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Social Theory and Globalization:
The topic of globalization has become one of the trendiest subjects in modern political and academic debates because it covers a broad range of discrete economic, cultural and political trends. Since its multi-facet in nature, the attributes of globalization have become difficult for people to conceive especially for those who believe its existence. Consequently, there are various definitions of globalization that have emerged from various disciplines of social science. In some cases, globalization is referred to as the broadening of economic, political and social activities across frontiers ("Theories of Globalization," n.d.). Because of this extension of activities, decisions and events in a certain region of the world can have a significant impact on individuals and communities in another part of the world.
Globalization can also be defined as the social process in which geographical limits on political, social and economic aspects withdraw making people to act accordingly. The topic of globalization was introduced in the academic and business field in the early 1960s and has grown to become a term that is frequently used in modern life. Actually, the topic is now considered as an integral part of human condition across the board regardless of whether or not people believe its existence and impacts.
Since globalization is the compression of the world and the strengthening of world's awareness, it's an aspect that makes the world a solitary place both theoretically and practically (Lechner, 2001). The entire process of globalization dissolves the independence of practices and actors in the modern world order. Globalization works through various stages including emulation and interpenetration as groups with divergent perspectives of world order interact concretely. However, the process of globalization also changes because of the influence of multiple sources and movements that celebrate and reject it.
Since globalization has become a common term in today's life, it has generated heated debate and become the basic topic of books and articles. Consequently, a broad and different range of social theorists are disputing that contemporary world is characterized by accelerating globalization. This accelerating globalization is in turn intensifying the power of a capitalist economic system across the globe, replacing the basic nation-state with global organizations and corporations, and wearing down local traditions and cultures. Contemporary social theorists including world-systems theorists, Weberians, Marxists and functionalists are uniting on the position that globalization is a distinct modern trend (Kellner, 2002).
Theorizing globalization is an extremely difficult process since people and societies determine their position based on their relationships to common aspects of humankind and a system of societies from different perspectives. Some theorists identify globalization with late modernity while others view it as international interdependence and awareness preceding the commencement of capitalist modernity. However, regardless of these divergent theoretical understandings of globalization, there is a degree of consensus that it produces new opportunities or threats (Powell & Owen, 2007). Some of the new opportunities arising from globalization are the new cosmopolitanism forms and economic development while ecological crises like climate change are its new threats.
Social Theory and the Topic of Globalization:
In an attempt to explore the relationship between social policy and globalization, social theorists have developed various theories regarding the topic. However, there are three main steps that summarize the problem of globalization and social theory. These steps which affect the determination of the relationship between globalization and social policy include & #8230;
Geographical Process of Spatial Change:
The term globalization is regarded as a geographical word symbolizing a process of spatial change over time. A closer examination of the term reveals that time, space, and an indication of the planet's shape are its basic intrinsic contents. Therefore, it doesn't contain necessary aspects that can be used to explain any actual phenomena that it describes. The term differs significantly from others like capitalism, which demonstrates a specific nexus of social relationships. Therefore, globalization doesn't specify any particular kind of society because it basically indicates a process of global spatial integration and expansion.
Inevitability of the use of Another Theory:
The use of globalization in the explanation of major social change requires an individual to inevitably incorporate another social theory drawn from elsewhere. This need is for the purpose of explaining what, why, and the outcome of the aspect being globalized because the term doesn't contain any visible intrinsic. However, the intrinsic aspects of space and time in globalization can be used as essential parameters of social explanation (Rosenberg, 2005).
The relational form of any particular society is inseparable from specific organizations of space and time. Actually, classical social theory and various modern disciplines contain rich explorations of why and how different types of societies create space and time in divergent ways. The use of space and time as the basis for social explanation is a spatio-temporal dimension that doesn't produce qualitative forms of particular social relations.
Key Issues of Social Theorists Approach to Globalization:
As one of the most controversial topics in social science, various theories of globalization have debated that speedy increase in social, cultural, economic, and technological exchange is civilizing, delicate or destructive (Guillen, 2001). In their approach to the topic of globalization, social theorists have centered their empirical research on five major issues. Social theorists analyze globalization based on its existence, convergence, relation to the authority of nation-states, differences from modernity and impact on global culture. The five issues cover the wide range of political, cultural, economic and social themes of the interests of social theorists on globalization. While some social theorists tend to agree with each other on particular issues or questions, they do not necessarily approach it from the same perspective.
Approach of Social Theorists to Globalization:
As mentioned earlier the approach of social theorists on the topic of globalization has been centered on the above five issues. While these are not the only issues regarding within their approach, they are the most commonly used by observers and theorists in social science. These issues which determine social theorists approach are explained as below:
Existence of Globalization:
In their approach to the topic of globalization, social theorists have based their work on the question on whether it exists. This is particularly because many articles and books discuss the fundamental issue of the world becoming more global with some providing no data to support their claims. As a result, arguments and counterarguments regarding the existence and feebleness of globalization have emerged in social science. Determining the existence of globalization has been an essential factor in the approach of social theorists on this topic.
Relation of the Nation-state:
The other way in which social theorists have approached globalization is on the relation of the nation-state to economic globalization (Robinson, 2001). In social theory, economic globalization has been widely researched because of its link to restructuring of world capitalism. Economic globalization is the unification of the world into a singular production mode and a singular international system that results in the organic integration of various regions and countries into a global economy ("Interpretations and Meanings of Globalization," n.d.). Social theorists have used the economic factor of social process as one of the essential elements for explaining the world as a system. This economic factor is specifically important because it's considered as a driving force of globalization. With the emergence and development of a singular global market, nation-state borders are considered meaningless.
Creation of Convergence:
The other approach to globalization concerns its outcomes on the convergence of societies toward a single model of political, cultural, and economic organization. Together with political theorists, social theorists have explained a complex critique of the assumed convergent results of globalization. One social theorist has asserted that globalization is an overall set of changes occurring in mutually opposes trends rather than a uniform direction. However, in their explanations of the presumed convergent outcomes, social theorists have never supported their current literature or conducted empirical testing for their suggestions.
Differences from Modernity:
Many social theorists and social science scholars have raised many concerns in their explorations of the relationship between the processes of globalization as compared to modernity (Brahm, 2003). Consequently, social theorists have tried to analyze and explain the political, economic, and social organization traits of globalization in relation to modernity. They have essentially explained whether globalization processes have an impact on the changing relationship of space and time. The difference between globalization and modernity has developed to become one of the most difficult debates in social science.
Creation of a Global Culture:
This is the most popular and controversial debates surrounding globalization since some theorists and scholars argue that there is a creation of a global culture. Some social theorists have supported the idea of a global village while others have evidences that support their works against the emergence of a global culture. One of the most fundamental concerns regarding the presumed rise of a global culture is whether there is an emergence of a global language.
Sociology of Globalization:
Social science literatures by theorists on globalization have some important empirical and hypothetical…[continue]
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