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Individual identity and global information. The global village (Mac Luhan)

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  1. Introduction
  2. Media and information flows provided by ICTs
    1. A huge digital environment which offers space for competing ideas
    2. Marshall Mc Luhan's 'global village'
  3. End of the 'given identity' fears and withdrawals: Individuals have to cope with confusion
    1. Identity as a task replacing identity as a gift
    2. The complexity of building an identity for individuals among the new digital interconnected environment
    3. Nostalgia for the local
  4. Constructing the identity in constant interaction with global media but always locally
  5. Conclusion
  6. Sources

How is individual identity constructed in the environment of global information and media flows? How valid is Marshall Mac Luhan's global village concept in this environment?

Nowadays, each of us is aware from the pattern of our everyday lives that there have been lots of changes linked with the development of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and globalization. Scholars have increasingly begun to talk about Information society and about the fact that people are entering a new age of information, a new mode of information. Almost all agree to point out that quantitative changes in information are bringing into being a qualitative new sort of social system. In such a context globalization seems to make reference to a space where the global and the local interact using ICT as a tool. More than an increasingly internationalisation of affairs ( meaning more links between autonomous states) that process is also a growing interdependence and interpenetration of human relations and an integration of world's social and economic life. Then, it consists of changes which strongly affect both the local and national spaces. All those changes lead people to face a new digital environment, which reaches beyond the roots and the referents used by individuals to construct their identity, which is not stable. Then what are the role of the media flows and global information in that search? Firstly, Mac Luhan theory of global village seems to be a good starting point to see how media flows and the spread of global information can change the construction of identity and make people more eager to develop a global identity. Nevertheless, such changes are the cause of different fears and withdrawals to defence some people's identity and this concept is asking some questions. Indeed, people have finally to construct their identities in combining the global and local necessities.

[...] The global is ?recreated? by individual and nations in a more local way: the construction of individual identity in global information and media flows is a continuous complex game of combinations between those two levels. Scholars speak about the ?glocalization?: it is often use in social sciences to describe an active process where there is an ongoing negotiation between local and global. It means that there is a global influence (provided by the generalization of the ICTs) that is altered by local cultures and re-inserted into the global by a constant circle. [...]


[...] Internet especially entails people to create differently them identity To put it in a nutshell, thanks to those media flows which compressed time and speed and make people closer and able to communicate and exchange everywhere at any time, identity can be built in mixing and confronting more different cultures and values without being homogenised as people can normally chose their sources, the models they want to identify and can make the global things more personal in adding their own experiences. [...]


[...] Nostalgia for the local Those fears keep feeding the perpetual issue of the interaction of identity between global and local: in order to build identity in media flows, individuals have to combine on one hand a world more and more interconnected where the frameworks of identity are becoming hazy and on the other hand the wish, the need to recreate some groups thanks to primary identities. Following that idea, Manuel Castells highlights in his trilogy information the fact that societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self?. [...]

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