Globalization, Identity and the fear of immigration.

"Agis dans ton lieu, pense avec le monde"
- Act in your own place, think with the world.
Edouard Glissant


Edouard Glissant, Martinique philosopher, writer and poet, wrote about slavery and colonialism and at a larger scale the Man. 

For him man is changing all the time, and the colonization was a sign of the change man needs.

Men can be with others, mingle, have multiple entities, but still have their own identity.  In the Antilles the population suffered from the slavery and colonialism but an unpredictable and amazing interaction happened, with the creation of the creole language. He called it "creolization". It used to be the language the colonizer used to talk to the slave, and that West Indian (Antillais in french) learned and developed into the language used today. He then realized this phenomena was happening everywhere in the world. In the Parisian suburbs for example, the favelas etc... The creolization is different from interbreeding, since it's not based on genetic but on the mix we create with culture exchanges and that is in this sense not possible to foresee. For Glissant the identity is then the result of several relations and interactions. It is in the continuity of Gilles Deleuze notion of rhizome-identity, which he calls himself relation-identity.

The philosopher made a link between the fear of losing identity in contact to other populations in Martinique and Europe in 1998 during the conference "Rethinking Europe: Electronic media, orality and identity". Here in hyperlink an extract  of the conference in the book "The Creolization of Theory" by Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih.

Europe is no monolithic but is seen as it because of its past. Indeed Europe exported its system and structures like empiricism, but did not exported "heresy", marginality. Edouard Glissant explains that nations can be multiple and doesn't need to be monolithic to be called nations. But today Europe is again following an idea of a system and not its own reality. His idea of Europe, or World as archipelago is then to admit we have a large diversity around us, that the world is a network of interacting communities in perpetual contact and new cultural results. He created a term called "mondialité" in opposition to globalization (mondialisation in french). He never wanted to accept the binary vision of the contemporary world of either sharing + opening ourselves to other culture with a loss of or own identity (globalization) either closing ourselves to any exchange and other people to "protect" our identity (nationalism). He wanted to rethink the multiculturalism as a chance, to stop crying about History that allowed horrible events -without forgetting it- and to start dreaming and developing our imagination again: he wants us to tear down the passive globalization and replace it with a creative mondialité
I think his philosophy is relevant today, with the European reaction to the current refugee crisis and the rise of Ultra Nationalism in Europe. Everyone has different reaction on this important subject. Some of us are scared, others afraid, some are fighting for them to come to Europe or stay, some close their eyes. There is as many reactions as people in the world and we have to accept that none of us feel the same. But we shouldn't be afraid of the other if we are sure about ourselves and strong in our culture and knowledge about our History. The world has always been moving, people have always emigrated and civilization have evolved. We can keep our culture and learn from others at the same time, we can act in a physical proximity and think with the world. We can keep our boarder but not as walls but as doors. We can let a limit to where the other begins without rejecting him.



This concept of mondialité can be applied to other fields like ecology, urban planning or architecture. Indeed for this last field, architecture styles are more and more similar around the world, a soup of different concepts and ideas, a perpetual repetition. Scandinavia and Japan are maybe the two regions that keep a specific architecture identity. But should we really convert towards a unique style and way of designing? Should we come back to a fake authenticity in areas where architecture loose its specificity, like new urbanism suggested? We should instead use a certain friction to create an amazing and diverse culture, an archipelago of ideas. We should instead stop being afraid of loosing our identity and culture, because we are the one controlling it.



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