19 August 2007

Global cosmopolitans

The need for a constantly changing market chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere…the bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market give a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country…The individual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, 1952, The Manifesto of the Communist Party, pp. 46-7.)
I found this quoted at the start of an essay by Prof. John Urry (Lancaster University). It also brings to mind something my colleague Adam and I wrote in our critical analysis of inflight magazines:

The ‘global citizen’ or the true cosmopolitan is not … a ‘real’ person – although surely such people exist. Nonetheless, cosmopolitanism is very much one of many liberal discourses which run through the mythology of globalization. … The promise made by inflight magazines to both the jet-setter and the globe-trotter is an opportunity to buy into a way of life and a lifestyle which is … international, fashionable and sophisticated. Inflight magazines are complicitous in establishing and perpetuating the ideoscape of globalization, although not so much in terms of national ideologies as much as ideologies of consumption. Whatever the destination of their passengers, globalism and the pursuit of global capital is the driving force behind inflight magazines and the promotion of most international travel and tourism. Globalization is, in effect, a sales pitch, and the ‘global citizen’ is both role-model and myth which, in the service of global capital, are designed to persuade us to spend and consume. (Thurlow & Jaworski, 2003: 601)

Adam and I have maintained for some time - as, of course, has John Urry - that the mythologies of tourism and globalism are deeply co-complicitous.

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