It is true. On one hand, it is quite easy to recognize glocal realities (a business, a university, a humanitarian association, some “parts” of the traditional organization of the State). On the other hand, as stated by Lorenzo Ornaghi, it is more difficult to define the new characteristics of the power they use. The classical definitions of power are insufficient in understanding these glocal realities. For this reason, in his essay Ornaghi looks at how the ‘command-obedience’ relationship is modifying itself also as a consequence of information technology and social networks, within a specific ‘contamination’ of local and global elements.
The dynamics between local territory and “global” network is a significant issue. An example of these dynamics is the phenomenon of the Arab Spring, which is investigated by focusing on the cultural traditions that carried the protests across the borders of more than twenty countries in the Middle East during the period of 2010-2012. In this regard, it is interesting to understand how the patterns of conflict contagion, during successful protests, operate through specific cultural conditions thanks to the existence of inter-networked places.
Considering the legal perspective, it is useful to explore legal pluralism in modern African democracy, for instance in the cases of Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. The adoption of western institutions of government by African states has made traditional institutions less relevant. It seems that the political weakness of these states is linked to the weakness of traditional institutions in a context where formal and traditional justice systems are at odds. On one side, the rural population still relies on the traditional justice system, because the formal justice system is expensive and the legal procedures are difficult to understand, managed by court houses located mostly in the cities. On the other side, a considerable population in urban areas is propelled to use the formal justice system because of issues generated by the male-dominated outlook of the traditional justice mechanism.
As we can see in these empirical observations, and as we stated in the call for papers of this issue of “Glocalism”, the political dimension of power “implies the consideration of the effects generated by the encounter of a plurality of actions (verbal or physical) on the actual existence of the subjects themselves. This dialectic may manifest itself through various organizational forms, spatially and historically determined, that condition in general terms the phenomenology of power and may obviously also depend on its differing ontology, according to the analytical paradigm contemplated by the subject-interpreter”.
Fred Dallmayr’s reflection is fundamental within this dialectic. He reminds us how history is never “a linear evolution” and “this is particularly true when applied to our present time, the ‘age of globalization’”. An evaluation of the present historical trajectory is needed to understand the “internal dialectic” of globalization which is generating reactions such as traditional nationalism and ethnocentrism. In order to shed some light on the relation between nearness and distance, the concretely singular and the universal, it is useful, as Dallmayr does, to discern philosophically “the meaning of human situatedness in a place, a space, or a ‘world’”, and to consider the tensions between nearness and distance, i.e. “the inner ‘dialectic’ between the local and the global”.
More than answers, as always, this issue of “Glocalism” seems to generate a broader field of new questions, both theoretical and empirical, which could be considered in our future work.