cosmopolitanism

Via Amardeep Singh, an article in the NY Times by Kwame Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism. His argument (and it’s a good one) is that movements to “preserve traditional culture” are misguided:

Talk of cultural imperialism “structuring the consciousnesses” of those in the periphery treats people like Sipho as blank slates on which global capitalism’s moving finger writes its message, leaving behind another cultural automaton as it moves on. It is deeply condescending. And it isn’t true.

He talks about the reception of soap operas in different cultures — because of their own local values and beliefs, a show like Dallas does not have the same meaning and interpretation to critics in the US as it does to viewers in other countries. It’s a nice complement to the reader-response theory I’m getting in the book I’m reading now. The essay is an excerpt from a forthcoming book, which I may just have to read.

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