Global Flows

Appadurai’s five “scapes” offer a framework for examining global flows and their impacts. [The page numbers listed below are from the 5th edition.]

Like King, Appadurai is investigating the global impact of technological revolutions in transportation and communication:

For with the advent of the steamship, the automobile, the airplane, the camera, the computer, and the telephone, we have entered into an altogether new condition of neighborliness, even with those most distant from ourselves. (Appadurai 95)

King offers both a diagnosis (neighborhood) and a prescription (brotherhood). Appadurai is a professor rather than a preacher,  and his focus is on the diagnosis. He summarizes “the core of my model of global cultural flow” on page 99. This model emphasizes the “nonisomorphic paths” and “growing disjuncture[s]” among the five scapes.


After completing this assignment, students should be able to

  • Summarize Appadurai’s critique of McLuhan’s “global village” thesis (95).
  • Summarize Appadurai’s critique of “Americanization” as a description of Filipino musical culture (96).
  • Define “indigenization” and explain how it complicates the idea that globalization leads to cultural homogenization (96).
  • Recognize new examples of indigenization
  • List the five “scapes” (97-100)
  • Define the five scapes (97-100)
  • Recognize new examples of the five scapes (97-100)
  • Identify the ranking of the United States among countries affected by immigration, as documented by the CIA World Factbook


  • Appadurai, “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy” through the paragraph that ends ….raising anew the problem of reproduction in a deterritorialized context” [In the 5th edition this is from page 94 through the first two lines on  page 100]
  • Country Comparison: Net Migration Rate (
  • Lecture Slides: Global Flows


These terms are not objectives in themselves, but it will be difficult to follow the reading without understanding their meanings.

  • congeries
  • “Other”
  • ecumenes
  • accretions
  • primordialism
  • dialectical
  • communitarian
  • rhizome
  • schizophrenic
  • propinquity
  • affinity
  • precursor
  • indigenous
  • hyperreal
  • synchrony
  • deterritorialization


The video An Introduction to Ajrun Appadurai’s Modernity at Large does a good job summarizing major ideas from our reading.


  • Global Flows