Link: Globalization in the Margins Research Network

Link: Globalization in the Margins Research Network –

Globalization phenomena have by now become popular topics of research, often focused on the huge cosmopolitan centers of the world: ‘global cities’ such as London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Such phenomena, however, also occur in peripheral places – rural areas often seen as sites of ‘authenticity’ and as loci of ‘cultural heritage’, where people use local dialects and practice time-tested customs in almost any aspect of life. Studies in Africa and China, but also in non-metropolitan areas in Western Europe, have shown that even such supposedly pristine and untouched cultural zones are now shot through with the same patterns of dynamic blending and rapid innovation as those observed in the global cities. Dialects are changing quickly into new ones, and cultural practices become commodities offered to global tourism. Yet, these cultural instruments simultaneously remain firmly local as emblems of local authenticity and as continuations of tradition.

Rather than seeing this as an aberration or an exception, we intend to study these seemingly paradoxical processes as a crucial theoretical and methodological challenge, capable of telling us some important things about culture, identity, heritage and globalization in general. That means: we will engage with such phenomena as a way into fundamental questions in folklore, dialectology and culture studies. Thus, we intend to extract the broad theoretical and methodological significance of such seemingly marginal phenomena.

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