Research Cloud 9 Localism and the Local

Historical studies in globalism and globalization recognize the importance of the local as a sphere where the strands of connectedness translate into real-life constellations, with multi-directional triggers and adaptations across the global-local binary. While the global segment of this binary has received tremendous attention in scholarship, systematic, innovative, and conceptually advanced approaches toward the local are few in number. Inspired by constellations in the present day, it is commonplace to view the local as realm of resilience against the advancement of globalization – an intellectual figure that itself betrays an implicit primacy of the global over the local.

The research cloud Localism and the Local aims at an advanced understanding of local space: what it is, and why it matters. Approaches to the transhistorical and transcultural paradigms of localism, locality, and local place follow a strictly historicizing avenue of inquiry, with emphasis on premodern configurations. Discussions probe the local as a dynamic force foundational to societal agencies in religion, politics, economics, and culture.

Cloud sessions will, on the one hand, survey existing theoretical conceptualizations of the local, as they have merged in previous scholarship. Postcolonial Theory has provided a forum for the development of ideas about the intrinsic value of local culture, globalization from below, and globalectics (Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Arjun Appadurai). This is complemented by discussions of the materiality of local culture and its interaction and entanglement with global currents (Tamar Hodos; Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell). Thirdly, the spatial turn has fully remeasured the significance and meaning of the local as performative space that provides a platform for all relevant practices of creating social coherence and for the communication of culture writ-large (Barbara Stollberg Rilinger, Karl-J. Hölkeskamp).

On the other hand, expanding on prevalent conceptualizations – and again in opposition to interpretations of local as a sphere that is automatically and inevitably in inferior relation to global taxonomies – the cloud explores the ontological quality of the local. Three areas of investigation stand out: the innate ability of the local to (1) allow for active conversations with place (imagined-metaphorical, physical-geographical); (2) generate a particular type of social knowledge that itself prioritzes local place; and, in turn, (3) extrapolate strategies and choices from place that offer societal orientation in times of dramatically accelerated change.

Coordination of Research Cloud 9: