Global Cultural Politics

Essay by supersaadiCollege, UndergraduateA, June 2010

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Global Cultural Politics

Global cultural politics is the tensions created within and across cultures of nation-states, created primarily by the effect of a politics of difference. Relatedly, a politics of recognition surfaces as a defining element of global cultural politics, that is, as nation-states struggle for national and/or cultural identity as a nation-state, amidst the shifting of global boundaries and political alliances, political tensions emerge in response.

Global cultural politics is characterized by the struggle implied in the concept of the governing of culture. By this term is meant the struggle over the control, regulation, and distribution of resources that mediate the range of capacities and possibilities that enable individuals and social groups to choose, inhabit, and transform particular notions of identity, desire, and agency. Cultural politics is in part about the regulation and distribution of resources. But our capacity to think about politics is also mediated by the ways in which culture actually governs; the ways in which it actually shapes our conduct, social action, and human practices; and concomitantly the way people act within institutions and in the larger society.

Global cultural politics, as an evolution of a politics of difference, may be further explicated through culture, which enables a critical reading of the world from a position of agency, although within unequal relations of power. Global changes in the past two decades, for example, in the Middle East, Europe, Third World developing nations, and so on, have contributed to the politics of diaspora, immigration, identity politics, multiculturalism, and postcolonialism. It is helpful to conceptualize the world, and its many nation-states, in terms of "political space." Space in this sense is where the tensions of a culture play out in patterns of human activity. Cultural space is the effect produced by the actions of individuals within the culture...