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Sarah Waters

The Confédération paysanne can be described as a marginal farmers' union that represents the vested interests of a tiny minority and that seems to swim against a tide of socio-economic change. At a time when France is increasingly integrated into a global economy, it calls for greater protectionism, a massive increase in state subsidies, and a closure of borders to trade. Yet, far from being dismissed as marginal or anachronistic, the Confédération, at the height of its influence, was hailed as a symbol of the “general interest” and gained the enthusiastic support of a majority of French citizens. In this essay, the author suggests that the success of the Confédération had little to do with conventional political or institutional patterns but was derived instead from its “symbolic power” and its capacity to transform its own cause into a metaphor for opposition to globalization. At a time of profound crisis, the Confédération was able to capture one of the nation's most enduring myths, laying claim to a whole symbolic universe linked to peasant farming. Whilst such symbolism is hardly new in the French context, the Confédération's particular skill was to counterpose this against a dominant image of neo-liberal globalization. It posited peasant farming as an antidote to all the evils of a globalizing world, one in which identity is reaffirmed, tradition is preserved and social bonds are restored.

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Erik Gawel and Kristina Bernsen

Although the traditional approach in water resources management is to address water-related scarcity problems at the local or regional scale, some see water as a global resource with global drivers and impacts, supporting the argument for a global governance of water. If water is not appropriately priced, or if “poor water governance“ creates adverse incentives for resource use in countries that export “virtual water,“ then increased demand from the world market may lead to the overexploitation of water or increasing pollution. Is this reason enough for a global governance of regional water-scarcity problems? On which scale should water-management problems actually be addressed, and can global action compensate for local and regional governance failure? The paper argues that compensating globally for regional governance failure could cause “problems of fit“ and present severe downside risks.

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Cycling in a Global World

Introduction to the Special Section

Ruth Oldenziel and Adri Albert de la Bruhèze

During their transnational circulation, bicycles became glocalized as local users tailored them to fit local laws, customs, user preferences and cultures. Bicycles thus acquired many different local meanings as users incorporated them into daily lifes and practices in diverse global settings. To show the importance of 'normalized use', i.e. rural bicycle use, in which cycling became enduring, sustainable, new, old and new again, we need globally grounded histories of mobility.

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Gabriela Kütting

This article reviews the contributions of the two main discourses that study the environment and development in global politics: the human/environmental security discourse and the critical globalization discourse. Both sub-disciplines deal with what is substantively the same subject matter from different perspectives. However, there is hardly any cross-reference between these two dialogues. This article explores the contributions of these two bodies of literature and evaluates their common ground. It argues that with the exception of the traditional environmental security school of thought there is substantial overlap in terms of research concerns. However, it also finds that the language of the critical human/ecological security school of thought hinders rather than helps its research concern.

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Maria Stehle

After presenting a brief summary of the events leading up to the German Autumn, this article offers a close analysis of media responses in major German newspapers and magazines in the months following these violent and confusing political developments. It compares these responses to reports in January 1980, where the events of the late 1970s serve as a catalyst for fears of global change. Media articulate these fears about the stability and identity of the West German nation state in increasingly vague and generalized terms and relate them to a global situation that is "out of control." The discussions in this article suggest that these expressed fears reveal tensions, interruptions, and gaps in the conservative fantasy of the secure and prosperous Western nation state.

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Ibrahim Aoude, Andrew Davidson, Sergio Fiedler, Michael Humphrey and Owen Sichone

Jonathan Friedman, Cultural Identity & Global Process. (London: Sage Publications, 1994), pp. 253.

Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 366.

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), pp. 229.

Zymaut Bauman, Globalization: The Human Consequences. (Cambridge: Polity, 1998), pp. 136.

Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives. (London: Profile Books, 2000), pp. 104.

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The correct secret

Discretion and hypertransparency in Chinese biosecurity

Katherine A. Mason

that xenophobia had reigned over reason ( Metzl 2009 ; Stolberg and Robinson 2009 ). In this article I examine Tianmai’s disease control response in the context of a global post-SARS political aesthetic that established the free and transparent sharing

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After dispossession

Ethnographic approaches to neoliberalization

Oscar Salemink and Mattias Borg Rasmussen

This collection of articles addresses the question of how unequal social relations materialize and become part of the everyday in very different settings, in the form of dispossession and disenfranchisement on the global margins. More specifically

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Moving on

Italy as a stepping stone in migrants’ imaginaries

Anna Tuckett

show that understandings and imaginations of “home” and “away” are structured by unequal global power relationships in which material success and personal development are thought to be achievable only through migration ( Bal 2013 ; Gaibazzi 2014

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Birgitte Bruun

industry-funded transnational medical research for commercial gains ( Rajan 2007 ), but in Africa state- and philanthropy-funded transnational medical research for public health purposes is also often founded on the basis of the same global inequalities