Travel log 10: “Encountering Globalization” by Erin Schirra, Gold Coast, Australia

Kevin Robbins poses a question in his piece on globalization, asking the reader, “Is it at all possible, in global times, to sustain a coherent and unified sense of identity?” (242). When looking at the opposing sides of globalization that Robbins brings into light, it is difficult to take a personal stance on which side I agree with. He mentions the side of the spectrum where people are enticed by this new ‘hybrid’ of cultural collision, where a world of many fronts is undergoing a dynamic experience of coming together. He also mentions that on the other side, people fear that allowing these interactions between cultures will remove the very details that make each culture unique or special (242). I believe that it is important as an individual in the global community to define where my ideas of globalization take ground in order to truly reflect on my role and encounters with globalization.

Robbins made a few statements throughout the piece that have impacted how I view my role in this worldwide interaction of culture. One of these is as follows- “[Globalization] is provoking new senses of disorientation and of orientation, giving rise to new experiences of both placeless and placed identity” (242). I think that this represents my stance on globalization most truly. It is the combination of the two ends of the spectrum that make globalization what it is. I think that this dance between keeping cultures unique and bringing cultures together is what produces the beauty of organization. Robbins mentions that globalization results in the creation of space for certain cultures to grow firm in their foundations and what constitutes them. This creation of room reminds me of a quote out of Slimbach’s novel- “The very act of moving from one place to another helps create a space where we can bump up against strangeness and reexamine some of the settled assumptions we hold regarding the world — and ourselves” (Slimbach, p5). In turn, just as the act of physical movement allows for room to figure out who we as individuals are, the mobility of communication across cultures as a result of globalization can do the same. Simultaneously, the intermingling of cultures with one another can allow for the increased definition of what makes a culture what it is.

My encounter with globalization in Australia has been fascinating, as Australia has a combination of different cultures that form the overarching practices of the country, and I have found myself interacting with people from all over the world both at school and in travel. As mentioned in previous travelogs, my Australian Uni is mostly formed by exchange students. Many of us are from the States, but there is a strong presence of people from Europe and Asia alike. The very first week of school, I sat at the bus stop with a guy named Sean. He struck up conversation, and we talked for the entire bus ride home. The conversation was broken, as English was not his first language, but we connected on being new to Australia, caring about school, and TV shows. This represents one positive example of globalization. Because of the movement of media such as television across the world, Sean and I were able to sustain conversation. Even though we were talking about Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, it led to us speaking on the challenges he had faced in coming to get his master’s degree in an English speaking country, and how culture immersion had impacted both of us. Due to globalization, “the swirling and eddying of humanity mingle ideas, cultures, and values as never before in history” (Robbins 243). In our common ground, we were able to give advice to one another during a transition that we were both facing.

Our class defined Global Community as “All people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights” (Worldstar 2017). I think that this still stands true, but it acts as more of a goal of our global community than a representation of where we are at. Instead of the absolute term ‘all,’ I think that we should replace it with ‘the notion of.’ I also think that in addition to the provided definition, Global Community is also the interactions between different cultures that reap both national and worldly knowledge of identity.

tl10

This is a picture of one of the pieces of street art at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. I think that it represents not just a world map, but also the global language of art. Although there are countless cultures represented across the world, there are also countless universal notions that bring the world together. For me, I think that art is one of those notions.

Works cited

Robins, K., 2002. Encountering Globalization. In: C. Held & A. McGrew, eds. The Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity. Ch. 20.

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

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