GLL: on local global learning, citizenship, democracy, social movements

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning, citizenship, democracy, social movements

Step 1 – Part 2: on global/local learning

Link to blog

Link to forum

Comments on the Commentary.

The commentary is very useful in introducing a common language for this course. It suggests terms that I feel comfortable working with, as they allow me to pursue the systems thinking approach that I have used in previous courses. The “global/local” intersecting variations of learning can only be understood as the results of their contextual, cultural, geographic, economic, human, sociological components, only to cite some of the aspects that concur to finalizing the learning experience at the start of the third millennium.  Some of these terms are: world without borders, border pedagogy, citizenship, democracy, and social movements.

Though the assertion that we live in an interconnected world is not new, it introduces a discourse based on systemic patterns. Because of that, it is unlikely that “globalization creates cultural convergence or growing sameness – otherwise referred to as homogenization,” as the processes inherent in globalization are way to complex to allow for such narrow scenario.

I’d like to comment on the three scenarios presented on pages 1-2 concerning the conception of globalization as westernization (to which, of course, there is some truth).

This scenario happens in the face of increasingly desensitized populations and individuals who have become uncritical of and possibly overwhelmed with processes of cultural colonization. We do have a chance and the choice to remain involved in the governance of globalization processes, which would lessen the danger of the establishment of a world-wide America-style society.

“Other commentators link the interaction with processes of globalization and their impact on local contexts to growing fragmentation and cultural diversity. They argue that global influences, be they global media or global markets or global theory, are always adapted to fit local contexts according to local conditions and cultural patterns. Through the dynamic interplay of the global and the local, global social movements, for example, may take different forms, engage in different practices and make different impacts depending on local particularities.”

As suggested in my last comment above, this would only be possible if people retained their critical thinking attitude towards globalization processes and the changes they represent. It is an approach that I find highly desirable.

“Another perspective which has relevance for global/local learning, is the view that the new transportation and communication systems have intensified intercultural relations leading to what commentators refer to as the ‘hybridization’ of cultures. This is often associated with people who, because of work, education or for political reasons, move to other areas and come into contact with other societies and cultures for varying lengths of time.”

This is the case of “transient people,” who freely move between cultures and countries. It is a phenomenon of global proportions – with which I can personally identify – that have been the topic of Intercultural Communication research for several decades. Within the discourse of “cultural transformation” and “third-culture building,” I believe that these processes can provide a platform for global/local learning opportunities. It is well known how a host culture can affect outsiders. It is also clear that single individuals can have an impact on another culture (development workers, teachers, missionaries, etc.). It would be interesting to find out more on the interplay between the two players (host culture and transient person), and how the relevant original cultures may interact within this constellation.

Within the complexity of a web of cultures, robotic sameness remains an impossible scenario. In fact, I agree that “People are forced to find their way through seemingly chaotic series of social ands cultural possibilities.”

Suggested links on people-centered development:

In the literature for this course there are many references to people-centered development. I would like to suggest the following resources that I have found very helpful in learning more about the issue.

Korten, D. C., & Klauss, R. (1984). People-centered development: Contributions toward theory and planning frameworks. West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press.

Summary available at:

David Korten is president and founder of the People-Centered Development Forum. He is an associate of the International Forum on Globalization and a member of the Club of Rome. He is the editor of Yes! Magazine

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