How Much Does “‘Local’ Transformation” Really Hit Home?

In chapter three of Rewriting, Joseph Harris describes to readers the practical move of “countering” that can be used in many academic writing tasks. Harris defines countering as “developing a new line of thinking in response to the limits of other texts” (Harris 57). He then continues to describe three main ways to “create this sort of critical distance” (Harris 57). The specific way I will use to respond to my last reading of Giddens’ arguments is called “dissenting.” Harris defines “dissenting”as “identifying a shared line of thought on an issue in order to note its limits” (Harris 57). I will use Harris’ technique of dissenting in order to note the limits on Giddens’ idea of “local transformation.”

Throughout the novel Giddens discusses globalization. In chapter two, Giddens furthers this topic by stating, “Globalisation can thus be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” (Giddens 64). Giddens goes on to explain this thought in more simplistic terms by saying, “Whoever studies cities today, in any part of the world, is aware that what happens in a local neighborhood is likely to be influenced by factors- such as world money and commodity markets- operating at an indefinite distance away from that neighborhood itself” (Giddens 64). Giddens exemplifies this statement by suggesting that an urban area in Singapore might cause the impoverishment of a neighborhood in Pittsburgh whose local products are uncompetitive in world markets. Although Giddens makes a good point, I believe his statement to be exaggerated and untrue to the extent to which he presents it.

During my Intro to Communication class, I learned that humans are “time-binding creatures.” Simply put, this means that we, as a society, learn from the elements of past times and generations to make something that did not exist before. While reading Giddens thoughts on globalization during this chapter, I immediately thought of this concept. Although the two are not directly related, I think that Giddens could have strengthened his argument by not only discussing how social relations are shaped by larger scaled events, but also how different events are shaped by the events before them. Giddens’ argument about “local transformation” is much too drastic to be understood on many levels, and therefore makes for a faulty and limited argument (Giddens 64). The idea of “time-binding” also ties into Giddens’ main idea of “modernity” because it shows how humans can evolve into different eras themselves. Giddens provided an insightful argument by discussing globalization, and “local transformation” but I believe the idea to be limited in nature.

2 thoughts on “How Much Does “‘Local’ Transformation” Really Hit Home?

  1. I tend to agree that a lot of Giddens’ arguments are outlandish and very hard to comprehend, “Although Giddens makes a good point, I believe his statement to be exaggerated and untrue to the extent to which he presents it.” As we all know, throughout the book he makes claims that just seem very broad and leave you scratching your head asking yourself, what is he talking about? I really liked how you talked about the ideas in your Intro to Communication class to help with your dissenting of Giddens. You talk about how the events in the past shape events in the present, which is an interesting thought but what is it about society that makes us hold on to the past so much?

    -ML

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  2. I, too, found Giddens exemplification of, “Whoever studies cities today…is aware what happens in a local neighborhood is likely to be influences by factors,,,operating at an indefinite distance away from that neighborhood itself” (Giddens 64) to be an exaggeration. Although his statement is true, the manner in which he presents his exemplification comes off as quite exaggerated.

    I really appreciate how you tied in your knowledge from another class! I was unaware that humans are “time-binding creatures”. The fact that human beings are “time-binding” creatures makes much sense, especially so with your connection of this concept with Giddens analysis of globalization.
    Since we have begun Giddens’ book, I have similarly thought that, “Giddens could have strengthened his argument by not only discussing how social relations are shaped by larger scaled events, but also how different events are shaped by the events before them”. What examples/past events would you suggest to Giddens to further back up his argument to show “how different events are shaped by the events before them”?

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