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Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle

. . . and Other Tales of Counterglobalization

2003
Author:

Brett Neilson

Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle

An alternative approach to mapping the world offers a new way to contest capitalism and globalization

The study of globalization is occupied with economic polarities, environmental degradation, and global insecurity. This book maintains focus on these sobering issues but also asks how popular pleasure can create alternatives to the current global order. By studying the real and imagined dimensions of popular geographies, it seeks resources for social betterment in the fallen mythologies of the contemporary postutopian world.

An ambitious, complex, and provocative book that intervenes in important ways in the globalization literature.

Marita Sturken, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

Shangri-La, the Bermuda Triangle, Transylvania, the Golden Triangle—far-flung in popular conception, these anomalous places nonetheless occupy the same mysterious zone, a mythography of unruly cartographic practices. And because this mythography becomes associated with a particular area of the earth’s surface, it may well suggest an alternative means of mapping the world, dissociated from the dominant geographical paradigms of nation-state, economic region, and the global/local marketing nexus.

Large-scale non-national geographical spaces that find their genesis in popular feeling, mystery, and belief, these four sites provide Brett Neilson with the basis not only for rethinking the current global reorganization of space and time but also for questioning the dominant narrative by which globalization marks the victory of capitalism. Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle moves between analysis of popular fantasies and engagement with on-the-ground realities, weaving together topics as diverse as airplane disasters off the U.S. Atlantic coast, the global drug trade, vampire culture in postsocialist Europe, and the search for utopia in Chinese-occupied Tibet.

The study of globalization is largely a solemn affair, occupied with increasing economic polarities, environmental degradation, and global insecurity. Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle maintains a critical focus on these sobering issues but at the same time asks how popular pleasure and enjoyment can create viable alternatives to the current global order. Neilson takes seriously the proposition that capitalism must be contested at its own level of generality, finding provisional grounds for resistance in non-local transnational spaces that embody quotidian hopes, desires, and anxieties. By studying the real and imagined dimensions of these popular geographies, his book seeks resources for social betterment in the fallen mythologies of the contemporary post-utopian world.

Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle

Brett Neilson is senior lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of Western Sydney, where he is also a member of the Centre for Cultural Research.

Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle

An ambitious, complex, and provocative book that intervenes in important ways in the globalization literature.

Marita Sturken, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

New forms of globalization require new frameworks of understanding, and Brett Neilson presents them brilliantly, particularly in his discovery of the anomalous zones, the contradictory spaces, the counterworlds, where the old certainties suddenly disappear from our radar screens.

Amitava Kumar, editor of World Bank Literature