Identification of the causes and consequences of the phenomena globalization and nationalism and their interaction

Essay, 2011

5 Pages, Grade: 1


Identification of the causes and consequences of the phenomena globalization and nationalism and their interaction

Beynon and Dunkerley say that the historic roots of globalization are from the fifteenth century on.[1] They claim that Europeans developed an ‘outward-lookingness’ which made them explore the world in contrast to other powerful nations.[2] The era of exploration originated the first ‘world city’, namely Lisbon because of its accessibility by boat.[3] This step towards globalization led to the expansion of knowledge in technology, geography and even of the mind, what Spybey terms ‘global consciousness’. Furthermore the longing to spread the European culture, and most striking the perception of European time and the concept of the nation-state.[4] “[E]xamining the relationship of nation and globalization will revise our understanding of the crisis of the national state.”[5] “[C]ontemporary globalization is not reducible to a single, causal process, but involves a complex configuration of causal logistics.”[6] But “the following are among globalization’s most significant foundational factors: The expansion of trading relationships and the use of symbolic tokens, of which money is an obvious example; Copernicus’ concept of the world as a globe; The invention of navigational aids and the steady advance of travel technologies (...); The outward expansion of European institutions and culture; Capitalism’s insatiable drive to maximize profit leading it to ‘go global in its postmodern phase and to open up and exploit new markets with new products.”[7]

Some of these trends weaken and some strengthen nation states. Hutchinson examines the effect of globalization on the origins of nations.[8] Examining the history of the nation state, he[9] points out “the existence during the nineteenth and early twentieth century of a ‘classical’ nation state, which was politically sovereign, military autonomous, territorially bounded, culturally homogeneous and economically integrated.” This classical nation state has been transformed. Indicators to that are for instance the recast of identity of nations or the change of wars from “external” to “internal” ones. Hutchinson stresses that “[t]here are countervailing tendencies that are strengthening nations and national states, but the overall effect is weakened national states having to come to terms with multiculturalism.”[10]

“Globalization is the reason for the revival of local cultural identities in different parts of the world. … Local nationalisms spring up as a response to globalizing tendencies.”[11] Certainly, the process of globalization had a strong impact on cultural identity, which is briefly exposed in the first essay. As mentioned there, Ulrich Beck stresses the unlucky effects of globalization on society. The association with history and locality has a fundamental meaning and is altered through globalization. Furthermore, the creation of a global cosmopolitan society[12] has a threatening aspect to small nations. The theory leads towards social Darwinism.[13] Furthermore, due to the increasing porousness of borders and the enormous flow of resources “[g]lobalization has transformed the classical nation-state’s control over the national economy, culture and information”[14]

Globalization has “important cause-and-effect relations with structures of identity.”[15] Especially the “[p]roliferation of national identities”, “[e]ncouragement oof nonterritorial identities” and a “[g]reater hybridization” are results due to globalization. Scholte further argues that “the significance of globalization has lain not in eliminating nationhood, but in substantially complicating the construction of identity.”[16] This has “eroded the position of the state-nation as the preeminent structure of self-definition and collective solidarity.”

In another sense globalization has caused the raise of non-territorial identities, for instance in substate, macro-regional and transworld spheres.[17] Thus, the source of power is exterritorial. What happens is a “’pulling away’ [of]power or influence from local communities and nations into the global arena.”[18] This creates a legitimisation to create local autonomy[19], but it also “creates new economic and cultural zones within and across nations.”[20]

Guibernau argues that the limitation of state sovereignty, caused by the globalization process has strengthened nationalist movements in nations without state.[21] Certainly, there are “national minorities …[that are] voluntarily assimilating into the larger society”,[22] but we examine for this example a number of self-determinated minorities in various countries that illustrate this phenomenon.[23] Nationalism emphasizes collective identity. A 'people' must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture.[24] The problem here is that ethnic minorities do need a public representative. “What matters is that the culture have some ‘public expression’.”[25] This has to happen in a macro-level, otherwise their existence is jeopardized. In the realization state involvement is unavoidable.[26] “Nationalism is one manifestation of modern globalisation, and having a nationality and, better still, a national state is essential for participating in the contemporary world.”[27] Though “ethnic groups and nationals have been sponsors of global processes, ... globalization has been a catalyst in ethnogenesis.”[28] This illuminates the fact of reflexivity and involves self-fulfilling prophesy in a more advanced stage.[29]


[1] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 7

[2] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 7

[3] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 7

[4] Quoted in Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 7

[5] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 159

[6] Held quoted in Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 11

[7] Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, pp. 7-8 also Giddens, 1999, p. 8

[8] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 159

[9] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 158

[10] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 158, but also in Guibernau, 2001, p. 256

[11] Giddens, 1999, p. 13

[12] Giddens, 1999, p. 19

[13] Soros, 1997

[14] Guibernau, 2001, p. 256

[15] Scholte, 2005, p. 254

[16] Scholte, 2005, p. 255

[17] Scholte, 2005, pp. 237-240

[18] Giddens, 1999, p. 13

[19] Giddens, 1999, p. 13

[20] Giddens, 1999, p. 13

[21] Guibernau, 2001, p. 256, also in Beynon & Dunkerley, 2000, p. 6

[22] Kymlicka, 1999, p. 131

[23] For details see Guibernau, 2001, p. 256

[24] Hutchinson & Smith, 1994, pp. 4-5, also in Scholte, 2005, p. 234

[25] Kymlicka, 1999, p. 138

[26] Kymlicka, 1999, p. 138

[27] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 159

[28] Hutchinson, 2005, p. 159

[29] see also Urry, 2003, pp.138-139

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Identification of the causes and consequences of the phenomena globalization and nationalism and their interaction
University of Bologna  (MIREES - International Research and Studies on Eastern Europe)
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MA Sandra Filzmoser (Author), 2011, Identification of the causes and consequences of the phenomena globalization and nationalism and their interaction , Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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