Tuesday 10 January 2023

A world where there is no longer an elsewhere


'Along with the decline of popular political participation, the mass availability of television – “a distinctly national medium” as Sperber rightly notes – and the balkanised info bubbles of the internet, the second half of the 20th century was, as one political scientist put it recently, “a wasteland of sociability”.

'This isn’t to say that interconnections didn’t exist, but there are reasons the phenomenon referred to as globalisation – the extension over the whole earth of markets and networks of information and communication – was so profoundly alienating. One of the more radical answers came from the French anthropologist Marc Augé, whose Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity (1992) described “a world where there is no longer an elsewhere”. Modern life was now dominated by homogenous “non-places” where people spent most of their lives: airports, motorways, hotel rooms, leisure parks and supermarkets. These spaces of eternal traffic and deadening consumption, in which “people are always, and never, at home” represented the real End of History.

'“The space of non-place,” Augé wrote, “creates neither singular identity nor relations; only solitude and similitude”....'

From a review by Gavin Jacobson
in the latest edition of the New Statesman of The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Sperber.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what he’d think of people working at home, ordering in all their food and goods.