppressed projects and potential new projects" (Friedman 1994:252). Then there
are the essays in ames Watson's (1997) McDonald's in East Asia, which, in the
main, focus on glocal a aptations (and generally downplay grobal impositions) and
tend to describe them in positive terms.
While most globalization theorists are not postmodernists (Featherstone 1995 is
. one except1.on), the wide-scale acceptance of various postmodern ideas (and rejection
of many modern positions) bas helped lead to positive attitudes toward glocalization
among many globalization theorists. "cultural
_ 2S~~~~~~$o~fl!th~e~ . :I
theory in a number of . For
example, the work of de Certeau and others on m of
larger powers (such as grobalization) fits with the view that indigenous actors can
create unique phenomena out of the interaction of the global and the local.
De Certeau talks of actors as "unrecognized producers, poets of their own affairs,
trailblazers in the jungles of functionalist rationality" (de Certeau 1984:34). A similar
focus on the local community (Seidman 1991) gives it the power to create unique
glocal realities. More generally, a postmodern perspective is tied to hybridity, which,
in turn, is "subversive" of such modem perspectives as essentialism and homogeneity.
While there are good reasons for the interest in and preference for glocalization
among globalization theorists,23 such interest is clearly overdone. For one thing,
grobalization (especially of nothing) is far more prevalent and powerful than glocal-
ization (especially of something). For anotber, glocalization itself is a significant
, "- source of nothing.
One of the best examples of the glocalization of nothing is to be found in the realm
of tourism (Wahab and Cooper 2001), especially where the grobal tourist meets the
...... local manufacturer and retailer (where they still exist) in the production and sale of
glocal goods and services (this is illustrated in quadrant two of Figure 2). There are
certainly instances perhaps even many of them in which tourism stimulates the
production of something: well-made, high-quality craft products made for discerning
tourists; meals lovingly prepared by local chefs using traditional recipes and the best
of local ingredients. However, far more often and increasingly, as time goes by-
grobal tourism leads to the ~locay7.ation of nothing. Souvenir shops are likely to be
bursting at the seams Wltll trmRern reflecting a bn of the local culture. Such souvenirs

nn,ose who emphasize glocalization are onen critical of grobalization in gene,r al and, as • IUrroplC ror
it, one of its subproceSSC', McDonaldlZ8lJon (see, for example, AppaduraJ 1996:29; 2000:42;
Robertson 2001 :464- Watson 1997:35).
"'Roland Roberts~n (1992) is one ~ho is generally even-banded in his treatment of tbe arobaJ IJId !he
glocal, even though he is closely assOCIated WIth the latter concept

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202 SOCIOLOGICAL 'lHEORY
are increasingly likely to be mass-manufactured perhaps using components from
other parts of the world in local factories. If demand grows great enough and the
possibilities of profitability high enough, low-priced souvenirs may be manufactured
by the thousands or millions elsewhere in the world and then shipped back to the local
area to be sold to tourists (who may not notice, or care about, the "made in China"
label embossed on their souvenir replicas of the Eiffel Tower). The clerks in these
souvenir shops are likely to act like non people, and tourists are highly likely to serve
themselves. Similarly, large numbers of meals slapped together by semiskilled chefs to
uggest vaguely local cooking are far more likely than authentic meals that are true to
the region, or that truly integrate local elements. Such meals are likely to be offered in
"touristy" restaurants that are close to the nonplace end of the continuum and to be
"- served by nonpeople who offer little in the way of service.
p. ..... • • involving
costumes, dances, and music for robal tourists. While these could be
something, there is a very strong tendency for them to e transformed into nothing to
grobal tour operators and their clientele. Hence these shows are examples of
glocalization of nothing, because they become centrally conceived and controlled
empty fOlIIlS. They are often watered down, if not eviscerated, with esoteric or
y offensive elements removed. The performances are designed to please the
throngs of tourists and to put off as few of them as possible. They take place with
frequency, and interchangeable performers often seem as if they are going
through the motions in a desultory fashion. For their part, this is about all the grobai
r
tourists want in their rush (and that of the tour operator) to see a perfoIlllance, to eat
an ersatz local meal, and then to move on to the next stop on the tour. Thus, in the
area of tourism in souvenirs, performances, and meals we are far more likely to see
the glocalization of nothing than of something. •

THE GLOCALIZATION OF SOMETHING


The example of the gIocalization of something in Figure 2 (quadrant I) is in tbe reaJm
.·of indigenous crafts such as pottery or weav,ing. Such craft products are things, and
they are likely to be displayed and sold in places such as craft barns. The craftperson
who makes and demonstrates his or her wares is a person, and customers are apt to be
offered a great deal of service.
Such glocal products are likely to remain something, although there are certainly
innumerable examples of glocal forms of something that have been transfonDed into
glocal and in some cases grobal fOIms of nothing (see below for a discussion of
Kokopelli figures and matryoshka dolls). In fact, there is often ~ kind of progression
here from glocal something to glocal nothing as demand grows, and then to grobai
nothmg24 if some entrepreneur believes that there might be a globa~ mar.ket for such
products. However, some glocal fOfms of somethmg are able to resist thiS process.
Glocal fOl ms of something tend to remain as such for various reasons. For one
thing, they tend to be costly, at least in comparison to mass-manufactured com-
petitors. High price tends to keep dema~d d?v.:n 1~ly, let alone globally. Second,
glocal forms of something are loaded With dlstmctlve content. Among other things,
this means that they are harder and more expensive to produce and that con-
sumers, especially in other cultures, find them harder to understand and appreciate.

blGrobal forms of nothing (e.g., McDonald's t?ys) can be transformed into something (either grobaJ or
glocal) when, for example, they become collector s .tems.

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Rl..-rn-llNKING GLOBALIZATION 203
FurthclInore, their idiosyncratic and complex character make it morc likely that those
in ot~cr cultures wil.1 find something about them they do not like or evcn fin d
ofTenslve. ThIrd,. unlike larger manufacturers of nothing, those who create glocal
fonns of somethmg are not pushed to expand their business lUld increase profits to
....... satisfy stockholders and the stock mlU·kct. Wh ile craftspeople are not immune to the
desire to earn more money, the pressure to do so is more in ternal th an ex ternal, an d it
is not nearly as great or inexorable. In any case, the desi re to earn more money is
tempered by the fact that the production of each craft product is time-consuming and o nly
so many of them ca n be produced in a given time. Further, craft products are even less likely
to lend themselves to mass marketing and advertising than they are to mass manufacture.

WHICH COMES FIRST: NOTHING, OR ITS GROBALIZA nON?


~t this point, we need to deal with a difficult i~sue: Is it possi ble to determine which
_ co mes first nothing or its irobalization? The key components of the definition of
nothing-central conception and control, lack of distinctive content tend t o lead us
to associate nothing with the modern era of mass production. After all, the system of
mass production is characterized by centralized conception and control, and it is
uniquely able to (mn out large numbers of products lacking in distinctive content.
...- While there undoubtedly were isolated examples of nothing prior to the Industrial
Revolution, it is hard to find many that fit our basic definition of nothing.
Thus, as a general rule, notbillg tcqllires the prior existence of wass production.
However, that which emanates from mass-production systems need not necessarily be
distributed and sold globally. Nevertheless, as we have discussed, there are great
market there is

Take, for example, such historic examples of in the realm of folk. art as
Kokopellis from the southwestern United States and matryoshka dolls from Russia.
At their points of origin long ago in local cultures, these were clearly hand-made
products that one would have had to put close to the something end of the continuum.
For exrunple, the Kokopelli, usually depicted as an arch-backed flute player, can be
traced back to at least 800 A.D. and to rock art in the mountains and deserts of the
southwestern United States (Acacia Artisans 2002; Malotki 2000). Such rock art is
clearly something. But in recent years, Kokopellis have become popular among
tourists to the area and have come to be produced in huge numbers in innumerable
forms (figurines, lamps, keychains, light-switch covers: C.hristmas .ornaments. and so
on), with increasingly less attention to the craftsmanship ~volved In pro~ucing them.
Indeed, they are increasingly likely to b~ mass-produced 1D large fact~nes. Further-
more, offending elements are removed 1D order not t? put off potential consumers
anywhere in the world. For example, the exposed genitals that usually accompanied
the arched back and the flute have been removed . More recently, Kokopellis have
moved out of their locales of origin in the Southwest and come to be sold globally. Tn
order for them to be marketed globaUy at a low price, much of the distinctive character
and craftsmanship involved in producing the Kokopelli is re~oved. That is, the grobal-
izati on of Kokopellis has moved them even closer to the nothmg end of the continuum.
A similar scenario has occurred in the case of the matryoshka doll (from five to as
many as 30 dolls of increasingly small size nested within one anoth~r) (Gift to Give
2002), although its roots in Russian culture are not nearly as deep (httle more than a

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204 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY

century) as that of the Kokopelli in the culture of the southwestern United States.
Originally hand-made and hand-painted by skilled craftspeople and made from
seasoned birch (or lime), tile traditional matryoshka doll was (and is) rich in detail.
With the fall of communism and the Soviet Union, Russia has grown as a tourist
destination, and the matryoshka doll has become a popular souvenir. In order to
supply the increasing demand of tourists, and even to distribute matryoshka dolls
around the world, they are now far more likely to be machine-made: automatically
painted; made of poor quality, unseasoned wood; and greatly reduced in detail. In
many cases, the matryoshka doll has been reduced to the lowest level of schlock and
kitsch in order to enhance sales. For example, the traditional designs depicting
precommunist nobles and merchants have been supplemented with caricatures of
global celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, and post-September
I I Osama bin Laden (Korchagina 2002). Such mass-prod uced and mass-distributed
matryoshka dolls beat little resemblance to the folk art that is at their root. The rna ss .
and which was some-
. thing into nothing. M any other products have followed that course,
do so in the future.
While we have focused here on nonthings that were things at one time, much the
sanle argument can be made about places, people, and services. That is, they, too, have
come to be mass-manufactured and grobalized, especially in the realm of consump-
tion. This is most obvious in virtually all franchises for which settings are much the
same throughout the world (using many mass-manufactured components), people are
trained and scripted to work in much the same way, and the same "services" are
offered in much the same way. They all have been centrally conceived, are centrally
controlled, and are lacking in distinctive content.

GROBALIZATION AND LOSS


Grobalization
, has brought with it a proljferatjon of Ilotbiag !M'onnd the wotld. While
. it carries with it many adl'antages (as does the groba 1iz a tion of something), it has also
Jed to a 10$&, 36 leGal (aBe sloGa 1) Corms Of something are progressively tbreatened and
-_ replaced by grobalized (and glocaJized) forms of nothing. •
This reali and sense of loss are far greater in much of the rest of the world tba n
the United States. e an so reo muc not the
United States has also rogresse rt es . 1D t e direction of nothin and awa m
_ something. Thus, Americans are ong accustomed to nothing and have fewer and
fewer forms of something with which to compare it. Each new form of or advance in
nothing barely creates a ripple in American society.
cHowever, the situation is different in much of the rest of the world. Myriad forms
of something remain well entrenched and actively supported. The "various fOllns of
nothing often, at least initially, imports from the United States are quickly and
easily perceived as nothing, since alternative fOIIllS of something, and the standards
they provide, are alive and weU?5 Certainly, large numbers of people in these countries
demand and flock (0 nothing in its various forms, but many others are critical of it
and on guard against it. The various forms of something thriving in these countries
give supporters places, things, people, and services to rally around in the face of the
onslaught of nothing. Thus, it is not surprising that the Slow Food Movement ,
250 n eating one of McDonald 's new "McArabic" sandwiches (made with natbread) one Universty r
Kuwait student said, "!t's not reaUy Arabic taste" (Leiby 2003:CI). , 1 0

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7
SOCA-O-468 ZIg
RET G GLOBALlZA nON 205

oriented to the defense of "slow food" against the incursion of fast food, began in
Italy (in fact, the origin of this movement was a battle to prevent McDonald's from
opening a restaurant at the foot of the Spanish Steps in R ome) and has its greatest
support throughout Europe (Kummer 2002).

THE INCREASE IN NOTHING! THE DECLINE IN SOMETHING?


A basic idea eVeR a sr~nd narrative in this essay js the idea that there is ~ lon~­
term trend in the social world in general, ~Jl,g ill tbe nalRl of consum ptIOn ill

particular, in the direction of nothing. s "'"


ment from something to noililIig. Recall that this is simply an argument about the
, increase in fOllllS that are centnilly conceived and controlled and are largely devoid of
distinctive content. other words, we have witnessed a world
in whi~'~ch~~ ::.:=::=.
,.-;r:::':'::-::7:':":":":-::-::to~one where centrally conceived and controlled
Ive
no question that there has been an increase in nothing and a relative
decline in something, but many fOIms of something have not experienced a decline in
any absolute sense. In fact, in many cases, forms of something have increased; they
have simply not increased. at anything like the pace of the increase in nothing. For
example, while the number of fast-food restaurants (nonplaces) has increased astro-
nomically since the founding of the McDonald's chain in 1955,26 the number of
independent gourmet and ethnic restaurants (places) has also increased, although at
not nearly the pace of fast-food restaurants (Nelson 2001). This helps to account for
the fact that a city such as Washington, DC (to take an example I know well) has,
over the last half century, witnessed a massive increase in fast-food restaurants at the
; ' same time tbat there has been a substantial expansion of gourmet and ethnic restaurants.
In fact, it could be argued that t,bere is a dialectic here that the absolute increase in
nothin2 sQmetimes serves to iflur at least some increase in something. I hat IS, as pec5ple
are increasingly surrounded by nothing, at least some are driven to search out or create
something. However, the grand narratjve presented here is more abo"t the relative

change.

ance. could be argued that all of these have been victims of what J "
. (1950) called "crCij.tive destructi0!l'" That is, while they have largely disappeared, in
their place ha':e arisen successors such as the fast-food restaurant, the supelmarket, and
the "dinner-house" (e.g., the Cheesecake Factory) (Jones 2002). While there is no
question that extensive destruction of older fOlJlls has occurred, and that considerable
creativity has gone into the new fOllllS, one must question Schllmpeter's one-sidedly
positive view of this process. some t . of creativity,-
have been lost with;;..;th::e=::7i:-:::;:';

However, no overall value judgment needs to be made here; forms laden with
content are not inherently better than those devoid of content, or vice versa. In fact
there were and are many forms rich in content that are among the most heinous of th~
world's creations. We could think, for example, of the pogroms that were so common

~ast·food restaurants predate McDonald's, but they really came of age with the founding of that _C •
\,;(lain .

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SOCA-D-468- Zl94
206 SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY

in Russia, Poland, and elsewhere (Klier and Lambroza 1992). These were largely
locally conceived and controlled and were awash in distinctive content (anti-Semitism,
nationaJism, and so on). Conversely, fOlms largely devoid of content are not neces-
sarily harmful. For example, the bureaucracy, as Weber ([1921]1968) pointed out, is a
form (and ideal type) that is largely lacking in content. As such, it is able to operate in
a way that other, more content-laden fOIms of organization those associated with
traditionaJ and charismatic fOI ms of organization could not. That is, it was set up to I
be impartial to not (at least theoretically) discriminate against anyone.
There is very strong support for the argument, especially in the realm of consump-
tion, that we are in the midst of a long-term trend away from something and in the
direction of nothing. By the way, this implies a forecast for the future: we will see
further increases in nothing and further erosions of something in the years to come.

THE ECONOMICS OF NOTHING


Several First, it is clear that, in
is an qverse relationship between income and nothiBg.-That is, those with
~ money can still afford to acquire various fOlms of something, whereas those with little
C money are largely restricted to nothing?7 Thus, only the affluent can afford expensive
bottles of complex wine, or gourmet French ml".als with truffles. Those with little means
are largely restricted to Coca-Cola, Lunchables, microwave meals, and McDonald's fries.
Second. there is an economic floor to this: those below a certain income level
cannot even afford much of that which is categorized here as nothing. Thus, there are
those near or below the poverty line in America who often cannot afford a meal at
McDonald's or a six-pack of Coca-Cola. More importantly, there are many more
people in the less-developed parts of the world who do not have access to and cannot
afford such fOlIl1S of nothing. Interestingly, extreme poverty relegates. people to
something homemade meals and home brews made from whatever is available.
- However, in this case it is hard to make the argument for something. These fOlms
of something are often meager, and those who are restricted to them would love to
have access to that which has been defined here, as well as by many people throughout
the world, as nothing.
• Third, thinking of society as a whole, some minimum level of affluence and
./ prosperity must be reached before it can afford nothing. That is. there are few
ATMs, fast-food restaurants. and Victoria's Secret boutiques in the truly impoverished
nations of the world. There simply is not enough income and wealth for people to be
able to afford nothing; people in these SOCIetIes are, ironically, doomed at least for
the time being to something. Thus, they are more oriented to barter, preparing food
at home from scratch, and making their own nightgowns. It is not that they would not
readIly trade their something for the forms of nothing described above, but that they
unable to do so. It seems clear that as soon as the level of wealth in such a country
reaches some minimaJ level, the various fOI illS of nothmg will be welcomed and for
their part. the companies that produce them will enter eagerly. •
28
as
has been pointed

'7 But not excluSIvely The,. are GCllainly many forms of !IOm~thing-. homemade soup or new, • band •
..rutted ski cap, hom~m·dc ,ce cream- that are ,nexpci1S1ve; Indeed. they Ire often far Icsa costly than
eo:nparable .tore-bought products
"For e.ample, Wood (1995:97) poinu out that ehte cookery is subject ID standardization.

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SOCA-D-468_Zl95
G GLOBAUZATION 207

(non)things, (non)people, and (non)services. Some fO)llls of nothing a Four Seasons


hotel room, a Dolce and Gabbana frock, the salesperson at Gucci, and the service of
a waiter at a Morton's steakhollse are very costly, but they stiU qualify as nothing
as that term is used here: relatively empty founs that are centrally conceived and
controlled. The consumption of these very expensive foulls of nothing is obviously
restricted to the uppelmost reaches of the economic ladder.
Fifth, the wealthy are drawn to many of the same low-priced forms of nothing that
cater to the mass of the population, even those who would be considered poor or very
close to it. A credit card knows no income barriers at least at the high end of the
spectrum and the same is true of ATMs. The wealthy, especially wealthy teenagers, _
are just as likely to be attracted to fast-food restaurants as are those from virtually
every other income group.
There is no-.--== ::.:.::....:..:=

GROBALTZATION VERSUS GLOCALTZATION


Returning to the issue with which we began tlus discussion, one of the key contribu-
tions here is the argument that
~~~~i~s the . This is a very
Ul any of the conventional perspectives on global conflict. For
example, I think a large number of observers have tcnded to see the defining conflict,
",here one is seen to exist, as that between eJoha1jzatiQR !tnt! tile leeal. Hew~'1er, tbe
per~pecti"e offered here differs from that perspective OD seyeral crucjal ppints.
First, I .. ot re resent one side in the central conflict. It is far too
raa a concept, encompassing as it does all transnational processes. It needs further
refinement to be useful in this context, such as the distinction between grobalization
and glocalization. When that diffi:reIltiatigll is made, it is clear that the broad Ilr~s
-of Since global-
p the conflict, it therefore is not, and cannot be, one
position in that conflict.
Second, the
That is, to the degree that
the local continues to exist, it is seen as increasingly insignificant and a marginal player in
the dynamics ofglobaIization. Little of the local remains that has been untouched by the
globaL Thus, much of what we often . in reality, the
of
and interstices of
is much better
than locaL In community after community, the real struggle is between the more purely
grobal versus the glocal. One absolutely crucial implication of this is that il is::..::.;;:.:.;
g =

10
an alternative [01111 ofelQhahrotion glocali~tion. This is hardly a stirring hope as far
as most opponents of grobalization are concerned, but It is the most realistic and viable
one available. The implication is that those who wish to oppose globalization, and
specifically grobalmltJon, must support and align themselves with the other major
fOlln of globalization-glocalizatlOn.
Yet glocalization docs represent some me-1Sure of hope. For one thing. it is the last
outpost of most lingering (if already adulterated by grobalization) [OJ illS of the local.

PUB Cours-Llbralrte. av oP Heger 42 . B-1000 Bruxelles


208 SOCIOLOGlCAL THEORY

That is, important vestiges of the local remain in the !:docal. For another, the inter-
action of the grobal and the local produc unique phenomena that are not reducible
to either the grobal or the local. If the local alone is no longer the source that it once
was of uniqueness, at least some of the slack has been picked up by the glocal. 1l is
even conceivable that the glocal and the intera tioll among various glocaliti are- or
at least can •be a significant source of uniqueness and innovation .

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RETHINKING GLOBALIZATION •
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PUB Cours-librairie. av P. H~er 42. B-10oo Bruxelles





• •


• •


• Ulf Hannerz •



• •





• •
• •





• •

• tu ies in t e OCla
• • • • •

• . . . r anlza Ion a eanln





• •






,
• •



• "








• • •





• New York




tIes, eHectlvely draw together people variously located in the
ganizatlon of diversity, there perhap vaned cultura~ currents VJ • The Global Ecumene

again come to mingJe, here and there, now and agam. And
there are oveltiding common concerns, when sbared
of llie come to count for more than the particulars of the H(
ion, then people purswng dilierent lines of cultural work
till fmd more that i recognizable in each otber's eHorts,
. Etb.ztoI9GY is in the sadly ludicrous, not to say ~agic, position,
stlIDulated by H . . tllilt at the very moment when it begins to put Its workshop m
On the other hand, as a second limiting factor with order, to forge its proper tools, to start rc;.ady for wo~k on its
to the ties between contemporary cultural process and appointed task, the material of its study melts away With hope·
locaHty, there 1 human mobility. That openness to the .' less rapidity. [Bronislaw Malinowski [1922J 19 6 I :XV )
,
which contributes so significantly to the vitality of urban
We can easily now conceive of a time when there will be only
tures also in a way makes them more fragmented and one culture and one civilization on the entire surface of the
AnthropolOgiSts habitually see people as restricted to places/ earth. I don't believe this will happen, because there are coo·
thinking minoring peculiarities of local ecology; "the tradictory tendencies always at work on the one hand towards
the concrete can thus be written as the poetry of • homogenization and on the other towards new distinctions.
'.',,- .
(Appadurai 1988:38). But urbanites, many of them at least, - (Claude Levi-Strauss 1978 :20)
and go. ibiS is part of the essence of cities as centers of

munication. •
Dwarkanath Tagore and Rammohun Roy were
only Calcuttans on the streets of London. When Mahler, Each year in the spring, the countries of Europe meet in a
scbka, Zweig, and Freud found Vienna unbearable, they song contest, a media event watched by hundreds of
with their feet. Greenwich Village, New York, in the I9505 of people, There is first a national contest in each coun-
lOme of the same local celebrities as North Beach, San . choose its own entry for the international competition, A
for theae were people whose style of life and thought was on years ago, a controversy erupted in Sweden after this national
road. 11 When intelligentsias now turn their backs on their ' , It was quite acceptable that the tune which was first
they are often beading for the airport. Nor, obViously, can had been performed by a lady from Finland, and the
study of contemporary cultural complexity allow itself to runner up by an Afro-American lady who was by now a .....
imprilOned in even the most interesting of places. Swede, Both were highly thought of and somehow
that new heterogeneity of Swedish society which had
over the last couple of decades. What was controversial
the wklning tune, the refrain of which was "Four Buggs and a
''', Cola"; Bugg, like the name of the soft drink, was a brand
(for a chewing gum), Many people thought it improper that
national entry ill the European contest should revolve around
brand names. But of the two, Coca Cola was much the more
as it was Widely understood as a central symbol of
imperialism." Indeed, a synonym. for the latter ~_"the
of world." Under the circumstances, what
was the fact that the winning tune was

• ••
The G lobal Ecumene '1 19
a calypso, not something one would conventionally thi nk of as : ta.ln political and intellect1l al implications. Since then in the
typically Swedish, either. . .... . . social Sciences, understandings of globalization have us':ally in-
In the end, the text was changed before the European fi.. . : "valved a view of asymmetry) key conceptual pairs have been cen-
nals where the Swedish entry finished in the lower end of the, , . ter (or core) and periphery, metropolis and satellite.s
• field. But that is neither here nor there. For our purposes, '. '. Asymmetries are present in the global social organization
matters is what an incident like this tells us about the kind of. of meaning as well . But what kind of asymmetries are they? How
cultures we make now. . closely allgned are the asymmetries of culture With those of econ- ./
Long ago, Alfred Kroeber ted on the one hand .. omy, politics, or military might? How do cen ter/periphery rei
"probably the greater part of every culture has percolated into . in the world affect structures of meaning and cultura "
on the other hand that "as soon as a culture has accepted a
item, it tends to lose interest in [its] foreignness of origin" ( In political and military terms, the world during m uch of
].57-].58). The former seems to be a culture·historical fact; twentieth century had two superpowers, and whatever free-
latter of Kroeber's claims is perhaps at this point more de of movement other countries exercised, whether .great or

it tended ultimately to be constrained by this arrangement.
- our awareness mote than before, due to its intensity and economic terms, the century has by and large seen the United
its particular current forms. Increasingly, cultural debates in a dominant position, with a number of lesser powers
the world are about a loss of integrity in national cultures, ,, around it, varyingly in ascent or decline. In cultural
the impact of communication satellites, about the '. would we recognize other powers than these?
ization of youth cultures, about the new cultural diversity created
• within national boundaries as the natives are joined by
and The

It must now be more difficult than ever, or at least


to see the world (in tenus of that metaphor
tlnized in an earlier chapter) as a cultural mosaic, of
pieces with hard, well-defined What defines th e cen-
relationship here are above all asymmetries in the
reach across the world. More
used of input quantity and scale. When th~ center
we -;:- "'" the periphery listens, and mostly does n ot talk back.

==:..;c:.-::=-'-more subcultures within this wider entity, with" .
, In ~s ~ase, the cultural centers of the world are not by
that this suggests in terlllS of fuzzy bou.ndaries and mo~e or ,
, Identlca~ wit:h political and economic centers. Are they
, arbitrary delimitation of analytical lInt~S. To grasp thIS fact pra~tlce1 To begm with, let us just consider this in gross terms,
I globalization, in its wide range of manifestatIOns and an lssue of the overall cultural influence of nations. It can be
I tions, is the largest task at present .., tha t the are not
of culture. In this concluding chapter, 1 want to least at any ,
,, of view developed in the book to at least
aspects of that task. 4 . The cultural influence of the
, • . ~ the decades of its greatest strength, on the other
remamed modest compared with its political and m ilitary
,•• Centers and Peripheries in Cultural Flow
, . Among the lesser powers, Britain and France may at pre-
Until the I9608 or so, acknowledgments of the fact '" be stronger as cultural than as economic and political cen-
"we are all in the world" were mostly pieties, with this is perhaps debatable. Japan, on the whole, has at least so
.2 .20 SJTES

"'0
far k ept a rather l ow er cultural profi le in the world, despite its where culture is
c:: econom ic success (and with som e exceptions). Most of what it
CD
b' exports does not seem to be identifiably marked by JaJ?anes ~ne~s }- .
c 11 the global pattern of center/ periphery relauonships 10 Too
Vl• . and too much is assumed. Countries do not
culture thus has some degree of separateness, it i~ easy to see , .. '. always exercise . influence ~t the same level across the gamut
some instances what is behind a greater cultural influence. TQ . o~ cultural expressIOns. Am encan influence is at present very
degree the present cultural influence of Britain and France diverse, but perhaps most conspicuous in Science, technology,
Q)
reflects the fact that old-style colonial powers co~d more?r . . and popular culture; Fren ch influence on world culture is rathe;
<
• monopolize the center/ periphery cultural flow to as domal~s:, :of the high culture variety, and in related fields such as sophisti- '-..
food ~d fashion; there is widespread interest in the organi-
-0

arge parts of the world this even now makes London or PariS .
/-just a center but the center. In old settler colonies, historical and mtemal cultural engineering of Japanese corporations.
are yet closer, as links of kinship and an.c estry also . . such more specialized ways, places like the Vatican or the Shia
A
N

periphery to a specific center. In Austraha, wh~n cntlcs. city of Qom also organize parts of the world into cen-
OJ

lithe cultural cringe," it is the deference to things English . relationships of culture, for certain purposes.
~

.0 have in mind. Language is obviously also a factor . In this C?ntext, one should also keep in mind that particu-
g convert political power into cultural influence, and then m such fields as science and technology, the spread of
the latter. As people go on speaking English, French, and . between nations can be actively prevented, for reasons
tuguese in postcolonial lands, in postcolonial tim.es, old ~ economIC, political, and military advantage. Indeed, there are
ter/periphery relationships get a prolonged lease on life. 1£ all that s uch l~ge-sca1e restrictive management of knowledge
means that the center/periphery relationships of culture the m cre-se'? Often, it is a part of competitive
exhjbit some lag relative to present and emergent en =~ between centers,
political and economic power, it might also mea~ that ~as:::-::C::- L
well yet come into a position of greater cultural influence
world. characteristic of the
One might speculate ~~=-

8umptions, in a m--:-
ves and their culture. By
p ~ the
fOJms they invent are only for themselves} po~sibly becaus~ .
have seen at home over the years that pract1~ally ve one C01lntry an advan.
.
become an Amencan . see theu as a
. / to the world. There is a mission civilisa .Japanese, on Such regional centers may base their production on meao-
'other hand so it is said find it a strange notlon that ." and f Oli llS wholly inte~al ~ the region, or they may operate
J
"become Japanese," and they put Ja?anese culture on b.rokers, translatmg influences from first-tier centers
in the framework of organized international contacts,. as a something more adapted to regional conditions.
,
• displaying irreducible distinctiveness rather than ~ cess, it appears, has a much more intri-
mike it spread. (Notably, many of those who engage ~ :=::-=::::::7+. t n 18 allowed in a pIC re f a
I in& of Japanese culture to the world are alien a
,I brok.en.6 ) further issue,
global cultural flow chart is to what extent the pe-
.2 .2.2 SIT B 5 The Global E cum.ene 22'?,

ripheries indeed talk back, wru.ch would in large pa~t be a ques, product back to the periphery, Som etimes, this kind Q,f cen-
tion of the influence of the Thud World on the Occldent, ·" asymmetry is labeled academic
Reggae music, swamis, and Latin American novels ex-, " =
emplily the kind of countercurrents from more or less rec~nt
cultural history that may first enter one's mind; culture commg " terms, as a way of beginning to
fully developed, as it were, from periphery ~o center, and at look at cultural management at the most inclusive level. In fact,
, same time culture which the periphery can glve away, and , one does not get very far by talking about influence of
the same time, There are indeed instances like these, and .'
for nations as corporate
they are not new, they may well be on the increase, A little , . a flow, They may appear in
will be said about them toward the end of the chapter, Yet , , gtuses such as the USIA, the Fulbright Commi ssion, the British'-.>
able as one might find it to be able to speak of world culturl} and the Alliance Franctaise, and interact in their own
elms of more equal exchange, the conclusion can at in organizations such as UNESCO. Much of the traffic in
r-- ardly be avoided that asymmetry rules, culture in the world, is
~~k~i:.:nd:::::s of cultural -=-==
When we
, or r or Mexican influence we
, throw together a great many different kinds of asymmetrical :eIa-
," perhaps with some number of symmetrical ones for
good measure. Consequently, we are

Here one may ,


of the of the periphery'-often especially in
/- of immediate access to the best in one's cultural heritage, as World Culture, World System
is removed is what the center defines as the capital-C
the periphery, This is now a field of controversy, with the To
some further sense of this, we may consider two
sentatives of the periphery demanding the , 9 n,e of them SlJggcstll' qiat-
and repatriation of artifacts to which they consider their .. relationships in the
coUDtries to have a moral right, 8 , =..:.~
I There is likewise the kind of periphery-to-center
,
• which people like anthropologists playa ~ays, in the quotations above. "One conclusion still
,•
the is more available in the center u~,a01mously ~hared~ " claims a prominen t media re-
• to " d the lDlpresslVe vanety of the world's cultural systems is
I
the center, because of the greater capacity . ue to a process of 'cultural synchronization ' that is with-
I center to organize and analyze knowledge ,in certain '. . precedent" (H l' k 8
I
incredibl ' hI al am~ In I9 3:3). Horror tales are told:
I / , enter may the raw materials for this knowledge, ' , . , , ~ nc ,oc muslcal tradition of many Third World
•, from the periphery, although in that fOIm, knowledge , N ~ rapIdl! dIsappearing lInder the onslaught of dawn-to-
• at the same time remain there. Again, informants and , : ' or , Amencan pop music" "For starv ' h'ldr . th
o f ' ' 109 c 1 en In e
Dot give up the ideas that they give away, The process of , " h ,cItyI Recife, to have a Barbie doll seems more unportant
the , often occurs only in the knowledge , aVIng ood," ,
the however, and it is not at all certain that This scenario has several things going for it, A quick look
at th e world today a.ffords i t a degree of intrinsic plausibilitYI it
may seem like a m erc continuation of certain present trends. It :,1'.
,
c:
l eo " has of course, the great advantage of simplicity. And it is dramat,.
ic. There is the Se!lse of fatefulness, the prediction of the irrevers,~" u. view is by ~
I, cb' i ble loss of large parts of the combined h eritage of humanity. bert Wuthnow, one few sociolOgists of culture con-
~

I ,!..
V>
much of the diversity of its behavioral repertoire is wiped ~emed with world system studies. Wuthnow notes that the ex-
/ - panding world system creates ideological turmoil in peripheral
~ Hom o sapiens becomes more like other species in large
/ !!!, making its own environment, in contrast with them, but at areas, in the fOIm of revitalization movemen ts in subsistence-
I ~

I en'
• same time adapting to it in a single, however complex way. ' . ,level communities, and in the form of ideolOgical revolutions

OJ
<

No doubt there is something to this view} yet it so " among elites. This, h e continues, directly contradicts a common
"
, pens that another globalist perspective has quite different .:' argument by modern ization theo,r ists " that the cultural effect of
plications. In . . .. is to act as a so-called universal solvent, pro'/--"J
ducing cultural convergence. Rather, the expansion of core eco-
, #:in ,9 The larger part of Wallerstein's work has been in the " nomic and political influence promotes cultural h eterogeneity"
eo of political economy, with culture, as several critics have . (Wuthnow 1983:65-66).
,
~ out, mostly left out.1O But to the limited extent that he , ,; The conflict, obviously, is not only with modernization
0
0
0
in, he emphasizes that culture in the contemporary version, , theory, but also with the idea of worldwide homogenization un-
eo
~
world system is spatially delimited, because the groups in der the aegis of cultural imperialism. we
c " of states use it to build national identities. The
x to th en at
--
'" / ' achieved through these minimizes internal conflict, while it '..
'. '"
I
V>
fines the lines of conflict arising from disparities in the
tional division of labor. ~
e resent owers of obal cultural
, states •

understood
==~==~ is that

•,
• of ideologies
\


, by forc,::. Considerations of efficiency apart, they w~;e /I .' ident ity. Current •
m
/ create periphery elites culturally separate from the masses, . are with the market frame-
• loyal to the core powers. l1 But such cultural influences.would ; . -=...:.:.. of
I
,..I influence the large majorities, and in the second or thIrd. " is late, Western capitalism, equipped with m edia tech-
/ V> tion, the elites seized on local tradition to fOImulate i~oring, subverting, and devalUing rather than cele-
, ~, challenges to foreign domination.
with cultural matters, we can
natlOnal boundaries; through commodities, or th e mere
,• 0 of commodities, lUring forever more communities into/,
·, has to be restricted to an interest in ideology, and he on the fringes of an expanding worldwide consumer
I I~
1<:;,
phasizes the uses of culture in defining those political
, N
•--- ~
which are also territorial. It is interesting to see, however, If there are differen ces between the two approaches, we
I0 .... •
analysis leads him to regard the world system as a source
(

,
~..z6 S I TES

-0
and the exploitation oE material resouxces within the inte=ation -
c::: al division of labor, and o n t his b asis they have in some instances
co
c-> also dealt with m ore s trictly cultural tnatters, ,\oalyziug the local
0 r'
gene . . nd 5 bolic expres-
~:q&~~v~es
C
~

'"
• -0- draws less 12 S1On. 13 ,s pe10IW h as also resembled al-
- r-
0-
~
That is to say, both rather disregard whatever relative autonomy erstein's work in that it has had a historical bent; it has concen- .......
-- .
Il>
~ e peripheries may have, and the interplay between the global 'trated on early and middle coloma! periods in non-Western
• •
'"
• and the local which may result from this. Both views, in concern- Socletles.
Il>
<

ing themselves with culture, also obviously focus on its particu- In much of this work, on the other hand, unlike Wallers-
":I:
• lar political economy, while they may be rather insensitive to tein's, there is a more immediate interest in culture within the
other aspects of the growth of the global ecumene. of li~e :L as see thi ngs here; cult~e dev~loP5d
<D '" As far as their relationships to history is concerned,. tb~e d n i: to practIcal Cl!Cllm-
'"
~

J>.

are somewhat problematic A~ first sight, it might appear as if the l!tan'--ces. In addition (and in line on
N

OJ
two views are complementary. Most of Wallerstein's work has the effects , of world system expansion, as cited above), there has

~

0
dealt with past periods, while the global diffusionist view has been some research relating to the movement framework, such as
0
0 attended to the current role of cultural traffic in the world. It on revitalization movements and ca rgo cults. At times, at least,
OJ ~
might be argued here that the notion of cultural homoge.nization anthropological studies have
.cx is really in some ways more in nme with the times, insofar as it •

'"- highlights the expanded cultural reach of t1:ie center. Yet one can
'"'" hardly just place the two views identified here at different points ve,'
_ . history, for while to a certain extent the circumstances favoring .. 1 19 5.
homogenization may be of more recent date, it is hardly as if the world system theoreticians that since peripheral societies are
political and economic differentiation generating cultural diver- open to radical change, externally imposed by Western capitalist
I sity has declined as a force more lately. Instead, the sihlation
r )
expansion, the assumption cannot be entertained that these so-
espe- cieties work on some cultural logic of their own; and he retorts
In that "this is a confusion between an open system and a lack of
.. system."

The combination in this anthropology of an orientation


toward history with an emphasis on cultural distinctiveness, as
produced mostly within the form of life and movement frame-
encolln ters do . works, is hardly altogether accidental. Again, in earlier periods,
a many decades or centuries qf . when non-Western societies were increasingly drawn into an in-
contact and change, of many kinds and intensities, have already' terconnected world under European domination, the nature of the
shaped that local scene which meet the transnational culture interconnections surely were to a great extent quite straightfor-
industries of the late twentieth century. - wardly economic and political; they entailed the extraction of
-- Where have anthropolOgical studies oriented toward i . raw materials, and demonstrations of the capacity to use physical
conception of the world system located themselves with refer· • force. As yet, the intercontinental influences of a more imme-
ence to these two views? Hitherto, it is Wallerstein's view or diately cultural nature were by comparison often rather weak
,olllething akin to it that These (missionary work, for instance, apartl. There was not 80 much in
.tudies have mostly structures in telmS of power the way of a large-scale transfer of meaning systems and symbolic


The G l o b al "E..cuDl..e:ne '2.'2.9

farms . Conseq u ently, non ~ Westerrl societ ies w-ere t o a fa irly great of the metropolis, a n d an intimate apprec iation of i t s finer points.
extent left to deal practically and philosop hicall y with their new "Bush," on the other hand, could be used desCriptively but would
circumstances through a reworki ng of th eir own cultun l re- ring in Nigerian ears especially as a demlDciation hurled, in richly
sources. varying combinations, at adversaries and wrongdoers: an epithet
But this is not th e way things are now, and so we must for ignorance and rustic, lID sophisticated, ,mcouth conduct. To
_ take changing conditions into acc01l nt. Certainly, in its insistence " labeled bush in one way or other was to have one's rightful place
must somehow fit in modern society put in qu estion.
:=:=:::= , Beento and bush ' an em-
" the ethnographic present" as a descriptive or prototheoretica1 ' bryonic 0 mo e, the space in which contemporary N igerian
"-
, the A'hd' it national culture has gro~. 'Ib is is not a national culture ill the
offers a .:,.::: (all baselines, of course, tend to be rela: ' sense of a structure of m eaning which is nniform and generally
tive) for understanding the world as it is now. Eric Wolf's polem; ' ' shared within, and distinctive toward the outside. I have in mind
ically titled Europe and tbe People Witbout History (1982) is a '", rather the entire cultural inventory actually available within the
major example. Yet it is hardly reasonable to tum the study' of ,', boundaries of the state, the 1Iniverse of meaning and cultural
culture in a global framework altogether into a retreat into fOlm within which people live, and which through their lives they
IYi a study of peoples without a present, And not least in give some kind of social organ ization. At one end of this space,
of the then, with its varied connections and cleavages, there is the open·
, ness to the world, more especially to the influence of western
Europe and N orth America. London and N ew York are by now
parts of Nigerian culture, if not as situated experiences, then at
Bush and Beento: The World in the Third World least as vibrant images. And m etropolitan ism is embodied in that
I come back to Nigeria once more. No single Third Worl~ ,
as it were, at the intersection
country can perfectly meets
cultural
;:.;;,::-= one on the other "'" rn culfuiaJ 'telms, it is at least partly true that what cen- '
.,ter/periphery relationships order is a charismatic geography, ar-
opport1lnity to identify some of the variables, and some
ranged around the bright lights of the metropolis. "Bengal's cul-
tendencies. , tural centre of gravity became located in Calcutta," writes Poddar
When I first became acquainted with Nigeria, several de- ,'
(r97 0 : 2 43), one of the interpreters of the Bengal Renaissance; but,
cades ago, I encountered in the local version of English a couple '
moreover, "Calcutta's intellectual centre of gravity became lo-
words which when put together, now strike me as '
cated in London. If the promise of Bengal's and also India's re-
• revealing: "b~sh" and "b ento." The latter had become the tePIt '
I
generat:'.:m was imported from there, the fatal constraints to its
for a Nigefianwho ha n to or , fulfillment were also unloaded from the same ship."
I ;;;; m: Uri beento
Whatever the consequences may be, places such as Lon-
had an advanced education, and so he (for there ,
,don, P~ris, N:w York, and Miami continue to be, or grow into,
rather she beentos) could claim a privileged position iri, an,
/ expatnate capItals of parts of the 11lird World. 14 It may even seem
at least in part conspicuously meritocratic,
, as if many national cultures now have their centers, their
....... social IUUCture. But hardly less important for the definition 9t ' , cynosures, outside the territory of the state. In these places, more
the ' as a social type was the general sophistication which "
than elsewhere, their beentos become beentos, not just immi.
he had acquired abroad, a savoir-faire with regard to the way of ,
, grants in the societies of the center, but also extensions of those


,
' ''h .\oba.\ - CUTncne '1.>1.

.. .. t tl '~ Co t fh - J "ph ry tit ,,~· Ill -h th \ t ht h.l ' ullttl1ucd U\ "'l'T\ " mos lly within 0 { rm o f life {rn mewotk o( a ptonounced local
I ., /111 '-;11 ,It ' (t < .1 <' .111') rh" 'UI... . Cult..ur.al....uJl.\l.lIUl!U" hurn l cr.
• '.''''HI'S \r t. ' ,ud....!.\ uLCllltu.n:s lnd not lIlercl b '- N o t leasl due l O the uneven distribut ion of influences
<"111",' tIll' 1'('), t· (It th,- 1 Cllph' lie' .Illowl'd in n wh It the from thc center, cultural dlversity tend n ow to be as great within
_ ' nt<'1 pI IJ\lCC~ nlQstlv 101 I(se! • hut !llso c: I1U . nations as It is between me.m. 16 Yet, of course, the terms of urban-
,.... 1 ut )t th II ,tl~ n f ' .ll'lr.ll- lUlJ popular rural hiera . Ix an incxa as of the orderin' of
- r't\ eterogeneous ontion;!l cultl!TQl inl(entories. They SU~ t ow a
~

"center/periphery Structure i . ut v r a map which at the


, '
p many cur- . . same , us show cu tur variations
~\t '"ncfatio.tl f Sk' r ne, smontl,lies f r the Third World are ' ~o :-:0:-:: er envations. Perhaps these variations so gl ce
editNm L ndon r Pllri" b part! ' Third World staffs. lS A yet "of globalizatiOli wwklng along several lines, at least over t ime. It
- ' . oln0ther asp t f th integml rol of the m tropoles in the na- Is often me case that metropolitan influence does n ot reach even-
ti 'noll culture 0 the pcriph ~ the e (If the places where e.xiles ly into the various regions of a country. Or if it does so in the end,
F. . where ~had w politi ~ i onducted, where protest meetings some parts of the country may have been involved with it earlier
-" loUt' held, pI ts hatched, battle ver t!.'Ctraditioll fought. It is
where ultural riti c.an b heard after their voices have been
than others, and may thereafter continue to have thei r niches in
the national management of culture defined in part by this histor-
ilen cd .t h me. . ical fact. In Nigeria as in other parts 01 Africa, the head start
---- W' which various coastal populations had in their involvement with
~

-"'- to , Europe still has II certain impact on the recruitmen t of intel-


-.,
.,

lectual and professional elites, and some other occupation al


- groups.l7 (Good cooks in Nigerian hotels and restauran ts, I have
been told again and again, come from Calabar, one of the oldest
coastal trading towns.,
But these varia ' 'ch somehow crosscut the current
_center/ eriphery structure can a so ve 00 s re a mg e pre-
,sen.t wor system; m 18e.na, ey m u e the 'versitrof eco-
10glcal zones, alld that of ethnic groups. (Although we now realize
Here are the national jet set, the larger clusters that col~ni.alism in some ways affected the constructs of ethnicity
as well as the representatives ' as well., NIgerian ethnography as it has conventionally been writ-
the global cen and here, indeed, one finds in the most, ten has of course tended to stay fairly close to the " bush" end of
complete version what I sketched in chapter I as the typICal con- , the center/periphery cultural space, where these variations are
temporary complex::..::-:~ more conspicuous: in local contexts where a Tiv is a Tiv is a Tiv
where one ?oes not have to make distinctions between T iv peas:
ants and TIV lawyers, or worry about the nature of the intersect
• •
between Tiv culture and the subculture of legal practitioners, or
m:;er. are the contemporary apprOXlmatlons concern oneself with the relationship between the social organi-
::: the cultural flows within state and market frame, zational resilience of Tiv ethnicity and the continuity of T iv
workB and the division of knowledge depending on a division of culture. such
.-. drawn
to a peat extent from the center, are still weak as when one s
s to that social organization of meaning which belongs • in a macroanthropological framework.

FnllTICWQI k.~ of ulturru Flow: The National "given" than the others . Like a great tnany contero:p01:ary 'ThiI:d.
World states, Nigeria is in large part a product of the global organ\.-
and the n 'illlSn:l nona.!
zational process, especially as shaped by the rise and decline of
In IIOY case, returning to the center structure, colonialism. Because of the arbitrariness with which they were
----'- of set up and their boundaries drawn, some observers would indeed
argue that these are precisely states, not nations, local cultural
traditions, as developed within the form of life framework, played
} . no part in their definition. Yet often such an argument brackets
r
Q)
more recent history, and disregards what states now try to do. As
< . the people of an ex-colony keep on accumulating a common past, .
-u
and as they are in the sphere of influence of a state cultural appa-
'have often found mysell somewhat irritated and embarrassed as ' 'ratus, a national culture even in the sense of something shared
various townspeople have seen me as a possible resource in im- : and distinctive is brought into existence. .
... plausible schemes for going abroad, or getting into some lucrative " , The cultural apparatus of the
-
N

import-export business (often import, rather than export, really) . .. , "::::::'a'::'m=ajor part in setting up the
1b begin with, I only saw this as a distraction from my '
purpose of finding out what town liie was actually like. With
time, I came to realize that these schemes were indeed one part of purposes, as
what it was all about. Such hunches about the good life belonged probably emphaSizes and promotes internal unity and
/ ' with the popular tunes about the life-styles of the rich and fa- tiveness towatd the outside, finding

historical legitimacy for this
mous, with that hole-in-the-wall commercial school where ado- ..' , purpose wherever and whenever it can. Away, perhaps, with min-
lescents may pick up skills designed to take them from the iskirts, neckties, and Christian names, all alien items from the
to the city, and with the star system of urban folklore, metropolis} in with presidential hippopotamus-hide flywhiskers
told in beer bars in which high military officers, and the management of tradition by "cultural animateurs" em-
ployed by the Ministry of Culture. IS Some peripheral states do
more ¥qith this than others. Nigeria, with its rather deep internal
ethnic and religious cleavages and a rapid turnover of political
How do ike their hori- " regimes, has not engaged in such promotional efforts particularly
while insistently or consistently. The prime
terms and urban-rural contrasts may much of might --c "authenticity"
evidence, =
' :.;;:
tend
=.::.....:= to

as a
as we engage an
task, a more picture may emerge, not least of what states state cannot afford to engage
and markets really do. in a of uniformity. Not least through its educa-
By choosing a unit such as Nigeria, of course, we privilege tional wing, the state cultural apparatus also has a large part in
the state framework; but it need not be taken any more as a the differentiation, the expansion and reproduction of complex-


ity, deemed necessruy for tile conduct of the nation's business. In Certai nl y those who operate in the cult:u:ral YDarke~ place o!:t.e.n
ThiId World nations, furthelIllOre, this has at the same tinle been' prefer to have national boundaries connt for little, and view cul-
a matter of tying national c ultures (in the sense of c ultural inven- tural differences between groups or localities mostly as a nui-
tories, as used here) more closely to the global ecumene. As in- '. sance} they want to reach as widely as possible with the same I
stitutional structures for administration, business, and industry, .... single product. The homogeni zation of consllmers, seen from this
fundamentally inspired by and modeled on those of the center, ,. perspective, is a cause for celebration rather than regret. "The
have been introduced from the top down into the societies of the :' globalization of markets is at hand," Theodore Levitt, a promi-
periphery, they have drawn many of their members into active ".' nent theorist of marketing, has proclaimed in the Harvard Busi-
participation, requiring fairly standardized competences. If some ::, ness Review, and he contrasts the multinational with the global
of these are transmitted through institutions of mass education ' <'. corporation. The former "operates in a number of countries, and
which perhaps above all tum people into modular citizens, there : .. adjusts its products and practices in each at high relative costs" i
are also those more differentiated educational structures which .• the latter "operates with resolute constancy at low relative
shape particular categories to particular requirements. 21 cost as if the entire .world (or major regions of it) were a single
Consequently, the state cultural apparatus tends to have a :. entity; it sells the same things in the same way everywhere"
significant part in constructing the division of labor, and the divi-. , (1983:9 2-93 ).
sion of knowledge, within a Third World nation. Following what- The controversy over "Four Buggs and a Coca Cola," the
has been said here before (in chapter 2, to begin withl about.!b.e. Swedish song contest entry, could be seen in this light. Some
listeners would have wanted it to be more nationally distinctive,
but no doubt whoever wrote the text and held commercial rights
in the tune had one eye on a wider market where Swedishness in
itself would not be helpful. Rather self-consciously, it would seem
(and in the end, not too successfully), a product was created which
could be expected to move with the rhythm of transnationally
homogenized culture. Another variety of cultural commodity
flow across borders, in contrast, entails little attention of any sort
more or to the cnaracteristics of distant consumers. This is what Karin
way, sta te itself seems to ensure that · Barber (1988:25), in an overview of popular culture in Africa, has
__ there ~- horizons transcend its own territorial aptly termed "cultural dumping" "akin to the dumping of ex-
limits (see more on this below). pired drugs ana non-functional buses." The cost of taking old
, The state, it thus turns out, often activel mediate be- flicks {chOOSing orily exam-
I tween the transnationa an e national.in culture. Turning to
'the market friimework, we are frequently led to assume that it
<.. favors the transnational. It is not intrinsically linked to a terri-
tory, and the imagery of cultural imperialism shows commodi-
.zed culture sweeping in from the center across the .periphery.
~
economic in the ho-
mostly about. If we try to make the
explicit as as can, as a vision of present
, and future cultural history, we can perhaps restate it in terms of
• an ongoing overall reconstruction of peripheral cultures within

_16 $ .r r B S

alre ady note d the conflict over the global infounati.on oyd.e1:.' "'le t.
the s tate in the p eriphery is often a rather weak crea'tU:re, with
little power to impose its w ill and impletnent its policy a "soh
state," to borrow the textn coined by Gunnar Myrdal \1968\-and
this is not least obvious in the area of cultural policy. Thus it has
.to compromise with, or carry on a rather unsuccessful struggle
against, that organized production and dissemination of culture
which goes on outside its own framework.
performance of the state
:'-::! soft state is
at any • •
time until the the contrast an state to roalntaUl a
local and transnational may still be drawn and still be regarded as ' " ' , powerful cultural apparatus of its own. Material bases, however,
...... ignificant. The cultural differences which the enthusiasts of '" I . are likely to be no less important in the market framework, for

tional or local distinctiveness celebrate and recommend for safe-·,',· there as well, cultural prestations have to be materially compen-
guarding now may only be a pale reflection of what once existed, ',; sated for.
and sooner or later they will be gone as well. . ' ' ..: , This but fundamental fact seems often to get little
that the cen, "
range
division of labor is not to the advantage of th e periphery; at any
one time or dver tiroe, the latter would seem to become a poorer I

mere fact that these fOlIOS market for the transnational flow of cultural commodities, with
nate at the center makes them even more attractive, a peculiar " the possible exception of that "cultural which may ,
but at times conspicuous aspect of commodity aesthetics in th~ ,:' involve low
periphery. This colonization is understood to proceed through ',
relentless cultural bombardment, through the redundancy of its .
I
,

some parts of global periphery; includ-


that ing Nigeria, have been on a roller coaster ride; small town people
'who bought iroported popular fashions in the marketplace yester-
, .day are perhaps no longer able to do so today. Yet it is hardly clear
Or at least fiartially in its
7
mirror. what are the longer-term implications of such shifts for the trans- "-
I w 1have more to say aliout the idea of saturation below, national cultural market.
but, before that, some
stance of the C room
I'.
. substitution. But this need not only be an outcome ,:.::;:-::=


deterioration, it can be the opposite. We must ask, this goes to
in what I have previously '· say, what is the place of locally produced commodities in the
teJmed cultural we Ta::r=e-, '::ro::-a==e:-::-ar
=t""lc=:u~ar 0 ose to cu tal ' ': cultural market of the periphery. And here th e point may need to
"mping. Due to its interests in national cultural coherence an be made that the market framework, like that of the state, may
:t distinctiveness, it may also try to constrain transnational cultur- organize culture in different ways. If one tendency is to homoge-
o al flow more generally. (In passing, early in chapter 4, we have nize and reach as Widely as possible with the same product, there

,
••
The G\.obal.. 'E.c u :rn.en.e 1~9
~ JlY srrBS

is ngll.Ul the alternative of seeking competitive advantage tb rough , ' may b e a lD.utual i nfluence, but 'the lD.ettopoli1:a n iOIUl.S axe S OIn.e-

c - - - distinctiveness, in a particular market segment. The scenarid 'of how no longer so easily recognizable: they becmne hybridize<i. "in
global homogenization rather too much ignores this . these later phases, the terms of the cultural market iOI one tbing
but since it is so oIten preoccupied with the commodities ' ',,', are in a reasonable measure set from witbin the p~ripheral torm.s
popular culture, it is reasonable to make the observation '•. , . of life, as these have come to be constituted, highly variable of
much of what the entrepreneurs of popular culture in the Third ' course in the degree to which they are themselves culturally de-
World are doing these days seems to involve carving out fined in the terms drawn from the center.
niches. 22 These entrepreneurs do not have the material In principle, then, it seems entirely possible that the con-
..· ct> f the culture businesses of the center, but like local, sumer could prefer locally produced cultural goods if not all the
urs everywhere, they know their territory. Their particular --... at least some of the time. But in a
",,-set is cultural competence, cultural sensibility, growing out of
:c volvement with local forms of life. Coming out of these In terms of cultural demographics, there has to be a
" " ct>-
\i5 selves, indeed being still in them, they are attuned to the critical mass of consumers. Nigeria, the most populous country
ct>
, ~

...-
N
and- concerns which can provide markets for particular com- , . in Africa, and at times quite affluent due to its oil exports, has n
modities. . ••'. doubt been better equipped than many other Third World coun-
,. OJ
,
.... Here it would appear that one can tum the argllme~~ " '.' tries to build up a cultural market of its own. It is also one of
,· 0
, 0 about long-term saturation at least some of the way around. The . those countries which may find some outlets for its cultural com-
0
OJ
~
form of life framework, I have said before also has a modities in its own wider region, and eventually to some extent
,· c
. X of its own, built up through its ever redurrent daily activities : reach a wider market yet. That is, it has some otentia or be-
-- perhaps as strong as, or stronger than, any redundancy that th~ , .
• 'ct>
coming a cente'r of sorts in . t. Sma er national cultur-
• mar~ct fra.mework c~ ever achieve. It may involve interpersoQal .' , at ar ets ma
relatlonships, resultmg configurations of sell and other charac"'" goods from ram -
eristic uses of symbolic modes.2.3 One may suspect that iliere is'a ''' flow may itsell become
'-=core here to which the market framework cannot reach, not even' ::- . -

the longer telDl, a core of culture which is not itself easily '·'
, commoditized and to which the commodities of the market are . : Popular Culture: The Call of the Center,
not altogether relevant. '. :. the Response of the Periphery
The of the life framework .
could such that it As one attempts to get a sense of the management of
more in line with what I see, in contrast meaning between center and periphery, in Nigeria as elsewhere in
with the tendency toward saturation, as the maturation tend~n­ the world, one can hardly ignore popular cUlture. Hardly any o'th-

eYI the periphery, seen in this light, takes its time in reshaping er area of contemporary culture is as strongly associated with the
I
market framework generally, and the transnational flow of cultur-
I that metropolitan culture which reaches there to its own specifi-
I al commodities particularly. Established assumptions about cul-
VI • cations. It is in phase one, so to speak, that the metropolitan "
I, g forms in the periphery are most marked by their PUritYI but, 'on ..•. tural purity and authenticity come readily to the surface here.
>, Not least among intellectuals and policymakers, the influx of
,• 0, closer scrutiny, they tum out to stand there fairly ineffective,
". vulnerable, in their relative isolation "compartmen- __ popular culture from the global centers into the peripheries is
~ taliud," as one anthropological vocabulary would have it. In a '-. described ,rather unremittingly in tenus of its destructive and
.....
I
...... phase two, an~ in jnnumerable phases thereafter, as they are made distracting powers. And this is as true in debate in the Third
! -'
-' World (or on behalf of the 'Ibird World, among interested out-
-' to interact WIth whatever else exjsts in their new setting, there


siders} as ill Sf co un try like 5w-eden w-hich l if finer distinctions are (:1:978) a field of act.ivity In.oxe OY less uni.t.i.ng e\ites and T03ases
to be InSIde, would probably be described as part o f th e semi- in shared pastjmes and pleasures. Fexhaps this ~ua\i'=Y ot Ine tto -
, - _ p eriphery (but hardly, on the other hand, of the Seml-?enter) as far politan-orientedness also accounts for some of what is otten '[e-
as transnational cultural flow is concerned. It IS srud that local ferred to as. the philistinism of Third World elites. One can reach
products are threatened wi.th extinction through the im~ortation .. toward the charisma of the center at least as well through a great-
of "cheap foreign jllnk." One may detect some hypocnsy herel,' er investment in popular culture as through involvement with a
insofar as it is implied that all local products are of great ,;: more differentiated, less widely understood high culture.
tual or aesthetic merit, never merely cheap local junk. For all this,. the centetfperiphery relationships of PQPl)~ar '
Produced by the relatively few for a great many are
sumers, popular culture fits well with a center/periphery ,
ture. Indeed, it may model it. The institutions and the performer,~.· .
of Nigerian popular culture are mostly based in those major ~b~i,1. ,

m
centers which are at the same time bridgeheads of transnauon;tl.
culture. Lagos Weekend, the scandal sheet much enjoyed by the
young men-about-town in Kafanchan during my early field ." ture,
ods there, literally placed the capital at the center of their ex-
tion. The major sports events occur in the larger cities, and ex-
men have color pictures of British soccer teams on their walls. , Local cultural entrepre-
popular music groupS tour middle-sized and small towns all over , . have thus gradually mastered the alien cultural fOlms,
the country they display not only the newest in sounds and ,~ taking them 'a part to investigate their potentialities in tel illS of
dance but also in fashion and argot. The local commercial artis~ symbolic modes, genres, and organizations of perfolmance. Thus
often draw on the more metropolitan media for ideas. One new competences are acquired, and the resulting new fOlms are
in Kafanchan had a signboard outside his shop showing his nick" more responsiv~ to, and at the same time in part outgrowths of,
• name, Ringo Star Isic). In the personal photo albums of yOHng :. everyday life: examples of what I just outlined as the tenden-
people, pictures of themselves and their frie?ds, in their best OUt- . cy toward maturation, and also of the possibilities of import sub-
fits and striking sophisticated poses, mix WIth cutout pIctures .. , stitution. •

athletes, musicians, and movie stars. . There are good examples of this in music. Popular Niger-
Ian mUSIC stars such as F,yla tnikulapo-Kuti, ,S'IDny AJle, and
Jlbenezer Obey:, have hardly ha to fear the foreign competition,
and do not enact pale copies of it but perfOlm in styles they have
seems fairly . i:rea~ed themselves. Juju music, for example, for some time the
with meanings and meaningful fOlms drawn, or deriving in ?om!n~t popular music fOlm in Western Nigeria, has combined
other way, from the center. The most relevant contrast to poP~~ . ,?spuatlOns from more traditional Yoruba music and from high-
culture here, I would suggest, is not, or perhaps only secondarily, .~. life, another and rather earlier established popular music fOlm.
high culture, the symbolic fOlms prod).lced and largely consumed : ' From modest ~ri~s ~ palm wine bars, it has moved up to large
within a cultural elite. It is rather, once more, "b us.
h" InvoIve-' , bands perfOlmmg m rught clubs and selling their record albums in
ment with popular culture in Nigeria appears to be above all l~g: editions: Th: texts often have their roots in Yoruba praise
manifeatation of metropolis-oriented sophistication and . '. smgmg, and likewIse show affinities with the religious music of
'-nity, In a way, it may be more like popular .cul~e as it was iI;t '<. the syncretistic Aladura churchesP

early modan Europe, as described by the histonan Peter Burke In this connection, I should return to the doubts I ex-


The Global r.c"TDene '2..(\ 3>

pressed initially about the sense of time, or more precisely tion, from below is thus not always sympathetic ..PopulaI wri:eI.s
may d escrl' be him as arrogant " distant and llnfriendly. Ye t. tt 1.5
another recurrent theme that the returning beento turTl.S tll:o a
c"
, c:o figure. He has lost touch, his fOImal s~ll.s are not pr~tlc::al,
n
0 his new universalist morality does no~ fit mto .t he ~lgenaD •
c
~
rough-and-tumble.29 At the same time, m a populist ve~, even
,'"•
0
~
-'
"bush" can sometimes be used rhetoncally to draw attentIOn to a
'"--
~
quality of down-to-earth si..rJ.cerity and lack of affectation.
, Then again, there are those television antennae over. the
'"

roofs of Kafanchan. Charlie's Angels are in town, and the EWIngS


'"< not a scene where
, culture is utterly defenseless, but rather one where locally of Dallas as well. But they are not alone, and it is not obvious
"::r: alternatives to lmports are available, and ",)here there are what they .
$ /ple at hand to perfOIm innovative acts of cultural One scenarIO
t '..."
~

N
,

anothe=-==r tends to ~ it. Quite is


'1 ~• switched on the television set in my hotel room in
~ center and what comes out of it and rather Lagos (or Manila, or Tel Aviv, or Geneva), and !oll?d th~t Dall~s
0
8 tellt responses to it. ' While the celebratory stance toward the: was on." In a more sophisticated version, quantltatlve eVIdence IS
, . c:o~
c
x
'cemei may be dominant, and have logical priority, the typic31
expressions and personifications of center influence cannot es-
provided that on one Third World television channel or other,
some high percentage of the programming is imported.
'"- cape unfavorable notice, implicit or explicit. Nigerian popular . , ,
,I
'"'" writing, of which for almost half a century there has been a con- flow would 7 •
Ii
,•
siderable amount, makes fun both of metropolitan English, too to it. mere that
preciously pronounced, and of its corruptions and innovative ad- television stations a lot of imported programs, for ex- ,•
,

I,
aptations in Nigerian everyday discourse. Extreme pidgin . ample, often has more to do with the fact that they are cheap, (" .- - ,Ij
may be put in the mouth of some characters to define them as ' iristances of cultural dumping, than that audiences are neces-
country bumpkins, while semiliterate crooks and mffians make sarily enthralled with them. -'-' ,~•
use of big English words. Metropolitan-style honorifics, not least
abbreviations of academic credentials, are also much in evidence,
mostly for comical effect.
to a certain cui tural ambivalence
-"- flow.30 Even when we refer to it as a
"flow of meaning," we must keep in mind the 1lncertainties built
the com m1l nicative process. If one cannot be too sure of
perfect 1lnderstanding even in a face-to-face interaction in a local
one context with much cultural redundancy, the difficulties lor the
opportunities for innovative interpretations, if one wants to turn
so many Third World conntries, Nigeria is a
merltoc:ratic, credentialist society, where one can carry metro· things around) multiply where communication is largely one-
poJia n culture on one's sleeve and gain great and very visible way, between people whose perspectives have been shaped in very
hom it_ one of the main sym- dilierent «ontexts, in places very distant from one another. The
~g of the transnational cultural flow is thus in the - ~ 'of
bola of the Nigerian imagina-
, , t;1ie beholder: what he sees, we generally know lIttle a: out.31
--- -,
-------------------- "
<111- rllJlge o f literary (0 [01.5 . But there would not have b een. a Nl.g,el:1.a n
Nobe l Prize winne r in literature in I986 if W o le Soy;nka had not
creatively drawn on both a literary expertise drawn IIlOSt\y h OIIl
the Occiden~ and an imagination rooted in a Nigerian mythology
ell enougb are
In the ImgulStle mode. How JS the transnational spread of popular
and turned them into something nnique. --...
fact
culture aHeeted by varying senslbihties wjth respect to other'
modes, such as music, or gestures and body movement? One may of renter/periphery CllJolIal dJlmlling. But if we let be-
rather factlely explaln the spread of Indian and Hong Kong movies · .., " ~ome entirely preoccupied with it, we ignore the possibility that
over much of the Third World by referring to the fact that they are . , the formal symbol systems of popular culture and the media, and
cheap (which appeals to distributors) and action-packed (which ...' the skills in handling these symbol systems, can be transferred
appeals to somewhat unsophisticated audiences). But the latter .' ". 'between cultures in more productive ways. As long as there is
point in particular may hide as much as it reveals. What kind, or room for local cultural creativity as well, this may in itself be
degree, of precision is there in the audience appreciation of the helped in its continued growth by the availability of a wider range
symbolic fonns of another country?32 of models.
It may be objected that such notions of cultural enrich-
ment are not to the point, that even if what is imported is seen as
1985; Vincent 1985 equipment, models, and stimuli, these are still destructive inso-
earthy humor of these series is again generated by far as they irreversibly change local culture. Whatever modifica-
local responses to metropolitan influences, as well as by exagger- . tions the imports undergo, however much they are integrated
ated displays of metropolitan-derived culture. They regularly with indigenous culture, they will impose alien formats on it.
show people making fools of themselves as they embrace alien " Where literacy comes in, whatever modes of thought may be
cultural items, and make inept use of them. In one, a prominent . linked to pure orality are likely to be corrupted. 34 A Nigerian
business woman is depicted as a member of "the American Dollar , .. sitcom is still a sitcom. The very shape of popular culture as a
Club." In another, when someone tries to change the eating hab- . social organizational phenomenon, with its great asyrnmetry in •

ita of the main character, a local chief, to include European .. the relationship between performers and audience, might threat-
dishes, he stares at the spaghetti and asks what are those WOlms en older and more participatory arrangements of cultural ex-
on ru. plate.

preSSIOn.
The argument must be taken seriously, but this is one of
to those instances where often only a thin line can be drawn be-
lose_ In that way, tween a defense of authenticity and an antiquarianism espoused
are a to man's notions of on the behalf of some reluctant other. f'.
the gifts of culture from center to periphery as unadulterated =;.:!...,,::they are
bend8Ction_ Yet it would seem impossible to argue that the trans- . eit~rl and once by
nation.1 cultural influences are generally deleterious. In the areas fiidustnaJ., commercial, administrative, and educational organi-
of ac:hol.nhlp and intellectual life, we hardly take a conflict for zation, it is difficult to imagine that this would leave no mark on
between the trananational flow of culture and local cul- cultural forms more voluntarily chosen, such as those of enter-
tural Without a cert.jn openness to impulses from tainment. Nigerians could hardly in this postcolonial era switch
the outside world, we would expect science, art, and literature to back completely to their precolonial cultural heritage in the after
anywheze. ObViously. Nigerian literary life hours. Pure tradition, and its organizational and technological
ClO"tld Jwd1y were it not for the importation of literacy and a forms of expression, would not match their everyday experiences
The CLoba\. t.C"rnene 2.40-7

d . es A popular culture, alld media technology, are now quick forays from a h om.e base to lDany othel: place s . fO'[ a few
"::r~jJ~I;as '1Duch daily necessities for people in large parts of the hours or days in a week, for a few weeks here and there 1.U a year
--Third World as they are in the OCCIdent. or they may shift their bases repeatedly for longer periods. Many
of these footloose people are not much like the poor and the
wretched whom Emma Lazarus welcomed to America, in those
The Perspectives of the Footloose lines inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. They are rather brain
, drain and jet set, with considerable resources at their disposal.
allow culture to become: And their movements fit into a yet more varied pattern of long-
~~~ distance contacts. People can be in touch by way of letter, tele-
phone, and computer, or they can get on a plane and soon be face
Many of our notions about human migration are by no:, ' , to face with someone who is far away. Some countries are nations
actually rather quaint and old-fas~oned, In Europe as well as In , : of migrants. Filipinos or Filipinas are health workers in the
the United States, research Icertam exceptlOns apart) tends to , ' United States, construction workers in the Middle East, domes-
focus on migrants as immigrants,as We assume that peop~e come tics in Hong Kong and Singapore, entertainers throughout much
to a new country to stay, and that j~st ab,out the onl~ thl~ that ,: of Southeast Asia, white-collar workers in Papua New Guinea,
needs to be understood is the relatIOnshIp between unrrugrants. " mail-order brides in western Europe, sailors on the sevell seas,
and their new country. What is origin is past, it seems; links to
professionals in international organizations. There is a growth of
the old home country are weakened, possibly slowly, but none-,' '"
new diasporas of Ethiopians, Ghanaians, Chileans and new
theless surely, , " forms for old ones of Indians and Chinese. And the complexity
Even used cars and motor roads have theu part ill illval- ,
of identities 'is at least intimated through hyphenation: Afro-
idating such assumptions, as Mexicans in the United States ~4 ' Gel mans,
1\uks in Scandinavia maintain their home li,nks b~ ~peedmg"
along the Interstate highway and the Autobahn, But this IS onJy?- What traces do these human passages through geograph-
part of something more general. What we see is increasingly, the ical space leave on the social organization of meaning in the world? ~
back-and-forth movement of people, on a global scale and ill ~ " ' One must, of course, take into account people's motives I
bewildering variety of fOlms and frequenci~, A gr~at many pea;) , for movement, Paul Theroux 11986:133), a writer continuously
pIe of the kind we have thought of as the typIcal mlgrants, '., occupied with themes of journeys, has commented that many
"
in search of work and a better life, return to where they , people travel for the purpose of " e Ius" Spain is home plus
from after some years, not because they have failed but , : ';'~ sunshine, India is home plus servants, ica is home plus ele-
that is the way they always planned it. And others come bac~ , phants and lions, IThe perspective, presumably, is from western
visit with some regularity, postponing an answer to the q~estl~n Europe or N01th America.) There is no general openness here to a
where they really belong, or simply making the questIon lr, : ' " somewhat unpredictable variety of experiences : the benefits of
,"', widened horizons are strictly regulated,
relevant. 36 , ' .'
But then there are also many more kinds of peoplj: w.h?, , ' Much present-day tourism, for one thing, is of this kind.
are, or have been, on the move: diplomats, ,bUSinessmen! Organized on a mass baSis, it leaves its mark on a host society and
reaucrats, academics, tourists, veterans of ,foreIgn ,,:,ars, its culture, The experience of Europeans or Australians at play
volunteers, artists, refugees, youths on an mtercontmental becomes something to think about for Africans or Fijians at
a7
about. For some of them, changes of scene are parentheses , work. But the "plus," for the tourist, often has little to do with
interludes within a largely sedentary life, while for others, .' ouriosity abo,-!t alien systems of meaning, and a lot to do with
are recurrent and central to their existence. People can . facts of nature, or quaSi-nature, such as nice beaches, For the
, exile, shifted like the tourist directly from one territorial culture

,
5.TT1IJ$

to a nother, but involllntarily, th e involvement with a culture fo rms of also entail a gIowth o~
away from his bomeland is at best bome plus saiety, or home plus
freedom, but often it is just not home at all. Surrounded by the
foreign culture, he perhaps tries to keep it at arm's length, aod the cultures tend t
guards what is his own. For most ordinary labor migrants, ideally, frequent the people based in one place but ro i>'-.
going away may be home plus higher income; often the involve- .' tin ely involved with others in various places elsewhere. Nobody
meot with another culture is not a fringe benefit but a necessary is likely to spend a life hardly even a day wholly immersed in
cost. A surrogate home is created with the help of compatriots, in a transnational culture. Rather, these people combine involve- .
whose circle one feels most comfortable. . ments with one transnational culture lor possibly more than one) .......
One must not exaggerate the cultural implications of mi- and one or more territorially based cultures, If the latter are likely
gration, then, but neither should they be underestimated, The · , to encompass the round of everyday life in a comm1mity, the
West African political scene in the late colonial years was trans- . transnational cultures usually involve some more narrowly cir-
formed by the presence of early beentos and veterans from over- .-:, cumscribed field of meaning. Many of them are occupational cul-
seas campaigns during World War II; at about the time of the• ", . tures loften tied to transnational job markets ).
latter, American scholarly life was enriched by the "illustrious
immigrants" from continental Europe; today, Miami is not whit tures and social networks has been ra id in the resent eriod. 40 /1
it was before 1959. The stranger and the homecomer can both ! er aps teo y transnational culture in decline is at of hered
have their distinct voices in place-bound polyphonies,38 . , itary royalty.) While it makes some sense to see them as a particu- .
When people take their "cultural to another lar type of phenomenon, they must at the same time be seen in
their relationships to territorially based cultures, Not least must'
they be seen in telms of their embeddedness in the center/
periphery structure of the world,
of life framework, there are other and . ' If popular culture as transmitted through the transnation-
other opportunities, and what one can observe in other people in . al market entails great asYl!!metry, with a mere handful of pro-
one's new sUIfOundings is different from what was there in the duc,ers and the gr,e atest possible number of consumer.s, the tr~ns­
place from which one has come. The messages of the cultura,l ~atlOnal occupatIOnal cultures are ill principle more symmetncal
apparatus, as organized by the state 'or the market, are also differ- ill organization, subcultures maintained in lar e . . he
j
, ent, whether that cultural the of fm III of life framework w c us oes not always organize only
a seg- local cultural flow), erhaps with some cultural apparatus 0 heir
r
ment to served with special commodities, or as a part,icular ' :. ,( own . People from both center an perip ery, an from different
I centers and different peripheries, engage in the ongoing manage-
clientele for a welfare state with some readiness to take cultural
differences into accOllnt. 39 Special treatment of the latter kinds, ment of meaning within them to a greater extent as both pro·
naturally, may work as a cultural buHer, conserving more of the ducers and consumers, in a joint construction of meaning and
,--' perspectives brought from somewhere else. Yet a total encapsula- cultural foxm, Although a relatively even distribution of know-
tion in a culture one has just somehow brought along is rarely ~ow among them provides the basis for some degree of symmetry
possible, even if approximations, at least in the short term, are ill the management of meaning, however, elements in the organi-

common enough. zation of these cultures still draw them into the center/periphery
framework.
Looking at things in ~:B

nections which culture., "The



intercourse," Dore writes about one of them, "of bilate ral talks, well as in o the r ways, the trans national cultures, by b'[invn g
international conferences, nobbling in the lobbies, and partying together people of different territorial cultures in varying locales
c:
"0
in the reception rooms the arts of chait manship, of cocktail and constellations, also connect these cultures.
ex>
party chanD and conference rhetoric, of knowing when to be inci- The ot of the transnational
b'
c: sive and when to bore the time away, of judging what will count
~

, as a joke and what as an insult is all part of a world culture a9 it is he-


'"
-g-.r-
Western in its origins as apple pie" (1984:421-422).41 It is also rather restricted in scope and depth o but their mediating
O>
- often in the center that one finds the greater number of members possibilities. The ion a} , entry
_.
~

ct>
• in the transnational networks in question, as well as the greater ..' Tnto offier
0>
resources at their disposal. And insofar as people are initially .'
"

-c
• ,.- rained for their positions in the transnational division of labor ' .. with the meanings of rounds of life and adually incorpo-
I through some agency of the cultural apparatus, this tends to pe . ,I rate this experience illtO one's persol').al perspect ive. In uman
'c!>
! tD either an agency in the center itself or some agency located in the " -history, the direct movement betWeen territorial cultures has of-
' ct> ~

periphery but modeled on that in the center. .: ten been accidental, a freak occurrence in biographies} if not an
are thus, expression of sheer personal idiosyncracy, then a result of war,
,
CP
political upheaval or repression, or ecological disaster. Through
~

o
ent ways extensions or
o
o Europe and North America. n even the transnational the transnational networks and cultures, many m ore people be / '
CP ave to ave 51 centers somew ere aces ill w c, come involved with more cultures recruited largely on a volun
~

c: from where their articular meanings are produce and dissemJ- tary basis, but •through an institutionalized process.
X
-ct>- ate with articular intensity, or aces to w IC e in involvement in terms
ct>
'" c:rder to interact in eir te1Uls, this is where such centers tend to of the ideas
be located. But away from these centers, too, the institutions of ' .'
the transnational cultures are often so organj2;ed as to rnake""ped- .' .'
"'-"-:;:.;::...,.::...North America feel as much at :.
home as does the multicultural do to the metacultural, to overall
stance toward particular cultures or cultures in general?
.one consequence of the mcreased volume of long-distance
n;t0vements, and especially of the growth of transnational occupa-
tlOnaI cultures, is the development in the latter part of the twen-
Fqr those who are ~ot '
~- cir who do not spend- ·.

are to vari- ... = • •


recent tImes, as
ill
. . especially those of the Arab World and Japan.
situations. The There is hkewlse a burgeoning do-it-yourself literature in the
example, is rather more to pro- "" field. 43
tocol," than wheeling and dealing in business. 42 And in this as What the culture-shock prevention industry actually ac-
co. ll y cyu J\J ote d . O n e n:wy hove o n e's d o ubts
cOln p 4 s h r:, ," . I § n_(l t NO c inlized .::::.
,Ioout IYJlil t q u a lit y o f unde rSWlldtng c all be r e ac hed through
course work [or.J coupl e o[ d ays or weeks, o r through a frequently
uns ubtl e handbook genre (and as an anthropologist, one perhaps
senses an insult to one's credentialed occupational pride). But, at
Icast, they can provide som e ideas to work with, and allow some becomes a matter of varieties
elementary mistakes to be avoided. and levels. Cosmopolitans can be dilettantes as well as con-
For many, however, entering other cultures is first and ' noisseurs, and are often both, at different times.4 5
orernost a personal journey of discovery. There is to begin with : ,e, , Competence with regard to alien cultures for t h e , cos-
tho c clashes between perspectives, that underlllining of the ' ' mopolitan entails a sense of m.astery. His understandings have
taken for granted, to which the somewhat dramatic term culture. ,:, expanded, a little wore of the w;;;ld is under control. Yet there is a
shock primarily appJtes, an undermining for which one may to ' , curious, apparently paradoxical interplay between mastery and
some extent be prepared. Beyond this, there is the varying readi- . "' surrender here. It may be one kind of cosmopolitanism where the
ness to enter more deeply into another structure of meaning. To individual picks from other cultures only those pieces which suit
repeat, not everybody who moves about may want to be immersed himself. In the long term, this is likely to be the way a cos-
in alien culrure: the tourist in pursuit of sunshine, the exile relo- mopolitan constructs his own unique personal perspective out of
cated more or less against his will. No doubt the willingness to an idiosyncratic collection of experiences, although such selec-
seize such opportunities is also often a very personal character tivity can operate in the short teIlIl, situationalIy, as well. In
trait. But the individuals involved with the transnational cultures another mode, however, the cosmopolitan does not make invid-
arc often in an advantageous position to make the choice, They ious distinctions among the particular elements of the alien cul-
have the time, during long stays or many of short duration, to, " ture in order to admit some of them into his repertoire and refuse
explore another local culture, or several of them. Through con- ", others; he does not negotiate with the other culture but accepts it
tacts made by way of the transnational cultures, they can find , , ', as a package deal. But even this surrender is a part of the sense of
points of entry. Moreover, always knowing where the exit is, they ' mastery. The cosmopolitan's surrender to the alien culture im-
need not be anxious about preserving some comfortable sense of ' plies personal autonomy vis-ii-vis the culrure where he origi-
1/at home." ,, ' nated. He has his obvious competence with regard to it, but he
There is in other words, to become a' \' can choose to disengage from it: He possesses it, it does not pos-
sess hi_m. )
If cosmopolitans are on the move of the time, they
are certainly at home some of the time quite possibly most of
the time. But what, in their case, does this mean?
Perhaps real cosmopolitans after th have t out
A more genuine cos- members 'p 10 at ca egory, are never
;:.-.c
a :.==::"::'::==::=;'::::. position. There is, " their perspectives
t of alI, a willingness to engage with the Other, an intellectual have been irreverSibly affected by the experience of the alien and
and aesthetic stance of openness toward divergent cultural experi- the distant, cosmopolitans may not view either the seasons of the
ences. There e smo olitans without locals, representa- ' , yea~ or the minor rituals of everyday life as absolutely natural,
tives 0 more circumscribed territorial cu rures. ut apart rom ObVIOUS, and necessary. There may be a feeling of detachment,
tends also to be a' perhaps irritation with those committed to the local common
a sense and unaware of its arbitrariness. Or perhaps the cosmopoli-
,

,


tan IUQkes "horne " a s well one of h js sev e ral sourc es of personal selective u s e of their horne habitat.s t o t:n.aint.a in tbeiy expans\.ve
mesniag, not so d ifferent iroJU the others 'w hjch are further aw aYj o rie n tation toward t h e wid er world. Other c o s nlopolitans are pet-
or be ;8 p leased wi th his ability both t o surrender to a nd master haps there, whether they in their turn axe at hom.e oy abIoad, and
this one as w ell. strangers of other than cosmopolitan orientations. Apart h om the
Or hom e is really h ome, but in a special way: a constant face-to-face encounters, there are the m.edia both those intend-
reminder of a prccosm opolitan past, a privileged site of nostalgia, ed for local consumption, although they speak of what is distant,
where once things seemed fairly simple and straightforward. Or it and those which are really part of other cultures, like foreign
is again really home, a comfortable place of familiar faces, where· books and films. Again, the power of the media now makes just
one's competence is undisputed and where one does not have to about everybody a little more cosm opolitan. And one may in the
prove it to either oneself or others, but where for much the same end ask whether it now may even be possible to become a cos-
reasons there is some risk of boredom. mopolitan without going away at all.
At home, for most cosmopolitans, most others are locals . .
This is true in the great majority of territorially based cultures.
Conversely, for most of these locals, the cosmopolitan is someone Cultural Critics Betwixt and Between
a little unusual, one of us and yet not quite one of us. Someone to
The danger whi ch cosmopolitan s m ay pose to orthodoxy
be respected for his experiences, possibly, but equally possibly not· "
is of course real, but. they are not the only danger. All horizons are
somebody to be trusted as a matter of course. Trust tends to be a '
Widened, in whichever way, cultural debate and cultural critique
matter of "1 know, and 1 know that you know, and I know that you
know that I know. " And this fOllnula does not necessarily apply : more generally become located within that organ ization of diver-
to the relationship between local and cosmopolitan. Where sity which transcends community and nation.
thought control is important, as it has been not least to a number Thus, people nowadays often use the dista nt to criticize
of state apparatuses in history, cosmopolitans are singled out as what is close at hand. There is the notion that something resem-
enemies, and the category is extended to include just about every· . bling their utopia, a blueprint for a radical rem odeling of localllie
body whose horizons are suspected of including ideas from the and thought, actually exists somewhere else. "I h ave seen the
uncontrollable outside.46 future, and it works," Lincoln Steffens, used to m uckraking at
Some cosmopolitans are more adept at making the for- . ' home, exclaimed (prematurely, it seems) about the young Soviet
mula of shared knowledge apply again; it becomes their specialty .. Union; since then, in the twentieth century, a variety of countries
letting others know what they have come across in distant places. have appealed to different people for different reasons at different
What is cosmopolitan can to some extent be channeled into what times (Nazi Ge~many, Mao's China, France for civilization, India
is local; and precisely because these are on the whole separate for otherworldhness, the Scandinavian countries for welfare Is-
spheres the cosmopolitan can become a broker, an entrepreneur rael for pioneering spirit, Tanzania for self-reliance not least' the
who makes a profit. Yet there is a danger that such attempts to, United States for rugged individualism high tech and a con-
make the alien easily accessible only succeeds in trivializing it, sumer's Eldorado; Albania, toO).47' ,
and thereby betraying its nature and the character of the real first: or re-
hand encounter. in a way, the more purely~~~~~ of

Despite all this, is not necessarily a place where


cosmopolitanism is in exile. It is natural that, in the con tempo- .

rary world, many local settings are increasingly characterized by one
ill an·
cultural diversity. Those of cosmopolitan inclinations may make upon sources to local


""rb..e C\.oba.\. ·'E.c:u :ro..en.e ':l. ,; r

ClICLLO"l st.ances.48 They c rOBS natjonal bOlsodnries becouse much and some are also :ID.ore invol.ved in it tban othe1:s. "In an:y COlXl.-

.-- tbe sa.me problems can be identified in o n e place after another, m.unity that is attetnpting to solve the problem.. of adapting its llie
lind of-ten becau se the problems the m selves are intrinsically , to the rhythm of an alien civi lization, there is need [or a s-pecial
transnational .• Whgfe t!}ere are global movements, too, th"re can social class to serve as the human counterpart of the 'transfonnet:'
,I be 810 , . tance gurus . .Swedish environmentalism reso- which cbanges an electric current from one voltage to another,"
onates in a particular w Swedish culture in its relationship Arnold Toynbee wrote in The Study of History {1946:393-394\.
to nature, but it could still draw early inspiration from Rachel He identified this class as the intelligentsia, "liaison officers who
Carson; Swedish feminists have been reading Simone de Beauvoir have learnt the tricks of the intrusive civilization's trade."
as well as Gelmaine Greer. ' What do they do, these liaison officers in the organization
The in one . of world culture? There are, of course, different ways of liaising. In
,..:===;..:' generally egalitarian ethos of many contemporary .-:.-:
.movements is not easily combined with a natural acc@ptfl-nce of."
chapter 5, I distingUished Ifollowing Gouldnerl, as Toynbee
likely did not, between intelligentsia and intellectuals. In the
metropolitan dominance. In the Fourth World movement of I. sense used there and here the intelligentsia, as specialists

. aboriginal popUlations Australian Aborigines, Indians of the more or less narrowly defined fields, with decontextualized and
Americas, Inuit, Saami, and others we see the extreme periph- often credentialed skills, tend to be involved with the kind
eries linking up together for mutual support and for pooliilg transnational cultures whereby the knowledge produced
ideas.49 With regard to the advocacy of this or that country as a in the center is transmitted rather directly into the cultures of the
model to be emulated, we seem to nm into some presumed back- periphery. The intellectuals, in contrast, are in a more compli-
woods utopias at the outskirts of the world, places where people cated and ambiguous position; !iminoid, betwixt and between, in
have resolutely chosen their own path (or perhaps some of the .. more than bne way. Rammohun Roy, the Calcuttan, was an exam-
people have chosen the path for themselves as well as for othersl, '. ple in his time. 50 It is in the interfaces between center and periph-
with such success lin the eyes of somel that other people of the . ' , ery that much of what there is of intellectual life today, in large
periphery, or even the people of the center, should follow them. " parts of the world, is produced. Ideally at least, if they should live I

These places are seen, then, as laboratories for the world; often " up to what one might most highmindedly demand of them those
, small and thus manageable, and devoted to cultural experimen- . intellectuals who fipd themselves inhabiting those int~rfaces
tation and invention. Or they are repositories of wisdom los,t should scru~inize the coherence or incoherence not merely of one'
at home. local or natIOnal culture, but those of different cultures in their
interrelations, and eventually perhaps of world culture as such:
They should bring one structure of meaning to bear on another
~erhaps hjstorically distinct, but no longer necessarily geograph:
toward lcally remote. And they should let them reflect on one another
,,::.,. leaSot, clash against one another. Although their own products may b~
Westernization, and progress have seemed to be thought of as high culture, their field of observation is not so
practically synonymous terms) whether they are or not was al· confined but includes the entire range of cultural forms. And as
ready the issue which the Bengal Renaissance grappled with. At far as center/p~riphery influences are concerned, it is a part of the
other times, the center itself, or at least its far·reaching influence, mandate of intellectuals to comment not only on the flow of
is what comes under criticism, as when Swedes get upset about meaning as such, but also on the relationship between culture
the cocacolonization of a national song contest, or at least some· and the political and material conditions shaped by the world
times when Nigerians portray the beento in popular literature. system.
But this debate is not just about being for or against the center, George Konrad, the Hungarian author, has portrayed the


'""'["he G\.obal. "E..cu:tD..eo.e ~ S9



of transnational popul~ culture, and of. ttansnationa\ jnt.e\·
ture of in te11ectual s in a COin-
-= ,
ligentsias.
Often, the intellect;nals gf the peri.pne1i ale, as a Illost
The global flaw of infonnation proceeds on many different technical and ',' important part of all this, also wardians of local culture; As cos-
::::>institutionallevcls, but on all levels the intellectuals are the ones who :",,: mopolitans, they may hold a perspective toward it which is rather
know most about one another across the frontiers, who keep in touch dilierent from that of most of their neighbors, but nowadays at
with one another, and who feel that they are one another's allies. ' j' , least they are likely to argue for its preservation or revitalization
. .
rath~r than its destIuction. 51 Consequently. clllhlTal imperialj~m
'.

We may describe as transnational those intellectuals who are at home in "


the cultures of other peoples as well as their own. They keep track of , ' is what they identify as the great enemy. .
iWhat is happening in various places. They have special ties to those " , In all this, the situation -and the activities oi iI:l.teJlestuals
./'cotintries where they have lived, they have friends allover the wor)d, ,: the As~-
they hop across the sea to discuss something with their colleagues) they , ' influences, they may draw on genres of discourse
,
fly to visit one another as easily as their counterparts two hundred
ago rode over to the next town to exchange ideas.
. years :
11984:208-2°9) " ,
.. ' which are themselves imports from the center in their very fOIm.
: I'
With regard to the minutiae of argument as well, their sources of
This involvement with the wider world is one part of the" ',', inspiration may only in part be at home, and in part in the ongo-
picture. In his study of the intellectuals of Mexico who are, of ' " ing cultural debates of the center: the adversary culture is also
course, not necessarily typical Camp (1985:52) found that two- :: transnational. "Our preoccupation with issues of autonomy and
thirds had lived abroad for a year or more. And intellectuals may ' . dignity for Africa continually relies on conceptual tools and ideas
indeed have an elective affinity for cosmopolitanism in their " , ' which draw considerably from European intellectual traditions,"
reflexive, problematizing, generally expansionist management of: , writes Ali MaZrui (r976:14), one of the most prolific, and also one
meaning, the openness and drive toward mastery ideally charae- ,' of the more controversial, debaters of center/periphery relatiOn-
teristic of the cosmopolitan would seem to be close at hand. ' ships in culture.
If intellectuals are cosmo olitans however the are also Intellectuals, too, operate in a social context, within a
often in one way or 0 er trans OImers, as Toyn ee put it, or network of perspectives. In this regard, their situations may differ
II : . between the transna' considerably. It is in the nature of things that in the centers of
world culture, the intellectuals fOIm substantial communities of
tures. or their own, and are supported by considerable numbers of those
center; familiar with its tendencies and fashions, the intellectuals ," " "indispensable amateurs" who take an interest in their work'
of the periphery or semi-periphery bring these back home. Yet " mostly as well·infotmed consumers. Here, intellectual life is
they are at the same time frequently open to the flow of meaning , , largely self-sufficient, some attention to one
from the center and critical of it. Insofar as they have greater . " within them '""a-=-s-::usu-
ac~!'I to metropolitan culture than most of their compatriots, , ,
they are the latter's informants about the world. As cultural " , an star:
brokers they are in part gatekeepers, deciding on what gets in and At the semi-peripheries of global intellectual life say,
what will be kept out, ignored, explicitly ~ the smaller countries of Europe, the larger countries of Latin
,
9 America and Asia, or Australia there is also considerable inter-
nal vitality, with producers as well as audiences to keep the cul-
tural debates going. The centers draw a fair amount of attention,
... which they
are critics of those currents of
altogether control not least those
but to varying degrees in different local circles. Although the
semi-peripheries are to some extent self-sufficient and make

,
•• , ,
. ,


o w e contribution s t o tile transn a tional fl o w o f intellectual p rod - bac k and r e pla y ed by a n enthusiastic local e.nttepYe neur.'!.3 It is a
u c ts/ th ey are n e t importers. provincialism. perpetuating the people who :lIe =me m less 01. the
Atthe real peri belies, intellectuals are often in a much periphery as an underclass of cultural process on the world scene,
weaker OSItIOn. e Third World there is not a S il ' - condemned "to live at its outskirts as the hewers of texts and the

Clent mass re ared to listen t I int ec- • drawers of book-learning," as Rabindranath Tagore once put it
a S and and the local c tural " (quoted in Alatas 1977 : 13). If local talent is to be recognized at
home for its achievements, this may occur most certainly, in a
" roundabout way, only after it has been given its due at the center.
African and ' " The two forms of provincialism may be unevenly dis-
Asian writers have often had to submit their work to French or', .' tributed, so that they become dominant, or at least conspicuous,"-.
ritish publishers; ~o exhibit, their artist colleagues may have tP "':, in differen t places. Perhaps the provincialism of open ness occurs
go to London or Pans. Thus the curious situation develops where ' , more often in the market framework, and the provincialism of
mtellectuals of the periphery speak to their compatriots (or at " closUre in ,that of the state. But they can also occur together; in
least have to pretend, both to themselves and to the world, that " some places, intellectual life may consist in large part of their
they do so), but are heard mainly as weak voices at the center, in ' • mutual recri minations. In the Third World, in the view of many
large part by distant cosmopolitans. With weak public support ~t .' critics (local or otherwise), the view of the charismatic center has
home, they can perhaps at best hope for a sinecure within the ' .. often led, at least in one phase or other, to a pronounced provin-
redistributive economy of the state, but at the same time, as ' . cialism of openness. The intellectuals have been evolues, il-
c~ltural critics, they are vulnerable to state power (from which; at' , lustrados, Afro-Saxons. But again, as cultural management is
times, they need to be protected through the vigilance of their seen as someth ing going on over time, there can be maturation as
allies among the transnational intellectuals described by Konrad)~ " well as saturation. As long as a local culture remains in existence,
Whether the vantage point toward the center is from the ",' with its own assumptions and values, if even only at an implicit,
semi-periphery or the real periphery, the most worthwhile stance ' commonsense level, it is possible to draw on it as well, and not
would appear to be one of an open but critical mind. Not every- only on metropolitan culture, for the critique of metropolitan
thing that passes for intellectual activity in the present-day Iink- ' ,: influences. And the m ore fa miliar one becomes with the latter,
ages between cultures, however, quite measures up to the highest the better is one able both to criticize them and to recontextual-
It is ize them, without destroying the context in the procesS. 54

Conclusion: A Creolizing World


In the extreme ' in-
:.=:.:- backwater, largely self-satisfied with a life of," part:-
ideas which tends toward repetitiousness and involution, a place '"::::' •
ill
where mediocrity is safe as competing ideas and more demanding to develop in
standards of excellence are kept out. The relationship to the cen-
ter is largely one of refusal.
on the other hand, in· ~The autonomy and bmmdedness of c~turxs m)lst
volves too deference mimicry on the part of nowada s be understood as a matter of degree; ,
~e periphery toward the center. Here is an audience waiting anx- 2. tion of culture witliin the world is affected
Iously to catch the demier eri of the metropolis, perhaps brought by a stJucture of asymmetrical, center penp ery, re atlons 5;
• , ' , 7

')
.26~ SLTBS

eliDed to conceptualize sitUations of. cultu.'Ie contact. as if they


were new or at least recent. It is doubtful if this was m.Ole than
very rarely justifiable at the time; in any case, another hall-
century later, such situations have become practically non-
existent.
cultural [alms; Then, in the 19505 and early 19605 especially lbut con-
4· at influx does not enter into a vacuum, or inscribe ' I tinuing to some extent still), there was modernization theory. .
~ tself . c ~ ta a rasa, but enters into various kinds of . " Anthropologists have never been quite as enthusiastic about it as
l~teractlOn WIth already existing ' meanings aRe rneani;;g£ul : other social scientists, becau/le of its overtones of ethnocentrism
.. '"•
<
and unilinearism. Later on, of course, criticisms have focused,
fauns, however these may be socially distributed, in cumulative ', :_ .
"•
processes} . here as well, on the disregard of the center/periphery relation-
ships of the global political economy. For our purposes, it is worth
pointing out that modernization theorists have often dwelt on
social psychology and patterns of social organization. Of culture,
~
• dive~se,
ways of or~anizing (which may include promoting, reg- _,': on the other hand, after it has been reduced to Parsonian pattern
variables or something similar, there is frequently little left.
8o _~ulatm or preventmg) the transnalional cultural flow I. '
, ,
A very different framework again, now several decades
7· the sense of being ter- old in itS most influential fOimulations was that dealjng ~th _
ritori
the notion of plural societies, drawing mostly on research experi-
8..And it is h~dlY self-evident that the end result of the . " ence in colonial plantation societies, with strikingly hetero-
cul~ra p~ocesses connected to 'transnational centeriperiphery .' geneous populations, in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. 56
relat1onshlp~ must be a global hompgenization of culture. .' .. : Here, the emphasis was on institutionalized cultural separate-
,
Is t?er~, then, any other scenario, any alternative avenin ... ness, an ethnic or racial division of labor, and the dominance of a
~onceptuallZatlOn, which may give us a better grasp of the current single in the polity. of
mterplay between world culture and the national cultures of the
peri phery 1 .
. . . Whatever anthropologists and their neighbors in other ' • countries considerably wider areas of I

~SClplines have been up to in constructing more general points of ~hich are ~el~tively open, rather than the restricted niche of any
Vlew toward camp]. xity and change in the Third World, they have smgle ascnptlvely based group. There is also usually a more de-
hardly ever done justice to the particular qualities of cultural · veloped overarching cultural apparatus which breaks down many
phenomena and cultural processes, as these occur within struc- · of the barriers to a society-wide flow of meaning.
tures of social relationships. And frameworks which seemed sat- ' And then, more lately as we have
theory ,-F
Vl
isfactory at ~ne time have by now been overtaken by events.
ig Ounng one period between the 1930S and the 1950 ,
»• _ say many anthropologists, especially in the United States were
o
. •
.... doing acculturation studies. 55 On with these wa~ that together.
~ a rather weak sense of the po tIca economy Most likely, I have left out one or two other formulae
, I,.... frameworks or orientations dealing with similar issues. In an;
......... Were in- case, at this stage, it seems we can use another guiding imagery
'"
w
which clashes conspicuously with old conceptions of the autono-


rIly ond intc81it:y of territorially based cultures, and which thus selves along the continuuOl., tnixing, observing each othe't, and
can serve response from cultural studies t o the growth of the "
8S B commenting on eaeh other; the boundaxi.es between them. pel:-
global ecum ene a nd CO notions of th e world system elsewhere in haps more or l ess blurred depending, for one thing, on the extent
the social sciences. The root metaphor I favor, showing up here . to which the forms are also emblematic of group m.em.berships.s9
and, there in recent anthropology: is that of creole cUltures. s) ., .
ovi nd cultural history of articular .
colonial societies {where they have ten e to app'y especi ' y ·to :.
particular etb n ic or racial of
creal become more ,.
true sources . not always,:
served cultural analysis well, and whenever one takes an intellec: . simply a
tual ride on a metaphor, it is essential that one knows where tb, .•.. .
get off. But chOOSing only what suits my purpose from the '.' As languages have
tumultuous diversity of latter-day creolist linguistics (and as grammar, and lexicon, and as
ing perhaps somewhat approximating use of ,
creole languages are fOlmed as unique combinations and crea-
tions out of the interaction between languages in these various
dimensions, so creole cultures come out of multidimensional
....... cultural encounters and can put things together in new ways. The
uses of symbolic modes can be renewed and ex-
through the influx of new cultural technology. In a society
here new expertise enters, the concept of the layman has to be
cultures, in ' consUucted, beginning from available sources of common sense.
Sapir's terms:-then such understandings have to be conhonted , Meanings established in the past change as they are drawn into

heaq on. .: . schemes brought in from afar. Intellectuals manage
• •
:::..,::have had some time to develop."': ' meaning at new levels of metacultural reflection.
. .
allows the to
talk back. of
systems of meaning. We are dealing here with ' eetHer aifd
something quite other than moments of fresh culture contact, a '
later time in history. , .
In creole cultures as I see . ; a
becomes w:orld music; and world cities like NeW York, Lon-
don, or Paris, in themselves partly extensions of Third World socie-
(/)
ties, come to exercise some of their influence as cultural switch-
§, con-, ,;. bo.ru:ds between peripheries (and semi-peripheries), not only as
o,
'. co
...
0>
ongmal sources. 60
This creolist cluster of lmderstandings is a very general
I
' N parochial vari~ one, and it has to be confronted with the particularities of each of
. -.... ,ety. Within the form of life framework, group:':'s-== those cultures to which there is some chance that it might apply.
...
~

N
by world system constraints and impulses also arrange them- In this general form, however,.,i~ stan~s opposed to the vie'Z,of

-
.;a 6 6 s . r T AJ S

:rnonntain t:D.usicsyxnphony tn.u.si.c . You do not have t.o be ,eN'-
01:
ish to have chutzpah; it tnay be ~o be a New '{o,k."".
If som.e
"'T=

into it the diaspora, as consultants and advisors, or they can . =:.,::: ~~creole
de·
come into it from the multiform local cultures, from the bush; ', ......
The outcome is not predicted. Creolization thought is open>: ': the end
~~
ended; the un· ' ;' .
we
----
of of Homo sapiens.
, , rl' ,

• • t o

eventually becoming dominant,


also' stabilize, or the interplay of center and
on
matters we
sensitized, through the creolist view, to what general kind of cul.. · '.
ture this is. " .
As th~. world turns, today's periphery may be tomorrow's: " .

center. The historian Bernard Bailyn has suggested, in his book· '
"The Peopling of British North America (I986:II2- II3I, that .
American culture as it was by the beginning of the eighteenth c':
century "becomes most fully comprehensible when seen as the '
exotic far Western periphery, a marchland, of the metropolitan .
European culture system./1 It is an anachronism, according to .
Bailyn, to look, as many American historians have done, at col· "
onial America as a frontier, looking forward and outward, antic·....
ipatiqg progress, rather than as a ragged outer margin of a central .
/I

world, a backward· looking diminishment of metropolitan accom· :.


plishrnent./1 This may be a controversial point of view. The !act
remains, however that a new culture did ow out of that manage·· ..
w .ch occurre in this perip e . ture
w tum the tables on ut which its·
internal e contmue ill ty
,--

WASPs, may the metropolis, the Standard, the


mainstream, but as it reaches out toward every corner of society,
it becomes creolized itself. Ethnic boundaries remain noticeable, '
yet cultural meanings and fOlDlS flow across them. American mu-
sic with African sources is not nec.essarily Black music, it may be

• CHAPITRE

,
,
,
ce •

ans 'économie cu eg 0
, ,
, • ,
,
,
,
,. ' , ,
, ,, , ,
• . ,

, ' , •

"" TI suffit d'être un tant soit peu au de ce qui se passe '


. , ,~Jljourd'hui dans le monde pour que , celui-ci est
,. '.d,evenu un système interactif d'un genre à fait nouveau. Les
; historiens et les sociologues, ceux qui s'intéressent
," ,', "8:ux processus translocaux 1 et aux mondiaux associés
au' capitalisme 2, savent. bien que, des siècles, le monde
,:~s,t une massé hétéroclite d'interactions grande échelle. Cepen-
il jmplique aujourd'hui des'