chapter  5
Visions I: globalization
Pages 10

The new emerging order, or ‘Global Age’ (Albrow 1997), is in line with similar theorizing that puts an emphasis on slightly different phenomena (e.g. postindustrial, postmodern, information or knowledge society). The Global Age has become the new image for the future and a globalized world, the new ‘imagined community’ (Anderson 1983). This new image encompasses previous metaphors of postindustrial and postmodern society, becoming a new phase, a new direction towards progress, development and linear evolution. This clearly locates it within the western ‘imaginaire’—‘a constructed landscape of collective aspirations’ (Appadurai 1996). In addition, as Albrow writes, the new ‘Global Age’ is also sometimes referred to using the following metaphors: ‘age of automation’, ‘atomic age’, ‘electronic age’, ‘solar age’ (1997:1). This, too, locates the global age within concerns, priorities, desires and experiences within industrially developed societies. Although represented as a radically ‘new’ phase of human and social evolution, the globalization discourse is more premised on the continuities of the current world than on the discontinuities and radical change. Not surprisingly, compressed, globalized time does not follow the tradition of so-called ‘event time’ of cultures and individuals that perceive human activity ‘as a measure of time and not the other way around’ (Szalai, quoted in Levine 1997:60). Neither is it women’s ‘glacial’, ‘shadow’ or ‘rhythmical’ time (Adam 1995:52; Fox 1989:127; Urry 2000:439). It does not allow for time to be seen as ‘intergenerational’ (Urry 2000:429), or as existing in the ‘eternal present’ (Judge 1993; Lawlor 1991; Levine 1997:94; Voigt and Drury 1997; Wildman 1997). Rather, it is the ‘instantaneous time’ of a ‘three-minute culture’ (Urry 2000: 432-433), an ‘evolutionary progression from a “time surplus” to a “time affluence” to a “time famine” society’, which is how most developed countries could now be characterized (Levine 1997:13). It is only possible where there is a ‘mechanical approach to human beings’ rather than a focus on people and their collective well-being, argues Levine (ibid.: 18-19, 74). As ‘people are prone to move faster in places with vital economies, a high degree of industrialization, larger populations, cooler climates, and a cultural orientation toward individualism’ (ibid.: 9), compressed globalized time reflects time understood and lived in the affluent west. Globalized time is thus not only about the ‘shrinking of space and time’. It also reflects how time is experienced and how this experience is perceived and conceptualized within the industrially developed west. Perhaps needless to say, this experience is neither universal nor ‘global’.