Teaching the New Globalism
Featured Image: Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
By Professor George Kaloudis.
Abstract – This article proposes a framework on how to teach the New Globalism so that
students can gain a better understanding of the world beyond the confines of the United States.
I began teaching my course on globalization during the mid-1990s with enthusiasm believing that my students would consider new and provocative material. In addition, I held the belief that I was presenting them with a different way to view the international system. I had hoped that students would become more curious about the world beyond the confines of the United States.
Soon I realized that my students were not any more interested about global affairs than before taking course.
The primary reason for the unfortunate outcome was the way I taught the subject matter. The course consisted of a constellation of disconnected topics ranging from historical to social to economic and political .My students’ and my own dissatisfaction led me to reconsider the course during the next few years; but the end product continued to be insufficient.
Only when I read Manuel Castells‘ (2005) article on “Global Governance and Global Politics“; I came to the conclusion that I had discovered an appropriate framework to effectively and systematically teach such a challenging course to mostly non-majors.
It is a challenging course because of the definitional problems associated with the term globalization and because of the inexhaustible number of topics that could be examined in such a course.
In redesigning the course I considered three questions:
- 1. What definition and course-title best reflect the global changes?.
- 2. Where does one begin when teaching a course on globalization?.
- 3. What should the course examine?.
What definition and course-title best reflect the global changes?
Jan Aart Scholte (2000) in a wonderful book titled Globalization: a critical introduction addresses the definitional problem. Scholte states that globalization is often defined as internationalization, liberalization, universalization, and westernization.
Globalization as internationalization “refers to increases of interaction and interdependence between people in different countries.”
Globalization as liberalization refers to the reduction of “regulatory barriers to transfers of resources between countries.”
Globalization as universalization describes a condition in which “more people and cultural phenomena than ever have in recent history spread to all habitable corners of the planet.”
Globalization as westernization is associated with the process of homogenization, as all the world becomes western, modern and, more particularly, American.”
However, Scholte says, all these definitions are deficient because they do not present anything new. Much included in these definitions developed at earlier times during the 500-year history of the modern state-system. Scholte himself defines globalization as deterritorialization, or what he refers to as the growth of supraterritorial relations between people. Even though, he notes, territory remains important, many of the relations between people are supraterritorial (pp. 44-46).
More specifically, Scholte says that globalization:
“refers to a far-reaching change in the nature of social space. The proliferation and spread of supraterritorial… connections brings an end to what could be called territorialism, that is, a situation where social geography is entirely territorial. Although, as already stressed, territory still matters very much in our globalizing world, it no longer constitutes the whole of our geography” ( p. 46).
Scholte’s definition better reflects the global changes and I encourage my students to think of his definition as our guide during the semester. The most fitting title for such a course is the New Globalism because as Jurgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson (2003), Daniel Cohen (2007) and numerous other scholars argue, globalization is not a new phenomenon. The current state of affairs is nothing more than a new and different phase/act of globalization; one of the significant differences between other phases and the current phase of globalization is the role of the media and, a related component, the speed of communication.
Where does one begin when teaching the course?.
Before I begin discussing the New Globalism I must provide my students with the appropriate context. Obviously, the global changes create many opportunities as well as perils. Among the opportunities, some would argue, is higher technology, greater interactions between peoples, and rising incomes. The one significant difficulty I choose to focus on is the challenge that the global changes present to the state. To successfully discuss this challenge I refer back to the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which signified the beginning of the modern state-system.
The Treaty of Westphalia, as Baylis and Smith (2001) state, was based on two principles: statehood and sovereignty.
“Statehood meant that the world was divided into territorial parcels, each of which was ruled by a separate government. This modern state was centralized, formally organized public authority apparatus that enjoyed a legal (and mostly effective) monopoly over the means of violence in the area of its jurisdiction. The Westphalian State was moreover sovereign, that is, it exercised comprehensive, supreme, unqualified, and exclusive control over its designated territorial domain. Comprehensive rule meant that, in principle, sovereign state had jurisdiction over all affairs in the country. Supreme rule meant that, recognizing no superior authority, the sovereign state had the final say in respect to its territory. Unqualified rule meant that, although Westphalian times witnessed occasional debates about possible duties of humanitarian intervention, on the whole the state’s right of total jurisdiction was treated as sacrosanct by other states. Finally, exclusive rule meant that sovereign states did not share competences in regard to their respective domestic jurisdictions. There was no ‘joint sovereignty’ among states; ‘pooled sovereignty’ was a contradiction in terms” (pp. 20-21).
The course also devotes attention to various kinds of sovereignty. According to Stephen Krasner (2006) there are four different kinds of sovereignty:
“domestic sovereignty, referring to the organization of public authority within a state and to the level of effective control exercised by those holding authority; interdependence sovereignty, referring to the control over transborder flows; international legal sovereignty, referring to the mutual recognition of states; and Westphalian sovereignty, referring to the maintenance of borders and territory – meaning, the exclusion of external authority structures from domestic authority configurations” (p. 660).
Moreover, Christopher Rudolph (2005) discusses societal sovereignty. He says a growing awareness of sovereignty’s societal dimensions and an that “[w]hat appears to be happening as the trading state grand strategy has emerged as the dominant program among advanced industrial democracies is that the contemporary approaches to defending territorial sovereignty have exhibited increasing desire for stability in this emerging domain” (p. 13).
The Treaty of Westphalia contained “an early official statement of the core principles that came to dominate world affairs during the subsequent three [or more] hundred years. The Westphalian system was states-system. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as states increasingly took the form of nation-states, people came to refer to international as well interstate relations and frequently described the Westphalian order as the international system” (Baylis and Smith, p. 19). “The Westphalian system was a framework of governance. That is, it provided a general way to formulate, implement, monitor and enforce social rules” (Baylis and Smith, p. 20). The Westphalian Order remained dominant for the next 350 years. The Westphalian Order is threatened by the global transformation.
Today, there are too many actors in the international system that compete with the state or challenge the state, i.e., terrorist groups, NGOs, etc. State sovereignty is compromised more than ever before. States, of course, are not withering away. They recognize the challenges confronting them and attempt to manage them. The desire to promote democracy around the world is an effort by the state, at least the industrial democratic state, to preserve itself.
What should the course examine?.
The course examines the multidimensional changes occurring across the globe: technological, economic, cultural, and institutional/political. Of the four elements, because of my own interests, the focus is placed on the economic and institutional/political changes. I especially, but not exclusively, emphasize the multidimensional changes since the mid-1970s. Beginning in the 1970s the significant technological innovations were accompanied by dramatic institutional/political developments with the democratization of Portugal, Greece, and Spain.
Samuel Huntington (1992), in his book The Third Wave: Democratization In The Late Twentieth Century, presents three waves of democratization.
The first wave began in 1828 with the extension of suffrage in the United States. It ended in the 1920s with the rise of fascism in Europe. This wave was lengthy but not deep. After the early 1920s there was what Huntington calls a reverse wave with the establishment of non-democratic governments in countries that had become democratic after World War I, i.e., Italy and Germany.
The second wave was brief; it began in 1945 and ended in the early 1960s. The early 1960s were followed once again be a reverse wave when dictators rose to power in many countries including Latin American countries.
The third wave began in 1974 in Portugal with the fall of the dictatorship and the rise of democracy. The Portuguese example was quickly followed by Greece and Spain. The third wave substantially differs from the previous two; it is more extensive and deeper. It is more extensive, because today there are more democratic countries than ever before, and it is deeper, because the majority of people in democratic countries consider democracy as the “only game in town.”
At this juncture the course focuses on the wisdom of spreading democracy and more important on who should lead the effort of doing so. Should it be the international community or the United States? The works of a number of authors are discussed to provide some understanding of the complexity of these issues.
Robert Cooper (2000) argues that democracy causes both integration and disintegration. For example, he points out that “[d]emocracy, …, is thus a source, perhaps the source, of disintegration” (31) and the break up of the former Soviet Union is cited as an example. He also notes, however, that shared democratic values much contributed to European integration and the rise of the European Union.
Philippe Schmitter (2000) asserts that:
“Europe today is paradoxically a place of both political integration and political disintegration. Larger-scale and smaller-scale political units are becoming more prominent and taking on more functions. The ‘traditional’ nation-state finds itself caught in the middle-challenged, as it were, from above and below” (p. 43).
Adam Daniel Rotfeld (2000) focuses on the role of the international community in promoting democracy. He states that “[a]s the post-Cold War world order continues to take shape, we are left wondering whether globalization or fragmentation will prevail. In reality, of course, the choice is not that stark, and both phenomena will continue to exist-and perhaps to thrive-in parallel. States will not wither away but will adapt in various ways to each of these two tendencies. Multinational security structures will have an increasing impact, directly and indirectly, on the internal transformations of state. International institutions will keep trying to stave off, de-escalate, and resolve the conflicts that inevitably accompany the formation of new national entities. We can expect the impact of international organizations and security structures to grow. The forces of stability and the forces of fragmentation will continue to clash, but we can hope that the emergence of a new multilateral security system will help to balance and mitigate the resulting tensions” (p. 95).
Robert Kagan (2000) advocates a different approach regarding the promotion of democracy and how to secure the international system. For him, what is most important is the foreign policies of great powers and especially the foreign policy of the United States, which is the only superpower. In Kagan’s view “[t]he task of America is to preserve and extend the present democratic era as far into the future as possible, in the full knowledge that democracy is not inevitable but requires the ongoing attention of individuals and nations wishing to sustain it. As it happens, the present era offers an especially favorable opportunity to advance democratic principles successfully and in relative safety. It would be a timeless human tragedy if the United States failed to seize it” (p. 112).
According to Manuel Castells (2005), democratic states are faced with four distinct crises: crisis of efficiency, crisis of legitimacy, crisis of identity, and crisis of equity.
Crisis of efficiency means that “problems cannot be adequately managed, i.e., major environmental issues, regulation of financial markets.”
Crisis of legitimacy means that “political representation is increasingly distant, with greater distance between citizens and their representatives. The crisis of legitimacy is exasperated by the practice of media politics of scandal as the privileged mechanisms to access power. Image making substitutes for issue debating, partly due to the fact that major issues can no longer be decided in the national space.”
Crisis of identity means that “as people see their nation and their culture increasingly disjointed from the mechanisms of political decision making in a global, multinational network, their claim of autonomy takes the form of resistance identity politics as opposed to their political identity as citizens.”
Crisis of equity means “[t]he process of market-led globalization often increases inequality between countries, and between social groups within countries, because of its ability to induce faster economic growth in some areas while bypassing others” (p. 10).
An additional work used to illuminate the discussion about democracy and democratization is Robert Putnam’s (1995) article titled “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” He uses bowling and belonging to bowling leagues as a metaphor to describe the lack of civic engagement. A few decades ago, he says, people belonged to bowling leagues and often as groups they went to bowling allies. While there, not only they bowled but they also talked about their schools and their community. Now, even though as many people go bowling as in the past, they go bowling alone. Going bowling alone does not encourage civic engagement.
Despite the difficulties confronting democracies in advanced industrial societies, many people and especially the young, Russell Dalton (2004) states, do not want less democracy, they want more.The multidimensional crises do not inhibit the states from adapting to the global changes. As Manuel Castells (2005) argues, they adapt to the changes in many different ways including the following:
- a. By associating with each other and forming diverse networks of states: EU, NAFTA, and APEC are some examples.
b. By building an increasingly dense network of international institutions such as the UN, NATO, IMF, and WTO.
c. By decentralizing power and resources through devolution of power to regional governments, to local governments, and to NGOs that extend the decision making process in the civil society.
At this point of the course, once again, Manuel Castells (2005) provides some wonderful ideas about different paths toward the reconstruction of democratic governance. Paths such as:
- a. Private/public partnerships.
- b. Development of a global civil society.
- c. Emergence of the global movement for global justice.
- d. Redefinition of the role of international institutions.
- e. Attempts to build new international institutions.
The course ends with me asking the students if a better world is possible and they are asked to read International Forum on Globalization (2004) to consider the possibilities of a “better world.”
- Baylis, John and Steve Smith, ed. 2001. The Globalization of World Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Castells, Manuel. 2005. “Global Governance and Global Politics.” PS: Political Science and Politics XXXVIII.1: 9-16.
- Cohen, Daniel. 2007. Globalization and Its Enemies, trans. Jessica B. Baker. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
- Cooper, Robert. 2000. “Integration and Disintegration.” In Globalization, Power, and Democracy, ed. Marc F. Plattner and Aleksander Smolar. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 28-40.
- Dalton, Russell. 2004. Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices: The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Huntington, Samuel P. 1992. The Third Wave: Democratization In The Late Twentieth Century. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.
- International Forum on Globalization. 2004. “A Better World Is Possible!.” In The Globalization Reader, ed. Frank J. Lechner and John Boli. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 438-448.
- Kagan, Robert. 2000. “The Centrality of the United States.” In Globalization, Power, and Democracy, ed. Marc F. Plattner and Aleksander Smolar. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 97-113.
- Krasner, Stephen. 2006. “Problematic Sovereignty.” In Classic Readings and Contemporary Debates in International Relations, ed. Phil Williams, Donald M. Goldstein, and Jay M. Shafritz. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth, 660-666.
- Osterhammel, Jurgen and Niels P. Petersson. 2003. Globalization: A Short History, trans. Dona Geyer. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
- Putnam, Robert. 1995. “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy 6.1: 65-78.
- Rotfeld, Adam Daniel. 2000. “The Role of the International Community.” In Globalization, Power, and Democracy, ed. Marc F. Plattner and Aleksander Smolar. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Rudolph, Christopher. 2005. “Sovereignty and Territorial Borders in a Global Age.” International Studies Review 7: 1-20.
- Schmitter, Philippe C. 2000. “Democracy, the EU, and the Question of Scale.” In Globalization, Power, and Democracy, ed. Marc F. Plattner and Aleksander Smolar. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 43-56.
- Scholte, Jan Aart. 2000. Globalization: A Critical Introduction. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
A list of the rest of the works considered to teach the course:
- Bhagwati, Jagdish. 2007. In Defense of Globalization. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Castells, Manuel. 1999. The Rise of the Network Society. Vol. 1. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
- ———-. 1999. End of Millenium. Vol. 3. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
- Etzioni, Amitai. 2004. From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.
- Ferguson, Yale and Richard Mansbach. 2004. Remapping Global Politics: History’s Revenge and Future Shock. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Gill, Stephen. 1996. “Globalization, Democratization, and the Politics of Indifference.” In Globalization: Critical Reflections, ed. James H. Mittelman. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 205-228.
- Gills, Barry K., ed. Globalization in Crisis. London and New York: Routledge, 2011.
- Held, David. 2004. Global Covenant: The Social Democratic Alternative to the Washington Consensus. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
- Rosenau, James. 2006. “Governance in Fragmegrative Space.” In Classic Readings and Contemporary Debates in International Relations, ed. Phil Williams, Donald M. Goldstein, and Jay M. Shafritz. Belmont, CA: Thomson-Wadsworth, 571-580.
- Scholte, Jan Aart. 2001. “Globalization and the states-system.” In Globalization of World Politics, ed. John Baylis and Steve Smith, 20-23. New York: Oxford University Press.
Professor George Kaloudis, Department of History, Law and Political Science, Rivier College, Nashua, NH, 03060, USA.
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