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CHAPTER 7: THE FRACTURE

September 12, 2010

Uhm no way… So I didn’t save my draft and I pushed the backspace and my internet web browswer started going backwards!!!!!!!!! (WAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAH)
Mattelart’s chapter title, “The Fracture” is aptly titled as this section outlines the various ways in which the elements of globalization are fracturing the world, our understanding, and our “solutions.”  He begins by illustrating the numerous networks that serve to exacerbate the ‘double diamond’ of social stratification on a global scale and the inherent dangers in these contentious relationships.  He lists various networks/populations of people who have either been excluded or exploited in the name of consumption communities and the risks these effects have on the world at large.  Some of these consequences, according to Mattelart, are extreme refusenik populations that resist the New World Order and look to subvert globalism by its own resources. 

A particular section I found interesting was his short discussion on metissage. I recently reviewed a book in another class that was titled, Life Writing and Metissage as an Ethos for our Time, by Leggo, Hasebe-Ludt, et. al. I find the figurative concept of metissage interesting and more complex–a concept that problematizes dichotomies and deepens understanding. For myself it is helpful to think of all the elements Mattelart has elaborated as a “braiding” together, rather than a sectioning or compartmentalizing. In this way, all understanding is deepened, widened, and complicated.  I like his discussion on de Certeau’s The Practice of Everday Life, when he talked about, “the incessant movement of interaction between a system that is imposed and its users; he extended this analysis to the numerous tactics employed daily by the ordinary individual user and consumer of commodities to subvert the networks of discipline and social control” (p.105).  In this way, individuals are considered creative, inventive, and imaginative beings who can subvert the resources that are imposed on them, for them in ways unintended or unauthorized by the producer.

Mattelart continues to trouble previous boundaries of place and “non-place” and blurring their lines. I like this because it pushes us to think differently about lots of things. In particular he states, “Because of this shift, an inversion of perspectives becomes possible: the center is seen from the periphery and the different regions of the north are seen from those of the south” (p.108). I appreciate any author/person who challenges us to turn out our traditional ways of thinking and conceptualizing. 

He shifts the conversation slightly by dicussing the anthropological methodological shifts in research and warns of the researcher who “buys-into” the free-trade system as an epistemological navigation system for understanding and “doing” research.  However, all of the things in which he warns “could” happen to an extreme if such things took place, I question, are they not already here?  

My thoughts on this chapter are mixed… I’m appreciate his warnings and his critiques. I wish he would have expanded more, however, on metissage because I think that’s central to this discussion.  I think his small section on complicating the boundaries deepened and enhanced his critiques, but would have liked for him to have pushed himself more in that area. What are if we are not creative beings? Where is the imagination that brought us to this dangerous point, and how can it be used to help us slow down a bit, to give us pause, and to use this incredible power in responsible, thoughtful, and inclusive ways? We put ourselves into these situations, which he thoughtfully and detailed throughout his book, but now what… How can we use this understanding of overlap, weaving, and inter-connection to subvert the elements that he critiques?

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