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Series of Thematic Events on Globalization

Decentering the global: Interrogating the idea of the world

There is no place called “global” (Qadir 2016). We can’t get a visa to visit “global,” or go to an office in “global,” or even buy a “global” souvenir. In fact, “global” only exists when we invoke it, and that invocation is inevitably local. Moreover — in our age of increasing consciousness of the world as a single place — “local” is also, typically, invoked in the context of “global.” More and more, we think of our place as one of many such places on earth. In this discursive sense, global and local are deeply entangled. This point is well recognized by varieties of “glocalization” studies (Roudometoff 2016). Indeed, already almost 20 years ago there was a recognition that global culture cannot be conceptualized simply as a scaling up of national culture, which is bound to the concepts of state and homogeneity (Featherstone 1990, Robertson 1992). Considerable research since has explored the interstices between the local and the global (e.g. Alasuutari 2016).

Yet, we tend to still the think of the global in terms of the image of the earth, i.e. as a generative frame of unity within which local variations can be mapped. But is the global truly as universal as the photograph of the earth from space would suggest? What are the politics of knowledge that have constructed the global, and continue to do so? What implications does this construction have for knowing and hearing the Global South or East, or alternative epistemologies? How should we think about temporality in the idea of the global? Insightful new research has begun to question the construction of “global” from postcolonial perspectives (e.g. Mignolo and Escobar 2010).

In a series of events in Spring 2019 we will explore how “global” is constructed, and what that tells us about the “local” where and when the construction takes place.

The series is hosted by the Tampere Network for Global & Transnational Research (T-Global) network as part of the New Social Research (NSR) Program. T-Global brings together researchers from around the University of Tampere, belonging to multiple disciplines and faculties, around a shared interest in exploring globalization. In this thematic event series, T-Global and NSR bring together five expert speakers from around the world over some seven weeks in April and May 2019 to deliver cutting-edge talks about decentering the construction of globality. The experts will speak from multiple disciplinary perspectives: sociology, history, international relations, geography, and education.

Each guest lecture will be commented on by a member of T-Global and will be followed by a general discussion. All events will be recorded for a soundcloud track and a blurb published for each talk on Alusta!, the social sciences e-zine of the University.

The series will also include a graduate student workshop, as well as a 5ECTS course offered in Faculties of Education, Social Science, and Management.

Confirmed speakers:

Works cited:

Alasuutari, Pertti. 2016. The Synchronization of National Policies: Ethnography of the Global Tribe of Moderns. London: Routledge.
Featherstone, Mike. 1990. “Global culture: An introduction.” Theory, Culture & Society 7 (2/3: Special issue on global culture):1–14.
Mignolo, Walter D., and Arturo Escobar, eds. 2010. Globalization and the Decolonial Option. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Qadir, Ali. 2016. “Editorial: Through an iron cage, darkly.” European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology (Special issue on Neoinstitutionalism) 3 (2-3):141-51.
Robertson, Roland. 1992. Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London: Sage.
Roudometoff, Victor. 2016. Glocalization: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.