Adobe DRM 4. Taking in the cultural, political and economic dimensions of globalization, the book provides a thorough introduction to key debates and critically evaluates the causes and consequences of a globalizing world. Bringing the discussion right up to date, the new edition includes an increased emphasis on the rise of China, the aftermath of the financial crisis and austerity, the benefits of migration and open borders, and the changing structure of global inequality. Data and literature have been updated throughout the book, with new sections on global cities, the environment and international protests, and expanded discussion of gender.
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Introduction: Concepts of Globalization There have been many trends in sociology in recent decades. These have varied from country to country. One was a concern with class and social mobility from the s onwards, in part evident in debates between Marxists and Weberians. Feminism grew in influence, itself being criticised for failing to appreciate other divisions, for instance ethnic inequalities identified by those with postcolonial perspectives.
In the s this concern with differences was highlighted in postmodern ideas, and the power of knowledge was analysed by theorists like Michel Foucault. This also then went on to stress local difference and plurality. The themes of globalization were not new, but the word and the popularity of the idea really came to the fore in the s an early mention is in Modelski Why did globalization become a popular idea? One reason is the rise of global communications, especially the internet, which made people feel that connections across the world were flowing more strongly, speedily and becoming more democratic.
With the end of the cold war it seemed that the bipolar world had become more unified, whether through cultural homogenisation or the spread of capitalism. People became more conscious of global problems, like climate change.
Economic interdependency and instability were more visible. Money flowed more freely and national economies went into recession together in the s and again 30 years later. From the s onwards one of the building blocks of the national era, the nation- state, seemed to be under threat.
Welfare states became cumbersome and expensive and economic liberals like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher led the world in rolling them back. The first half of this introduction will look at the sociology of globalization and themes of the book. The second half will discuss the concept of globalization. The Sociology of Globalization Globalization may appear a macro phenomenon and distant, not the same as micro issues that have more of an impact on daily life.
Yet large-scale global processes of economic restructuring and international political power have a big impact on our individual lives. The global economy and distribution of wealth affect, for example, our chances of employment and material circumstances. Identity and cultural experience is forged out of global inputs, from media to music, migration and food. Which side you live on in the constellation of global political powers has significant consequences for your life chances.
For some, phenomena like culture and people movements are what sociologists should be concerned about. Culture is sociological and has social effects whereas economic and political issues are the preserve of other disciplines or maybe just less interesting. Culture is very important and interesting, as we shall see in this book.
But 1 so are economics and politics. Culture is affected by economic and political factors. For instance, mergers and diversification in the media industry and government deregulation have a large impact on our cultural experiences as consumers.
Economic and political factors which seem distant from our lives have a large impact. The fact that I live in a rich, developed country, one of the core powers in the world, and relatively democratic, peaceful, and free, has a great effect on my life compared to what it would be like if I lived in a poor, developing country, or one with less democracy and freedom, or more conflict and violence. That I can watch cable television and access the internet, what are cultural experiences, does not just have economic and political bases but also pales into insignificance next to economic and political factors which give me a privileged everyday experience.
Culture is important, it interests us and we are conscious of it on a daily basis. Some sociologists think that if you look at politics and economics this is not really sociology. It is the territory of political science and economics. But this lacks a sense of an interdisciplinary role for sociology. Furthermore sociology is the study of social structures, relations and processes, of society. Society includes political and economic dimensions. And parts of society and social relations not classified as political or economic, for instance culture and migration, are affected by politics and economics.
This book takes politics and economics seriously and sees these as an important part of sociology. If culture is looked at separately from economic and political relations then the economic and political power, inequality and conflict that affects culture is overlooked. This makes cultural globalization seem more equal and benign than it really is.
Some sociologists separate their studies of cultural globalization from their studies of political-economic relations. Consequently their awareness of conflict, inequality and power in politics and economics becomes separated from the more benign, equal and cosmopolitan picture they have of culture for instance, see Beck , and Nederveen Pieterse a, b. For a sociology of globalization that incorporates political economy and so power, inequality and conflict see Bourdieu , , To take an interdisciplinary perspective is distinctively sociological.
Sociology has, from its founding days, drawn on economic and political perspectives and dealt with issues such as capitalism, ownership, the division of labour, economic class, and the role of the nation-state. Consequently, sociology is well equipped to deal with modernity, capitalism and the state, some of the main institutions in globalization. Some of the core themes of sociology are at the heart of this book: such as power, inequality and social divisions and inequalities such as class and gender.
Sociology does not have a monopoly on understanding such themes and to make sense of them I will draw on economic and political perspectives. But they have always been central 2 to the sociological perspective and sociology has been a key influence in forging a role for issues such as power, inequality and conflict across the social sciences and in debates in public life. So this book looks at some important conventionally sociological topics, migration and the movement of people, the media, culture and social movements.
But it also identifies inequality and power as distinctively sociological preoccupations to look out for in globalization. Furthermore it argues that the economy, politics and war, often left out of sociology, are sociological. They are part of society and they affect society, social relations and social structures.
If you want to narrow-mindedly rule such things out from being the proper concern of sociology then this leaves out some of the major factors affecting social life and especially behind power, inequality and conflict.
This makes sociology into a perspective which turns away from the realities of society, especially its harsher realities. There is a danger of fetishising the new in recent perspectives on globalization. Cosmopolitanism is seen to be more appropriate to a new global era. It is argued that we need to break with old approaches and develop new perspectives which fit with a world in which cultures intermingle, where foci on the nation-state or capitalist economic power are too methodologically nationalist or economically determinist, where societies are no longer neatly bounded within national borders, and global identities such as human rights and hybridity are taking over for instance, see Beck , Urry There are problems with this advocacy of a cosmopolitan sociology.
A The old sociology was quite international in its outlook Turner Cosmopolitan sociologists overstate the novelty of contemporary cosmopolitan views. B Rejecting classical sociology as too economistic and statist undermines an understanding of the role of economic power and the state in globalization. This leads to a picture of culture and social relations which does not show how they are unequal and power- laden because of economic and political structures. C Leaving out economic and political power is done in a way which is theoretically elegant and pleasing, but is not empirical enough.
The argument is made mainly theoretically in the face of empirical evidence which shows the role of capitalist and state power. D One empirical absence in cosmopolitanism is the focus of its advocates on their own parts of the world, especially old Europe and North America, and to a lesser extent other fast growing societies, with little attention paid to large parts of the world afflicted by poverty and war.
The former fit the cosmopolitan story better than the latter, although even the former are also distinctly uncosmopolitan when it comes to things like immigration and economic protectionism. E Cosmopolitanism is put forward as a new perspective in tune with the new global and intermixed world. There is a fetishisation of the new over the old such that anything that is old is labelled outmoded, unsophisticated or out of date even if empirical evidence shows it has a stronger hold on explaining things.
Or categorising something as old and outmoded is used as a way of dismissing it in place of dismissing it with a convincing critique of its theoretical cogency or, more importantly, empirical evidence. The important thing is not whether an argument is 3 new or old but which is the right argument. F As well as a lack of emphasis on empirical evidence there is contradiction. Some of those who reject the old approaches combine their new cosmopolitan arguments with other arguments which show the role of state and capitalist power.
Some of these points are developed more in Martell , and in this book. Themes of the book There are number of themes running through this book. Economic bases of globalization. As has been mentioned, many sociological studies of globalization have focused on culture and some have argued for a shift away from economic determinism.
Culture has heavily shaped globalization and globalization has a lot to do with the transnationalisation and intermingling of cultures and local cultural responses to global cultures. The interaction between globalization and culture and identities is exciting, important, full of possibilities and is discussed in this book.
But it is difficult to see many areas of globalization where lying behind them are not also economic structures which affect the equality or power relations with which globalization is produced or received, or economic incentives to do with making money. My argument is not just about the economics behind globalization, but capitalist economics, the pursuit of profit by private owners.
Other factors tailor and shape globalization and the economics of profit is not the only causal factor or one that goes in a simple unlinear direction unaffected by other forces.
But it is very often a significant driving force. Globalization is historical. It started long before the recent years of information technology, the end of the cold war or even the end of the second world war. It has its bases earlier in the development of capitalism and industrialism and the institutions, technologies and incentives these systems brought along.
These provided the biggest qualitative leap in globalization and are behind many forms of globalization today.
They were not just the key starting point but also the basis for current forms. At the same time it is less plausible that globalization, or the bases for current globalization, started before this. While Europe and the West were still relatively backward other more sophisticated parts of the world were practicing long-distance trade, religion and expansion but these were not truly globalization.
Sceptical perspectives on globalization. Sociology is historically a critical discipline, and a critical but open-minded approach is healthy and in part what academic research should be about. Being critical about globalization leads to some sceptical conclusions, including doubts about whether what is called globalization really is, or whether international structures and processes in the world match up to the criteria for globalization.
What many people describe when they talk about globalization is happening. Describing it as globalization gives it a meaning which is misleading as to its true character. The sceptical view is linked to another theme of this book. Globalization is structured by power, inequality and conflict. Some are agents in globalization more than others, and some are more integrated and others excluded.
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The Sociology of Globalization