Table of Contents
Theories of globalization by William I Robinson are an in- depth analysis of the question of globalization. The article delves into various issues and thus is sub- divided into several topical segments including the theory and rise of globalization studies, the globalization debate and theoretical discourses, theories of globalization, modernity, post- modernity and globalization, and theories of a global culture. Simply put, this article is about globalization; what it is, the levels at which it has occurred, the categories of research on the topic of globalization, existing theories on the phenomenon and the approaches used to develop these theories, the question of what mainly causes globalization, the effects of globalization and the factors that either contribute to, or derail globalization. The writer goes to extraordinary lengths to define globalization based on several theories that he outlines, quoting from a wide range of texts, and using cause- and – effect as well as comparison methods to clearly state his position. He uses the works of renown scholars and bases his arguments on tried- and- tested and tested methods.
The writer begins by introducing us to the idea that studies on globalization began since 1970s and still continue due to the occurrence of different numbers of events including the development of a economy on a global scale that involved new ways of production, consumption, finance and the world- wide economic integration; new trans- national or global culturalissues, practices andprocesses, and the idea of ‘global culture(s)’; world-wide politicalflows , the appearing of new trans-national institutions, and the expansion of global managementand different
authority structures. The multi-directional movement of peoples around the world, that haven’t been to this extent ever, involved new pecularities of trans-national migration, identities and communities; and new society stratums , that are formed on discrimination, and relations of domination that surround the world and the complete global system. He then goes ahead to discuss the development of academic literature on these factors that resulted in studies on globalization, and the ensuing studies on how the globalization influences almost every sphere of everyday life; the economic, political and social- cultural aspects of society. He says, “All disciplines and specializations that are in the academy seem to have been involved in globalization studies, from ethnic, area and women’s studies, to literature, arts, language and cultural studies, social sciences, history, law, business administration, and even the natural and applied sciences.” .”(Robinson, 2005). The two categories of research on globalization the can be outlined are:
1) The study of specific problems and issues relating to globalization
2) The very nature of the concept of globalization itself, where he author insists on the importance of theories of globalization in the contemporary world.
Robinson then delves into the topic of the meaning of globalization which, in essence, is the key question in the article. This question is an intriguing one because different scholars have defined the term differently, putting certain factors into consideration. Robinson goes ahead to state the key factors that most scholars have agreed on as being key indicators of globalization, including the increased pace of social transformation and changes occured around the world in the final decades of the twentieth century, increasing connectivity among people and countries world- wide, and the increased world- wide awareness of these connections. He then adds that different dimensions of globalization are inter- related and that hence, globalization is multi- dimensional.
He then goes into the theories of modernization, stating the domain questions to be considered in the formulation of these theories, including whether globalization refers to a process or to a condition, how modernity and post- modernity relate to globalization, the relationship between globalization and the nation- state and whether the nation- state is being undermined if globalization involves internationalization;, if the nation- state has retained its primacy, to what extent the relationship between structure and territorialism has been redefined by globalization, and if there should be a deterritorialization of the arts, language, cultural studies and social sciences among other branches of education.Then the author gives some samples including, the world- system theory, the network society, theories of transnational and transitionationalism among others. In conclusion, he reiterates the importance of globalization and expresses his appreciation for the role it has played and continues to play in each and every sector of our lives. In spite of all the progress in research on globalization, certain loop-holes still remain and, as Robinson states, “future theoretical work that leads into globalization would do amazingly well to theorize more systematically changes in the nature of social action and power relations in the globalization age, and how globalization may extend the ‘limits of the possible’.”(Robinson, 2005)
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The analysis by Robinson is extensive as he quotes from various sources and has done his own research. However, much as globalization occurs at a world- wide scale, its impacts cannot be limited to the same thus, it would be prudent to include the direct impacts of globalization at an individual level on an analysis such as this so as to make sure all possible areas are covered.