Globalization, the Regional,
National, and Local
Thinking Globalization 3.1
Definition: “Globalization is a comprehensive term for the emergence of a
global society in which economic, political, environmental, and cultural events
in one part of the world quickly come to have significance for people,
communities, businesses, and governments in other parts of the world as the
result of advances in communication, transportation, and information
Thus, Globalization has social and spatial meanings:
Social: “Since the nineties, globalization, has replaced ‘postmodernism’ as a
master term used to name, interpret and direct the social and technological
transformations of the contemporary era.”
Globalization has created a new “borderless world” where “planetary
distance is being overcome, freed from the tyranny of distance.”
A Brief History of Globalization
Globalization is “regarded as the outcome of a history of Western expansionism,
which began in 1492 when major European powers drew the rest of the world into
their economic and/or political spheres.”
European countries were looking for new places to conquer and new routs for
trade. This enabled the discovery of new lands and the beginning of colonialism.
Before and continually after then trade and the shipment of goods and people
were free flowing between different regions of the world.
Even then goods from the then heart of the world, Asia, were exported to Europe
and that introduced part of Asia's culture to the European people and many were
then adopted by the people of Europe. Ex. Spices that changed European cuisine
By the 19th century expansion was “driven not just by military power but by a set of
communication technologies (such as) the railway, refrigeration, steam shipping
and the telegraph,” which made the flow of information faster than ever before.
These new technologies were bringing nations together especially western
nations. New international regulations and organizations were established to help
organize and monitor the increasing trade and finance between nations. Ex. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Trade Organization (WTO) and The
The result of this “free trade” that came with globalization was “remarkable growth
in trade and output between Europe, Japan and the USA.” This of course meant
financial growth and the expansion of local markets.
“Immigration from poor to rich nations boomed, feeding funds and cultural
changes back into undeveloped regions.”
Western regime’s method of conquest and warfare was replaced by
entrepreneurism as a way of thought. The transformation was as a result of
economic, technological, political and cultural factors.
Among the most important effects of globalization on nations of the world is the
spread of industrialization under the ideology of development.
“Nation states pursued policies that would encourage foreign investment and
trade, deregulating their economies, offering tax breaks and so on” to get more
financial investors into their markets.
“Relatively underdeveloped countries were positioned as attractive sources for
labor and attractive options for investment.”
The following effects also resulted from globalization
– Privatization of state enterprises
– Offshore manufacturing- goods were made in another country then
shipped back to be sold locally. Unemployment grew because jobs
were being outsourced to other countries because it is cheaper there.
– Women’s participation in the workforce increased and that made the
job market more competitive.
– Some companies franchised their brand and organizational expertise
The development of new communications technologies such as the
internet is continually changing trade and financial investment.
“Fast, cheap, transnational air travel underpinned a vast extension of
global business exchange, as well as positioning tourism as a key global
• “The process of globalization lead to a global uniformity” or sameness.
– “The shrinking of the world” leads to “sameness. “The sense that
national and local differences are being erased as import/export
grows and brands are globalized.”
– “Allows people to imagine the world as a planet they share with
– Ex. Shopping in one city like Singapore is like shopping in
Vancouver or Berlin.
• Thus, “globalism is capitalism, and capitalism is a mode of production
that swallows up all the alternative modes of production and radically
constrains the lives of those who live inside it.”
• As a result of this global sameness, differences between cultures and
peoples are decreasing.
The “anti-globalization movement” also called “global Justice movement” is a
movement comprised of people from many parts of the world who come
“together to protest:
Job losses in industries under attack from foreign competition
The rights of indigenous peoples
And what was often called the cultural imperialism of a US-dominated
“Actions in one place have consequences elsewhere. Hence massive overconsumption in first-world countries shapes economies and environments
around the world.”
Globalization and Culture
• Cultural outcomes of Globalization:
1- Products are developed by companies for various regional or national markets
while tweaking marketing to take account of local differences. Ex. fast food
restaurants in the far east give rice with their meals as an alternative to fires.
2- Globalization of cultural production restructures cultural industries. Ex. Some
TV shows are shot in locations outside the US because it is cheaper, then
sent back to the US for the rest of the process.
3- “Globalization increases the importance of national cultural and media policies
and fuels debates between cultural trade deregulators and those who want to
protect local industries and cultural formations.” Ex. Many nations are worried
about loosing their culture because of the impact of US TV and film exports.
4- Imported culture is preferred over local culture because it is un-bias and does
not remind people of any social injustice or political agenda. Ex. Young
Indians living in London responded well to a Coke advertisement because it
was not British nor Indian. British reminded them of racism in England
towards Indians and Indian meant restrictions imposed upon them by their
5- The increased flow between regions are intensifying the position of English as
a world language.
6- “Global cities” have emerged as places that exercise cultural and economic
power over government and regulations. These are centers of financial
industries or culture or both. These cities “are key markets for advanced
architecture and design. They are also trendsetters for urbanization, urban
renewal, multiculturalism and heritage consciousness.” Ex. London, New York
There are also “regional world cities” that are important regionally and not
globally. Ex. Hong Kong, Mexico City, Sydney, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris,
7- “Immigration is enabled by the increased cultural contacts between nations:
television shows, military bases, tourism, the presence of multinational
corporations, all channel knowledge about rich countries to poor countries
making immigration seem all the more possible and attractive.”
8- Increased the role of imagination in everyday life, which “allows people to
consider migration, resist state violence, seek social redress and design new
forms of civic association and collaboration.” It has opened people’s minds to
other options to improve their lives.
The Regional, National and Local 3.2
Region: A large, usually continuous segment of a surface or space.
“One effect of globalization which has real implications for culture is the way
that increased global economic competition is dividing the world in new
ways.” Mostly into “regions.”
“These regions do not have fixed political borders. They exist as ideas or
images or inspirations or alliances designed to promote regional economic
activity or security.” Ex. Turkey is a part of two continents. It was once
considered a part of the East. That image is changing and it is now being
considered as part of both and is a candidate for the EU.
Regionalism is a cultural phenomenon that gives regions their individual
identity, to which companies wanting to invest in need to cater to. These
companies must produce material that expresses and takes advantage of that
region’s experiences and values. Ex. MTV has many channels and each one
is catered towards the region it broadcasts to. MTV Asia...
National/Nations and Nationalism
• Nation: “A large body of people (or race that share history,
traditions and culture, and are) associated with a particular
territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to
possess a government peculiarly its own.
• Nationalism: “loyalty and devotion to a nation; a sense of
national consciousness exalting one nation above all others
and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and
interests as opposed to those of other nations or groups.”
• “Almost everyone is born a citizen of a particular nation-state.
This does not mean that everyone lives in nation-states.” Ex.
Refugee camps in Africa, the Gaza Strip and West Bank and
Pakistan and Indonesia borders.
During colonial times, national identities were seen as anti-colonial
identities because it was something other than being a subject of the
“Nationalism is most powerful among communities that share a language,
a tradition, a religion, and an ethnic identity.”
There is a notion that nationalism turns to racism because of the nation’s
inability to fulfill its citizens’ emotional needs. Because “one basis for
nationalism is individual attachment to the economic benefits that the
state provides.” If this, and other bases for nationalism, are not present
than nationalism towards the state is weakened and maybe reversed.
“ Certain nations market themselves as national cultures in order to attract
both tourists and business investment.” Ex. Thailand, Australia and the UK
“The emergence of tourism during the eighteenth century focused on one
particular sense-vision.” This is called the “tourist gaze.”
– Tourists, travelled - and still travel – primarily for visual pleasures which
involve both the pleasures of recognition (seeing sites whose value and
meaning are known in advance) and of the exotic (what they could not
see at home).”
– “The tourist gaze, although pleasurable, is detached and superficial,
missing the deeper meanings and experiences of the sites and lands that
– Tourist sites mean something different to locals than they do to tourists.
Tourism helps produce and maintain national and local cultures because
those local cultures have to be taken care of and developed to attract tourists.
Not all leisure travel is tourism. Ex. Going to a resort or to the beach
Patriotism and Cultural Nationalism
Patriotism: love for or devotion to one's country.
Cultural Nationalism: loyalty and devotion to a culture rather than just a
“Nationalism is powerful where it is politically and economically most visible.”
Ex. The Scottish and the English, who share a language, are politically
unified, and share almost identical values and cultural references. Yet
Scottish nationalism is strong and independent of that of the English.
“American patriotism is not based on cultural or ethnic identities but instead
on a commitment to democracy.”
Nationalism needs to accept groups who belong to a nation separate from
that of the state of which they are citizens. Ex. Indigenous people