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Talking Back to Globalization

Texts and Practices


Edited By Brian Michael Goss, Mary Rachel Gould and Joan Pedro-Carañana

Globalization is one of the most widely circulated, high-stakes buzzwords of the past generation; yet discussion of the topic is often encased in paradox and contention over what globalization is, to whom and where it may (or may not) apply, and to what effect. In Talking Back to Globalization: Texts and Practices, contributors provide a series of case studies that stress the interplay between culture, politics, and commerce.
Interviews with Natalie Fenton and Radha S. Hegde survey globalization and its interpenetration with the spheres of journalism, activism, social media, and identity. The overview furnished by the interviews is followed by the volume’s two additional extended sections, «Texts» and «Practices.»
Chapters in the «Texts» section seek clues about globalization through its insinuation into mediated forms. The diverse selection of cases cover television, films, online travel web pages, blues music, and the political valences of Portuguese neo-fado.
Chapters in the «Practices» section address more diffused cases than media texts. Their analyses largely orient toward institutional concomitants of globalization that precede the subject’s experience of it. Chapters cover the trajectory of the European university, campaigns to shape journalistic practice during the Cold War, the posture of intellectuals vis-à-vis globalization, and the ideology that animates the Facebook experience.
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Chapter Nine: Defending Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century: Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?


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Defending Human Rights IN THE Twenty-First Century

Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?


I am prisoner of a gaudy and unlivable present, where all forms of human society have reached an extreme of their cycle and there is no imagining what new forms they may assume.


Both professional critics and literary enthusiasts refer to Italo Calvino (1923–1985) as the greatest Italian writer of the twentieth century. Indisputable master of carefully selected, nuanced words and narrating stories with remarkable ease, he is far less acclaimed as a cosmopolitan who lived his life as a writer married to the romantic idea that the world could and should be changed by the landscape of letters. For most of his life Calvino directed his intellectual power and his pen against social injustice, exploitation and undemocratic developments in Italy and in a larger, global context. As he entered the age of maturity and following the manifestations of political violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, his idealism drowned in a sea of disenchantment and powerlessness. It is this disillusionment that reflects itself in the epigram above and in Calvino’s (1980) collection of essays on literature and society entitled Una pietra sopra (literally translated as “put a stone on it”). In Collezione di sabbia (Collection of sand)—penned just one year before his death—the author seemed to scrape together...

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