The general attitude and concern is that globalization will create the disintegration of society, and that regardless of the economic wealth that it will bring, globalization will have a negative effect on the everyone. Rodrik's intent was to provide a balanced look at these issues, but in the end, the book was decidedly anti-globalization, which leads to an anti-globalization slant in the Globalization Reader.
Throughout the book, the authors provide subtle hints that they are biased against further globalization through their selection of material. However, it is not until Chapter VIII that the book demonstrates a truly biased perspective. When the authors address the issue of globalization and the role of religions, it is difficult to discount the bias that is present in the work. The first article that is presented was authored by Frank Lechner, "Global Fundamentalism." In this article, Lechner argues that fundamentalism is on the way out and that it cannot survive in the face of the emergence of a global culture.
Chapter VIII seems to focus on Muslims and Muslim fundamentalists, to the exclusion of almost any other group. It is not known what the reason is behind this focus on fundamentalism, but a majority of the articles in this chapter are focused on Muslim culture. The focus of the article "Bin Laden and Other Thoroughly Modern Muslims" is the reaction of the Islamic world to the actions of fundamentalists such as Bin Laden. Kurzman divides these reactions into two categories, those who take the lead by example approach and those who feel that conquest is the proper course of action.
Kurzman's article focuses on radical Islamists who are trained in modern universities, but who give the illusion of religious authority as if they had been trained in a seminary. Kurzman points out that radical Islamists use modern methods, but use ancient language in their attempt to restore Islam to its "golden age." Kurzman warns against Western generalizations, such as lumping the Taliban into the same category as the Republic of Iran, pointing out that they are fundamentally different, particularly in their treatment of women in the workforce. Kurzman's article focused more on the effects of fundamentalism on the Muslim world and Muslim attitudes than on globalization. At the end of the article I found myself wondering what this article had to do with understanding globalization. I did not think that it belonged in the book at all, as it did not tie closely to the theme of the book.
The next article in this chapter, "The Challenge of Fundamentalism" supports that viewpoints of the previous article, in that it is anti-Islamic movement. It at least makes the point that the author does not feel that Islam will be able to integrate into the New World Order. The book does not speculate as to whether this will prevent them from participating in commerce or the effects that the inability to participate will have on either the nations states, or how it will affect the globalization process. This article is food for thought, but it leaves many more questions than it answers. The same can be said about the next article, "Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah," by Olivier Roy. The most striking similarity in these articles is that they appear to have little to do with globalization and much more to do with understanding terrorism and the various Islamic factions.
It appears that the authors strayed from the topic of Globalization in Chapter VIII, further supporting the thesis that this chapter is biased. I the last two articles of the chapter, the authors discuss the globalization of certain religious movements. They discuss the globalization of Pentacostalism and Catholicism. Lehner and Boli remind the readers that the idea is a global religion is not new and that the Catholic Church and the Muslim religion have been widespread throughout many different periods in history. The idea of a global religion is not new.
Lechner and Boli attempted to draw the subject of religion into the topic of globalization, I would not consider this attempt to be a success. What resulted instead was an examination the global and internal views of the various religious factions. It is apparent that the authors do not feel that the New World Order has room for radical Islam. I did not feel that the authors tied these articles to their intended purpose, creating the perception of bias in this Chapter.
Lechner and Boli pose the question as to whether fundamentalism has any place in the globalized world at all. Shahla Haeri's article in Chapter VIII brings out the conflict between traditional Islamic law and practice and human rights in the global society. The conflict between the need for global autonomy and obedience in the Islamic world are in direct conflict. It is apparent that Lechner and Boli wish to make the point that fundamentalism and religion are going to be the most contradictory issues in the development of the global economy. They also bring out the point that regardless of how unrelated religion might seem to the development of the global economy, the cultural biases that result will have an impact on the ability to form successful global relations.
It can be assumed that the authors of a book agree with their own arguments and perspectives, otherwise they would not have written it. Therefore, any biases that are present in the work can be assumed to be representative of the author's own viewpoints and perspectives. With this in mind, one has to conclude that Kirchner and Boli's treatment of Islam and its affects on globalization are representative of their personal viewpoints.
Chapter VII was of greatest concern regarding the issue of bias against fundamentalist Islam. At first it would appear that the authors were anti-muslim, but a closer examination of the chapter makes it apparent that the authors are careful to point out the differences between muslims and Islamic fundamentalists. They do not feel that fundamentalism of any type can survive in the face of globalization. The one thing that was not clear was if Islam was chosen as an example because it was the best choice to illustrate the point being made, or if it was because the authors wanted to point out that it was on its way out in lieu of a more global and humanitarian viewpoint. Perhaps a better explanation of why these pieces were chosen would clear up the reasons behind the author's choice of these articles. However, it does appear that the authors were biased against Islamic fundamentalists in this chapter.
Kitchner and Boli's book was written with the graduate college student in mind. I was meant toe provide them with an overview of the various topic that surround the issue of globalization. They touched on all of the key areas that form the issues surrounding debates about globalization. They provided a number of viewpoints on both sides of the issues that are involved, providing a special emphasis on the struggle between tribalism and the need for conformity that globalization requires. By the end of the book, undergraduate students will have a better understanding of what globalization is and of the various viewpoints and opinions that surround the issue.
The only place where the argument seemed biased was in the discussion about fundamentalism, Islam, and women's rights. On this issue, the authors hinged on the edge of sounding biased against Islam for its treatment of women. This issue brings up a key point that is emphasized throughout the discussion, where to draw the line between individual rights and religious freedom and the need for ethical conformity in the most recent wave of globalization. This issue was addressed in several other places in the book as well, including the article on "Cultural Imperialism." The dysfunction between the need to conform set against the backdrop of the need to remain autonomous and able to choose one's own lifestyle represented the greatest conflict that was pointed out by the authors. However, this is appropriate, as this is a key debate concerning globalization.
The authors chose some of the best well-known authors on the topic of globalization. Although, they attempted to provide a balanced perspective, then tended to choose articles that were on the side of autonomy, rather than the destruction of individual freedom of choice. It could appear that they were biased on this viewpoint, but they did at least present several articles that highlight the benefits of globalization. Most of the support that they offered was from an economic standpoint. The materials that were chosen are designed to stimulate discussion among its audience. The authors accomplished their goal in this regard.
The authors that Lechner and Boli chose are authoritative and well-known for there expertise and work in the area of globalization. This lends credibility to the work. Overall, the book is an excellent source and a convenient way to become familiar with the various standpoints and issues surrounding the globalization process. The…