Open-Localism – François Schneider (R&D)

Tuesday 12th July, 10.00-11.30, Cerbère


Our societies are facing two important dangers: on one hand a cultural homogenisation of society – through globalisation – the market economy and the virtualisation of exchanges (without direct contact) are able to expand to the entire world and to all corners of society destroying the connection to our surroundings with all our senses. Yet there is another danger: the society is closing itself, becoming more fragmented and unequal. Closure comes with the rise of xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiments, with strengthening of border controls and demarcations, with gated communities and technological devices to select who may come in a certain perimeter etc. This session will analyse different approaches to closure vs globalisation by capitalist neoliberals, Keynesians and conservatives. A few supporters of localisation support the idea of closure and ethnic separatism. Some of them mix of the idea of limitation of excesses and the idea of closure.
In present times consumer lifestyles – that destroy condition of survival of poor ones – are simultaneously promoted and made inaccessible. As this occurs in a context of limited resources, this leads to enormous inequalities and frustration in the world. Closure also creates vulnerability and insecurity for servile migrant workers. The idea is developed that closure keeps growth possible in a world with resource scarcity, but then only for a group of privileged.
This will lead us to present the notion of open-localism. The idea has been mentioned several times in the degrowth movement. It is a localisation distancing from closure, with an openness that is not about top-down universalism: not about generalizing the reign of individual profit, but neither the vision of a world made of cultural clusters. Important ideas and practices around open-localisation are presented and debated.


Background reading material:
Anderson, Bridget et al. 2009. Editorial: Why No Borders? Refuge, 26(2):5-18.

Grosfoguel, Ramón. 2012. Decolonizing Western Uni-versalisms: Decolonial Pluri-versalism from Aimé Césaire to the Zapatistas. Transmodernity, 1(3): 88-104.