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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Peter Del Tredici
Urban habitats are characterized by high levels of disturbance, impervious paving, and heat retention. These factors, acting in concert, alter soil, water, and air conditions in ways that promote the growth of stress-tolerant, early-successional vegetation on abandoned or unmaintained land. In most urban areas, a cosmopolitan array of spontaneous plants provide important ecological services that, in light of projected climate change impacts, are likely to become more significant in the future. Learning how to manage spontaneous urban vegetation to increase its ecological and social values may be a more sustainable strategy than attempting to restore historical ecosystems that flourished before the city existed.
Acting Up on Science and Immigration in France
Michael J. Bosia
From a postcolonial left that challenges the French state over immigration policy and neoliberal globalization, Act Up has advocated for the social and political rights and needs of women, inmates, drug users, and immigrants with HIV/AIDS. This essay examines as well Act Up's engagement with science and globalization in response to new experimental medical trials in the Global South. Act Up's emphasis on local empowerment against global economic and social actors has earned criticism from American and South African AIDS activists, but at the same time these campaigns stress the universalist impulse imbedded in the Act Up brand of French Republican politics.
Anat First and Eli Avraham
American values, symbols, landscapes, and lifestyles have been widely used in Israeli advertisements to market a vast array of consumer goods. An analysis of advertisements that appeared in Israeli newspapers during the 1990s reveals that American symbols were invoked to promote products produced in the United States, Israel, or even a third country. By examining the relationship between advertising and culture, along with the changes that have occurred in Israeli society during this period, this analysis focuses on two interlocking spheres: capitalist-economic (labor and production, consumption, and technology) and cultural (cultural heroes and symbols, language, and lifestyle). Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, it is the authors' goal to show how social values have changed over time, losing their Israeliness and taking on an American flavor. This article seeks to present the manifestation of the American image in Israeli advertisements and thereby fuel a discussion on the Americanization of Israeli society.
Dennis W. MacDonald
Among the many contributions of Roderick D. McKenzie to sociology are two ideas which continue to be useful in understanding modern society. First, as the main proponent and theorist of the human ecology of the Chicago School, McKenzie offers suggestions for an alternative conception of society, one that emphasizes among other things the physical basis of social relations. Secondly, McKenzie's works suggest in various ways that modern society is characterized by a growth in physical integration. The first aspect of this argument is found in his discussion of the centrality of institutions in the analysis of social relations. The second aspect is his detailed description and analysis of the “great integrated unity“ that he called the Great Society or World Society. Many decades before sociologists began to write of “globalization,“ McKenzie provides detailed description and extensive analysis of global society and many of the issues in the current globalization debate.