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Globalization and the Grotesque

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Globalization and the Grotesque
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  GLOBALIZATION AND THE GROTESQUE Lauren Langman, Loyola University of Chicago INTRODUCTION  Neo-liberal globalization fosters vast wealth for its elites, while majorities face greater inequality, exploitation, alienation, insecurity, eclining incomes an retrenchments of benefits! "ow an why o majorities #willingly assent,$ if not actively support this system% &e will attempt to argue that globalize #culture inustries$ serve to entertain, istract, erase critical reason an rener the historically arbitrary nature of neo-liberal capital as #natural!$ Global capital has been able to produce and distribute hegemonic ideologies that secure its reproduction. The most important of these has been the universalization of consumerism as an ideology and set of practices that articulate identities and life styles that “willingly assent” to domination 'Langman, ())*+ lair, .//(0 .  Culture as a #conteste terrain$ of values, meanings an ientities is a site of struggle, protest an resistance where alternative, if not transgressive, subcultures contest ominant values, meanings an1or retreat to alternative forms of community an ientity! 2s global capital engeners anger an alienation, it prouces a maret for consumption of commoifie forms of cultural resistance that mas the operations of political economy, neutralize political consciousness an1or thwart progressive mobilization! pecifically  , we now witness a variety of subcultures and practices that comprise the “carnivalization of the world”  'Langman, ())3+ "alnon an Langman, .//*0! The centrality of the   grotesque and transgressive practices, in lifestyles, popular, and not so popular culture,  stand as critiques of globalization while various forms of transgression are resistances todomination.  4ut cultural resistance serves to sustain the very political economy it woul critique! 2s contemporary globalization  fosters its own anti cultures , it profits and reproduces itself. GLOBALIZATION, DOMINATION AND HEGEMONY 5ntellectual elites, parts of #historic blocs,$ fashion cultural beliefs an practices that legitimate elite power an secure #willing consent$ to their authority claims '6ramsci, ()7.! "istorically, religion legitimate ynastic rule, following the 8nlightenment, authority claims were mae on the basis of #popular sovereignty,$ the #will of the people!$ &ith the ascenance of bourgeois rule as a #worl historical$ fact, nationalism became an integral moment of hegemony! 9et there was resistance in worersmovements, unionization or socialist revolutions! Capitalism has taen a transnational form, ecouple from the territorial Nation tates of their srcin, celebrating a neo-liberal logic an ominate by a transnational capitalist class 'lair, .//(0! &ith avance technologies, computerization, igitalization an miniaturization there have been raical changes in globalize manufacturing, communication an finance! 2nything can be mae anywhere:with comman an control centers anywhere! ;ast amounts of money as profits, investments or sales circle the globe everyay 'assen, ())30! ille blue-collar wor in the avance countries has been largely replace by robotics an1or exporte to low wage countries! 5ncomes have stagnate+ stanars of living have ecline! Neoliberal ieology, structural reajustments an privatization   programs have been impose on now attenuate political leaership! <he claims that capitalism #serves everyone well,$ an neoliberalization oes it even better, increasingly  pale against the realities of growing inequality! Notwithstaning its omination,  globalization fosters resistance.  4ut what then are the compensatory means by which hegemony is maintaine espite growing stagnation an inequality% "ow is omination secure at the level of consciousness%  For a large number of people, consumerism, with its promises of the “goods life,” fantastic  forms of ideal selfhood, and fandoms audienceship! as communities, provide realms of  personal gratification encapsulated from the social that fosters a withdrawal of concerns  from social issues to a privatized hedonism and dulling of critical consciousness that  sustains hegemony ! Carnivalization, as a genre of consumerism, as the ascenance of a  plurality of transgressive subcultures an meia expressions, as celebrations of the grotesque an practices of resistance, repuiates the ominant global system yet reprouces it! CARNIVAL AND THE GROTESQUE The Liminal  Every culture has a normative order, rules, regulations, criteria of evaluation and standards of desirable conduct. But every social structure generates certain pressures toward deviance. As Durkheim suggested, deviance is necessary in order to defend virtue. Vice must be punished to affirm the dominant values. For Turner (1969) structuresfoster anti-structures, liminal  times and sites, “in between” places and moments at the “edges,” where typically suppressed and/or otherwise proscribed forms of deviance are not simply tolerated, but made overt and often celebrated. The liminal allows the  displacement of tensions and contradictions so that the dominant society may be reproduced. The production of liminality as a commodity serves to reproduce the globalized social order. Carnival Culture as Liminal =or 4ahtin '()>30, the carnival of the ?ile 2ges, a popular celebration stoo oppose to the official feasts an tournaments that celebrate an secure elite power of the aristocratic elites! Carnival was a luic critique of the elites, their cultures an values! <ypical patterns of hierarchy, eference an emeanor were ignore '4ahtin, l)>30! 5t was a liminal site of transgression, reversals of the quotiian, inversions of the ominant norms an stanars of propriety+ restraints of everyay life wane, all forms of the  prohibite were valorize! ?oral bounaries of #ecency$ from the political to the eroticwere transgresse, especially concerning the boy, boily inulgence, orifices, excreta, the profane, the vulgar an obscene! Carnivals expresse the @ionysian that was suppresse by 2pollonian omination! Celebrations often involve boily excreta an secreta+ much of the critique of power too scatological forms! <ransgressions, as resistances to elite power, rejecte ominant authority an its morals! The Grotesque <he carnival, as a site of resistance apart from everyay life an subservience to the lanowners an clergy, celebrate the isgusting an grotesque! <he grotesque stoo in irect opposition to meieval forms of high art an literature! 5t was a realm of freeom that spoe the truth of the system! <he grotesque, often seen in mass or  representations of faces with greatly exaggerate an istorte features an shapes,  bulging eyes, protruing nose etc!, stans as a critique of the ominant orer, while formsof resistance as freeom, repuiate elite omination, norms, values an practices! =or 4ahtin '()>30, one of the most important aspects of #grotesque realism$ is its function of egraationA bringing something or someone own to earth to create something better! "e explains,<o egrae is to bury, to sow, an to ill simultaneously, in orer to bring forth something more an better! <o egrae also means to concern oneself with the lower stratum of the boy, the life of the belly an the reprouctive organs+ it therefore relates to acts of efecation an copulation, conception, pregnancy, an  birth! @egraation igs a boily grave for a new birth+ it has only a estructive, negative aspect, but also a regenerating one! <o egrae an object oes not imply merely hurling it into the voi of nonexistence, into absolute estruction, but to hurl it own to the reprouctive lower stratum, the zone in which conception an a new birth tae place! 6rotesque realism nows no other lower level+ it is the fruitful earth an the womb! 5t is always conceiving '()>3, p! .(0! 5n the carnival, the peopleBs laughter was the materialization of the egraation of authority! <hus laughter symbolizes the collective comprehension an share affirmationof the satire! <ypical practices inclue paroy, mocing, satire, humiliation an hectoring of ings an queens, priests an bishop! 2bove all, laugher stoo as a rebue to the elites! 4ut however transgressive carnival may have been, whatever hope an freeom it
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