Plan Author

John Rixey, 2014

Project Description

Manu Chao: Una Figura Global

Outside Evaluator

Patricia Gubitosi, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This Plan has three components, the first of which is a written exam responding to scholarly quotes relating to nationalism and the discursive formation of the nation, as well as to globalization and nationalism. The second is a lengthy paper titled “‘Obliged to forget’: International institutions and the modern interpretation of colonialism and imperialism.” The third is a paper written entirely in Spanish titled “Perdido en el siglo. Siglo XX, Rumbo al XXI’: Globalización y homogeneización en Manu Chao,” about a contemporary musician whose music expresses the problems of immigration treatment and of immigrants in a world divided by national borders.”


The tension between cultural homogenization and heterogenization in the contemporary global organization is a product of globalization. Nations have never been so close. National identities are in danger of being lost to a global mélange. The perceived threat to nationalism is responded by either homogenization or heterogenization. From the nation, either the cultural identities of foreign countries are lumped together by region, or they are incorporated into the national identity. It is out of fear that homo/heterogenization occurs. Fear of losing touch with the collective national identity. That it might become unrecognizable and distant. In an increasingly globalized world, nationalism is forced to remain unique or slip into homogeneity.

The western ruling nations that initially formed international institutions are joined by the rest of the world in reinforcing a global society. But this global society is held in place by western ideologies. Although the ruling class is representative of all the members of international institutions, the dominant ideologies are inspired by the western world. In this sense, those nations that become members indigenize the ideologies and principles and support the dominant ideologies of the ruling nations.

Debido al mensaje de transcender las fronteras nacionales y regionales que representan una identidad homogénea, Manu Chao usa la música para esparcir su mensaje. Aunque el mensaje de Chao tiene un énfasis en la importancia de culturas locales, está consciente que la mejor manera de alcanzar un público mayor usando la industria de la música como aparato transnacional. Las industrias musicales tienen el poder de llegar a una gran variedad de personas y por eso Chao usa este poder para influir un cambio en la mentalidad de los que lo escuchan. No obstante, dado el impulso capitalista de la industria de la música que necesita aumentar su audiencia y vender más, la imagen de Chao está siendo construida también por fuerzas capitalistas.


The part of Plan I remember most fondly was studying parties with friends. We’d get a bunch of seniors together and all do our Plan work. It was really cool to write half my Plan in Spanish.