Arjun Appadurai - Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy

In the reading, The Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy, Arjun Appadurai thouroughly discusses five dimensions called "scapes" in order to set the basis for a tentative formulation about the conditions under which current global flows occur.

These consist first of the ethnoscape which is the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which people live. Second, the technoscape that is the global configuration of technologies moving at high speeds across previously impermeable borders. Third, financescapes where the global grid of currency speculation and capital transfer happen. Fourth, the mediascapes that consists of the distribution of the capabilities to produce and disseminate information and the large complex repertoire of images and narratives generated by these capabilities as well as ideoscapes that cover ideologies of states and counter-ideologies of movements, around which nation-states have organized their political cultures.

Appadurai suggests the rapidness, sheer volume and scale of these flows to the point that it has affected political cultures, more simply put, how people live. One dimension that I would like to focus on to stress this is that of mediascapes that are quite true in relation to the Filipino audiences.

In our day and age where everything and anything can be seen easily on television, heard readily on radio, read quickly online or in print, it is no surprise that people have a hard time differentiating between the realistic and the fictional landscapes. Because people are made to believe what they see on television for instance, the audiences find it difficult to seperate reel from real. One perfect example would be that of the love teams that are very popular in the Philippines today. Take the love teams of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, Marian Rivera and Ding Dong Dantes for example.

Kim and Gerald first became known in a reality show and instantly shot to stradom even if their personal talents weren't initially as obvious as other artistas simply because they have that charming and likeable quality to their personas. They appear together in most of their shows simply because they click as a love team on television and people find them pleasing to see together. What makes this applicable to the mediascape described by Appadurai is that the people who support them cannot seem to see that dividing line between their reel and real life. After the cameras stop rolling, people still expect them to be sweet and cuddly like any other normal couple who is going out should be and admit to this even if there is nothing to begin with that is going on.

The videos below of the reel and real show how people insist on what isn't really there between Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson because they simply see the happy ending that happens in one of their show's finale.

This goes the same for Marian Rivera and Ding Dong Dantes who have continuously been paired together by the GMA network because they sell so much to the general public. They appeal to the people because of their good looks which allow for them to appear together in so many shows that which includes Marimar, Dyesabel and Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang which mind you are all merely remakes. What is important for the network is that they are able to make a show that starrs this love team because they have a strong hold over the public. This hold does not simply revolve around the fact that people find them so eye-catching together but also because the network knows people are curious as to what they will be doing together as a couple. People readily assume that because they are working together and being partnered together, something must be going on.

Moreover, the personal lives of these love teams are not the only things being imagined by the audiences who constantly support them. What is more is that the story lines, the characters and the plots around these shows that the couples are in make for a beautiful imagined world where after all the trials that come their way, no matter what happens, these tormented love teams will and always will end up together and live happily ever after. These shows offer a sense of reality in the problems that these couples face and as Appadurai says "what they offer to those who experience and transform them is a series of elements out of which scripts can be formed of imagined loves, their own as well as those of the others living in other places. These scripts can and do get disaggregated into complex sets of metaphors by which people live as they help to onstitute narratives of the Other and protonarratives of possible lives, fantasies that could becomes prolegomena to the desire for acquisition and movement."

Because Filipino audiences see all of these in the television shows that these love teams like Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson and Marian Rivera and Ding Dong Dantes starr in, they desire to have or at least experience it for themselves. Thereby affecting their lives and ultimately their political cultures as time passes. Such is the formulation of the mediascape that Appadurai suggests to have created a disjuncture and difference in the Global Cultural Economy. We, as viewers may not notice this effect as we may simply find what are we watching to be entertaining and something to take the stress away from a hard days work, but at the end of the day, it will and constantly will affect us and the way we love our lives without us actually being aware of that change within us and around us.

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