"Glocalization" is an historical process whereby localities develop direct economic and cultural relationships to the global system through information technologies, bypassing and subverting traditional power hierarchies like national governments and markets.
The term glocalization is ambiguous and contested, however, denoting both:
- the Utopian ideal of discovering an non-material “gift economy” connecting the local and global via information technologies (as suggested above), and
- the global corporate strategy of tailoring commodities to local markets or fetishizing local places for the purposes of product branding (for instance, the McIlhenny company's development of Avery Island as the mythic home of Tabasco sauce)
In contrast, "globalization" is often used as a term to suggest the historical processes leading to a more one-way relationship between the "global" realm inhabited by multinational corporations, the entertainment industry, CNN, the Web, etc. and a subjugated "local" realm where the identity-affirming senses of place, neighborhood, town, locale, ethnicity, etc. survive (if just barely) against the global onslaught of global capitalism, media, and network identities.
"[Glocalization is marked by the] development of diverse, overlapping fields of global-local linkages ... [creating] a condition of globalized panlocality....what anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls deterritorialized, global spatial 'scapes' (ethnoscapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, mediascapes, and ideoscapes).... This condition of glocalization represents a shift from a more territorialized learning process bound up with the nation-state society to one more fluid and translocal. Culture has become a much more mobile, human software employed to mix elements from diverse contexts. With cultural forms and practices more separate from geographic, institutional, and ascriptive embeddenness, we are witnessing what Jan Nederveen Pieterse refers to as postmodern 'hybridization.'" (Wayne Gabardi, Negotiating Postmodernism, 33-34)
- Gabardi, Wayne. Negotiating Postmodernism. Minneapolis: U Minnesota
Related Ideas on this Site
See also these examples of the term "glocalization" being used on the Web:
- glocalization (noun). The creation of products or services intended for the global market, but customized to suit the local culture. more... (Word Spy)
- As it is used in Japanese business practice, this term actually refers
to the selling, or making of products for particular markets. And as
I think most of us here know, Japanese business people have been particularly
successful in selling their products in a variety of different markets,
unlike the clumsy strategies of the Americans
until very recently . more (Roland Robertson)
- The process of glocalization means that San Francisco and other U.S. cities must brace to fend for themselves in the context of a newly emerging international governing structure and an increasingly impotent, indifferent and vestigial nation-state. For a few advantaged cities, the process of glocalization, at least in the short run, will create new opportunities for asserting local autonomy and controlling their own economic destiny . For most cities, however, glocalization is bad news: bigger problems, fewer resources, no help from the feds, increasingly vicious intercity competition, and the dwindled status of powerless places dominated by the placeless power of global business and finance. more (Richard E. DeLeon)
- Friedman defines glocalization as "the ability of a culture, when it encounters other strong cultures, to absorb influences that naturally fit into and can enrich that culture, to resist those things that are truly alien and to compartmentalize those things that, while different, can nevertheless be enjoyed and celebrated as different." For example, Friedman thinks good glocalization is when a little Japanese girl goes to a McDonalds in Tokyo to "enjoy the American way of life and food." Bad glocalization is when she gets off a plane in Los Angeles and is surprised that "they have McDonalds in America, too!" The little girl should be aware that McDonalds is not a part of the Japanese culture. Otherwise we are headed for a very bland world: all Lexus and no olive tree. more (Edward Tanguay's review of Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree)
Please contact me about any broken links or errors, or if you have suggestions for additional links on this page.