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Cultural Flows

Cultural flows refer to multidirectional movements and reallocations of human beings, artifacts, and ideas within the ill-defined sphere of “culture” in its global, national, and regional dimensions. The term was widely applied in consumer culture, especially in relation to production/consumption processes and products. Mobilized by transformationalist globalization theorists, the concept suggests that migrations and mobilities generate ever-changing cultural formations, erasing imagined boundaries and territorial borders through which nation-states legitimate their power.

Transformationalists express suspicion toward traditional identifications of globalization with cultural standardization (e.g., one-dimensional “Americanization” of world cultures), arguing instead that cultural flows diffuse identities, generating new possibilities for intercultural dialogues. Unlike other branches of globalization theory (e.g., world systems theory), transformationalism does not establish culture as a single system of collective values and practices. Instead, ...

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