Sum up of Week 3

Congratulations, this is the end of week 3! We are glad you reached the end!

Let us briefly sum up what we have learned this week.

We started off with a question: do globalizing cities contribute to homogenizing world culture? Which answers can we give now, after looking at how these cities manage their urban landscape and analysing their museums and movie scenes?

We have many reasons to think that cultural globalisation is an engine of standardization. Cities contribute to the diffusion of uniform models and dominant cultures. This appeared through what Peggy Levitt called “global museum assemblages” that push cultural institutions throughout the world to provide the same packages. Looking at the case of Katara in Doha, we have seen how top-down urban policies were trying to artificially construct cosmopolitan urban spaces. We questioned this tendency to sell multicultural heritage as a product, while contributing to exclusion processes. We also discussed the dominance of Hollywood on the global movie industries and the way it imposes its vision throughout the world.

On the other hand, cities are also spaces where new voices emerge and try to challenge dominant discourses and cultures. We saw that cities can challenge cultural homogenization by nurturing the creation of new ideas and aesthetics. We have seen how spaces of creativity could emerge in a bottom-up way. For example, Ulrike Meinhof discussed the case of the human hub of 67 ha in Antananarivo. She explained how it plays an essential role in Madagascar’s music production because it is a meeting point for people coming from the countryside and a springboard for transnational mobility.

We have seen that cities can nurture the production of films that have something different to say to the world, like Bollywood in Mumbai or Hong Kong. We have seen how the local traditions of these cities provided distinctiveness to these movie scenes. We also saw that they were dealing with local and global issues, and introducing fresh perspectives.

Finally, we discussed the role of institutions and local authorities in promoting diversity in global culture. We talked about the rise of a new museology approach, drawing on the case of the newly-founded Louvre in Abu Dhabi. This reflected an attempt to bring together the heritage of different world civilizations and put them in dialogue. Finally, we also looked at how state and local authorities in Morocco worked towards the recognition of Amazigh culture and integrating it into the urban landscape of Rabat.

We hope you enjoyed this week. Don’t forget to leave us your feedback!

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This article is from the free online course:

Cultural Diversity and the City

European University Institute (EUI)