Revision thoughts 1.1 – Globalization explained


1. Held & McGrew: Simply put, globalization denotes the expanding scale, growing magnitude, speeding up and deepening impact of interregional flows and patterns of social, political and economic interaction. It refers to a shift or transformation in the scale of human organization that links distant communities and expands the reach of power relations across the world’s major regions and continents

2. Harvey: Time-space compression: instant electronic communication erodes the constraints of distance and time on social organization and interaction.

3. Giddens: Globalization is action at a distance: the actions of social agents in one locale can come to have significant consequences for ‘distant others’ , so that local happenings are shaped by factors and events happening many miles away, and vice-versa. But globalization is largely synonymous with modernityand to understand it we need to examine the 4 driving forces of modernity: industrialization (which includes the global division of labour, but also the changes brought by new ICTs), capitalism (and the corporation at the centre of its global modus operandi), militarism (capturing the threat of force across the globe, but also nuclear deterrence) and statism (as the enduring control of territory and the means of violence), and how their intersection and interrelation has an inherently globalizing impetus.

4. Keohane and Nye: There is a differnce between globalism and globalization. The former is the intensification of those networks of interdependence that travel at multicontinental distances. They distinguish between economic, military, environmental and social/cultural globalism, and point out to the increased density of these networks, which in turn – like in scientific ‘chaos theory’ modular systems – generate unpredictable outcomes (e.g. financial markets – East Asian crisis 1997/98). Globalization is the resulting emergence of a new form of global politics, spread in a system of ‘complex interdependence’, with the information revolution at the heart of it.

5. Scholte: Also distinguishes between globalism and globalization, and links the latter to the concept of deterritorialization. Globalization = supra-territorialization, defined by transworld flows and social relations which transcend borders and territoral space. Although, for more insights, look here.

6. Chris Brown: “Globalisation can be said to be characterised by the extension to the vast masses in the developed world (and to the lucky few in the developing world) of the ethical responsibility to make political choices about international events and processes, something which was once confined to the national elites. This is why the traditional realist approach dominant in international relations is unhelpful when we try to understand and deal with today’s global challenges“. [which in a counterintuitive sort-of way would entail that liberal democracy could be the worst enemy of nationalism, from the moment the majority of people are persuaded to put the interest of humanity before that of their particular nation/kin/etc. This is a tension recognised by cosmopolitan theorists like Brian Barry]

7. Rosenberg: Globalisation theory suffers from a fundamental problem of illogical circularity – from a mere descriptive term (ontological explanans) it is given social agency properties (epistemological explanandum). It is said to be transforming societies around the world, as well as being an expression of such transformations. This turns it into a folly.

And finally, my favourite: 

8. Joseph Nye: Globalization at its core refers to worldwide networks of interdependence. For many, this network has a central controlling hub in all its major characterisations: the US. However: 1) The architecture of networks of interdependence varies as the size expands; 2) The idea of a hub-spikes image is misleading if it suggests the absence of reciprocity and two-way vulnerability; 3) The US is not the only hub in the world, there are others which are equally important, depending on the issue at stake; 4) The hub derives its power from the fact that other nodes have to link to it in order to reach other nodes. As the network expands and new channels are opened, this is no longer necessary, and the hub ceases to be necessary.


One response to “Revision thoughts 1.1 – Globalization explained

  1. I’m shamelessly stealing this for my revision notes.

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