The concept of “retreat from the global” is one that has caught the minds of many authors, scriptwriters and academics alike. For the past thirty years, the issue has been debated regarding the direction of our society, with its ever increasing global problems and developing technologies, is turning: Back to the local, or to the homogenising global. “The Castle” portrays this way of thinking, of the retreat from the global, in a comprehensible manner that is easy to watch. Through humour and drama, the audience is introduced to certain issues and a sentimental view of the local is put forward.
In this way, the responder is positioned to perceive the matter of global versus local in a particular way. Tom Morton holds a more sceptical view on globalisation and the way in which the rush back to community is perhaps not as beneficial as it seems, as described in “Beware the C-word” (Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, 4. 11. 00). This article focuses on the negative aspects of communitarianism while making commentaries on the consequences of retreating from the global.
The article “Global in the Local” by Arif Dirlik is less opinionated, but rather chooses to focus on the way in which the global has been accepted into the local, and enters into the retreat from the global debate in a relatively even handed way. Globalisation is the process of worldwide economic and cultural influences affecting and imposing on individual lives and small communities, referred to as the local. The local can be described as a refuge from the global forces that occupy every aspect of our lives from mobile phones to Nike shoes.
It can be argued that the relatively recent phenomenon of a shift towards the global has been balanced out by a move back to embracing the local. Various texts, over these thirty years, have been created with the purpose of enlightening the public about the continuing issue of global/local and putting forward an argument that demonstrates the creator’s views on the issue. This is done through the shaping of the text, whether by words, images or sounds, to create an understanding of the complex interrelationship between local and global.
The texts studied do not demonstrate a straightforward view of the advantages of the local as opposed to the global, as such an idea would be impossible to portray. The boundaries between local and global have become increasingly blurred with the adoption of ideas and practices from each to the other. The 1997 movie “The Castle”, directed by Rob Sitch, greatly celebrates the local. The main focus of the film is the Kerrigan family’s rejection of most global influences on their lives, and their tremendous acceptance for their locally focused lifestyles as the best way to live.
Their prioritisation of the local above the global is indicated, first of all, in the affectionate tone of the film. Although it was a low budget film, the filmic techniques of home-video style image and sound quality come across as intentional. This gives the responder a feeling of being on an increased personal level than if it was created to Hollywood style perfection. By bringing the responder into the text and allowing them to become sentimentally involved in the life of the Kerrigans, the film celebrates the local. The first scene of the film begins with just the sound of birds and a lawnmower in the background.
These are commonly accepted sounds of a local area, however even these two sounds are not exclusively local. The lawnmower is an example of the global entering and being accepted into the local, in the form of common products. The voice over of the Kerrigans youngest son begins by stating the way in which the audience will be involved with the film, on a personal level, by saying “My name’s Dale Kerrigan, and this is my story”. In introducing the family members and their home, the responder is drawn more into their lives and their story, thus creating a sentimental dimension to the movie.
This sentimentality is particularly demonstrated in the scenes after the first court hearing in which the Kerrigans lost their case to keep their home, their most cherished possession of all. The gloom cast over the family’s typically cheerful dinner table is passed on to the responder in such a way that they are positioned to see the global authorities, the courts, as the enemy, and to empathise with the family who are only interested in keeping happiness a part of their own lives rather than being concerned with the world at large.
The upshot of Darryl Kerrigan, Dennis Denuto and Lawrence Hammil standing in front of the high court is a filmic technique used to demonstrate the imposing and daunting nature of the greater authorities, representing the global, onto the equally significant individuals, who represent the local. In the end, the family’s victorious court case offers a sentimental representation of the local triumphing over the global, which is the main thought put across by the creators to make their comment on the local/global issue.
The Castle” does not demonstrate the Kerrigan family’s rejection of the global as their response to a difficult world, but depicts them as not having an extensive knowledge of a more global way of life, and therefore they are only sticking to what they know and are comfortable with: A local and more personal lifestyle. “Beware the C-word” is an opinionated article that has a differing view on the matter. The author, Tom Morton, discusses the rush back to embracing community and the local, from an era where everybody seemed to be accepting global products and ideas as the better way of life.
The article mentions some television programs which seem to be returning to the local, and describes them as “appeal[ing] to our nostalgia for the sense of correctedness, warmth and solidarity that, we’re led to believe, were the hallmarks of social life before the merciless onslaught of globalisation. In providing a critical view of the ramifications of complete communitarianism, Morton pinpoints many varied texts and sources that have something to say on this issue, or contradict his beliefs.
His take on globalisation versus a locally centred manner of living is that although the local is a nice idea in theory, and he agrees that it is a sentimental one, it is not a feasible way to living in the society of today. The author identified many problems with the concept, for example “The cult of community sanctions many forms of discrimination” and gives the example of some members of the gay community in Sydney trying to ban bisexuals from the Mardi Gras, as they are not “fully committed members of “the community”. . The opposing views of this article and “The Castle” give a general idea of the arguments involved in the question of local versus global, however neither shows the evident retreat from the global to be a response to the continuing problems of the world. The way in which varying ideas on the issue of retreat from the global are put forward is as varying as the ideas themselves.
Texts of every type can be found commenting on the issues involved, and in the cases of “The Castle” and “Beware the C-word”, taking the position of demonstrating the advantages of a certain aspect of the argument. While “The castle” certainly portrays the local in a sentimental light, “Beware the C-word” simply states facts to shape its argument. Although retreat from the global may be a response to a difficult world, neither text attributes this reason the increasing move back towards the local.