Néstor García Canclini, translated by George Yúdice
2014, Duke University Press
242 pages, paperback, plates
WHEN Néstor García Canclini was writing this book at the very end of the last millennium, the world was a very different place. The US was hegemonic, pushing its version of neoliberalism and trade liberalisation globally; 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq war had not transformed international relations; the financial crisis had not lit the fuse of economic turmoil everywhere; and the Arab Spring was yet to rock the Middle East. This made the work of García Canclini, which has been shaped over many decades, particularly prescient. In Imagined Globalization he was asking what the sense of inevitability about global integration meant for culture, and what could be done about it. By imagining a future in which the inter-culturality implied by globalisation posed questions about the sense that the US model of capitalism was our only future, cultural theorists could indeed imagine another future. He writes: “If from the purview of culture we examine the shifting relations between Europe, the United States, and Latin America, we may be able to act differently from those who see globalization as an exclusively economic exchange.” [p xxxvii] Now available in this English translation, the ambitious scope of García Canclini’s thought becomes apparent for a much wider audience. The transition of his work to English is doubly welcome, for he is not the easiest of writers to read in Spnaish and this excellent rendering of one of his seminal worlks by George Yúdice, who also provides an introduction, will be of significant value in this field.