The Dialectic Between Globalization and Localization: Women, New Economic Policy and Strategies of Cultural Reproduction
The economic arrangement of all social systems is now in the midst of a fundamental restructuring, necessitated by the crisis of varieties of command economies and bureaucratic regulation of production, distribution and exchange. New economic policy is meant to free the economy from the shackles of the state and create more opportunities for both the producers and consumers. New economic policy, which emerged in advanced industrial societies, is now in a phase of global diffusion. But new economic policy valorizes the industrial and post-industrial mode of production and consumption and is bent upon destroying all other modes of livelihood, which are based upon centuries of experiments in self-sustenance and are less dependent upon market. New economic policy promotes global integration of our societal economies but is blind to the problem of articulation i.e. how “less familiar strategies of social reproduction” articulate with “world economic and political as well as cultural processes”. But the key question here is can the western style of life be universalized? Would our globe survive if the contemporary pattern of consumption prevalent in Western Europe and North America be universalized? This provides the challenge to preserve multiple strategies of production and reproduction not only for the survival of little enclaves but also for the long-term interests of mankind and the Mother Earth. This calls for a critical reflection on the dialectic between localization and globalization, anthropology and economics. The dynamics of new economic policy also raises the unattended questions of “functioning and capabilities”. The paper aims at discussing varieties of programmes of economic reconstruction which seeks to provide more support to vulnerable sections of society and forms of livelihood, not simply to perpetuate their dependence but to enhance their capabilities in the pursuit of a more meaningful integration between “food and freedom”. While looking into the vulnerablility of women in our globalized economy, the paper seeks to explore how we can preserve and universalize less familiar strategies of social and cultural reproduction by universalizing the feminine principle of “Shakti” in the face of the power of the new economy and its global onslaught.
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