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Teaching globalisation in the social sciences

the effectiveness of a refugee simulation

Stacy Keogh George

This article describes the incorporation of a refugee simulation into an upper-division sociology course on globalisation at a liberal arts institution in the United States. The simulation is designed to inform students of the refugee process in the United States by inviting participants to immerse themselves in refugee experiences by adopting identities of actual refugee families as they complete four stages of the refugee application process. Student reactions to the refugee simulation suggest that it is an effective tool for demonstrating the complexities of the refugee experience in the United States and for evoking social empathy.

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Some Responses to Globalisation in Uzbekistan

State Authoritarianism, Migrant Labour and Neo-traditionalism

Laurent Bazin

Uzbekistan offers a case study of a country that has blocked the liberalisation of its economy and that is being marginalised in the world market as well as in the international community. Even still, two typical expressions of globalisation processes can be identified: first, an attempt to reconstruct the legitimacy of the state through the reinvention of a 'national identity', and, second, the elimination of a specific form of protected salaried work that had arisen during the Soviet era, along with a concurrent proletarianisation of the population, in particular in the rural areas. The research shows that political coercion and the inculcation of a nationalist ideology, on the one hand, and the economic degradation of living standards, on the other, result in the reinforcement of family ties and repression of individuality, in spite of huge labour migrations and a (minimal) introduction of the market.

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Peter L. Berger

The topic I propose to address here is vast, and all I can reasonably do is to present a picture painted with very large brushstrokes. Much of what I will have to say will be based on insights gained from the work of the research centre I direct at Boston University, first of all from the largest project we ever undertook – a ten-country study of globalisation and culture (the major results have been published in a volume I co-edited with Samuel Huntington, Many Globalisations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World, Oxford University Press, 2002). And before I say anything about religion, I must make some general observations about the cultural dimension of globalisation. (Though I will point out right away that in most of the world, as soon as one looks at culture, one is looking at religion.)

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Douglas Kellner

As the third millennium unfolds, one of the most dramatic technological and economic revolutions in history is advancing a set of processes that are changing everything from the ways in which people work to the ways that they communicate with each other and spend their leisure time. The technological revolution centres on computer, information, communication, and multimedia technologies. These are key aspects of the production of a new economy, described as postindustrial, post-Fordist, and postmodern, accompanied by a networked society and cyberspace, and the juggernaut of globalisation. There are, of course, furious debates about how to describe the Great Transformation of the contemporary epoch, whether it is positive and negative, and what the political prospects for democratisation and radical social transformation are.

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Serge Latouche

Economic imperialism and the imperialism of economics which characterise ultramodernity in its current phase, are destroying the planet. This can be observed by looking at everyday life, providing that one does not suffer from the short sightedness of the ultra-liberal “Stalinists” from the Bretton-Woods institutions, who are playing at being sorcerer’s apprentices … Economising has reduced culture to folklore and relegated it to museums. By liquidating different cultures, globalisation gives birth to “tribes”, withdrawal, and ethnicity, rather than co-existence and dialogue. The rise of mimetic violence, with its backdrop of the victimising of the scapegoats, is the corollary to homogeneity and false hybridisation. These phenomena have been amplified by the media and have provoked such repugnance, undoubtedly legitimate, that we have reached the stage of exalting unconditional, selfsatisfied universalism, which is exclusively western in essence, along with the repeated chanting of meaningless slogans.

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Didier Gazagnadou

In this article, the author investigates, from an anthropological point of view, why many Iranian women (and even some men) resort to rhinoplasty – that is, surgery to alter the appearance of the nose – for cosmetic purposes. When did this phenomenon begin in Iran? Which social classes and ages are concerned? What is the relationship between this practice and Iranian society in general? Is it the result of foreign cultural influences? What comparisons can be made with other cultures? Born of a micro-sociological case, these interrogations address the anthropology of Iranian society, which, like many others, has been engaged for several decades in an ‘exchange process’ that today is commonly known as globalisation.

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Stephanie A. Limoncelli

The increasing internationalisation of social science curricula in undergraduate education along with the growth of service-learning has provided new opportunities to join the two. This article offers a reflection and discussion of service-learning with placements in international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), drawing from its application in an undergraduate globalisation course in the United States. I argue that service-learning can be a useful pedagogical approach for helping students to think actively about themselves in relation to other people, other places and as part of broader global and transnational processes.

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Danilo Zolo

Over and above the reasons or the wrongs of the apologists and the critics of globalisation, it seems impossible to deny the development, during these last few decades, of a global network of social connections and functional interdependences that link individuals and nations – no one is excluded. As Tony Spybey and Roland Robertson remind us, even the deepest meanings of existence, the most intimate of personal experiences and daily behaviour are involved in this radical change of cognitive and symbolic reference points: the world as a whole.1 The globalised world is the result of a series of compressions and integrations that have reduced the so-called ‘empty gaps’ in the material of human relations. As Joseph Stiglitz emphasized, the thing that has favoured the process of global compression-integration is the impressive reduction of the time and cost of transport and communication, and the demolition of artificial barriers to the international circulation of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and – even if still strongly obstructed – of people and labour.

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Aftandil Erkinov

For centuries poetry was the most important arts genre in Central Asia. In order to be recognised as a member of the educated classes, it was obligatory to learn hundreds of poems. Even the Soviet regime (1922-1991) exploited the Uzbek people's love of poetry for its own political ends - the propagation of communist ideology. However, linked to the processes of globalisation, interest in poetry has diminished considerably in Uzbekistan over the past several years. People have become less attracted to the romance of poetry than to actual business, benefits and material values. To modern Uzbek society, poems come only in the form of lyrics for popular music. Globalisation has made poetry a minor genre among the Uzbek arts. To be a poet had been a respected profession for centuries. Now it has lost its prestige, as former poets turn to other occupations.

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Laura Louise Sarauw

Critics often see the European Bologna Process as a univocal standardisation of higher education. By exploring how different qualifications frameworks project different social imaginaries of globalisation, this article takes a different stance. The overarching qualifications framework of the Bologna Process rests on a socially constituted and contested concept of globalisation as a change towards a more diverse and unforeseeable world, which calls for the development of flexible, lifelong learners with a broad knowledge base and strong democratic competencies. Although this social imaginary is widely known, I argue that it is also highly contested. For example, the Danish qualifications framework of 2003 projects a social imaginary of globalisation as a change towards a smaller and more predictable world, which enables a novel and more efficient alignment of the curriculum towards specific professional needs, and where the development of a broad knowledge base and democratic competencies are no longer prioritised.