终于完成了 USP 写作课的第一篇作文，虽然还是比较一塌糊涂，但是时间真的过的太快。
UWC2010Q: Civility in the World City
The Conflicting Impacts of Metropolitanism
In his paper “world cities and the organization of global space”, Knox proposes that certain cities have played key roles in organizing space beyond their own national boundaries. The chosen paragraph is a turning point where the essay brings out the idea of world cities’ capability in organizing cultural space from the economic realm. This paragraph argues that “transnational practices” have produced a new culture structure, namely global metropolitanism. It highlights the dialectic nature and multi-facets of metropolitanism, which people usually overlook. The dialectic nature of metropolitanism is explored and stressed using different tactics, and the depth and breadth of transnational practices’ impacts will probably surprise the readers.
As an economist, Knox views cultural process as a product of economic activities. Knox sees the group of “transnational producer-service classes” as the driving force behind global metropolitanism, While their practices propagate, global metropolitanism is brought about.The “classes”refer to the management class of MNCs in top world cities, who come up with “transnational practices”. This reference is supported by the elaboration later in the essay: “these are the people hold international conference calls… and travel the world for business and pleasure”(Pg 6, Para 1).
The cause of metropolitanism, “transnational practices”, is in inverted commas. The term might refer to the practices in place in those world cities on the top of an urban hierarchy system rather than truly transnational. They only become transnational practices after cities at lower levels of the hierarchy have adopted them. Thus the “transnational practices” function as a carrier of the cultural influences of the world cities. Consumerism is a prominent idea in metropolitanism, where people equate personal happiness with purchasing and using material possessions. Knox gives credits to Sklair in recognizing consumerism as an important concept brought to the rest of the world by global metropolitanism.
However, Consumerism is merely one evident example of global metropolitanism. After discussing the immediate effect of the spread of “transnational practices”, Knox moves on further to explore the dialectic nature of metropolitanism and the tension in its propagation. He builds up tension and confusion here to focus the readers on this paragraph, as it opens a discussion on the multi-dimensional effects of metropolitanism.
The two sentences in the second half of the paragraph (“It also involves …not only cultural homogennizaion…but also…cultural fragmentation. It involves both the universalization of particularism and the particularization of universalism …”) are suggesting the same idea of cultural integration and disintegration in broad sense. “Cultural homogenization” means more or less the same as “universalization of particularism” to me. Both terms describe the idea that cultures are blending and mixing, and more specifically where cultural icons and values from dominant Northern hemispherical cultures are being adopted in the South. “Cultural fragmentation” and “particularization of universalism”, on the other hand, describe the trend that unique ethnic differences are being strengthened and local identities are being reinforced. By putting two sentences of similar meaning in parallel structure, the dialectic nature of global metropolitanism has been stressed. Moreover, putting two groups of antonym (homogenization vs. fragmentation; universalization vs. particularization) closely to each other might induce readers’ interest to know why global metropolitanism would produce two such conflicting effects.
Parallel structure is forceful in getting ideas across. It offers a quick overview of a few closely related issues in a straightforward manner. Readers could grasp the gist easily. The repetitiveness of the structure is meant to highlight the thought. This tactic is also employed in Pg 1, paragraph 3: “world cities must be seen as the product of... world cities must be seen…” It highlights the claim that “world cities” are both cause and effect of globalization. The writer tries to get across the idea quickly and forcefully this way.
Compared to that example, the two sentences in this paragraph have even greater impacts. Since they are talking about almost the same thing, similarity in both meaning and structure further enforces the idea that the consequences of metropolitanism are dialectic and multidimensional. Moreover, instead of explaining each statement as what Pg 1 does, Knox simply put the two statements close together with minimal explanation. By doing this, the author perhaps aims to establish a concrete idea in the readers’ mind by stressing the point repetitively in shorter intervals.
The use of “universalization of particularism” and “particularization of universalism” is worth noting. Knox might have noticed these terms are difficult for the readers to comprehend, which could be the reason he puts explanations in the brackets after each term. Knowing the disadvantage of using the two phrases, he still chooses to do so. This is not just rhetorical but used here to highlight the contrasting effects of global metropolitanism. By using the root word “universal” and “particular” in similar structures, it creates a close tension here. This might be a tactic to focus readers as this idea summarizes the rest of this section. The profound terms will make the readers think twice and they would be eager to find out how such conflicting results conciliate.
The interesting part is that the author explains these terms in chemistry jargon “dissolving” and “crystallizing”. Both are slow and gradual chemical reactions, which are appropriate reflections of the process itself. People adopt similar “transnational practices”, and ironically accept the same idea about “difference, uniqueness and otherness”. Meanwhile, those practices are modified to accommodate different interest groups. This is a long process and takes place bit by bit. Thus the chemistry jargons are good metaphors here. The explanation makes reader aware of the powerfulness of “transnational practices”. They do not only bring about apparent cultural changes like the spread of consumerism, but they also exert a subtle influence on people’s way of living. Further more, the slow reaction might be subconsciously meant to balance the quick tempo of those parallel sentences structures.
These techniques are employed here because this is where the nature and implication of metropolitanism are further explored. Readers at this stage would realize that “transnational practices” do not only spread consumerism, but also bring deeper changes to local community slowly. (Dissolved boundaries of space and time, redefined unique identity or modified practices to fit into specific interest groups). The dialectic nature and the deeper implications of metropolitanism are harder for the readers to see compared to consumerism. However this is exactly the key points Knox wants to get across. “It is not merely…consumerism, it also involves…”shows that these impacts are more important than consumerism. Thus, Knox needs to highlight to the readers at this stage: “This is the important concept I am going to discuss.”
Further more, by stressing the contrasting nature of metropolitanism repetitively, the author generalizes the idea of metropolitanism. Most of the cultural changes observed by the author could be explained by this nature of metropolitanism. “Americanization” mentioned and McGrew’s take on metropolitanism cited later in the passages are manifests of the dialectic nature of metroplitanism. Further down the essay, when Knox quoted Appadurai’s suggestion about the five categories of space reorganization (Pg7), I see a comeback to this point also.
Knox has made a sound proposal on the multidimensional impacts of metropolitanism using different tactics. He has helped the readers see what are world cities’ functions in organizing world space from an economist’s perspective. The essay takes a turn in this paragraph from “world cities’ economic functions to their roles in cultural propagation. The author proceeds from the most obvious component of metropolitanism, i.e. consumerism, to the more subtle facets of metropolitanism. Knox, making his arguments progressively, has helped the readers realize the dialectic nature of metropolitanism in its propagation.
Text: World cities and organization of global space, P.L.Knox
Page 5, paragraph 1
颖 @ 2005-09-12 00:11:05
zhouli 在 2005-09-17 19:21:18 说:
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