COCTA ROUNDTABLE ON
CONCEPTS OF GLOBALIZATION
IPSA World Congress at Quebec City, 1-5 August 2000
AGENDA FOR DISCUSSION
1. Political Globalization
2. Homogenization vs. Diversification
3. Migration Around the World.
4. The Globalization of Concepts
1. Political Globalization. What are the distinctive concepts involving GLOBALIZATION political scientists need to be able to talk about unambiguously? Many of the concepts identified during the COCTA project at the International Sociological Association for the Montreal Congress in 1998 are not salient for political scientists and we can well ignore them. The most obviously relevant concepts are those involving world order or governance vs. the anarchy and disorder so prevalent in today's world, much of it attributable to forces generated by globalization. Among these forces, the global spread of capitalism, international corporations, uncontrolled transfer of funds with profoundly disruptive consequences, and damaging effects involving poverty, disease, environmental damage and other symptoms have received a lot of attention. In this context, please take a look at my analysis of the main theme of the Quebec Congress -- it can be found at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/ipsaglo.htm. A related trend that is especially interesting for political scientists involves the processes of democratization that also appear to be irreversible and increasingly global. For more on this see Henry Teue's paper, http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/teune.htm. Can we develop a vocabulary that is more precise for speaking about these interrelated phenomena of our global political-economy.
2. Homogenization vs. Diversification. In my opinion, the globe-encircling trends attributed to globalization do promote homogenization at some levels, but they also promote diversification, especially by local communities seeking to distinguish themselves by unique practices, including the assertion of ethnic and nationalist
identities. What concepts and terms are needed to talk coherently about the local - global consequences of globalization? C:\1_zip\teuneX.htm (See note #1)
3. Migration Around the World. Accelerated movements provide another salient aspect of globalization. Their impact on states and nations deserves special attention and could well constitute another major theme for our roundtable discourse. Consider the phenomenon of diasporization by which I mean not only the dispersion of peoples from their homelands, but also their growing capacity to maintain homeland contacts for political, social, cultural and economic purposes. As a result, "nations" are increasingly not bound to any homeland but consist of peoples living both at home and elsewhere -- in fact localities have become globalized. How can be most easily talk about and understand the local in the global and the global in the local. (See note #2)
4. The Globalization of Concepts. At the conceptual and terminological level, political scientists face new problems generated by globalization. Our basic vocabulary evolved to characterize and analyze the familiar phenomena of the state-oriented institutions found in Europe and North America. With the collapse of all the great empires, both capitalist and communist, we now experience a world in which radically different social structures and economic dynamics prevail. What changes in our vocabulary and ways of thinking are needed to give us the tools we need to think clearly about this new global situation and its dynamics? See note #3.
Remember, our goal is not to develop or evaluate theories about globalization -- we seek only to identify the useful concepts that come to mind when we use this word. Ask yourself what basic idea or notion the different authors have in mind. Our goal is to disentangle these ideas and enter them in a globally available on-line glossary that will help anyone trying to be more precise to identify whatever concepts they may have in mind when they use this very fuzzy word.
Note #1. Homogenization vs. Diversification. David Baker is presenting a paper at another session that contains points relevant to our discourse. He writes about "Hyperglobalism as Hypernationalism" in the context of British Conservative Party policies. You can find the text at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/bakerd.htm, or as a link on the list of papers for our meeting posted athttp://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/welcome.htm#que. Baker does not discuss the meanings of globalization, but he does raise questions that are relevant for us. Near the start of his paper you will find this sentence in an explanation of globalism's impact on British Conservatism. He writes: "Firstly, the plethora of economic, cultural, and social trends commonly associated with globalisation bring the nation-state and national identity into question; and secondly they [promote the] much commented-on ascendancy of liberal lifestyles and the associated spread of multiculturalism." This observation relates to the topics I suggested for consideration as agenda items in the memo I sent you on 15 June.
At the domestic level, globalization leads in many cases to urgent reactive demands for autonomy or independence. In fact, globalization often strengthens nationalism at two levels: at the state level it promotes integration by enhancing the ability of states to promote assimilationist goals, but at the communal level, it promotes differentiation by encouraging the assertion of nationalist claims that strengthen self-government and autonomy movements. Thus globalization encourages nationalism in ways that both strengthen and weaken states: through state nationalism the cohesiveness of states is reinforced; but through ethnic nationalism the fragmentation of states is also accelerated. Contravening intra-state tendencies are the result.
At the inter-state level, the growth of supra-state organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, including gigantic corporations, transfers control over many public policies to supra-state levels, while the progressive delegation of responsibility to sub-state entities also diminishes state functions in many arenas. Our conceptions of globalization" need to take these contradictory effects into consideration. Far from homogenization, globalization will surely also strengthen diversity at many levels.
Note #2. Migration Around the World. I have tried to represent this trend on my home page by creating a "glocalization" site see: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/sites.htm#glocal. Here you will find for each world region both sites that focus on localities, and related diaspora sites for the dispersed peoples of each area. We tend to compartmentalize our thinking by imposing geographic borders on national concepts -- to take an extreme case, "Tibetans" are not only people living in Tibet, but also many Tibetans scattered around the globe. A summary view can be gained by looking at their main home page: http://www.tibet.com/index.html.
Nationalists now need to think about their communities in global terms. Similarly, states need to recognize not only nations existing within their borders, but also citizens living outside of them. We need a vocabulary that helps us recognize and talk about these changed dimensions of states and nations in the context of globalization.
Note #3. The Globalization of Concepts. Some aspects of this question were considered in the analysis of IPSA research committees that can be found at: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/ipsacon.htm. Although this analysis was prepared primarily to support the discussion in our follow-up roundtable on critical political science concepts, its findings are directly relevant also to concepts of globalization. Consider the fact that globalization has increasingly compelled us to question disciplinary boundaries, a fact that has led to the proliferation of hybrid research committees, each of which address a different boundary between political science and some other discipline. Consider also that our preconceptions about government led us to imagine that public bureaucracies (military as well as civil) can always be viewed in instrumental terms -- i.e. as agents of political institutions powerful enough to control them. On this premise Public Administration and its managerial premises was separated from Political Science as the study of elections, parties, and legislatures divorced from the requisites of policy implementation. Both approaches are utterly inadequate in new states where public officials, especially military officers, have seized power and become a ruling elite. The resulting politics/administration snafus have generated new forms of state or quasi-state that we need to be able to focus on without the implied premises nesting in our established vocabulary. At the international level, students of Public Administration also operate independently of Political Science, as evidence in [site]
A third dimension of conceptual innovation called for by globalization involves the dynamics of inter-state relations. Our state-oriented vocabulary presupposes a world in which order resides within states, and inter-state relations are inherently anarchic. We relied heavily on international law and treaties, plus weak inter-governmental institutions like those of the UN system, to support our analysis of "International Relations." The inherent limitations of this framework became apparent when the field of International Studies hived off from Political Science to create it own inter-disciplinary frameworks, as manifest in the program of the International Studies Association [site]
The vocabulary we need now will enable us to view holistically the tightly meshed elements of a complex global system in which states and inter-state relations will remain as very important but hugely reshaped components. Unfortunately, our established terminology still compels us to view the world through conceptual glasses that were constituted to response to the very different dynamics of a world captured (temporarily) by Euro-American States and industrial empires. To understand and cope with these problems do we not need a new set of globalized concepts and terms?
Participants in the Internet-based discourse group with e-mail addresses are listed below. Some are participants in the face-to-face roundtable at Quebec City during the IPSA Congress on 5 August 2000. Others who could not attend are involved in this discourse and are invited to continue a post-Congress conversation about where we go next.
Luke Ashworth <Luke.Ashworth@ul.ie>,
David Baker <D.L.Baker@warwick.ac.uk>,
Gary Bryner <Gary.Bryner@Colorado.EDU>,
David Collier <dcollier@socrates.Berkeley.EDU>,
Eva Etzionia-Halevy <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Brian Girvin <email@example.com>,
Arnold J. Heidenheimer <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Richard Higgott <email@example.com>,
Helge Hveen <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Ewa Kulesza <email@example.com>,
Matti Mälkiä <Matti.Malkia@pakk.poliisi.fi>,
Elaine McCoy <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Carlos Milani, <C.Milani@unesco.org>,
Chung-in Moon <email@example.com>,
Ephraim Nimni <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Elizabeth Prugl <email@example.com>,
Fred Riggs <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Julian Santamaria <email@example.com>,
Andreas Schedler <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Klaus Segbers <email@example.com>,
Daniel Skidmore-Hess <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Henry Teune <email@example.com>,
Pierre Vercauteren <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FRED W. RIGGS, Professor Emeritus
Political Science Department, University of Hawaii
2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, U.S.A.
Phone: (808) 732-5308 Fax: (808) 956-6877
e-mail:FREDR@HAWAII.EDU Web Page: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~fredr/
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