Discussion of theoretical perspectives that help to understand the phenomena of globalization

A critical assessment of its advantages and disadvantages

Essay, 2011

5 Pages, Grade: 1


Discussion of theoretical perspectives (views, strategies) that help to understand the phenomena of globalization - A critical assessment of its advantages and disadvantages

A precise and exclusive definition of globalization all scholars agree with has not yet been made.[1] The range is broad and differs from the eye of the beholder, since we are talking about a concept that has an impact all over the world, in every facet of life and on every single creature living on it.[2] It is not simply definable through a single concept, but rather highly complex.[3] This is also the difficulty about it and embraces the questions about the beginning, the intensity and where this leads to. I will examine these questions in this essay. Therefore I suggest to consider globalization as an open concept with its consequences. They might be advantageous for somebody, but disadvantageous for somebody else at the same time. Hence, I will collect a number of facts that globalization brought about and maybe try to give ideas in how far they could be considered as positive or negative of different actors. This collection can’t be exclusive and should be examined to exemplify.

The concept of globalization is new, but the process has already been evident in history.[4] Hopkins gives a good historical overview in four phases:[5] Beginning with the sixteenth century, the first footsteps towards globalization have been set through industrialization. This is when globalization got first connected to capitalism, although the process started earlier for china. Different states and first transnationality started from the seventeenth tot he nineteenth century, namely from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) on. The nineteenth century opened the era of free trade and extensive movements of goods and people. This lead to the middle of this century. Here the upward process had a cut, which was the interwar period, that led to deglobalization. This shows, that we are not talking of a simply linear process. Afterwards, from the nineteen fifties on, we have the period of the contemporary globalization. It is the era of the development of many characteristics such as a common language, a global civil society and the emergence of new states.

The trend of globalization has mainly arisen since 1980.[6] Scholte, for instance distinguishes ‘globality’ (the condition) and ‘globalization’ (the trend).[7] However, Hutchinsons definition of the concept is, that “[g]lobalizaion is ... an intensification of interconnectedness between the populations of the world that might be economic, political, cultural, military or natural.”[8]

Urry argues on the complexity of the globalization process and points out that it is social and natural.[9] This illustrates that definitions are rather vague than concrete and leads us to the strategy to behold the characteristics. I want to present Scholtes broadly summarized manifestations of globality, namely communication, travel, production, markets, money, finance, organizations, military, ecology, health, law and consciousness.[10]

Waters[11] presents the wide spread idea on the disappearance of territory. He also points out characteristics of contemporary globalization, but they have strong similarities to Scholtes, so I will present here just the ones referring to territory: “Increasing speed and volume” (movement, goods, msg., symbols), “shrinking space”[12] and the sense of local through compression of time and space[13], and “Permeable borders”[14]. Held stresses the “intensification of flows and networks or interaction and interconnectedness that transcend nation-states.”[15] This strong connectedness has already been illustrated in a map in the seventies. Figure 1 below shows the distances in reality, whereas Figure 2 the relatively compressed time and space indicates.[16]

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: conventional protection of the Pacific in terms of distances

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Time-space map of the Pacific, based on relative time accessibility by scheduled airline in 1975

Robertson introduces the expression of ‘Glocalization’[17] which is a symbiosis of the words ‘global’ and ‘local’. In his words, it is “the creation and incorporation of locality, processes which themselves largely shape, in turn, the compression of the world as a whole.” The phenomenon points on the porosity of boundaries and the decreasing meaning of national interest.[18] There is nothing flat global, you always try to translate it into your national identity, thus it gets hybrid since you add something.


[1] Urry, 2003, pp.3-4

[2] Urry, 2003, p. 1

[3] Held, 2005, p. 2, or Urry, 2003, p. 15

[4] Hopkins, 2002, p. 11

[5] See for all this Hopkins, 2002, pp. 19-43

[6] Scholte, 2005, p. 49

[7] Scholte, 2005, pp. 74-75

[8] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 157, similar also found in Held, 2005, p. 1

[9] Urry, 2003, p. 13

[10] Scholte, 2005, p. 4, this is compareable to Lash and Urrys „hallmarks of contemporary globalization in Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 5, but also in Urry, 2003, p. 134

[11] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 5, but see also Tomlinson, 1999, and Scholte, 2005, pp. 76-78

[12] see also Urry, 2003,

[13] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 157, also in Urry, 2003, pp. 1-2 and pp.133-135

[14] see also Urry, 2003, pp.5-6

[15] Held, 2000, p. 16

[16] Source: Haggett, adapted by Held, 2000, p. 31

[17] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, pp. 20-21, 35-37, but in also Tomlinson refering to culture

[18] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 20

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Discussion of theoretical perspectives that help to understand the phenomena of globalization
A critical assessment of its advantages and disadvantages
University of Bologna  (MIREES - International Research and Studies on Eastern Europe)
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MA Sandra Filzmoser (Author), 2011, Discussion of theoretical perspectives that help to understand the phenomena of globalization, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/200337


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