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Ada Karina Quevedo Velรกsquez Coffee addict and avid reader; loves all kind of food, enjoys visiting new places, likes skydiving and believes Yoga is a way of life. Currently studying a B.A In Languages & linguistics.

Appadurai’s scapes and flows

The term globalization can be understood on many different ways; however, it essentially refers to a process of integration and interaction among the world’s markets and businesses were these organizations start exchanging ideas and information on an international scale. This continuous exchange of knowledge or/ and goods is precisely what Appadurai (1996) identify as “global flows”. This term also encompasses five aspects called “scapes” (Appadurai 1996) that influence the way we look at the global exchange of information (somehow related to Jenkins’s (2006) notion about the way media is perceived differently as it moves from country to country), and represent the different types of flows. Such scapes are presented and described below: •

Ethnoscapes: refers to "the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live" (Appadurai, 1996 p.33). This means the migration of people not only across cultures, but geographical boundaries. This idea

perceives the world as a constantly changing space with many different kinds of communities instead of as a static environment.


Technoscapes: talks about how nowadays in this globalized world, technology has become a bridge for new and more rapid interactions and exchanges.


Financescapes: discusses the economy(ies) behavior since due to the increasingly rapid global moves, "currency markets, national stock exchanges, and commodity speculations" (Appadurai, 1996 p.34) are particularly unpredictable and in constant flux.


Mediascapes: this scape is strictly related to the concept of Media globalization since according to Appadurai (1996), Media scapes are "the distribution of the electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information







production studios)" and "the images of the world created by these media" (p.35). Is through the information offered by these media that we shape our perception about things and that we create an opinion about a determinate subject, place or culture. In other words, they help to shape the social world by controlling information, which at the same time influences our public sphere.

Ideoscapes: addresses the ideologies of a government and dependent on the spectator’s perspective/background. “They are often directly political and frequently have to do with the ideologies of states and the counter ideologies of movements explicitly oriented to capturing state power or a piece of it (Appaduriai, 1996 p.36).

In order to summarize all the previous information I think we could exemplify the application of the different scapes by mentioning the way a corporations may work:

Lets say a company decides to appeal to a new type of audience (Chinese population) in order for them to consume their American products; so, they design a TV campaign involving a very exciting Chinese person traveling to the U.S for the first time, enjoying the experience and living the “American dream” there (Ideoscapes). Since the TV advertising is so successful the company starts seeing results: the amount of Chinese costumers visiting their subsidiaries in the U.S increases (Ethnoscapes) and they decide to start using Internet as a marketing platform too, so they can reach a wider audience (Mediascapes and Technoscapes). Finally, after a few months, the Internet campaign along with the TV promotion result in big profits for the business (Financescapes).

References: Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York. New York University Press.

Cultural industries

It is well known that culture is a fundamental part of our identity as human beings. However there is still no precise definition for this term. One of the ways we can describe “Culture” is as follows: Culture can be defined as the characteristics that a particular group of people share; and that are delimitated by features such as language, religion, gastronomy, music, symbols, many forms of art, and social practices. And yet, in this increasingly growing and interconnected world in which we live, culture is constantly being influenced by many different populations form all over the globe. We could say that there are practically no barriers that rigorously define what forms part of an individual culture or not (associated with the concept of cultural dislocation), and it is exactly what industries are taking advantage of to create “Cultural Industries”.

“Cultural products are at the same time bearers of identity, values and meaning and factors of economic and social development. The preservation and promotion of cultural diversity must lead to the encouragement of the development of cultural industries that are able to make an impact on a local and worldwide level” (UNESCO, 2005). This could be related to Appadurai’s strategies of diversion given that he focuses on examples in which powerful companies “extract artifacts

from their originating culture and they introduce these goods into an alternative regime of value dominated by commercial interests” (Appadurai, 1986).

The cultural industries’ main focus is to develop and deliver all kinds of cultural goods or/and services at a global scale “which, at the time they are considered as a specific attribute, use or purpose, embody or convey cultural expressions, irrespective of the commercial value they may have” (UNESCO, 2005). These types of industries incorporate “publishing, music, cinema and audiovisual production and multimedia. Also included are crafts and design, which are not, strictly speaking, industries, but which are very similar in their management, for example in the creation of small & medium-sized companies” UNESCO, 2005).

Currently, with the opportunities and advantages that technology represents, the cultural industries’ impact is becoming stronger. Based on the UNESCO’S statistics “on a global level, they currently represent more than 7% of gross world product, and, according to recent forecasts, they will reach around 10% in the years to come” (2005). We could even argue about how since they are going through a process of internationalization and concentration (supporting the Global culture theory), this may eventually lead to the formation of big conglomerates. Nevertheless, it is also important to consider the existence of diasporic audiences and the concept of cultural divide where it is possible that people that do not feel identified by the goods and/or services offered by these industries disrupt the growing of the cultural industries.

References: Appadurai, A. (1986). The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (edited volume). New York: Cambridge University Press.

UNESCO. (2005, May 7). Cultural Industries. Retrieved from

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