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John Schostak 2005
The term 'globalisation' seems to suggest 'totality', or 'everything'. However, today it means more than that! It suggests a break between one way of thinking about 'everything' and another. It is intimately connected to technological advances in communications technologies. Think back to before the mobile phone was ubiquitous. It is not that long ago. Think again about the internet - when did it become indsipensable to everyday life? Not that long ago. Yet it feels like it has always been there. there is some kind of 'difference' that has been called between the times when 'getting on line' was possible and when it was not. Anywhere, anytime, for anyone- these are the buzz words of globalisation. Yes, there is illusion there too. There are many millions who are not 'on line' and many places unconnected. Those who are connected are 'lit up', those who are not, are 'in the dark', 'disenfranchised', 'invisible'. Furthermore:
Let me remind you that the concept of 'globalisation' has been coined to replace the long established concept of 'universalisation' once it had become apparent that the emergence of global links and networks had nothing of the intentional and controlled nature implied by the old concept. 'Globalisation' stands for processes seen as self-propelling, spontaneous and erratic, with no one sitting at the control desk and no one taking on planning, let alone taking charge of the overall results. We may say with little exaggeration that the term 'globalisation' stands for the disorderly nature of the processes which take place above the 'principally coordinated' territory administered by the 'highest level' of institutionalised power, that is, sovereign states.
(Bauman 2001: 34)
and a little further on, Bauman remarks:
In the globalising world, order becomes the index of powerlessness and subordination. The new global power structure is operated by the oppositions between mobility and sedentariness, contingency and routine, rarity and density of contraints. It is as if the long stretch of history which began with the triumph of the settled over the nomads is now coming to its end ... Globalisation may be defined in many ways, but that of the 'revenge of the nomads' is as good as if not better than any other.
(Bauman 2001: 35)
This suggests that globalisation is a cultural phenomenon aided and abetted by certain technological accomplishements. the mobile phone, the internet and the sheer speed of physical transport make it possible for anyone (who has the resources - a critical criterion) to be continually -or at least speedily - in contact no matter where they are. Globalisation erodes boundaries, fixity, stability. What then are the potnetial impacts on 'identities', 'places', 'cultures'.....?
For a discussion that reflects upon the impacts of globalisation on cultural life see the globalisation of education and the disucssions concerning postmodernism. (see also)
Bauman, Z. (2001) The Individualised Society, Cambrige: Polity