An African in Guangzhou
January 15, 2012 2:12 AM Subscribe
A unique urban ecology prompts a new look at globalization.
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Japanese architect Naohiko Hino visited Guangzhou's 'Africatown' after being inspired by an article in Le Monde Diplomatique
* and wrote his view on the unique model of globalization he saw in the heart of China's manufacturing powerhouse.However, for those with a keen interest in cultural fields, this analysis may come across as rather conservative and obvious. It's not as if only society as a national unit has been internationalized, or only that neighbors may now be of differing nationalities. For us, a globalization that penetrates even deeper into the living experience, complicates social relations and compels communication across cultural barriers is a real and pressing concern.
Guangzhou's African enclaves can be considered a somewhat exaggerated version of just such a reality. There, multinational conditions constitute an intrinsic order. This is no longer a situation of just casual interactions between neighbors, but rather one that necessitates confronting a heterogeneous mix of others. Under conditions of friction, and in order to stabilize relations, the diverse inhabitants must weave together a specific ecology that is regulated by the local conditions of the site.
* "Where the Lion Rides the Dragon: Africa does business in China" in Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2010 http://mondediplo.com/2010/05/02africansinchina (subscribers only); complete article available in French: http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2010/05/COLOMA/19133