Neighbourhoods, Part IV. Glocalization And It’s Discontents

I went to a conference a couple weeks ago in Toronto, on the topic of Social Networking. The conference wasn’t that great, to be honest, but I did manage to meet up with a friend who I haven’t seen for some 17 years and had a good lunch and conversation. This friend and I reconnected through Facebook and made arrangements. A fitting side event for the day.

The conference was alive with buzzwords and phrases;
– networked household
– Information Communication (and Exchange) Technologies
– public privatism
– networked individualism
– e-neighbours, i-neighbours
– intertwinings

and one which stuck with me…glocalization. Wikipedia provides this definition.

Glocalization (or glocalisation) is a portmanteau of globalization and localization. By definition, the term “glocal” refers to the individual, group, division, unit, organisation, and community which is willing and is able to “think globally and act locally.” The term has been used to show the human capacity to bridge scales (from local to global) and to help overcome meso-scale, bounded, “little-box” thinking.

It was the first I’d heard of the term. Incidently, the Wikipedia page was the first I’d heard the term portmanteau.

A portmanteau (IPA: /pɔrtˈmæntoʊ/), plural portmanteaux, is a word or morpheme that fuses two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded meaning. A folk usage of portmanteau refers to a word formed by combining both sounds and meanings from two or more words (e.g., spork from spoon and fork, animatronics from animated and electronics, guesstimate from guess and estimate, or ginormous from gigantic and enormous). Typically, portmanteaux are nonce words or neologisms. Portmanteaux are commonly used in science fiction for a wide variety of technical words, such as cyborg from cybernetic and organism.

All I can think of is do we really need to have the term glocalization? Sure, it would score well in Scrabble, but in everyday conversation, it’s one of those words you have to define when you use it.


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