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geographic, institutional, or relational contexts.

A scientific–technological account of globalization

describes a world engirded by a finely

wrought network of cables, satellites, air, and sea

lanes, as well as old familiar land routes, that

transport information, things, and people from

one place to any other on the globe in anything

from a minute to a day. This is a world in which

boundaries that once had been created by time

and space have been eroded by scientific and technological

developments, especially in communication

and transportation.

These innovations have roots in ancient times

when exploration and trade by land and sea was

apparent in the Mediterranean basin and Asian

seas, and in medieval and Renaissance times

when scientific and technological innovations

began to spread around the globe. Scientific and

technological development escalated noticeably,

however, during the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries, and, with exponential rates of both

invention and social change in the twentieth

century, the spatial and temporal distances that

had historically moored distinct populations,

languages, cultures, markets, and political

systems have been made porous through regularized

and continual communication. In this

techno-scientific account, emphasis is placed on

the cumulative effects of the Enlightenment, and

how humans slowly accumulate the knowledge

and ability to produce ever increasingly rational

forms of social organization and technological

innovation, in the end overcoming ignorance,

superstition, myth, religion, and scarcity to create

relative abundance, human freedom, and worldwide

mobility. The mixing of peoples, languages,

and cultures has brought about what is now a

transparent hybridity in human groups and cultures.

While few human cultures, in history

or contemporary times, have been unaffected

by exchange with others (enemies or friends),

the degree of hybridity and technologically driven

hybridization is at a scale and pace heretofore


A political-economic account of globalization

places less emphasis on the technological sources

of globalization than on the political and normative

claims of capitalist investment. Rather

than being a portrayal of the success of science

and technology, a political-economic account

describes the historic triumph of the market

economy. It is an account of how the market – as

a means of coordinating production and distribution

– is now worldwide, after more than a

century of being confined within national and

regional boundaries. This view of globalization

depicts markets as both the engine and product

of human energy and imagination, now in the

twenty-first century overcoming what is described

as backward and inefficient systems of centralized

planning and socialized ownership that

governed a good part of the globe during the

twentieth century.

Some accounts of globalization emphasize the

international coordination of scientific research

to control disease, prolong lifetimes, and improve

conditions of everyday life. Others focus on the

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transnational flow of people, goods, and capital

that creates a global division of labor with an

equally global diffusion of material and cultural

goods. For example, goods produced with Korean

or Chilean labor, from materials mined in Zaire or

grown in India, are sold in the shops in Paris,

Los Angeles, or Tokyo. People born and raised in

Mexico, Guatemala, Turkey, Algeria, Ethiopia, or

Zimbabwe travel north to find work to sustain

families left behind. At the same time, music

from American urban ghettos is played in the

shops in Japan and Australia or the streets of

Budapest and Russia, portable telephones manufactured

in Finland adorn the hips of laborers

from Santiago to Cape Town, and television stations

around the globe fill their schedules with

the product of Hollywood studios while munching

on American-style fast food of Big Macs and

French fries.

As the same time as local sites become linked

in a global circulation of people, signs, materials,

and goods, globalization is understood to be

reshaping the parts of the world now joined

communicatively and economically. While some

people and phenomena are ripped from spatial

and territorial moorings, others – for example,

social groups based on ethnic, linguistic, or religious

practices – become re-territorialized, making

claims to specific pieces of geography with

newly recognized boundaries as the ground of

their participation in the global world order.

While some localities experience a marked increase

in standards of living (measured in terms

of reduced infant mortality, longevity, education,

and calories consumed), others experience an

equally marked decline in material, psychological,

and sociological conditions of everyday life. In the

techno-science account, the global community is

linked internally by its actively shared cultures

and externally through its collective scientific

exploration beyond this globe.

Rather than a portrayal of the success of science

and technology, the political-economy account

emphasizes the virtues of flexible production,

worldwide sourcing, and low-cost transportation

and communication. Just as the boundaries between

time, space, people, and things are erased

in the techno-science account, the economic account

emphasizes the erasure of traditional distinctions

among market tools – between banking,

brokerage, insurance, business, politics, and consumer

credit – and the promotion of strict boundaries

between economics and politics. Global

capital is financialized, that is, like social transactions

dis-embedded from geography and social

relations, capital accumulation is also de-territorialized,

mobile, residing nowhere more than in

cyberspace. Ever liquid, new financial instruments

are created as well as markets in these instruments,

new markets in commodities, as well as

markets in currencies and debts. The capital that

fuels the global circulation of goods, services, and

people is therefore faceless and rootless, free of

national or geographic identity, ever mobile,

moving from one locale to another, as efficiency

and profit demands.

The global markets create both dispersion and

integration. Global dispersion is typified by the

creation of new producers and sites of production

within nations and transnationally. Large and

small companies increase their subcontracting,

and do so with several geographically distant

subcontractors for the same product. Industrial

homework spreads into the hinterlands of remote

parts of the world at the same time as highly

skilled cognitive (mind-work) laborers and professionals

move their work from office to home,

sometimes also at great distances from the centers

of control and management. This diffusion of

worldwide outsourcing – fueled by low transportation

costs and computerized communication

linkages – creates flexible production and higher

profits for corporate managers and owners,

while relegating labor and suppliers to hypercompetition

and insecure income.

The territorial dispersion is accompanied by a

parallel concentration of centralized control to

manage and finance the dispersed production.

The remotest sites of individual production are

tied by centralized management through closely

linked chains of financial and design control finding

their apex primarily in the global cities such

as Tokyo, New York, and London. The global cities

produce the specialized services which, according

to Saskia Sassen in The Global City (1991), are

“needed by complex organizations for running

spatially dispersed networks of factories, offices,

and service outlets,” as well as the “financial innovations

and the making of markets . . . central

to the internationalization and expansion of the

financial industry.”

The dual processes of dispersion and integration

are joined in processes of what some term

“glocalization,” a neologism joining globalization

and localization to describe the customization of

globally produced products or services for local

cultures and markets. It is also used to refer to

the use of global networks, for example in cell

phones, to provide local services. It refers in addition

to identity marketing that fetishizes local

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places for the purpose of product branding, associating,

for example, coffee with a particular

Colombian farmer, or a unique island with the

home of a generic product. According to Roland

Robertson, who is credited with popularizing the

term, glocalization describes the tempering

effects of local conditions on global pressures. At

a 1997 conference on “Globalization and Indigenous

Culture,” Robertson said that glocalization

“means the simultaneity – the co-presence – of

both universalizing and particularizing tendencies.”

The term, first used by Japanese economists

in the 1980s, is also used prescriptively in business

circles to emphasize that the globalization of a

product is more likely to succeed when the product

or service is adapted and tailored specifically

to each locality or culture in which it is marketed.

Examples of glocalization display the selfconscious

cultural hybridization that is at work

in global marketing. For example, the American

fast-food chain McDonald’s replaced its mascot,

the clown Ronald McDonald, in French advertising

with Asterix the Gaul, a popular French cartoon


Accompanying the techno-scientific and economic

accounts of globalization, there are political

and moral claims about the necessity of a

rule of law (see law and society) and, at the same

time, the inefficiencies of legal regulation. In the

political–legal account of globalization, national

boundaries are described as inefficient and should

cease being barriers to trade: all national economies

should be open to trade. In this moral

universe, all exchanges, transactions, and engagements

should be signaled solely through market

prices, which are conceived as the only legitimate

form of social control for rewarding good action

and punishing bad. Public regulation of private

enterprise, as an alternative to price regulation,

is the enemy of the global economy and its moral

universe. As a corollary to the dominant role of

prices as the major form of communicating participation

in the market economy, domestic prices

are supposed to conform to international prices

and monetary policies are expected to be directed

to the maintenance of price and balance-ofpayment

stability. These are the basic universal

principles of market economics promoted by the

International Monetary Fund, the World Bank,

and neoliberal economists promoting market


Although markets depend on law to provide a

stable normative environment, ensuring security

of property and contracts, the global “marketeers”

insist that the law do no more. Beyond the

assurance of mutual trust and normative order,

the market or neoliberal account of globalization

demands that the rest of economic affairs remain

entirely matters of market (price) decisions rather

than the consequences of political organization or

legal processes. The market version of globalization

urges use of law to police a fixed boundary

between public and private, between economics

and politics. Although national legal orders in

western Europe and the United States have, for

more than 100 years, created various adjustments

to counteract market instabilities and imperfect

competition, a key feature of globalization at the

end of the twentieth and beginning of the twentyfirst

centuries is the fury of its critique of legal

intervention and its insistence on a natural and

necessary divide between public and private, economics

and politics. Historical experience and

legal precedents notwithstanding, the global marketeers

insist that the private law regime of property

and contract, at both the national and

international levels, is an apolitical realm, merely

supportive of private initiative and decision,

immune from public or political contestations

and without significant or problematic redistributive


Some observers argue that the global system –

embodied primarily in the communication networks

– allows direct cultural and economic relationships

that bypass and/or subvert – depending

on the point of view – traditional power hierarchies

like national governments, or markets. There

are some who see in globalization the possibilities

of a new democratic transformation. Some stress

that the circulation of capital and culture is –

as the phrase suggests – a circulation, not solely a

movement from the center to the peripheries. By

dissolving political, temporal, and spatial boundaries,

the technological revolutions underwriting

this transnational exchange create capacity for

movement in all directions and with less investment

than was heretofore possible. From this perspective,

as illustrated in Boaventura de Sousa

Santos’s Toward a New Common Sense: Law, Science

and Politics in the Paradigmatic Transition (1995),

globalization enables more diverse participation

and more sources of influence – forms of enfranchisement

– throughout the world-system. Those

at the geographic peripheries of the world-system

welcome the chance to be regular and possibly

influential participants in the virtual global

community. In the global networks of communication

and exchange, human creativity can be

unleashed from traditional cultural and material

constraints to find new forms of expression in

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what seems like an unbounded space of possible

interactions and connections. Here, observers

point to the importance of human rights discourse,

in contrast to the economic rights discourse

of marketeers, in shaping actual, not

merely a virtual, community, and the empirically

documentable changes that discourse has

wrought in heretofore authoritarian regimes.

Similarly, some note the growing significance of

environmental concerns in mobilizing social

movements across traditional national, political,

racial, and gender boundaries. For optimistic observers,

globalizing markets pose an opportunity

and challenge.

In contrast, others view globalization as a historic

process leading to a more one-way relationship

between the global realm, inhabited by

multinational corporations, global finance, the

entertainment industry, international broadcasting,

the worldwide web, amoral secular humanism,

and a subjugated “local” realm where the

identity-affirming senses of place, neighborhood,

town, locale, ethnicity, religion, and morality

barely survive against the global onslaught of

globally circulated, professional produced-forprofit

identities. Some claim that the technoscientific

account of globalization is a saga of

disenchantment, as Max Weber predicted. Noting

the immediacy with which persons, goods, information,

and technologies move across vast

distances, and the expanding breadth and accelerating

pace of consumption, critics of globalization,

in anti-globalization movements and

elsewhere, emphasize how the loss of sacred

illusions and embedded identities has left a corrosive

absence at the center of human life where

“all that is solid melts into air” (Karl Marx and

Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848

[trans. 1968]). Critics note the bombardment by

stimuli, the neurological overloads, and the homogenizing

consequences of the escalating circulation

of signs and symbols removed from local

experiences and interpretive frameworks. Globalization

seems to be characterized by isomorphisms,

convergences, and hybridizations that

create a sense of pervasive sameness across heretofore-

diverse cultures. Some anti-globalization

movements emphasize this emptying out of meaning

and morality in the global markets, actively

seeking a return to a religiously guided morality,

politics, and economy – sometimes violently,

such as in Islamic Jihadist groups (such as the

Taliban in Afghanistan) or some anti-abortion

movements in the United States, sometimes peacefully,

such as among Christian fundamentalists.

Other anti-globalization movements emphasize

and attempt to resist the growing inequality and

erosion of economic security that had been promoted

by the twentieth-century welfare politics.

Some observers go so far as to describe globalization

as a form of postmodern colonialism,

where the worldwide distribution and consumption

of cultural products removed from the contexts

of their production and interpretation are

organized through legal devices and markets to

constitute a form of domination, as argued by

Susan Silbey in “Let Them Eat Cake: Globalization,

Postmodern Colonialism, and the Possibilities of

Justice” (1996, Law and Society Review). In postmodern

colonialism, control of land or political

organization or nation-states is less important

than power over consciousness and consumption,

much more efficient forms of domination. This is,

for anti-globalization critics, the consequence of

advanced capitalism and technological innovation

seeking a world free from restraints on the opportunity

to invent and to invest. In this most critical

account, globalization describes a world in which

size and scale in terms of numbers of persons (who

can produce), and in numbers of outlets (to

disseminate and place products), and capital (to

purchase both labor and land) determine the

capacity to saturate local cultures. Advocates of

free-market capitalism worldwide acknowledge

the inequalities produced, urging “measures that

enlarge the scope for wage differentials without

making it socially unacceptable” (Y. Kosai,

R. Lawrence, and N. Thygesen, “Don’t Give Up on

Global Trade,” in the International Herald Tribune,

1996). The processes of global economic differentiation

have led to increased income for some previously

poor workers at the peripheries of the

system, but also for significant transfers of

income from workers to upper-level managers and

investors. Alongside the economic differentiation

is a division of intellectual labor: the new systems

that organize work and production are designed

by relatively few highly educated, technically

trained specialists, with labor and repetitive,

minimal skill well distributed across the globe.



– see globalization.

Goffman, Erving (1922–1982)

One of the most original, influential, and exciting

sociologists, Erving Goffman found systematic

order and moral meaning in the momentary gestures

of individuals in the presence of one another

globalization Goffman, Erving (1922–1982)


that seem at first glance to be nothing more than

unreflective conformity to local custom and cultural

etiquette. Goffman characterized this realm

of phenomena “the interaction order,” and in his

essay by that name, published in American Sociological

Review (1983), saw it as comprising all that

is socially structured whenever actors are in

sufficiently close proximity to be aware of one

another’s presence. (He termed this the condition

of copresence.) Focused conversations are the

most obvious phenomena in the interaction order.

However, the interaction order also includes the

less involving, small gestures through which

actors acknowledge or avoid one another in everyday

life. At the boundaries of the interaction

order, Goffman includes the ways people respect

one another’s privacy in public settings and the

ways people maneuver so as to maintain order on

crowded city streets.

Readers almost unanimously experience a

special sense of discovery in reading Goffman’s

work. He was outstandingly blessed with the ability

to find order and significance in everything

from small shifts in body posture to a conversational

pause that continues only slightly beyond

cultural expectations. But Goffman did not couple

his deep insights with sociological breadth. He

assumed a controversial theoretical position by

maintaining that there is only a loose coupling

between the interaction order and larger institutional

orders such as the worlds of work, commerce,

and government.

Goffman was born in 1922 in the Canadian province

of Alberta to parents of Jewish-Ukrainian

descent who immigrated to Canada prior to World

War I. He was educated in sociology and anthropology

at the University of Toronto and began his

graduate studies in anthropology at the University

of Chicago, where he received his doctorate in

1953. His doctoral research, conducted during

eighteen months of fieldwork in the Shetland

Islands, yielded the data analyzed in one of his

most prominent books, The Presentation of Self in

Everyday Life (1959). Goffman took his first major

academic position at the University of California,

Berkeley, in 1958, and moved to the University of

Pennsylvania in 1968. At the time of his death

from cancer in 1982, he was President of the

American Sociological Association.

Goffman, together (though not in direct association)

with George Herbert Mead, Alfred Schutz,

and Harold Garfinkel, transformed the study

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