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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S101-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2000
Retrieved June 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

Globalization is one of the most hotly contested issues in contemporary social inquiry and public discussion. The debates mainly revolve around six points: definition, measurement, chronology, causes, consequences, and policy responses.

In regard to definition, five broad usages of ’ globalization’ can be distinguished: internationalization, liberalization, universalization, Westernization, and deterritorialization. Although these conceptions overlap to some extent, their emphases are substantially different.

With respect to magnitude, ’ globalists’ suggest that today’ s world is thoroughly globalized, whereas sceptics dismiss every claim of globalization as myth. Most observers agree that the incidence of globalization has been uneven, and that some countries and social circles have experienced globality more than others.

The chronology of globalization depends in good part on the definition adopted. Internationalization, liberalization, universalization and Westernization can all be traced back at least several centuries, if not millennia. On the other hand, deterritorialization has transpired on a large scale only since the third quarter of the twentieth century.

Accounts of the causal dynamics of globalization depend upon one’ s theoretical persuasion. However, most researchers explain globalization in some way as a product of modernity and/or capitalism. Many studies also highlight the enabling effects of certain technological developments and certain regulatory arrangements.

In terms of its consequences for social structure, some analysts treat globalization as radically transformative. Such accounts link globalization to the end of the state, the end of nationality, the end of modernity, and more. In contrast, other assessments downplay any suggestion of social change in connection with globalization. Still others conclude that globalization generates an interplay of changes and continuities in social structure.

Finally, in regard to policy, neoliberal approaches argue that globalization should be guided by market forces. In contrast, reformist strategies maintain that globalization should be deliberately steered with public policies, including in particular through suprastate laws and institutions. From a more radical position, traditionalists seek to ’ de-globalize’ and return to a pre-global status quo ante. Other radicals advocate a continuation of globalization, but in tandem with a revolutionary social transformation, for example, to a post-capitalist society.

Citing this article:
Scholte, Jan Aart. Globalization, 2000, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S101-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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