Guest editorial : Difference and globalization
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Visual communication. - London, 2002, currens
, p. 275-285
University of Antwerp
Our original aspiration for this special issue was to attract a broad base of visual communication scholars working on the nexus of difference and globalization, with the aim of defining the substance and assessing the significance of this particular dialectic in our field. While globalization does entail the ever-growing significance of deterritorialized practices and transcultural flows, these connections, movements and exchanges still largely occur across specific locales and identities, and through appeals to various dimensions of cultural and social difference. Purposefully comprehensive in scope, our call for papers led to over 70 proposals that tackled the relationship between globalization and race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and religion in visual communication from a number of theoretical angles, including but not limited to diasporic, queer, postcolonial, feminist and intercultural perspectives. Taken together, the seven contributions included in this special issue address questions related to the integration and deployment of major dimensions of social and cultural difference in visual communication materials; the perspectives and practices of designers, image-makers and media producers in relation to the work involved in the planning and creation of such materials; and both the dominant ways of seeing and unique experiences that impact on the visual reading of globalization. A combination of well-known and emerging scholars makes for an unusually energetic take on concepts and concerns that underlie several of the major frameworks that have become established in the inherently interdisciplinary field of visual communication, including multimodal and critical discourse analysis, social semiotics, rhetorical criticism, visual anthropology and visual sociology. As a whole, the special issue is based on three main assumptions regarding the centrality of visual communication, the significance of difference, and the ways in which identities are constructed and exchanged in settings of cultural globalization.