A Quilt Ripping at the Seams:

A Quilt Ripping at the Seams: - 1 Hunter A. Meyer 10th...

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1 Hunter A. Meyer 10 th December 2007 Politics of Globalization Final Essay A Quilt Ripping at the Seams: Diasporas and Diverging Identities in a Postnational World In the age of the cultural entrepreneur, the United States of America has become a near- monopolist, packaging all our ideas, idioms, and goods to be ready for export. The U.S.’s postnational agenda is implicit; we’re always looking to make “our” culture compatible and inoffensive (unless that’s the selling point) with those on a global scale. Besides the economic advantages, the United States has a historical investment in the global acceptance of its culture; we’ve built our national narrative around the fact that our nation-state is a product of diasporas with a common goal. Ideally, the United States would like to be seen as, in Appadurai’s words, “a model of how to arrange one territorial locus (among others) for a cross-hatching of diasporic communities” (22). The individual nationalisms come together to form a consensus, the story goes, creating a collective nationalism that transcends the boundaries inherent in any singular form of cultural alignment. The traditionally liberal imagery of “the mosaic, the rainbow, the quilt and other tropes of complexity-in-diversity” (22), immediately becomes problematic, as the struggle to “contain the tension between the centripetal pull of Americaness and the centrifugal pull of diasporic diversity in American life” (22) becomes a very real issue for the American consciousness. Since the collective nationalism and culture so obvious in the “quilt” have to be palatable to all parties giving up their cultural sovereignty, the distinct “flavors” that came together inevitably get marginalized, in favor of a blander end result. As the participating groups become unsatisfied with the collective state’s representation and incorporation of their individual culture, the need for postnational forms arises. “The metaphor of the mosaic,” Appadurai observes, “cannot contain the contradiction between group identities
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course POL 235 taught by Professor Sajibbarua during the Fall '07 term at Bard College.

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A Quilt Ripping at the Seams: - 1 Hunter A. Meyer 10th...

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