Size matters

Document Type

Journal Article


One effect of the interdependencies fuelled by globalization and new communication technologies is the disappearance of a stable sense of the size of the world and our location in it. This article looks at a number of attempts to cognitively remap the world by scaling it down to more manageable proportions, drawing on examples from anthropology, cosmopolitan discourse, Hollywood film and ‘small world’ theory. My focus is on how these new world maps transform the role of the stranger. Focusing on six degrees of separation chains in which individuals form connections with randomly encountered strangers across the world, I argue that this type of global networking reveals the many ways there are of not knowing other people and provides a useful counter-narrative to the paranoid cosmopolitanism fostered by the contemporary war on terror.