Reflecting on the glocal through the conceptual

framework of Hodges´s model

Peter Jones
Intermediate Support Team, Older Adults & Independent Scholar
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
Preston, Lancashire, England


This article introduces Hodges’ model which is a conceptual framework. This model will be used to explore the concept glocal and the more familiar terms local and global. These two latter terms are central to the purposes, spatial, cultural and academic diversity of community informatics in theory and practice (also associated with urban, rural and social informatics). Actual and more speculative definitions of glocal are offered. The overall purpose of the article is to offer new perspectives at a conceptual level. These perspectives are of relevance to community informatics practitioners and informatics scholars generally, as they may potentially provide avenues to conjoin and integrate thought and practice across informatics communities.

Introduction to Hodges’ model

The purpose of this article is to introduce, explain and demonstrate how a conceptual framework can inform our reflections and deliberations upon three key dimensions central to community informatics: the global, local and the more recent emergence of the concept - glocal. These three concepts, even if not referred to explicitly must underpin discourse within and the development of community, urban and other forms of informatics scholarship and practice. This paper aims to highlight to the reader broader aspects of global, local and glocal and the possible utility of a conceptual framework such as that presented here.

The article begins by introducing Hodges' model (Hodges, 1989). The formulation of the model is explained, specifically its structure and how the model's four knowledge (care) domains are derived. The model's full title is Hodges' Health Career – Care Domains – Model, hereafter also referred to as h2cm. Following this the model provides the basis for a series of brief statements that might inform some definitions of glocal. With the model introduced, readers should begin to see how the model can support reflection and interdisciplinary perspectives. The bulk of the article then explores what appear to be key themes namely: globalization, literacies, information and its technology, communication, and human rights. Of the three figures, the first two support the introduction; and the final figure maps some key community informatics concepts to Hodges' model.

Hodges’ model was developed in the context of learning disability and community mental health nursing education, with applications also in health visiting. Although developed in health and social care in the 1980s by Brian E. Hodges, a Senior Lecturer (Ret.) at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University in north west England. Hodges' model can be used and applied universally. This is by virtue of the fundamental structures that the model relies upon; namely, distinguishing between the self and other plus making a distinction between phenomena that are the purview of the sciences on the one hand and the humanities on the other. This division of what is existential (I, self, others) and what is epistemological in terms of how tasks, activities and phenomena are described provides a conceptual space, a currency that once understood is readily accessible to all.

Pivotal to the scope of the model is informatics. The model’s basic form and structure is defined by two axes (or continua) which intersect. This basic 2 x 2 matrix form is a well-recognized device within academic and management consultancy that has been previously referred to as a Johari window (Lowy and Hood, 2004). The model is generic with the structure giving rise to four quadrants which can be described as care, or knowledge domains. The model is literally constructed around the following questions Brian Hodges originally asked himself.

To begin, who are the recipients of care? Well, first and foremost individuals of all ages, races and creeds, but also groups of people, families, communities and populations. Then Hodges asked: what types of activities - tasks, duties and treatments - do nurses carry out? They must always act professionally, but frequently according to strict rules and policies, their actions often dictated by specific treatments including drugs, investigations and minor surgery. Nurses do many things by routine, according to precise procedures. If these are classed as mechanistic, they contrast with times when healthcare workers give of themselves to reassure, comfort, develop rapport, empathy and engage therapeutically. This is opposite to mechanistic tasks and is described as humanistic; what the public usually thinks of as the caring nurse. In use this framework prompts the user to consider four major subject headings or care domains of knowledge. Namely, what knowledge is needed to care for individuals - groups and undertake humanistic - mechanistic activities? Through these questions Hodges’ derived the model depicted in figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1. Axes Figure

Figure 2. Knowledge domains

Informal and rather ad-hoc study of h2cm on the website has linked Hodges’ model to person centered care, the multi-contextual nature of health, information and informatics (Jones, 2004a,b). Other fields of relevance include emergence, consilience (Wilson, 1998), visualization in the social sciences and more recently the thought of the French philosopher Michel Serres (Jones, 2007). H2cm was created to meet four educational objectives:

1. To produce a curriculum development tool.

2. To help ensure a global holistic assessment and evaluation.

3. To support reflective practice.

4. To reduce the theory-practice gap.

The axes within h2cm create a cognitive space; a third axis projecting through the page can represent time; be that an educational, health or other ‘career’. The model's utility (its universal potential referred to above) appears to lie in large part in the way that an act of partition can simultaneously represent reductionism and holism. Many other dichotomies can also be identified and represented using this framework, for example; subjective-objective, socio-technical, physico-political. Taking the latter as an example community informatics is concerned with access to information technology. Political activism can further funding of the same, while implemented policies facilitate physical and virtual access. What h2cm can do is prompt the user that there are three other pages to reflect and write upon.

Of the many ways to locate the concepts of local, global and glocal within the model we can begin by taking the model literally and reading its structure. In use the model is situated, there is a context of application. H2cm is not prescriptive: beyond the structure determining the knowledge (care) domains, the content that is placed in the model is user and situation determined. In health care the individual, a unique person is central, the model provides a conceptual space to represent a person's physical (sciences domain) and emotional – mental health (interpersonal). These two upper domains sit on the individual axis.

When the model was created the 'group' was included to encompass the family unit and key relationships there – spouse, mother, guardian and the community as a dynamic care environment. The 'group' can be extended further of course, to incorporate regional, national and global health as per the auspices of governments, the United Nations and World Health Organization. If the model can readily be identified with anything it is the ubiquitous brainstorming tool.

Science and technology are intrinsically linked to the concepts of local and global. This brief consideration of definitions revealed some scientific formulations of glocal. Science and technology provide us with an ever extending sensory capability. Hodges' model provides the basis for an atlas of thought and what is salient in a given situation. Once outside the context of a medical emergency, h2cm reminds us that situations are global. There are four points to the compass, four pages to 'read' and re-cognize. The next section provides some interpretations of glocal informed by h2cm.

Interpretations of the glocal

There is a rich interdisciplinary stock of literature in this field even if glocal is relatively new. Eriksen (2001) notes: People’s lives are neither wholly global nor wholly local – they are glocal (page 302). The term glocal is also used in other disciplines such as health informatics, as per Scott et al. (2004) with a glocal e-health policy:

Glocal’ is a term that has appeared recently in the global health literature, and is a blend of ‘global’ and ‘local’. Its value lies in providing a succinct reminder of a simple but profound insight—in our networked world; what happens locally has global impact, and what happens globally has local impact.

Reflecting on the need for tools such as Hodges' model in health, Okano and Samson (2010) resort to quadrant form models as they describe a theoretical framework for promoting creativity in public spaces. They utilize the conceptual comparisons and dichotomies of singularity, complex, local and global. As introduced above Hodges' model is a high level framework. One application is brainstorming which can be group, or in this case individual based

Globalization: mapping minds, commerce and resources

Significantly for this paper Wikipedia notes that the term globalization:

was first employed in a publication entitled Towards New Education in 1930, to denote a holistic view of human experience in education. [author’s emphasis].

Day and night are a universal experience for humanity that differs markedly through the life course and by virtue of locale. How we navigate latitude and longitude (day and night) has also greatly influenced human history and what is described as local and global. Although myth has previously served to explain the unknown, myth has also been bound up with what was distant and also unknown. More pragmatically Jared Diamond (1997) draws attention to the significance of the lay of the land (the continents) on human development. Not just in our notions of local and global, but the capacity of civilizations to survive, innovate, flourish and expand. The orientation of the major continents, that is - N-S (Africa) or W-E (Eurasia); for Diamond has had an invisible and yet critical impact upon human political, scientific, socioeconomic and cultural development. If human history is about anything, it is about how what is local has become global.

From the above origins of globalization in education, the term is now strongly associated with economics, trade, markets, employment, policies and commercial goods. If community informatics is concerned with the community based interchange of information, then globalization extends to the flows of goods, capital, services and more recently labour. Globalization challenges what is local, by seeking to remove the barriers to what is (usually) remote and global.

The cultural, economic and socio-political literature has long debated globalization (Robertson, 1995); see also part 1 Held and McGrew, 2003). There is an ongoing global outbreak of brands and branding, with a search for the 'language of business'. Glocal has also emerged from this and what is termed internationalization, ensuring a product (frequently software) is adapted for foreign markets. For example, Luiz et al. (2011) identify the Big Mac® as a truly 'glocal' food. 'New politics' must by definition be local and global.

The local is equated with control, but when this lies in the form of political power we speak of the heart of government and centralization. Then of course, talk of the local is all too often diminished in developing nations and rural communities globally. A role for community informatics is claimed in helping to empower indigenous peoples and communities. Issues that are the focus of several schools of informatics – community, urban, social, citizen – come to the fore, such as; accessibility, equality, engagement and equity. National power alternately is evinced in the ability to project power abroad. A foreign local becomes local(e). As history testifies what is then imported is a glocal mix; not just commercial goods, but customs, culture, languages, genes and even disease (for example, European diseases to the Americas) that can challenge what was previously local.

A nation can exercise influence in specific continents – for resources, or strategic position only in so far as other States tolerate that movement – that muscular twitch (Bland and Hille, 2011). Globalization, the term may be new, but as a process it has a history (Hopkins, 2004). Maps have played a major contribution, marking trade routes and territories. The transformation of the 3D globe into a 2D representation is an act of projection. Perhaps we can liken the local and global to the sides of a strip of paper? The globe with its topography is a topological object: an oblate spheroid. Imagine an operation that puts a twist into the strip. Suddenly we have a Möbius strip (one surface with one edge). The inside and outside swap over; is this glocal? Is this why community informatics is difficult to conceptualize, since at this (global) level the community is akin to the individual?

Referring to the military Virilio (2000) turns our usual conceptions inside out:

For American military leaders, the global is the interior of a finite world whose very finitude poses many logistical problems. And the local is the exterior, the periphery, if not indeed the 'outer suburbs' of the world.

For the US general staff, then, the pips are no longer inside apples, nor the segments of the middle of the orange: the skin has been turned inside out. The exterior is not simply the skin, the surface of the Earth, but all that is in situ, all that is precisely localized, wherever it may be (p.10).

Local consumption and the market demand for rare Earth elements and minerals prompts glocal formulations. Suddenly, there is economic urgency to either finding new supplies, or substitutes. There are national debates on the viability of our global way of life. Questions about renewable and non-renewable natural resources span the past three decades at least. Does Ray's (1980) optimism still reassure us globally that science and technology can find alternate processes and artificial materials? Indigenous industries that are part of the global market look nervously at diminishing natural resources. We could argue that glocalization is a socioeconomic condition provoked by an injection of geopolitics. Whether globalization is ultimately a treatment or side effect remains to be seen, heard and touched..

Glocal and the rise of literacy forms

If the origins of humans can be located in Africa (Marshall, 2011), then of course humanity quickly became a global phenomenon with a local, global and eventually a glocal effect. We often speak of tracing humanity’s roots and journey, but this transition from local, to global, to glocal can itself define our journey.

Talk of travel is often symbolised by images of crossroads. Crossroads now give way to the cross-contrails? Are crossroads merely a linear bisection? Or do travellers create a chiasmatic junction (a crossing-over of pathways), moving like impulses flowing East-West and West-East to the glocal centre, a nexus of communities and cultures? According to Cunliffe’s (2001) book about the voyages of the ancient Greek explorer Pytheas, early mariners navigated using a text called a periplus. Providing some of the earliest recorded observational views of the world, the periplus described coastlines by landmarks, winds and topography. H2cm acts as a periplus for learners, an aide memoir and reflective tool, a space to record those initial sightings and learning encounters. The model provides placeholders for knowledge, the exact position, content and process of revision are not fixed. Hodges’ model provides the coastline in template form; the context defines the topography – the landmarks. Glocal is a form of co-ordination that subverts co-ordinates.

As soon as we venture beyond the local and travel abroad, language and literacy assumes sudden importance. Can we understand these other people – the locals? Can they understand us? The very dialogue around local, glocal and global involves translation, trans-location and transcription. Old literacies are challenged by new. How such encounters are resolved is rarely additive, the linguistic operation is all too frequently one of subtraction. The dislocation and ultimate oral obliteration of languages may result and is a fact of human life. Globally is humanity less literate – if languages die? Glocal is the realization of the telomeric property of languages. They live and die. Fitness for purpose also prompting the creation of verbal artificial languages (See: Journal of Universal Languages: ) and programming languages.

From local to glocal – beginner to expert what is the difference? Technologies furnish literacy demands of their own. Literacies that force governments to acknowledge that if the population does not embrace information and communication skills and the lifelong learning that this implies then national economic performance will be compromised (European Commission, 2009). Figure 3 is provided to provide some indicative content that can be related to community informatics, thereby illustrating the scope and use of the model and its knowledge domains. There are a number of associations and constructs implicit in the model's structure and content. For example, each of the knowledge domains can be associated with the individual and PURPOSE (interpersonal); PROCESS (sciences); PRACTICE (social); and POLICY (political) which are included in figure 3. Furthermore, travelling in a clock-wise manner around the model from the interpersonal domain we can connect the knowledge domains thus: PSYCHO-SOMATIC, PHYSICO-POLITICAL (which accentuates physical access to technology), SOCIO-POLITICAL and PSYCHO-SOCIAL.

Figure 3: Some key concepts from community informatics, several aspects of local, global and glocal and literacy forms mapped on to Hodges' model.

This also highlights both local and global applications of the model. As a whole can we argue that h2cm is itself glocal? If so, glocal is both structure and content.

Informatics: Earth and sky – searching for what is glocal

As already noted the model can be used in informatics. Previously, in Jones (2007) the model was used to demonstrate the socio-technical structures in nursing informatics. All too often in information technology projects the technology is emphasized at the expense of human factors. Figure 3 also reveals information and communication technologies as a driver for the literacy forms identified to date. The literature shows a concurrent rise in the study of informatics, with several disciplines boasting faculty, courses, papers, journals and conferences. Community informatics is a prime example, but as already noted there are many examples - urban, gender, social, citizen, health, nursing and others. Information technology and new media forms imbue familiar concepts and relationships with new meanings; for example, friend, customer, forum, conference. Burke (1984) described the process of 'casuistic stretching' "a way to navigate the vocabulary of terms and their usage, as well as their various relationships to other terms;" (Dilger and Rice, 2011, page xvi).

With our dependence on digital telecoms space, weather may soon have a local impact – solar weather affecting satellites. Bizarrely and optimistically the one thing that unites all the people's of Earth is the night sky. This vault, this global progenitor of wonder, myth and meaning has been lost to the urban dwellers. Each day tens, hundreds, thousands … and more local dwellers move. They give up what is rural. They press the light switch. They switch the stars off. Cities are no longer local. They are conurbations, cosmopolitan complexes of post codes, geocodes, splines and hubs. The value of dark skies is now gaining voice and practice. Glocal is the genie being pushed back into the bottle as the need to restore the local to the city. Other movements are emerging: car free cities by 2050 as per the designs of the European Commission (2011). The cure for local pollution though depends on global action. Locally we turn on the PC. Globally we must switch off the lights: and not just on Earth Day - in order to see again.

If global and local are defined spatially and perceptually there is a sense of permanence. Can we argue therefore that what is glocal is transient? This could clearly be the case when community informatics considers the devices and forms of informational exchanges that occur. If globalization is epitomized in our digital communications then are the satellites glocal? From a community informatics perspective it is satellites that frequently facilitate information technology and communications access in rural and remote regions. Satellites transit the sky and yet are permanently connected to the ground; permanent that is only for as long as they are operational. After this, bereft of fuel, they still retain kinetic energy that enables them to become space junk. Statistically, we are in danger at a personal level and locally of not only being locked-in due to some clinical cerebrovascular catastrophe, but also locked-in globally as near Earth orbital debris traps all our glocal deliberations (Marks, 2011).

The term ‘glocal’ may also articulate what has been realized in many quarters--the existence and value of the middle, or in politics the third way. This is the role of the terminator. Glocal is that black-white divide; the demarcation of day – night. Perhaps there is casuistic stretching here? Time is the same whatever our subjective experience. The difference is that glocal has stretched 'time'. We speak of the 24-hour market. Does your watch tell Internet time? Do you even have a watch? Time is stretched. Sunday newspaper magazines speak of 'quality time' so difficult for people, for families to find, to recognise. . Ever closer examination of the clear back-white demarcation that is the terminator from space , shatters the global illusion: locally we see dusk, twilight.

Migration and the related issue of refugee status lead to a certain ‘ungainliness’ in policy as many governments have found. In 2011 the governments of Italy and France sought amendments to the EU Schengen area agreement to deal with exceptional circumstances. There have always been peoples who have travelled, nomadic tribes for whom local is relative. The 20th and 21st centuries thus far have been characterised by the challenge to the nomadic lifestyle as territories and the local ecosystems change. The irony here lies in the answer to the question: Are migrants and refugees the true ‘glocals’?

As to the local – global dimension, at a time when socioeconomically we rely on our technologically enabled glocal memories (Goertzel, et al., 2010). Of course that most precious form the individual, personal, local memory is being challenged by dementia. Perhaps, the debate merely introduced here is reflected in the need for specialists and generalists and those that can span this divide. Are they glocalists too?


In this article a conceptual framework developed in health and social care education has been introduced as a prospective tool to aid reflection and debate on existing and still emerging concepts in community informatics scholarship. After explaining the rationale for the model's development, structure and content a figure (3) was provided that framed concepts germane to community informatics practitioners. As a conceptual framework h2cm may be a candidate conceptual space (or given its large scale a series of conceptual spaces) after Gärdenfors (2000). This is a possible avenue for future research. Cousin (2010) introduces a new avenue of research in threshold concepts. These are the initial concepts that learners new to a discipline must master in order to progress. One of the potential uses of the model is to help define the scope of nursing. That is, what are the boundaries of nursing? What are the tasks and practices that a nurse can legitimately perform?

Community informatics and related disciplines, such as digital humanities, can surely benefit from a tool that in helping to map the scope of a discipline can also be used to outline a curriculum. Key to empowering communities is enabling individuals to realize their potential. The term ‘career’ in this model’s full title refers to the health career in the sense of ‘life chances’ [after Hughes (1959)] that are afforded to a person. This health translation - from individual, family: to community - is clearly a characteristic shared with community informatics in theory and practice. The conclusion then is that there is a need for a generic conceptual framework to help define, differentiate and yet also conjoin what is local, global and glocal.


Bland, B., Hille, K. (2011, May 27). Financial Times: Vietnam and China oil clashes intensify. Retrieved March 14, 2012 from

Burke, K. (1984). Attitudes Toward History, Third edition, Ewing, NJ: University of California Press.

Cousin, G. (2010). Neither teacher-centred nor student-centred: threshold concepts and research partnerships, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Issue 2: February 2010.

Cunliffe, B. (2001). The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek, London: Penguin.

Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years, London: Vintage.

Dilger, B., Rice, J. Eds. (2011). From A to <A> Keywords of Markup, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Eriksen, T. H., (2001). Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (Anthropology, Culture and Society). London: Pluto Press 2nd Revised edition.

European Commission (2009). Creativity and Innovation - Best practices from EU programmes. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, doi: 10.2766/6233

European Commission "Schengen area". Europa web portal. Retrieved 14 March, 2012 from

European Commission (2011). Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system. Brussels, 28.3.2011, COM(2011) 144.

Gärdenfors, P. (2000). Conceptual Spaces, Cambridge: CUP.

"Globalization". Oxford English Dictionary Online. September 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2012 from

Goertzel, B., Pitt, J., Ikle, M., Pennachin, C., Liu Rui L. (2010) Glocal memory: A critical design principle for artificial brains and minds, Neurocomputing, 74 (1-3), 84-94.

Held, D., McGrew, A. Eds. (2003). The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate (2nd ed.), Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hodges, B.E. (1989). The Health Career Model, In Hinchcliffe, S.M. (et al.) 1989 Nursing Practice and Health Care (1st ed. only). London: Edward Arnold.

Hopkins, A.G. ed. (2004). Globalization in World History. London: Random House. 4–8.

Hughes, E. (1958). Men and their Work. New York: Free Press.

Jones, P. (1998). Hodges' Health Career Care Domains Model. Retrieved March 14, 2012 from

Jones, P. (2004a). Viewpoint: Can Informatics And Holistic Multidisciplinary Care Be Harmonised? British Journal of Healthcare Computing & Information Management, 21(6), 17-18.

Jones, P. (2004b). The Four Care Domains: Situations Worthy of Research. Proc. of the Building & Bridging Community Networks: Knowledge, Innovation & Diversity through Communication Conference, Brighton, March 31-April 2, 2004.

Jones, P. (2008). Exploring Serres’ Atlas, Hodges’ Knowledge Domains and the Fusion of Informatics and Cultural Horizons, In Kidd, T., Chen, I. (Eds.) ,Social Information Technology Connecting Society and Cultural Issues Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

Jones, P. (2009). Socio-Technical Structures, the Scope of Informatics and Hodges’ model. In Staudinger, R., Ostermann, H., Bettina Staudinger, B. (Eds.), Handbook of Research in Nursing Informatics and Socio-Technical Structures, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

Lowy, A., Hood, P. (2004). The Power of the 2 x 2 Matrix, Chichester, West Sussex: Jossey-Bass.

Luiz A. Martinelli, L. A., Nardoto, G. B., Chesson, L. A. et al. (2011). Worldwide stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of Big Mac® patties: An example of a truly “glocal” food, Food Chemistry, 127(4), 1712-1718.

Marks, P. (2011). Clearing the heavens, one piece at a time, New Scientist, 12 February, 209(2799), 22-23.

Marshall, M. (2011). Out of Africa, into bed with the locals, New Scientist, 18 June, 210(2817), 11.

Okano, H., Samson, D. (2010). Cultural urban branding and creative cities: A theoretical framework for promoting creativity in the public spaces. Cities, 27, Supplement 1, June 2010, S10-S15.

Ray, G.F. (1980). The Contribution of Science and Technology To the Supply of Industrial Materials, National Institute Economic Review May 1980. 92(1) 33-52. doi: 10.1177/002795018009200104.

Robertson, R. (1995). In: M. Firestone, S. Lash, R. Robertson (Eds.) Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity, Global Modernities, London: Sage.

Scott, R. E., Jennett, P., Yeo, M. (2004). Access and authorisation in a Glocal e-Health Policy context, International Journal of Medical Informatics, 73(3), 31, 259-266.

Virilio, P. (2000). The Information Bomb. Brooklyn and London: Verso. p.10.

Wilson, E. O. (1998). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, London: Abacus.


I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Editors and the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments and suggestions.