Appadurai’s Global Cultural Economy and World of Warcraft…

In class this week are we talking about Globalization and Arjun Appadurai which sparked some thoughts in me on how I’d like to study globalization through interactions online. What I am interested in is seeing the mashup of ethnoscapes, mediascapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes within and because of the technoscape. It’s amazing the adaptation of people and culture and as Appadurai put it, the indigenization or really the melding of cultures to create new ones that are not based off of any specific existing culture.

Take World of Warcraft for instance – it is an online game that over 9 million people play. These people come from all over the world to mingle online as they cooperate together to complete tasks and forge ahead to new and unexplored frontiers. Within this technoscape there is the ethnoscape of the different races of characters that each have their own history and part they play within the storyline. This is on top of considering the different ethnicities of players who play the game, each contributing their own point of view through play style and idea of what is important to them within and what brings them to this online world.

Due to this game being so extensive it is forced beyond its own pixel borders and into the expanse of the outside world of the Internet (as opposed to the enclosed game world). It does so in the form of external communities, blogs, and even internet movies that have their own storylines completely separate from the game. All of which form the game’s mediascape as well as ideoscape even in it’s political terms.

Add to that the economics that exist within the game in dealing with money, services, and goods and you can easily see it has its own financescape as well. This is especially evident when war efforts effect supply and demand, or rare world drops bring in a very pretty penny at the in-game auction house similar to ebay.

This is just one example. There are all sorts of places like this online, I’ve chosen to illustrate these points Warcraft because it is so expansive both through its player base (being the #1 MMO in the world) and its in-game dealings. It is likely the one online fully interactive game that can be considered ‘global’ at this time. This is, in my opinion, a great example of Appadurai’s imagined worlds.