Annotation: Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large

Appadurai, Arjun. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

The world of flows in which we live today is characterized by a “new role for the imagination in social life” (31). This theory of rupture or break is “necessarily a theory of the recent past” because of the recent changes in the world such as the globalization of media and migration (9). Appadurai’s theory of rupture points to the unpredictability of human social relationships in which individual agency, power of negotiation, contestation and resistance can play important roles. Appadurai accords power to individuals, who are capable of inserting imagination in their everyday consciousness. Imagination thus plays an important role in social organization as it may be collective property and activity (5-8). Through the work of the imagination, communities, neighbourhoods, and nationhood on a larger and global scale can be are created. For example people that have been displaced by migration may play out their desires as a means of reproducing the microcosm of their cultures. Thus, Appadurai suggests that imagination as that element in daily life that holds the ability to mould collective motivations. As Appadurai asks, “how do small groups, especially families, the classical loci of of socialization, deal with these new global realities as they reproduce cultural forms themselves?” (43). As family members become situated in various parts of the world and as they connect to each other transnationally, Appadurai suggests that their relationships “can become volatile; new commodity patterns and negotiated, debts and obligations are recalibrated, and rumours and fantasies about the new setting are manuevered into existing repertoires of knowledge and practice (44-45).

This is a film that I made inspired by Appadurai’s notion of “scapes”.

Sunday (e)Scapes-Rough Cut from Dada Docot on Vimeo.

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