Research Group Transnationalism Working Paper
Multiple modernities : the transnationalisation of cultures ; paper presented at the Conference Transcultural English Studies, annual conference of the Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English (ASNEL/GNEL) at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt May 19-23, 2004
- During the past decade, processes associated with what is popularly though perhaps misleadingly known as globalization have come within the purview of anthropology. Migration and mobility ‐ and the footloose or even rootless social groups that they produce ‐ as well as the worldwide diffusion of commodities, media images, political ideas and practices, technologies and scientific knowledge today are on anthropology's research agenda. As a consequence, received notions about the ways in which culture relates to territory have been abandoned. The term transnationalisation captures cultural processes that stream across the borders of nation states. Anthropologists have been forced to revise the notion that transnationalisation would inevitably bring about a culturally homogenized world. Instead, we are witnessing a surge of greatly increasing cultural diversity. New cultural forms grow out of historically situated articulations of the local and the global. Rather than left-over relics from traditional orders, these are decidedly modern, yet far from uniform. The essay engages the idea of the pluralization of modernities, explores its potential for interdisciplinary research agendas, and also inquires into problematic assumptions underlying this new theoretical concept.