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CONTESTED TERRAINS: Visualizing Glocalization in Global Cities

By : Jerome Krase

This essay employs a visual approach to explore some of the ways that spatial practices become markers of a globalising and glocalizing world. Images are offered that reflect some of the symbolic competition created by more and less recent migrants as they lay claim to 'contested terrains' by changing what they look like. Although often dismissed as mere "marking" of territory, such ordinary practices by migrants of symbolic home or community building are crucial to understanding global cities. One indicator of their importance is the, often hostile reactions by the dominant society to them. A brief review of some of the most important theoretical perspectives on these interrelated phenomena, such as those of Saskia Sassen, David Harvey, and Manuel Castells, isolates common expectations about the visibility of resulting competing spatial practices in shared multiethnic residential and commercial environments. It is argued that many of the contradictions created by the concentration of global capital can be seen in the neighborhood streetscapes of global cities. From Georg Simmel, through Henri Lefebvre, and Lyn H. Lofland, the visible, and the symbolic, have been central to urban analysis. Therefore, the ubiquitous aspects of what Jackson called 'vernacular landscapes,' such as commercial signs and graffiti in Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, London, New York, and Rome are addressed.
Keywords : Globalization, Glocalization, Migration, Vernacular Landscape, Visual Sociology.

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