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Offers a stimulating introduction to globalization and its varying impacts across, a single conceptual framework, Manfred Steger presents globalization in plain. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction has been fully updated for a third edition, Manfred Steger, author Professor of Political Science at the University of. Globalization has ratings and 75 reviews. Ahmad said: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #86), Manfred B. StegerFor.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. A very short introduction. They are written by experts, and have been published in more than 25 languages worldwide. The series began inand now represents a wide variety of topics in history, philosophy, religion, science, and the humanities. Over the next few years it will grow to a library of around volumes- a Very Short Introduction to everything from ancient Egypt and Indian philosophy to conceptual art and cosmology.

Very Short Introductions available now: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission globalizqtion writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organizations. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Data available ISBN Is globalization a new phenomenon?

This challenge becomes even more formidable in the case of a very short introduction. Hence, it is not surprising that the authors of the few existing short itroduction to the subject have opted to discuss only one aspect of globalization – usually the emerging global economic system, its history, structure, and supposed benefits and failings. While helpful in explaining the intricacies of international trade policy, global financial markets, worldwide flows of goods, services, and labour, transnational corporations, offshore financial centres, foreign direct investment, and the new international economic institutions, such narrow accounts often leave the general reader xhort a shallow understanding of globalization as primarily an economic phenomenon.

To be sure, the discussion of economic matters must be a significant part of any comprehensive account of globalization, but the latter should not be conflated with the former.

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The present volume makes the case that globalization is best thought of as a multidimensional set of social processes that resists being confined to any single thematic framework. Indeed, the transformative powers of globalization reach deeply into the economic, political, cultural, technological, and ecological dimensions of contemporary social life. The existence of these narratives shows that globalization is not merely an objective process, but also a plethora of stories that define, describe, and analyse that very process.

The social forces behind these competing accounts of globalization seek to endow this relatively new buzzword with norms, values, and meanings that not only legitimate and advance specific power interests, but also shape the personal and collective identities of billions of people. In order to shed light on these rhetorical manoeuvres, any introduction to globalization ought to examine its ideological dimension. After all, it is mostly the question of whether globalization ought to be considered a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ thing that has spawned heated debates in classrooms, boardrooms, and on the streets.

This book has been written with a keen awareness that the study of globalization falls outside currently established academic fields. Yet, the lack of a firm disciplinary home also contains great opportunity.

This strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity requires students of globalization to familiarize themselves with literatures on subjects that have often been studied in isolation from each other. The greatest challenge facing today’s globalization researcher lies, therefore, in connecting and synthesizing the various strands of knowledge in a way that does justice to the increasingly fluid and interdependent nature of our postmodern world. In short, globalization studies calls for an interdisciplinary approach broad enough to behold the ‘big picture’.

Such a comprehensive intellectual enterprise may well lead to the rehabilitation of the academic generalist whose status, for too long, has been overshadowed by the specialist. Finally, let me add a word of clarification. While the main purpose of this book lies in providing its audience with a descriptive and explanatory account of the various dimensions of globalization, the careful reader will detect throughout the chapters a critical undertone.

However, my sceptical perspective on the nature and the effects of contemporary forms of globalization should not be interpreted as a blanket rejection of the phenomenon itself. I believe that we should take comfort in the fact that the world is becoming a more interdependent place that enhances people’s chances to recognize and acknowledge their common humanity. I welcome the progressive transformation of social structures that goes by the name of globalization, provided that the global flow of ideas and commodities, and ihtroduction rapid development of technology, go hand in hand with greater forms of freedom and equality for all people, as well as with more effective protection of our global environment.

The brunt of my critique is directed at particular manifestations and tendencies of globalization that strike me as being at odds with the noble cosmopolitan vision of a more egalitarian and less violent global order. It is a pleasant introdutcion to record my debts of gratitude. First, I want to thank my colleagues and friends globqlization the Globalization Research Center at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa for their consistent support of my research agenda.


Special thanks are also due to my colleagues at Illinois State University, particularly Jamal Nassar and Lane Crothers, for their willingness to read parts of the manuscript and offer helpful suggestions.

I also want to express my deep appreciation to numerous readers, reviewers, and audiences around the world, who, over several vert, made insightful comments in response to my public lectures and publications on the subject of globalization.

Stegerr am grateful to Eldon Wegner, chair of the department of sociology at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, for his efforts stegr provide me with valuable office space as well as with the opportunity to teach relevant summer courses in social theory. I also appreciate the enthusiastic research assistance provided by my graduate assistant Ryan Introdction. Broswimmer, a wonderful friend and hard-working research specialist at the Globalization Research Center in Honolulu, deserves special recognition.

Shelley Cox, my editor at Oxford University Press, has been a shining example of professionalism and competence. Finally, as always, I want to thank my wife, Perle Besserman, for her untiring support. Many people have contributed to improving the quality of this book; its remaining flaws are my own responsibility. Still traumatized by the recent terrorist attacks on shrt World Trade Center and the Pentagon, most of my students couldn’t quite grasp the connection between the violent forces of religious fundamentalism and globalozation more secular picture of a snort sophisticated, rapidly globalizing world that I had sought to convey in class lectures and discussions.

Don’t these terrible acts of terrorism suggest the opposite, namely, the growth of parochial forces that undermine globalization? Hence, before delving into necessary matters of definition and analytical clarification, we ought to approach our subject in less abstract fashion.

I suggest we begin our stger with a careful examination of the aforementioned videotape. It will soon become fairly obvious why a deconstruction of those images provides important clues to the nature and dynamics of the phenomenon we have come to call ‘globalization’.

Deconstructing Osama bin Laden The infamous videotape bears no date, but experts estimate that the recording was made less than two weeks before it was broadcast. The timing of its release appears to have been carefully planned so as to achieve the maximum effect on the day the United States commenced its bombing campaign against Taliban and X Qaeda ‘The Base’ forces in Afghanistan.

Although Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants were then hiding in a remote region of the country, they obviously possessed the hi-tech equipment needed to record the statement. Moreover, Al Qaeda members clearly enjoyed immediate access to sophisticated information and telecommunication networks that kept dhort informed – in real-time – of relevant international developments.

Bin Laden may have sreger the forces of modernity with great conviction, but the smooth operation of his entire organization was entirely dependent on advanced forms of technology developed in the last two decades of the 20th century. To further illustrate this introcuction contradiction, consider globallization complex chain of global interdependencies that must have existed in order for bin Laden’s message to be heard and seen by billions of TV viewers around the world.

After making its way from the secluded mountains of eastern Afghanistan to the capital city of Kabul, the videotape was dropped off by an unknown courier outside the local office of Al-Jazeera, a Qatar-based television company. Before the founding of Al- Jazeera, cutting-edge TV journalism – such as free-ranging public affairs interviews and talk shows with call-in audiences – simply did not exist in the Arab world.

Within only three years, however, Al-Jazeera was offering its Middle Eastern audience a dizzying array of programmes, transmitted around the clock by powerful satellites put into orbit by European rockets and American space stteger.

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction

Indeed, the network’s market share increased even further as a result of the dramatic reduction in the price and size of satellite dishes. Suddenly, such technologies became affordable, even for low-income consumers. By the turn of the century, Al-Jazeera broadcasts could be watched around the clock on all five continents.

Inthe company further intensified its global reach when its chief executives signed a lucrative cooperation agreement with CNN, the leading news network owned by the giant multinational corporation AOL-Time-Warner.

A few months later, when the world’s attention shifted to the war in Afghanistan, Al-Jazeera had already positioned itself as a truly global player, powerful enough to rent equipment to such prominent news providers as Reuters and ABC, sell satellite time to the Associated Press and BBC, and design an innovative Arabic- language business news channel together with its other American network partner, CNBC.

Unhampered by national borders and geographical obstacles, cooperation among these sprawling news networks had become so efficient that CNN acquired and broadcast a copy of the Osama bin Laden tape only a few hours after it had been delivered to the Al- Jazeera office in Kabul. However, not only was the perceived ‘damage’ already done, but segments of the tape – including the full text of bin Laden’s statement – could be viewed online by anyone with access to a computer and a modem.

The Al-Jazeera website quickly attracted an international audience as its daily hit count skyrocketed to over seven million. There can be no doubt that it was the existence of this chain of global interdependencies and interconnections that made possible the instant broadcast of bin Laden’s speech to a global audience.


At the same time, however, it must be emphasized that even those voices that oppose modernity cannot extricate themselves from the very process of globalization they so decry. In order to spread their message and recruit new sympathizers, antimodernizers must utilize the tools provided by globalization.

This obvious truth was visible even in bin Laden’s personal appearance. The tape shows that he was wearing contemporary military fatigues over traditional Arab garments. In other words, his dress reflects the contemporary processes of fragmentation and cross-fertilization that globalization scholars call ‘hybridization’ – the mixing of different cultural forms and styles facilitated by global economic and cultural exchanges.

In fact, the pale colours of bin Laden’s mottled combat dress betrayed its Russian origins, suggesting that he wore the jacket as a symbolic reminder of the fierce guerrilla war waged by him and other Islamic militants against the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan during the s. His ever-present AK Kalashnikov, too, was probably made in Russia, although dozens of gun factories around the world have been building this popular assault rifle for over 40 years.

By the mids, more than 70 million Kalashnikovs had been manufactured in Gobalization and abroad. At least 50 national armies include such rifles in their arsenal, making Kalashnikovs truly bj of global choice. Thus, bin Laden’s AK could have come from anywhere in the world. It is also possible that the rifle arrived in Afghanistan by means of an underground arms trade similar to the one that surfaced in Maywhen police in San Francisco seized 2, illegally imported AKs manufactured in China.

A close look at bin Laden’s right wrist reveals yet another clue to the powerful dynamics of globalization.

As he directs his words of contempt for the United States and its allies at his hand-held microphone, his retreating sleeve exposes a stylish sports watch. Journalists who noticed this expensive accessory have speculated about the origins of the timepiece in question. The emerging consensus points to a Timex product. However, given that Timex watches are as American as apple pie, it seems rather ironic that the Al Qaeda leader should have chosen this particular chronometer.

After all, Timex Corporation, originally the Waterbury Clock Company, was founded in the s in Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley, known throughout the 19th century as the ‘Switzerland of America’. Today, the company has gone multinational, maintaining close relations to affiliated businesses and sales offices in 65 countries. The corporation employs 7, employees, located on four continents.

Thousands of workers – mostly from low-wage countries in the global South – constitute the driving force behind Timex’s global production process. Our brief deconstruction of some of the central images on the videotape makes it easier to understand why the seemingly anachronistic images of an antimodern terrorist in front of an Afghan cave do, in fact, capture some essential dynamics of globalization.

Indeed, the tensions between the forces of particularism and those of universalism have reached unprecedented levels only because interdependencies that connect the local to the global have been growing faster than at any time in history. Just as bin Laden’s romantic ideology of a ‘pure Islam’ is itself the result of the modern imagination, so has our global age with its obsession for technology and its mass-market commodities indelibly shaped the violent backlash against globalization.

Our deconstruction of Osama bin Laden has provided us with a real-life example of the intricate – and sometimes contradictory – social dynamics of globalization.

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction – Manfred B. Steger – Google Books

We are now in a better position to tackle the rather demanding task of assembling a working definition of globalization that brings some analytical precision to a contested concept that has proven to be notoriously hard to pin down.

Toward a definition of globalization Since its earliest appearance in the s, the term ‘globalization’ has been used in both popular and academic literature to describe a process, a condition, a system, a force, and an age.

Given that these competing labels have very different meanings, their indiscriminate usage is often obscure and invites confusion. For example, a sloppy conflation of process and condition encourages circular definitions that possess little explanatory power. For example, the often- repeated truism that ‘globalization [the process] leads to vwry globalization [the condition]’ does not allow us to draw meaningful analytical distinctions between causes and effects.

Hence, I suggest that we use the term globality stteger signify a social condition characterized by the existence of global economic, political, cultural, and environmental interconnections and flows that make many of the currently existing borders and boundaries irrelevant. Yet, we should not assume that ‘globality’ refers to a determinate endpoint that precludes any further development.

Rather, this concept points to a particular social condition verry, like all conditions, is destined to give way to new, qualitatively distinct constellations.

Moreover, we could easily imagine different social manifestations of globality: These possible alternatives point to the fundamentally indeterminate character of globality; it is likely that our great-grandchildren will have a better sense of which alternative is likely to win out.