The production of locality

Arjun Appadurai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


I HAVE SO FAR focused on locality as a phenomenological property of social life, a structure of feeling that is produced by particular forms of intentional activity and yields particular sorts of material effects. Yet this dimensional aspect of locality cannot be separated from the actual settings in and through which social life is reproduced. To make the link between locality as a property of social life and neighborhoods as social forms requires a careful exposition of the problem of context. The production of neighborhoods is always historically grounded and thus contextual. Neighborhoods are inherently what they are because they are opposed to something else and derive from other, already produced neighborhoods. In the practical consciousness of many human communities, this something else is often conceptualized ecologically as forest or wasteland, ocean or desert, swamp or river. Such ecological signs often mark boundaries that simultaneously signal the beginnings of nonhuman forces and categories or recognizably human but barbarian or demonic forces. Frequently these contexts, against which neighborhoods are produced and figured, are at once seen as ecological, social, and cosmological terrains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociology of Globalization
Subtitle of host publicationCultures, Economies, and Politics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780429961632
ISBN (Print)9780813346694
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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