Landscapes of Global Capital
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Arjun Appadurai distinguishes between culture and the cultural. While culture is associated with a static conception of a people associated with specific traits, the cultural refers to situated differences, contrasts, and comparisons "that either express, or set the groundwork for, the mobilization of group identities"(1996: 13). Appadurai's distinction expresses the fluidity of identity associated with diasporic movements. He further notes that 'producing locality' is under increasing pressure from the nation-state, diasporic flows, and electronic communities. Correspondingly, when Appadurai writes about flows he uses the suffix 'scapes' perforating the boundary between location and movement. Thus, mediascapes provide "large and complex repertoires of images, narratives, and ethnoscapes to viewers throughout the world, in which the world of commodities and the world of news and politics are profoundly mixed" (35). Like peoples, images are diasporic. Appadurai recognizes the synergistic and serendipitous nature of the flow of representations.

Corporate advertising is part of the mediascape. It uses representations of culture as second order signifiers to refer to the global reach of a corporation or to a corporate brand built on the signifieds of muticulturalism, ecumenism, and humanism. It dissociates representation from place by accelerating the velocity of the flow of disparate images in its montages and by reducing place to a trace signifier. To use the phrase cultural geography in the age of deterritorialization seems almost oxymoronic. Mapping the geography of representation assumes that one can tie a representation to a particular place. While the production of culture occurs in a place, the physical coordinates of location are both fluid and extensive (i.e. a commodity (sign) chain). A particular image might start its life with a photographic encounter that is already predetermined by conceptions of otherness, exoticism, salience, aesthetics, and commodification, and then travel through the circuitry of the electronic production network passing through a range of gatekeepers who ensure its economic/cultural usefulness, and then take its position in a commercial that is beamed to television audiences who depending on its salience will consume it in a myriad of ways. The cultural geography of an image resides less in its referent than in the circuit of representation that includes production, distribution, and consumption (du Gay et al., 1997).


Abstraction and Deterritorialization
Cultural Geography
The Architecture of Capital

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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey