chapter  10
22 Pages

The production of locality

WithArjun Appadurai

In this chapter, the author addresses related questions that have arisen in an ongoing series of writings about global cultural flows. Although they broadly inform his response to these questions, the author's argument does not stem directly from concern with either the production of space or the disciplinary anxieties of anthropology as such. Rather, it engages a continuing debate about the future of the nation-state. It is one of the grand cliches of social theory that locality as a property or diacritic of social life comes under siege in modern societies. But locality is an inherently fragile social achievement. The long-term reproduction of a neighbourhood that is simultaneously practical, valued and taken-for-granted depends on the seamless interaction of localized spaces and times with local subjects possessed of the knowledge to reproduce locality. The production of a neighbourhood is inherently colonizing, in the sense that it involves the assertion of socially organized power over places and settings which are viewed as potentially chaotic.