Globalization, according to Storey, is a process that essentially reduces the world to a “global village.” More importantly to Storey is the American “global village,” which dominates ideologies worldwide. Storey identifies the theoretical imaginary village as a place where,
“Everyone speaks English with an American accent, wears Levi Jeans and Wrangler shirts, drinks Coca-Cola, eats at McDonald’s, surfs the net on a computer, watches a mixture of MTV and CNN, Hollywood movies and reruns of Dallas, and then discusses the prophetically named World Series, while drinking a bottle of Budweiser and smoking a Marlboro cigarette” (CTPC, 204).
Overall, three key common themes persist regarding globalization theories today. These common themes include deterritorialization, interconnectedness, and speed. Deterritorialization is one core consequence of globalization where time and space collapse as well as national borders and boundaries. Next, interconnectedness is critical to the increase in globalization today. As populations grow, these tremendous populous’ possess the capability to communicated. No longer do individuals live in isolation. Networks, often yielded by technological innovations, connect the world beyond national borders. Finally, the concept of speed repeats itself in globalization literature. Specifically, speed, is a key factor in deterritorialization and interconnectedness, but also in social activity on a global scale.
Although the majority of globalization theory began in the 1970s following the introduction of the post-modern age, the concept of globalization is far from new. Globalization, published by Stanford University in 2002, defines the term globalization as a referent to, “fundamental changes in the spatial and temporal contours of social existence, according to which the significance of the space undergoes compression or annihilation” (Stanford, 2002, 1). The article illustrates the historic nature of globalization theoretically noting the significant changes the world underwent following the Industrial Revolution. The authors of Globalization further,
“Writing in 1839, an English journalist commented on the implications of rail travel by anxiously postulating that as distance was “annihilated, the surface of our country would, as it were, shrivel in size until it became not much bigger than one immense city” (Harvey 1996, 242). Essentially this act of urbanization continued through the next hundred years. Adding to globalization theory, in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan introduced the “global village,” generated by social “acceleration at all levels of human organization” (McLuhan 1964, 103).
Narrating the Nation: An Imagined Community
The Global, the Local, and the Return of Ethnicity, introduces national culture as a discourse. Specifically, author Stuart Hall defines national culture as “a way of constructing meanings which influences and organizes both our actions and our conception of ourselves” (Hall, 609). Through narratives, culturally based hegemonic belief systems emerge, furthering the power and control of those controlling the regime of truth. Hall states that popular culture reinforces itself through “stories, images, landscapes, scenarios, historical events, national symbols, and rituals” (Hall, 609). The culmination of these narratives represents and gives meaning to the nation, thereby constructing an “imagined community” (Hall, 609). Second, Hall stresses origins, continuity, tradition, and timelessness as they apply to national culture. This emphasis directs its allegiance to “national identity.” Hall indentifies this identity as primordial whereby citizens of a nation are under false “long, persistence and mysterious somnolence” (Hall, 609). Third, Hall includes a discursive strategy introduced by Hobsbawm and Ranger as “the invention of tradition.” These creations replicate through practices and norms of behavior, which exhibit a stable and suitable history. Ritual and symbolic acts often reinforce these traditions. Fourth, the “foundational myth,” acts to form national cultures and identities. The foundational myth ultimately provides an alternative to the historic narrative. Finally, the historic narrative provides an ideal of “pure, original people or folk.” This myth symbolically grounds national identities making them a foundation to the nation or heritage. A return to the past exhibits a display of power as society deems some as “others” and must destroy them in order to purify the society and progress toward future betterment.
Hall cites to Benedict Anderson whom believed that a national identity essentially acts as an “imagined community.” Hall questions whether these constructed national cultures and identities exist as unified bodies. If so, this illustrates what Hall deems an “imagined community.” That is, a community constructed of past memories and continuing a common heritage (Hall, 611.) Hall cites scholar Timothy Brennan to define the two alternative positions, which “nation” connotes. First, nation refers to modern nation-state. Second, however, the nation, refers to a more ancient notion of local communities consisting of domicile, family and a underlying notion of safety and security through boundaries and borders.
This ideal represents the possible consequences of homogenization of global identities. Hall articulates three possible costs of increasing globalization. First, globalization can go hand in hand in strengthening local identities, though this is still within the logic of time—space compression.
As Hoffman notes, globalization produces implications and consequences upon/ international politics. First, institutions act to promote violence within states rather than between separate states. Thus, organizations such as the United Nations emerged in order to create regulatory processes in light of the new “global society.” However, the optimistic theoretical concept of“global governance” often fails in its objectives and remains fragmented. Second, the national nature of citizenship remains despite globalization’s influence. Moreover, individuals now possess an increased sense of identity through the state in efforts to refuse cultural hegemony on a global scale. Third, Hoffman notes the strong correlation between globalization and violence. The likelihood of “regional explosions” tremendously affects powers globally. Similar to the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, technologies, which in effect collapse time and space
Globalization and Geography
Like Hall, theorist and noted geographer David Harvey also adds to the discussion of globalization. However, Harvey treats globalization as an economic phenomenon rather than primarily cultural as Hall discussed. Specifically, Harvey builds off of Marxist ideology in his assessment of social theory today. In, The City in a Globalizing World, Harvey begins by stressing urbanization’s tremendous affect during the twentieth century. Harvey states, “The qualities of urban living in the twenty-first century will define the qualities of civilization itself” (ST, 616). That is, urbanization signifies civil reality today. Harvey next addresses urbanization in terms of power. Harvey notes that the idea of globalization is not new. The phrase, “annihilation of space by time,” coined by Karl Marx, describes what he believed to be a common feature in his day and the future. That is time eradicates spaces due to factors such as increased mobility or globalization. The production of urban places created the first turn toward globalization and the need for a constantly growing market was a key concern of Marx and Engels as emphasized in the Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels alerted readers that in order for capitalism to flourish and avoid a socialist revolution, “working men of all nations, unite” (ST, 618).
Specifically, he notes that in advanced capitalistic countries, those with power stray from cities, leaving cities filled with poor populations. While Harvey mentions a multitude of cities losing populations, we can see this phenomenon play out here in Memphis. Often deemed “white flight,” Memphis is an excellent example of the powerful/influential, here likely white, leaving the crime-ridden city of Memphis for the equestrian pastures and boutiques of Germantown.
Similar to the concept of “white flight,” Harvey states that the rhetoric of globalization has become particularly important, even replacing within segments of radical thought the more politicized concepts of imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism” (ST, 616). Specifically this theoretic shift began in the post-modern era, that is, around the 1970s and is largely economic in Harvey's opinion . Harvey identifies six major shifts in globalization in recent years, which fundamentally altered the mechanics and processes linked to globalization. First, financial deregulation in the United States due to stagflation marked a notable shift toward a new ideal of globalization. That is, financial deregulation opened up new fields for capital. For example, Harvey mentions that this shift allowed vast geographical distance between entities, which financed industries around the world. Second, the cost of moving commodities, people, and particularly information ratcheted downwards. That is, the organization of production and consumption changed drastically. This in turn affected the wants and needs of consumers. Informational technologies now allowed urbanization and connectivity through networking that was unheard of before this “dematerialization of space” occurred by which geographical adjustments of industry persisted. Third, production and organizational forms changed. That is, disintegration of production systems, divisions of labor and an increase of corporate power transcended national borders. “Global cities” emerged as key fixture of political-economic life as corporations now possessed the freedom to relocate, commanding space. This in turn leaves individual livelihoods up to rapid shifts of urbanization and change. Fourth, the world proletariat has almost doubled (in the last thirty years). Specifically, this occurred through rapid population growth. However, mobile capitalization also plays a crucial role as the majority of this population is working in poor and oppressed conditions. Fifth, the territorialization of the world has changed. Harvey identifies this shift as the new struggle for the state to create a favorable business climate. For example, states have cut monies funding social needs such as welfare to provide capital to induce powerful corporations to locate in that state. Finally, while individual states lost some of their power, geopolitical democratization created new opportunities. In other words, “money power” trumps old notions of power whereby states are at the mercy of new global entities that can insert themselves anywhere and at any time assuming they possess the “money power” (ST , 619).
Harvey concludes by stressing the notion that no real change in the mode of production or social relations has changed. He states, “If there is any real qualitative trend it is towards the reassertion of early nineteenth century capitalist laissez-faire and social; Darwinian values coupled with a twenty-first century penchant for pulling everyone together (and everything that can be exchanged) into the orbit of capital” (ST, 619). Although this outlook appears quite grim, Harvey continues to seek for meaningful action globally to address this new phenomenon.
Globalization and Terrorism
Stanley Hoffmann takes a quite different approach than David Harvey, seen in his seminal article, The Clash of Globalization. Hoffmann identifies globalization as "the clash between the fragmentation of the states (and state system) and the progress of economic,cultural and political integration" (ST, 603). Furthermore, Hoffmann labels globalization as a dominant worldwide sense of tension in recent years.
Similarly, in line with many twenty-first-century theorists, the terrorist attacks of September 11th on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon instilled a new notion of tension arising out of globalization. Here, the term tension does not do terrorism justice. Hoffman discusses terrorism identifying it as “the subversion of traditional ways of war because it does not care about the sovereignty of either its enemies or the allies who shelter them” (ST, 608). He furthers that global terrorism stating, “It provokes its victims to take measures that, in the name of legitimate defense, violate knowingly the sovereignty of those states accused of encouraging terror…” (ST, 608). This quote raises the theoretical notion of the subaltern. Terrorism acts as a subaltern mean by which those without a voice make themselves known. For example, Hoffman continues, “But in September, poorly armed individuals suddenly challenged, surprised, and wounded the world’s dominant superpower. The attacks also showed that for all its accomplishments, globalization makes an awful form of violence easily accessible to hopeless fanatic” (ST, 603). Hoffman sees little promise in anti-terrorist procedures in poor nations that are ridden by violence. For example, now these poor nations can deny individual freedoms as a guise for added security, while tearing away individual liberties.
Jean Baudrillard furthers Hoffman’s analysis of terrorism in his article, The Spirit of Terrorism. Baudrillard begins by comparing terrorism to a virus. That is, terrorism is ubiquitous in nature. He furthers, “Immersed globally, terrorism, like the shadow of any system of domination, is ready everywhere to emerge as a double agent. There is no boundary to define it; it is in the very core of this culture that fights it - and the visible schism (and hatred) that opposes, on a global level, the exploited and the underdeveloped against the Western world, is secretly linked to the internal fracture of the dominant system” (Baudrillard, 2001). Because the violence and very nature of terrorism does not fit into normative Western ideology, this new form a subaltern violence without borders challenges Western notions of security. Baudrillard defines the spirit of terrorism as on in which, “Death is the key (to the game) not only the brutal irruption of death in direct, in real time, but also the irruption of a more-than-real death: symbolic and sacrificial death - the absolute, no appeal event” (Baudrillard, 2001). Furthermore, these new global enemies are willing to both kill and die for causes. That is, terrorism now acts without generating the response violence often produces. Since these persons are willing to die and certainly do in fact die for their causes, there is no punitive response possible to the criminals.
Challenges of Globalism
Despite traditional Western theory of territorially enclosed communities, globalization poses the new threat of unguarded boundaries with far-reaching capabilities and implications. As geographical distance no longer relies on time as a point of measurement, space and time face ultimate “annihilation.” Again, three key common themes persist regarding globalization theories today, including deterritorialization, interconnectedness, and speed. These three broad categories provide a crude framework upon which one can evaluate and assess globalization in social theory today.
§ Out of the three primary theorists covered this week in the Social Theory text, which view of globalization is most in tune with your attitudes toward globalization?
§ How can any global body combat terrorism as it is not linked to any particular geographic locale?
§ What do you predict topics of conversation dealing with globalization will consist of, say, thirty years from now? For example, in a class like ours, what type of global theory will students read?