Transdisciplinary Design

globalization vs. localization

Posted on November 15, 2013 | posted by:

These days I am very confused, many thoughts are flying through my head. I thought I knew what I needed to do as a designer so I came to this program to develop my ideas, but since I have been in this program there are so many questions that I no longer sure about my idea of design. So writing this blog is pretty challenging especially when you don’t really know what you are thinking about.

But one thing recently I started to think about is globalization. Often we hear that we live in the globalized world. What do we mean by globalization?

According to the Oxford dictionary it is the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. The basic idea is that we can impact and be affected at global level.

About 2 days ago, I had a Kimchi Taco and a Bulgogi Taco in Brooklyn. It was super delicious! The Kimchi Taco is not Korean food or Mexican food. At the same time it is both, a fusion cuisine.  It is considered as an innovation in food in many contemporary restaurants since 1970. It is easy to see in especially globalized cities: NYC, London, etc.

Fusion happens almost everywhere. Normally one family belongs to one tradition or culture, however these days there are many families that share different cultures within the family. For instance, my family, my parents live in Tanzania now. So they are learning Tanzanian culture based upon Korean culture. Meanwhile, I live in NYC now and also have lived in Europe and Africa before so I have mixed culture based upon Korean culture. Because we live in different cultures we start to develop our own culture, which doesn’t belongs to any cultural group. So when we meet as a family we often see behaviors that make it hard to understand each other.

Unlike my family, there are also families created as global familes. My friend Jinah, who is Korean, married Vince, who is American. They live and work in Switzerland and have 4 children. So the culture at Jinah’s house is somewhere between Korean/American/Swiss.

Usually nationality determines what culture you have. However the relationship between nationality and culture is getting weaker because of globalization. Not only nationalities but also races are mixing through marriage.

There are many aspects of globalization beside food and marriage, especially when we think about difficulties we have in this century: global economy, global warming, immigrant issues, etc. All these difficulties are deeply related to globalization.

Localization is happening at the moment as well, as “Indie Capitalism,” which Bruce Nussbaum writes about in his book Creative Intelligence. Although it seems to me that localization is a resistance movement of globalization whether they are aware of it or not.

Even in design there are big design companies who work at the global level, and some design companies that work at the local level. It is hard to say which is the better idea in general. Maybe there is no true answer, rather everyone chooses based on their values and desires.

I think I want to work toward the global level to impact a complex system. I am starting to form my idea of how to do this but it is not yet concrete. I hope to share it with you in the near future.