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Transnational Communities Programme

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Following last year's successful international conference, the Research Unit for Global Studies, Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, is presenting a second conference to be held on July 5th to July 7th 2000.

The conference aims to explore how far globalizing forces are re-shaping people's everyday experiences and how may they simultaneously facilitate the migration of cultural meanings and practices from place to place as these pertain either to lifestyle

preferences or to various values and identities? How far do individuals and collectivities perceive that their lives are being transformed by globalization and if so, in what ways? How do they deal with the consequences of this? Why are some less aware of being exposed to globalization than others? These broad themes might give rise to several possible lines of enquiry, including the following:

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) Many areas of social life may be directly exposed to globalizing forces but the possibility of either containing any adverse effects or of making positive choices in response may vary as between different spheres. For example, leisure - sport, cuisine, dress, household styles, music, the arts, holidays, hobbies etc - would appear to be one area that offers real prospects of choice and control. How, deliberately, then, are activities in this - and other life spheres - monitored, absorbed and reconstructed in the context of global influences and with what consequences?

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) How are the social webs of daily experience and the well-worn imprints of memory and order woven around "place" and "locality", conceptualised and negotiated in the face of continuous flows of cultural meaning? Which individuals and collectivities feel threatened by the assault on the local and which resort to coping strategies, including, perhaps, an emergent cosmopolitanism, and why? Indeed, does the notion of the "local" continue to possess any meaning?

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) How far does the dissemination of cultural meanings give rise to what we might loosely call transnational "communities"? Such identities may be sustained less by on-going social interactions than by a shared sense of symbolic solidarity - perhaps partly dependent upon networking in cyber-space - which empowers those who participate, creating a sense of transnational unity. How do such experiences translate into local outcomes?

WB01158_.GIF (255 bytes) One reason for the scepticism with which many observers have approached globalization is their perception that it must lead to the trivialization and homogenization/ Westernization of lifestyles and cultural representations. To what extend is this validated by current research or are there other outcomes, such as resistance, re-invention, indigenization or creolization, which are equally valid. What accounts for these differences?

Though we are especially interested in papers concerned with the themes already outlined, contributors are very welcome to offer papers on other topics pertaining to the socio-cultural consequences of globalization.

For further information or to discuss offers of a paper, please contact the conference convenor: Paul Kennedy, RUGS, MMU, Manton Building, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6LL. TEL: (44) 0161 247 3006; email


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