chapter  6
14 Pages

“They are Always Surprised at What People Throw Away”: Glocal Postmodernism in Australian Picturebooks


Postmodernism is an elusive term that may loosely refer to numerous types of cultural practices, including literature, fi lm, architecture, market commodities, and ways of living everyday life. Although it is an international phenomenon, it is not a global monolith, and is apt to have glocal manifestations. The purpose of this chapter is to examine a selection of key Australian picturebooks which in some sense can be described as postmodern, in order to determine whether the dialogue between internationalism and local concerns has produced a glocal version of postmodernism, what may be termed a postmodern hybridization. According to Wayne Gabardi, glocalization is characterized by the development of diverse, overlapping fi elds of global-local linkages:

This condition of glocalization . . . represents a shift from a more territorialized learning process bound up with the nation-state society to one more fl uid and translocal. Culture has become a much more mobile, human software employed to mix elements from diverse contexts. (33)

Because they address young readers still largely bounded by the domestic sphere, picturebooks are usually geographically and institutionally embedded. This embeddedness may be weakened in the case of postmodern picturebooks both because they engage with polymorphous cultural forms and because they address an older audience.