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Grounded Globalism

Grounded Globalism: How the U.S. South Embraces the World

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Grounded Globalism
    Book Description:

    The world is flat? Maybe not, says this paradigm-shifting study of globalism's impact on a region legendarily resistant to change. The U.S. South, long defined in terms of its differences with the U.S. North, is moving out of this national and oppositional frame of reference into one that is more international and integrative. Likewise, as the South (home to UPS, CNN, KFC, and other international brands) goes global, people are emigrating there from countries like India, Mexico, and Vietnam--and becoming southerners. Much has been made of the demographic and economic aspects of this shift. Until now, though, no one has systematically shown what globalism means to the southern sense of self. Anthropologist James L. Peacock looks at the South of both the present and the past to develop the idea of "grounded globalism," in which global forces and local cultures rooted in history, tradition, and place reverberate against each other in mutually sustaining and energizing ways. Peacock's focus is on a particular part of the world; however, his model is widely relevant: "Some kind of grounding in locale is necessary to human beings." Grounded Globalism draws on perspectives from fields as diverse as ecology, anthropology, religion, and history to move us beyond the model, advanced by such scholars as C. Vann Woodward, that depicts the South as a region paralyzed by the burden of its past. Peacock notes that, while globalism may lift old burdens, it may at the same time impose new ones. He also maintains that earlier regional identities have not been replaced by the rootless cosmopolitanism of cyberspace or other abstracted systems. Attachments to place remain, even as worldwide markets erase boundaries and flatten out differences and distinctions among nations. Those attachments exert their own pressures back on globalism, says Peacock, with subtle strengths we should not discount.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4156-9
    Subjects: Anthropology, History, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)

    • CHAPTER ONE A Model
      (pp. 3-13)

      On memorial day 2006, I take a taxi from Raleigh-Durham airport after flying in from Dothan, in South Alabama. The driver has a trainee with him. “Where are you guys from?” I ask. “Guess,” answers the trainee. “Eritrea,” I suggest, succeeding after two wrong tries. “Where’s he from?” the trainee asks, referring to the driver. “Ethiopia,” I guess immediately. I then ask, “How can this be? You are supposed to be enemies!” (In 1998 I had flown out of the Eritrea airport just before it was bombed by Ethiopia.) They explain that they are friends, that it’s only the politicians...

    • CHAPTER TWO The South as/in the World
      (pp. 14-44)

      James mcbride dabbs once wrote: “Of all the Americans, the Southerner is the most at home in the world. Or at least in the South, which, because of his very at-homeness, he is apt to confuse with the world.”¹ Dabbs used the word “world” in the first sentence to refer to the southerner’s immediate surroundings, as in “worldly,” “of this world,” “the world around us,” what German philosophers, with whom Dabbs was familiar, term Umwelt. Dabbs’s southerner is “at home” where he is and is not driven to change it. Dabbs contrasts this southerner with the Puritan New Englander, who...


    • CHAPTER THREE From Oppositionality to Integration
      (pp. 47-75)

      Dabbs, we recall, characterized southerners as at home in the world, which they think of as the South. It seems that southerners are now broadening their awareness of the world while retaining an identity with the region, and in so doing they are burying their sense of opposing the nation, especially the North. More frequent relations with the world away from home (which then becomes part of home by extension) create a notion in southerners of being world citizens, global human beings, in contrast to a regional and oppositional identity. Far away penetrates deep within. Such a shift entails change—...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Dualism to Pluralism: Global Diversity on Southern Ground
      (pp. 76-101)

      Global identity is expressed locally by diversity, or pluralism. In the American South, the impact of globally derived immigration and cultural influences has a special character. The South’s complex history of diverse peoples and cultures—ranging from Native American groups of great variety and complexity to ethnically diverse migrants from Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia—has been overlaid by one dominant theme: dualism, stereotyped as black against white. While the range and complexity of the early South remained, evolved, and differed by locale, an overriding black-white dualism became pervasive during slavery and segregation continuing through the twentieth century. New...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Southern Space: From Sense of Place to Force Field
      (pp. 102-134)

      The phrase “sense of place” suggests the perception of a locale as more than just a physical space, as a territory but also as a psychological space, a place imbued with history and memory, community and experience. In short, “space” becomes “place.” The South, it is said, has a sense of place. As Roy Blount Jr. put it, “the South is a place,” and, he added disparagingly, “the North is just a direction out of the South.”

      Blount captures in a phrase a long history of imagining the South as a place. The land of cotton is not forgotten and...


    • CHAPTER SIX Meaning: Religion in the Global South
      (pp. 137-155)

      Time, place, preservation, tourism, memory, spirituality, horror movies and Halloween, retirement homes, commemorations, reenactments, community legends, Sigmund Freud and William Faulkner, funerals, cemeteries, monuments: the members of this list share a focus on the past. “The past is not past,” proclaimed both Faulkner and Freud. (Faulkner’s character was thinking of society and its remembering; Freud was thinking of the individual and how repressed memories determine behavior.) Not surprisingly, as globalization presses and change happens, a countermovement seeks past as well as place, a way of connecting to something larger and older than immediate circumstance.

      My first three hypotheses all address...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Subjectivities: Meaning Making in the Changing South
      (pp. 156-183)

      Subjective experience is the subject of this chapter, expressed in such areas as dreams, spiritualism, and the arts. How do such expressions reflect global influences? Does globalism penetrate only economics, politics, and public spheres, such as commemorations of race relations, institutional worship, and architecture and city planning? Or do global influences reach into private spheres, into the inner life, as in dreams and spiritual quests, and efforts at popular expression of experience, such as the arts? If so, how, in what forms and contexts? And how may subjective expressions enrich and shape global identities?

      These questions are at once revealing...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Politics: Is Globalism Liberal? Is a Local Focus Conservative?
      (pp. 184-219)

      Asserting that the South is orienting itself around the global brings to mind two assumptions we often take as givens: that the South as a region is a bastion of conservatism and that to orient around the global means to become more liberal. We need to examine these assumptions in light of the actual contours of the globalizing South. Obviously, given the South’s influence on the nation and, partly through the nation, the rest of the world, the policies the South favors will matter. I want to suggest that the assumptions I have just brought up are problematic for examining...

  7. Conclusions
    (pp. 220-258)

    What might we conclude? We might conclude that the South has changed importantly in recent years, that it is changing still, and that globalization—that is, interconnection with the world—is an important part of that change. Specifically, a pillar of southern identity—a sense of opposition to the nation—is being transformed to the extent that the South acquires a global identity. Because race and place are key domains of southern experience, we have explored how globalization is increasing the South’s social and cultural diversity and is complicating the sense of place experienced by both native and adoptive southerners....

  8. Notes
    (pp. 259-278)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 279-294)
  10. Index
    (pp. 295-311)