The tensions in the structure of consumption point to a world that is becoming more homogenous overall, with fewer cultures, religions, languages, etc., but in which most individuals have far more variety at their fingertips.
In other words, for the world, variety has diminished. For the individual, variety has increased.
Images from top to bottom: 1) Korea Herald,”The rich aroma of coffee! ‘Hidden treasure’ cafes loved by Seoulites” 2) Espresso News & Reviews, South Korea’s fetishized coffeeshops 3) Chosun Ilbo, “More coffee shops open all night” 4) BiBimBlog: Grace in Korea, Coffee in Korea!
The Emancipatory City starts out with Sennett’s quotation which is one that is often trotted out in discussions of the decline of public space and the privatization/suburbanization of daily life. Even in cities that remain determinedly city-like, encountering difference is not a given. There are swaths of San Francisco (at least in the early 2000s) where you could go several weeks without seeing anyone under 18 or over 65. For a town that loves to fly the freak flag, it was a generational monoculture by neighborhood.