Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can we go back?

As we were settling in to our salon circle Friday night and the first question of the evening, "Will Localism replace Globalism?" was posed, the moderator asked if any of us had heard of the current Localism movements that are popping up everywhere, especially in Europe. I absently nodded, because I have - NewSov - and then quickly realized that I was the only one in the room nodding when the moderator turned to me and asked me to speak. As happens every time I open my mouth without being completely prepared, I was outlining the tenents of Local Sovereignty, as I understand them, and got lost in a little maze of rhetoric.

It turns out clarification was needed.

Most of the folks in the circle talked about Localism in nostalgic terms - the communities they remembered as children - the ones that included the baker, the butcher, the shoe-string salesman, and the nosy neighbor in curlers, peeking out from behind the curtains of her front window. They embraced glimmering memories of communities in which everyone helped one other with everything - where they bought local produce when it was in season. "We only had strawberries sometimes," one said, her eyes glazed over, "when gardener Jim got around to picking them. We made jam and shared it with our neighbors. We fed each other's children and attended ballgames together." Globalism, for many, was a dirty word. It is what tore the roots out from under them, a corporate rape that led to the flightiness of the youth of America (literally and figuratively) and the disconnect among people. "They don't understand what it means to take care of your neighbor," some said, "and the big corporations want to bulldoze our communities and make our kids text each other instead of saying 'good morning'! We have to wage civic battles just to keep our neighborhoods from turning into malls and our kids into zombies!"

I'm a bit tongue in cheek as I relay this story, only because I feel that anything through the lens of nostalgia is a little bit skewed. Yes, people had their very own neighborhood hat maker, but they also had no concept of diversity. Often people who "moved in" to their neighborhoods felt unwelcome. Plus, globalism allows for (ones who can afford it) to have strawberries year round, especially since gardener Jim, it turns out, has two other (secret) families in Utah, is a drunk, and isn't home often. The gorgeous strawberries rot on the vine most seasons.

I suppose, in a nutshell, for many Localism is synonymous with words like community, sharing, and sameness; whereas Globalism is about capital, individual experience (which is translated into selfishness), and diversity - or at least a brief encounter with diversity. I know this is simplistic, but it leads me to the questions I hope you (the experts) can answer:

1. To what extent is democracy tied to Localism, and in the vision, how do communities making democratic decisions work with other communities who make different ones? Who oversees and moderates among them so that harmony is shared equally in and among each locale (without fostering an us v. them mentality)?

2. To what extent is capital a part of the Localism equation? (To me, the question of Globalism and Localism is very much tied to money, as is democracy.)

3. Does Localism exclude Globalism or can we benefit - all the good - from both? (Friedman's "Glocalisation" idea comes to mind, thanks to a rather enthusiastic salon goer.)

Please help me to understand Localism sans nostalgia

9 comments:

Amy said...

I will try to also. Great points.

Ginger said...

this will definitely not be the insular, tribal and stifling localism of
the past

these communities are going to be very different, because they have
grown out of a globalised, educated and connected world that has seen
the problems caused by alienating large scale institutions. people with
heritages from all over the world and links between each other will
create and build communities, they will trade and co-operate with nearby
communities. communities in USA will twin and have long term exchanges
with ones in east asia and Africa and share expertise. people will move
into communities that suit them, or divide into 2 if disagreements occurr.
people will travel - not wastefully for leisure, but usefully to learn
and teach. communities will operate by consensus not entrenched
hierachy, which will make tribalism and violence between communities
very unlikely. people will also be 'part of' communities they don't
live in - volunteering their skills to help one that's struggling. for
many years they wont be the only source of power - we'll still have
councils and government regulating inter community interaction, but the
communities themsleves will be increasingly dominant and the larger
scale instiutions increasingly irrelavant




James Holland

Ginger said...

Localism is the valued point of connection, a place of meaningful interaction. It's where neighbors and local merchants share what's happening in their community. It's people collectively communicating the unique flavor and nuances of where they live, work, eat, and play.
Localism is 'Old-School' in a New World portal. It's reminiscent of an earlier day when people shopped where they lived, and everyone knew their butcher. Localism makes the world smaller and more personal. It reacquaints and re-establishes the lost bonds between neighbors. It revives and restores the relational elements of what neighborhoods used to be, and should be.
Localism provides the environment where residents and business owners can create a micro-social network uniquely attuned to their individual communities. Together, they use multi-media to paint a canvas of local color and texture. Their Localism 'Neighborpedia' becomes an extension of who and what they are.

-from Localism.com

Ronnica said...

This is the first I've heard of it in recent times, but I've assumed there would be a backlash like this at some point. From the brief bit of what I've looked at localism (in the last couple of minutes, so definitely not thoroughly!), it sounds reasonably similar to how this country was set up to begin with, before the federal government started hogging all the powers...and then add in idealism and harmony.

annie said...

From the point of view of my research, localism has been a pain in the ass. It's a well-intentioned perspective that greases the slippery slope to hell. It's a forced, rather than natural drang to the Hegelian storm of globalization. I could go on for hours on how much I dislike it. But right now I have to read Encountering Development, an essentially localism-defining text. Excuse me, I already threw up in my mouth a bit.

Kathy B! said...

This was a fabulous and thought provoking post. Love it.

I'm not really knowledgeable enough to weigh in on this matter but I think it's fascinating to ponder shifts in the way we do things as the world economy evolves and chages the way we do work, govern and live.

I'm looking forward to more from your commenters, and you :)

Pam said...

Visiting from SITS. What a fascinating blog you have here! So intelligent and thought provoking. I can't speak about Globalism vs. Localism, since I know nothing about it, but I do love the idea of a Friday night Salon. I'm your newest follower and look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

Jen said...

I am a follower!! Sorry I didn't even realize you had a follower thingy!! Thanks for the sweet comments! I miss you tons!

In regards to this post, I totally love the pictures you painted of both globalism and Localism. In fact the picture of localism is how I remember US growing up! I remember borrowing that cup of sugar from across the fence! I love to remember those days! Yes, it was very exclusive but it's a time that I will treasure always!!

Mostly because it involved YOU!!

Love you

Jen

M said...

Thanks so much for the comment over at my place. It cracked me up. Yes, that picture was the essence of the boondocks.

I'm really liking your blog, I'll definitely be back!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can we go back?

As we were settling in to our salon circle Friday night and the first question of the evening, "Will Localism replace Globalism?" was posed, the moderator asked if any of us had heard of the current Localism movements that are popping up everywhere, especially in Europe. I absently nodded, because I have - NewSov - and then quickly realized that I was the only one in the room nodding when the moderator turned to me and asked me to speak. As happens every time I open my mouth without being completely prepared, I was outlining the tenents of Local Sovereignty, as I understand them, and got lost in a little maze of rhetoric.

It turns out clarification was needed.

Most of the folks in the circle talked about Localism in nostalgic terms - the communities they remembered as children - the ones that included the baker, the butcher, the shoe-string salesman, and the nosy neighbor in curlers, peeking out from behind the curtains of her front window. They embraced glimmering memories of communities in which everyone helped one other with everything - where they bought local produce when it was in season. "We only had strawberries sometimes," one said, her eyes glazed over, "when gardener Jim got around to picking them. We made jam and shared it with our neighbors. We fed each other's children and attended ballgames together." Globalism, for many, was a dirty word. It is what tore the roots out from under them, a corporate rape that led to the flightiness of the youth of America (literally and figuratively) and the disconnect among people. "They don't understand what it means to take care of your neighbor," some said, "and the big corporations want to bulldoze our communities and make our kids text each other instead of saying 'good morning'! We have to wage civic battles just to keep our neighborhoods from turning into malls and our kids into zombies!"

I'm a bit tongue in cheek as I relay this story, only because I feel that anything through the lens of nostalgia is a little bit skewed. Yes, people had their very own neighborhood hat maker, but they also had no concept of diversity. Often people who "moved in" to their neighborhoods felt unwelcome. Plus, globalism allows for (ones who can afford it) to have strawberries year round, especially since gardener Jim, it turns out, has two other (secret) families in Utah, is a drunk, and isn't home often. The gorgeous strawberries rot on the vine most seasons.

I suppose, in a nutshell, for many Localism is synonymous with words like community, sharing, and sameness; whereas Globalism is about capital, individual experience (which is translated into selfishness), and diversity - or at least a brief encounter with diversity. I know this is simplistic, but it leads me to the questions I hope you (the experts) can answer:

1. To what extent is democracy tied to Localism, and in the vision, how do communities making democratic decisions work with other communities who make different ones? Who oversees and moderates among them so that harmony is shared equally in and among each locale (without fostering an us v. them mentality)?

2. To what extent is capital a part of the Localism equation? (To me, the question of Globalism and Localism is very much tied to money, as is democracy.)

3. Does Localism exclude Globalism or can we benefit - all the good - from both? (Friedman's "Glocalisation" idea comes to mind, thanks to a rather enthusiastic salon goer.)

Please help me to understand Localism sans nostalgia

9 comments:

Amy said...

I will try to also. Great points.

Ginger said...

this will definitely not be the insular, tribal and stifling localism of
the past

these communities are going to be very different, because they have
grown out of a globalised, educated and connected world that has seen
the problems caused by alienating large scale institutions. people with
heritages from all over the world and links between each other will
create and build communities, they will trade and co-operate with nearby
communities. communities in USA will twin and have long term exchanges
with ones in east asia and Africa and share expertise. people will move
into communities that suit them, or divide into 2 if disagreements occurr.
people will travel - not wastefully for leisure, but usefully to learn
and teach. communities will operate by consensus not entrenched
hierachy, which will make tribalism and violence between communities
very unlikely. people will also be 'part of' communities they don't
live in - volunteering their skills to help one that's struggling. for
many years they wont be the only source of power - we'll still have
councils and government regulating inter community interaction, but the
communities themsleves will be increasingly dominant and the larger
scale instiutions increasingly irrelavant




James Holland

Ginger said...

Localism is the valued point of connection, a place of meaningful interaction. It's where neighbors and local merchants share what's happening in their community. It's people collectively communicating the unique flavor and nuances of where they live, work, eat, and play.
Localism is 'Old-School' in a New World portal. It's reminiscent of an earlier day when people shopped where they lived, and everyone knew their butcher. Localism makes the world smaller and more personal. It reacquaints and re-establishes the lost bonds between neighbors. It revives and restores the relational elements of what neighborhoods used to be, and should be.
Localism provides the environment where residents and business owners can create a micro-social network uniquely attuned to their individual communities. Together, they use multi-media to paint a canvas of local color and texture. Their Localism 'Neighborpedia' becomes an extension of who and what they are.

-from Localism.com

Ronnica said...

This is the first I've heard of it in recent times, but I've assumed there would be a backlash like this at some point. From the brief bit of what I've looked at localism (in the last couple of minutes, so definitely not thoroughly!), it sounds reasonably similar to how this country was set up to begin with, before the federal government started hogging all the powers...and then add in idealism and harmony.

annie said...

From the point of view of my research, localism has been a pain in the ass. It's a well-intentioned perspective that greases the slippery slope to hell. It's a forced, rather than natural drang to the Hegelian storm of globalization. I could go on for hours on how much I dislike it. But right now I have to read Encountering Development, an essentially localism-defining text. Excuse me, I already threw up in my mouth a bit.

Kathy B! said...

This was a fabulous and thought provoking post. Love it.

I'm not really knowledgeable enough to weigh in on this matter but I think it's fascinating to ponder shifts in the way we do things as the world economy evolves and chages the way we do work, govern and live.

I'm looking forward to more from your commenters, and you :)

Pam said...

Visiting from SITS. What a fascinating blog you have here! So intelligent and thought provoking. I can't speak about Globalism vs. Localism, since I know nothing about it, but I do love the idea of a Friday night Salon. I'm your newest follower and look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

Jen said...

I am a follower!! Sorry I didn't even realize you had a follower thingy!! Thanks for the sweet comments! I miss you tons!

In regards to this post, I totally love the pictures you painted of both globalism and Localism. In fact the picture of localism is how I remember US growing up! I remember borrowing that cup of sugar from across the fence! I love to remember those days! Yes, it was very exclusive but it's a time that I will treasure always!!

Mostly because it involved YOU!!

Love you

Jen

M said...

Thanks so much for the comment over at my place. It cracked me up. Yes, that picture was the essence of the boondocks.

I'm really liking your blog, I'll definitely be back!