[-empyre-] A strange bit of luck

Nicholas Ruiz III editor at intertheory.org
Wed Apr 22 05:11:27 EST 2009

Can't say I'm particularly moved by this.....'yes, we can'...was ascliché then as it is now, no?  The real question no one cares to answer in this regard is: yes, we can do what exactly?! For example, the local currency movement offers a specific answer to a particular problem...but the broad sweeping metanarratives of global emancipation read more like political speeches than anything else, it seems to me...


 Nicholas Ruiz III, Ph.D
Editor, Kritikos

----- Original Message ----
From: davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Sent: Monday, April 6, 2009 6:33:50 PM
Subject: [-empyre-] A strange bit of luck

I was reading a book today and stumbled across a reference to Arjun
Appadurai's "Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination."
I found a copy from Appadurai's Globalization (Duke UP, 2001) and
started reading.

First, I was kind of bummed and embarrassed that I hadn't read it
before.  But after getting over that, I was taken aback by the
relevance of this article to the discussions we are having here.
Everything from our crises of meaning, to the use of academic
language, challenges to neoliberalism, the academic research
marketplace, the problems with runaway financial institutions....  but
most importantly, Appadurai offers some constructive suggestions to
academics on how to facilitate "globalization from below."

I won't break down Appadurai's argument here.  It is widely available
(I found a copy of the article online).  I expect that most here have
already read it.  It's much more readable than anything I could write.
It is worth the time if this is something you are interested in.  But
I will plunk down a giant quote, just to give you a sense of the scope
of his article:

"Such an account [of globalization from above and below] would belong
to a broader effort to understand the variety of projects that fall
under the rubric of globalization, and it would also recognize that
the word globalization, and words like freedom, choice, and justice,
are not inevitably the property of the state-capital nexus. To take up
this sort of study involves, for the social sciences, a serious
commitment to the study of globalization from below, its institutions,
its horizons, and its vocabularies. For those more concerned with the
work of culture, it means stepping back from those obsessions and
abstractions that constitute our own professional practice to
seriously consider the problems of the global everyday. In this
exercise, the many existing forms of Marxist critique are a valuable
starting point, but they too must be willing to suspend their inner
certainty about understanding world histories in advance. In all these
instances, academics from the privileged institutions of the West (and
the North) must be prepared to reconsider, in the manner I have
pointed to, their conventions about world knowledge and about the
protocols of inquiry ("research") that they too often take for
granted."  (Appadurai 19)\

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