Born to be global
In her powerful speech on TED, Taiye Selasi explores the changes globalization brought to the modern meaning of identity. Is it our descent, the place our parents were born, the language we speak or the country we live in? What is the nationality in the global world?
According to United Nations report, there are some 232 million international migrants or 3,2 % of the world's population living outside their country of origin. As the result of globalisation, many migrants or migrants' children question their self-identity. Do we live in the same place we have been born? Have we been born in the same location were our parents spend their childhood? Did they grow up on the same land their ancestors did?
This September, Taiye Selasi has investigated this quandary on the TED using her personal example. Born in England, matured in United States, working around the globe, Taiye's mother was born in England, raised in Nigeria and currently lives in Ghana, Taiye's father was born in Gold Coast, a British colony, grew up in Ghana, and has lived for over 30 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Taiye's genealogy sounds complicated and tangled in many ways. Is this woman multi-national? Taiye Selasi found it contradictory to agree to this term: "But Nike is multinational. I'm a human being."
Rising number of people meet the same dilemma, as the world becomes more open and global. Can one define himself by country of origin, nationality or citizenship? Neither are right with Taiye's concept. Who you are and how you identify yourself is the sum of experiences in differing locals. She offers a three-step test to recognise where are you local. Taiye calls it three "R's": rituals, relationships, restrictions, which defines who we are. Two people from different sides of the world may have similar family traditions, working environment, and constraints in daily life. Regardless the place of residence, they have much more in common than tho people living on the same street, even in the same house. The nationality of one can be difficult to determine nowadays, and more complex it will become in the future. At the end of her speech, analysing her life using three "R's" method Taiye has concluded: "Taiye Selasi is a human being, like everybody here. She isn't a citizen of the world, but a citizen of worlds. She is a local of New York, Rome and Accra."
The change in Social identity switch we discussed before (click here to read Global Social Identity: what to expect) is relevant here as well. The race, geographical location, age and gender are not the points of identity. Instead, common interests, experiences, and preferences, is what defines commons in the 21st century.
Even the global networking companies describe their location by cities, not by countries. It is more usual to see the offices in New York, London, Sydney, Moscow, instead of naming the United States, United Kingdon of Great Britain, Australia, and Moscow. Same with the personal identity. When you land in Sweden to Arlanda, "Stockholm is the capital of Scandinavia" meets you once you leave the aeroplane. Indeed, the main events and development of the area happens in the city, not in the whole country. If you ask millennial to name the place he or she would like to live in, most probably the answer that follows will be the city or even the certain district, not a state. The impact of urbanisation, when mega-cities might have more value than the land itself, leads people to identify themselves by the location where they spend the most time.
"America is my country, but Paris is my town." - Gertrude Stein.
The Gen-Z, born in the globalisation, urbanisation, digitalisation, and the time of other major trends, have no geographical constraints. They are taught that nothing is impossible, that previous generation's borders should fall, and mind shall be opened. They are born to be global. Born to respect the similarities and accept the differences.
In addition, the business experience the new generation of "born global" companies. It is a new type of companies, that from the beginning of their activities proceed the vision of becoming not only international but global having no preceding long-term domestic or internationalisation period. Usually, it is a small it-companies, but every rule has an exception. Skype Limited is a great example of born-global firm, which had a global outlook as an aim. The future will bring us lots of innovations and enterprises concentrated on global development and the population is waiting for them to come. Infographic from Skype confirms that there is global communication demand and their service meets the needs of their customers.
Globalisation has changed person's self-identification from the nationality towards locality. Many people find this idea close to heart, confirming that the change has just begun. Business development reacts accordingly providing the services satisfying global needs.