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A portfolio of literature reviews:
(In two (2) parts. Combined total of 2500 words. 70% weighting)
Submission date: 13:00, 24th March 2014
Part one: 1000 words.
Read at least two of the following papers and review them in respect of what they say about the development of globalization:

Answer

Title: GLOBALIZATION

 

Part One: The Development of Globalization

Rennen, W & Martens, P 2003, ‘The globalisation timeline’, Integrated Assessment, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 137-144.

This article attempts to define, describe, and direct discourse on the complex phenomenon of globalization. In this context, globalization is defined as the interactive co-evolution of numerous socio-economic, cultural, technological, and environmental trends across spatial-temporal scales. Accordingly, the paper argues that the complexity of this phenomenon makes the search for a satisfactory definition of the term a futile endeavour. It is argued that the best way forward is to approach the issue in a pluralistic manner by taking into consideration the multiple domains that define both past and current processes. This approach is also acceptable because it gives scholars the much-needed flexibility in their efforts to define globalization.

At the outset, the paper recognizes three approaches to the analysis of globalization: the sceptical approach, and the hyperglobalist approach and the transformationalist thesis (Giddens, 2000). Those who adopt a sceptical approach argue that the global connections of internationalization are not a new phenomenon simply because they have continued to follow an evolutionary line for centuries. The hyperglobalist approach is based on the view that previous developments contributed to globalization but the break-point came with the onset of contemporary globalization. In contrast, transformationalist thesis is a radicalized version of the hyperglobalist approach. It is based on the argument that globalisation itself is the prime force behind the rapid changes that are currently reorienting and reshaping the existing world order.

In this article, Rennen & Martens (2003) argue that it is wrong to define globalization based on particular factors such as internalization and historical events such as the rise of capitalism. According to the authors, it is better to adopt a pluralistic, multi-dimensional approach in describing globalization. Using such an approach, researchers can prevent the oversimplification of the complexities that characterize globalization. The article emphasizes the need to understand globalization based on both its historical context and the array of economic, political, socio-cultural, and technological developments that continue to shape it in the contemporary context. On this basis, five aspects that are interrelated with or underlie globalization are identified; they include capitalism, politics, and technology, social life, and cultural life.

Capitalism is identified as the point of departure in efforts to understand globalization (Dierckxsens, 2000). It is considered an ideal solution to the numerous controversies surrounding the specific historic point at which globalization started taking shape. Economic incentives are identified as essential to the emergence of globalization as we know it today. Through capital accumulation using productive labor, a large-scale economic system that was previously non-existent emerged.

Technology is also identified as an important force in globalization. Improvements in transport and communications networks during the industrial revolution are associated with the rise of globalization. According to this article, the networks created interconnectivity among regions, nations, and ultimately continents. It also led to the widening of the scope of economic and industrial activities since information could be distributed easily. The emergence of computing technology in the post-World War II era led to further improvements in communications technology, thereby paving the way to globalization as we know it today.

In political dimensions, Rennen & Martens (2003) seek to describe globalization as a political process. This is because governments have the ultimate power to define the possibilities of economic interactions among private investors. If governments adopted the strictest forms of protectionism, globalization would not be what it is today. some governments went so far as to encourage greater international cooperation based on the belief that such a move would prevent the occurrence of a third world war. Social and cultural issues have also been incorporated in this article. The authors provide some examples of socio-cultural changes that occurred during the 1960s, the rise of women rights movements, the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, and the rise of pop art.

The association between globalization and environmental degradation has also been highlighted in this article. Rennen & Martens (2003) argue that environmental degradation is not a defining feature of globalization. However, it happens to be the case that globalization has contributed to environmental changes, many of which are adverse in nature. For example, an increase in air traffic has led to a proportionate increase in noise pollution. The authors conclude that it is difficult to define globalization because it involves a complex interplay of millions of economic, technological, political, socio-cultural, and environmental trends. Therefore, the best way to understand it is to adopt a multi-domain, pluralistic approach.

Shuja, S 2001, ‘Coping with globalisation’, Contemporary Review, vol. 279, no. 1630, pp. 257-263.

This article addresses two issues. The first one is the relationship between globalization and Americanization. The second one is the impact of globalization on the emergence of the so-called knowledge divide. Regarding the first issue, Shuja (2001) points out that for many people, globalization is said to be synonymous with Americanization. In this section, various benefits of globalization such as the proliferation of the market economy and democracy and revolutionary changes in information technology are highlighted. Some negative effects such as terrorism, ethnicity, and nationalism are identified as well.

On the overall, Shuja (2001) argues that globalization offers numerous opportunities for competitive economies while at the same time bringing challenges for economic and political management. Shuja (2001) opines that the going is rough in the globalized world for vulnerable countries because they are under intense pressure to become more transparent in terms of their economic and political habits. For such states, the pressure to shun undemocratic practices and embrace greater cooperation with other nation-states and international institutions is overwhelming. The author concludes that the United States has a crucial role to play as the guarantor of globalization simply because its foreign policy affects globalization in ways that are unmatched with those of any other nation in the modern world.

Regarding the second issue, Shuja (2001) praises globalization because of the way in which it enhances contact among people on a global scale while at the same time strengthening profound fractures and divisions in terms of incomes, societies, but most importantly the capacity for the generation and utilization of knowledge. According to Shuja (2001), these fractures and divisions pose a risk of the emergence of two civilizations that will be characterized by a knowledge divide. These two civilizations will emerge because the North has access to tools of technology such as computers while the South does not, thereby leading to a North-South “digital divide”. The article concludes that to bridge this divide, the international community must assist developing countries in the South achieve improved access to these tools of information and communication technology.

Part Two: Cultural Globalization

Wang, Y 2007, ‘Globalization enhances cultural identity’, Intercultural Communication Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 84-86.

In this article, Wang (2007) opposes the argument by anti-globalists that globalization leads to cultural homogenization. The article argues that on the contrary, globalization enhances cultural identity. According to Wang (2007), globalization does so by simply bringing people together in such a way that they are compelled to think about the particularity and uniqueness of their own culture. The gist of the argument made in this article is that those who view globalization as homogenization wrongly assume that people are mere objects of diverse cultural influences; on the contrary, they are subjects who can freely choose to integrate or reject culture. By maintaining their cultural identity in the era of globalization, people are able to attach an element of global significance to their sense of self and community (Wang, 2007). This way, they are able to map their local knowledge onto a global context (Wang, 2007).

The central position taken in this article is that cultural identity and globalization can interact fruitfully. Globalization is viewed as the pursuit of togetherness. The impression created in this perspective is that people can manage to maintain togetherness in diversity. For instance, multinational companies (MNCs) can manufacture products that are adapted to the cultural needs of local communities (Deng, 2005). Similarly, people from marginalized communities can draw inspiration from the activities of the global civil society to establish social movements that advocate for their own cultural rights.

In this article, the homogenization thesis is viewed with skepticism. It faults the argument that in the globalized world, homogenous products are being marketed in all parts of the world. This creates the impression that people are being subjected to similar practices, consumption behaviors, and lifestyles. Wang (2007) opposes this view by stating that people can choose which products to buy despite the emergence of a powerful global market system that is characterized by the rise of a homogenous range of products and lifestyles. In Wang’s view, the prevailing global market forces do not in any way take away people’s right to stick to their cultures

The article states that whether or not consumeristic homogenization leads to cultural homogenization depends on the way one understand the term “culture”. In this paper culture is defined as the way of life that a group of people use for purposes of humanizing and socializing nature. Culture keeps changing all the time. It would continue changing even if globalization did not occur. Based on this view, the article identifies three ways in which globalization influences culture. First, it affects the way people relate to life and to nature, the way they produce goods, and the way they exchange them. Secondly, it influences the rituals and symbols that people use to structure social relationships and to build a sense of community. Thirdly, globalization affects the way humans pursue the ultimate meaning that motivates them to pursue certain goals in life. The article concludes that regardless of these effects, the ongoing trend towards homogenization pushes people to think about their cultural roots and to defend them, thereby leading to the inevitable preservation of cultural identity.

Meyer, J 2008, ‘Globalisation and cultural imperialism: Corporate control versus responsiveness’, Journal of International Business and Economy, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 113-136.

This article stresses the importance of addressing the issue of cultural globalization through responsiveness rather than through corporate control. This is because corporate control is associated with cultural imperialism while responsiveness is associated with the preservation of local cultural identities. To illustrate this point, the article presents the case of Walt Disney Company’s ventures in Japan and France. In Japan, the company succeeded by being responsive to local cultural needs. In France, it failed miserably because it adopted the principle of corporate control, which many people in Paris rightly interpreted as a form of cultural imperialism.

The example of Walt Disney Company takes a central position in the author’s attempt to highlight the importance of responsiveness to cultural diversity as a corporate strategy in the current age of globalization. Immediately Tokyo Disneyland was opened in 1983, it was welcomed with open arms. The venture continued to report rising profits during the next decade. For instance, in 1992, Tokyo Disneyland reported profits amounting to $100 million despite the fact that Japan was going through one of its worst economic recessions in modern history (Brannen, 2004). Efforts to replicate this success in Europe in 1992 through Euro Disney were not as successful. In fact, they amounted to a huge financial disappointment and a public relations headache for the company.

According to Meyer (2008), the differences in these two experiences should not be attributed to differences between French and Japanese cultures. Rather, they are attributable to the use of control-oriented approaches versus response-oriented approaches. In Tokyo, Walt Disney Company appointed an independent Japanese company and allowed it to use its characters and name in return for royalty payments. This risk-averse approach gave the Japanese company the freedom to adapt the attractions of the theme park as well as corporate practices to the Japanese culture. In contrast, Walt Disney Company chose to assume the direct responsibility of operating and controlling Euro Disney. It even attempted to import its business philosophy and creating an American identity for its workforce. This resulted to resistance from many French citizens, who are historically known to be culturally independent.

Based on this example, the article seeks to offer some lessons to multinational companies (MNCs) regarding the need to embrace responsiveness and to shun cultural imperialism as a prerequisite for success in the current world of globalization. To do this, Meyer (2008) provides a theoretical basis for his arguments, which is essentially a comparative analysis of responsive versus control approaches to cultural globalization. This analysis shows that a responsive approach is better than the control-based approach that is synonymous with cultural imperialism.

According to this article, MNCs must avoid any association with mass cultural imperialism and a corporate culture of dominance and control to be able to gain appeal across different cultures of the world. This is because globalization has made the world a close-knit society, meaning that people are more concerned about the particularities of their own cultures and they can easily tell whenever anyone attempts to impose a new culture on them (Hofstede, 2001).

The paper concludes by the observation that the problem of cultural imperialism among MNCs is so prevalent that strategic change is required. Towards this end, six propositions are recommended. The first one is the promotion of communication equity by reducing the extent to which foreign ideas are imposed on local communities. The second proposition is the promotion of technological equity through media democratization. Thirdly, the article emphasizes the need to look beyond capital assistance by taking care of cultural sensitivities to ensure that host nations do not lose control over their cultural destinies in the end. Fourthly, the paper fronts the idea of humanitarian-based education to encourage greater participation of local people in the global economy. Fifthly, it is important for MNCs to strike a balance between commercial interests and emerging cultural concerns. Lastly, the article recommends the recognition of communication as a fundamental human right, such that local people and MNC guests are accorded the same opportunity to share their culture and express their views.

Falk, R & Kanach, N 2000, ‘Globalization and study abroad: An illusion of paradox. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary’, Journal of Study Abroad, vol. 4, pp. 155-168.

This article highlights a broad range of issues affecting American students who study abroad and the role that globalization plays in their learning experiences. According to Falk & Kanach (2000), the circumstances  surrounding globalization and the way it is understood in different countries creates an illusion of paradox as far as American students studying abroad are concerned. The article also highlights differences between the motivations that drive students who come to the US to study and those of American students who go to study abroad. The article argues that despite these differences, globalization continues to bring about an aura of sameness of all world regions. It is suggested that this aura of sameness is likely to act as a disincentive for students who may otherwise want to go to study abroad.

Two contradictory aspects of the relationship between globalization and study abroad are highlighted. The first one is the modernist view of globalization that encourages more people to study abroad in the hope that they will benefit from exposure to inter-societal convergence at a high-tech level. The second one draws primarily from the traditional backlash that leads to antagonism and hostility towards those who go to study abroad. For example, American students studying in Paris are occasionally bothered by outbursts of anti-American protests.

The article illustrates how anti-American sentiments continue to arise from the perceptual association between globalization and Americanization. Such sentiments have a negative impact on the experiences of American students studying abroad. It also highlights some positive aspects such as the new lessons that American students learn after studying in politically charged environments such as Cuba. According to Falk & Kanach (2000), the lessons that these students learn in these environments continue to influence their worldview throughout their lives. Finally, the authors emphasize the importance of encountering challenges relating to environment, security, and health in the context of globalization. According to the article, such experiences enliven the young students’ search for meaning and identity in the present age of globalization.

 

References

Brannen, M 2004, ‘When Mickey loses face: Recontextualization, semantic fit, and the semiotics of foreignness’, Academy of Management Review, vol. 29, pp. 593-616.

Deng, N 2005, ‘On the national literature’s tactics in the globalization’s language environment’, Journal of Human Institute of Humanities, Science and Technology, vol. 1, pp. 39-41.

Dierckxsens, W 2000, The Limits of Capitalism: An Approach to Globalization Without Neoliberalism, Zed Books, London.

Falk, R & Kanach, N 2000, ‘Globalization and study abroad: An illusion of paradox. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary’, Journal of Study Abroad, vol. 4, pp. 155-168.

Giddens, A 2000, Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives, Routledge, New York.

Hofstede, G 2001, Culture’s Consequence: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across cultures, Second edition, Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Meyer, J 2008, ‘Globalisation and cultural imperialism: Corporate control versus responsiveness’, Journal of International Business and Economy, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 113-136.

Rennen, W & Martens, P 2003, ‘The globalisation timeline’, Integrated Assessment, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 137-144.

Shuja, S 2001, ‘Coping with globalisation’, Contemporary Review, vol. 279, no. 1630, pp. 257-263.

Wang, Y 2007, ‘Globalization enhances cultural identity’, Intercultural Communication Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 84-86.

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