The Trouble with Globalization

I am almost finished week three of the current semester of study and am really struggling with some of it. It is all about globalisation.

I have spent a large proportion of the past few hours trying to work out the words to express my “critical review” of the readings and viewings for the week. To do this I have watched “Conversations with History: Manuel Castells” and Sir Ken’s RSA Animate on “Changing Education Paradigms“, I have read from Appadurai, and assorted others as ‘required readings’, but I am finding it really hard to engage with them. I have four different starts to the review, and I am happy with none of them. It doesn’t seem to matter how many words I throw at it, they all seem to bounce off and land in the corner.

It isn’t that I disagree with all of the readings – I agree with some of them in part – it is more that I am not convinced that my position on them all is terribly helpful. All I am seeing is “Globalisation is bad” (which I generally finish off in my head with MMmmmkay?). Being presented with binary positions of the issues which stem from globalization hasn’t helped me at all, I am not a black or white kind of girl, I see the shades of grey.

And then, today I started to think about literacy (specifically digital literacy) and how I am having the same trouble nailing down my thoughts on that as well.

In the #etmooc chat this morning (my time) there was discussion of a continuum of digital literacy, which is something I can get behind. One of the troubles I have with globalisation as a concept is that while it can be seen in very negative terms (the perceived loss of culture, language and national autonomy) there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism for some of those things to be seen in positive terms, or as the historian in me would say – part of the natural development of humanity. There appears, at least in the literature I am required to comment on, that it is an all or nothing proposition.

In my post ‘Perhaps it isn’t the end of the world that we know it’ I embedded a video which looked at the rise of literacy (in the traditional sense), and how people are actually reading and writing more now than they ever have, because of technology. If we extend the thinking in this video and consider that we, as a world, are the most literate (in a tradition sense) that we have ever been – perhaps that side of communication and globalization isn’t all bad. Everyday I see what happens when cultures collide. There is remixing, reimagining and reinventing of all sorts of things – one of the Korean boys convincing half of the school to participate in Gangnam Style one lunch time could be considered an example of that.

Perhaps globalization is on a continuum, and people – be they individuals, groups, states, nations or geographical areas – just need to find which scale they would like to be on.

And perhaps I need to stop waffling on and just write the critical reflection.


2 thoughts on “The Trouble with Globalization

  1. Hi Katie Jean, Maybe globalization just is a very not-defined fuzzy word, and maybe that is what keeps bothering us? In Dutch globalization is just manager-speak, used to frame a discussion. (a firm is buying another firm and that is good because that is globalization).

    • Hi Jaap,

      I ended up taking the continuum approach, although it is interesting to hear about what words mean in different cultures, particularly given the nature of this particular word/concept.


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