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Borderland Selves: Rethinking Identity in Contemporary Global/Local Articulations
Unformatted Document Text:  more visible (hence their differentiation from other coherences) and certainly more vital – sometimes to the point of becoming a matter of life or death. In the aftermath of the tragic events of September eleventh, the strong nationalist sentiments and demonstrations that have emerged both in the US and Afghanistan, the radical distinction between “us” and “them”, “good” and “evil”, and so forth, vis a vis the strong presence and circulation of global discourses of world peace, are the most recent and eloquent demonstrations of the process I am trying to describe; the production of frontier effects and consequently of substances or entities clearly distinguishable from one another. At the same time the suggestion is that the logic of mutual determination, relationality and contingency transform the debate about globalization by redefining what counts as local and global. The meaning and effectivity of each one – as pragmatic, relational, and existential space – is always relative and therefore contingently defined. As Appadurai (1990) has shown, the threat of Americanization is a relative phenomena, since “for people of Irian Jaya, Indonesianization may be more worrisome than Americanization, as Japanization may be for Koreans, Indianization for Sri Lankans, Vietnamization for the Cambodians, Russianization for the people of Soviet Armenia and the Baltic Republics.” (6). What this logic also suggests is that identity is not something given in advance, always the same and constantly unfolding through history, or that is somewhere hidden, waiting for us to discover it; but rather, a coherence that emerges and is made possible out of a breakdown, a void, an interruption; one that is both loss and possibility, rupture and recreation, both spatial and temporal, like an interval, a rhythm – that is, the domain of the contingent. In this sense, identities become articulated in particular contingencies so as to

Authors: Correa, Andres.
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more visible (hence their differentiation from other coherences) and certainly more vital –
sometimes to the point of becoming a matter of life or death. In the aftermath of the tragic
events of September eleventh, the strong nationalist sentiments and demonstrations that have
emerged both in the US and Afghanistan, the radical distinction between “us” and “them”,
“good” and “evil”, and so forth, vis a vis the strong presence and circulation of global
discourses of world peace, are the most recent and eloquent demonstrations of the process I
am trying to describe; the production of frontier effects and consequently of substances or
entities clearly distinguishable from one another.
At the same time the suggestion is that the logic of mutual determination,
relationality and contingency transform the debate about globalization by redefining what
counts as local and global. The meaning and effectivity of each one – as pragmatic,
relational, and existential space – is always relative and therefore contingently defined. As
Appadurai (1990) has shown, the threat of Americanization is a relative phenomena, since
“for people of Irian Jaya, Indonesianization may be more worrisome than Americanization,
as Japanization may be for Koreans, Indianization for Sri Lankans, Vietnamization for the
Cambodians, Russianization for the people of Soviet Armenia and the Baltic Republics.”
(6).
What this logic also suggests is that identity is not something given in advance,
always the same and constantly unfolding through history, or that is somewhere hidden,
waiting for us to discover it; but rather, a coherence that emerges and is made possible out of
a breakdown, a void, an interruption; one that is both loss and possibility, rupture and
recreation, both spatial and temporal, like an interval, a rhythm – that is, the domain of the
contingent. In this sense, identities become articulated in particular contingencies so as to


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