Globalization and Social Change Essay

Globalization and Social Change Essay

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Across the globalization literature there are numerous theories and studies that provide us with substantive insight into the social processes that facilitate global processes. In the discussion that follows I engage two main strands, a) how globalization operates through flows, commodity chains, financialization and cities, and b) the dynamics of transnational social movements and global social change. In the final section,

Globalization Flows: Commodity Chains and Financialization
Globalization engages complex and interconnected processes that operate unevenly across both space and time. Counter to the hyper-globalist perspective that views globalization as a new, borderless economic system emerging as part of the “natural order”, alternative theories view globalization as a constructed mechanism comprised of social processes that enables the flow of capital markets, commodity chains and global networks (Dicken, 2011; Harvey, 2010; McMichael, 2011; Polanyi, 2001; Sassen, 2006; Wallerstein, 2004).
During the sixteenth century the first global system for exchange and distribution of goods at both the local and national levels was initiated to mark the beginning of the world market economy (Polanyi, 2001; Wallerstein, 2004). For Polanyi (2001) the traditional mechanisms of the market that once facilitated local trade and barter soon shifted to long distance trade and distribution through what became known as the market economy. He refers to this shift from market to market economy, as “the true starting point” of the social and economic reorganization of society (Polanyi 2001: 61). Focused on the geographic location of goods, and “the division of labor”, he argues that the whole of society and all social relations now ...


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...Labor for the World, University of Minnesota Press.

Sassen, Saskia. 2006. Cities in a World Economy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Shefner, Jon, and María Patricia Fernández-Kelly. 2011. Globalization and beyond: New Examinations of Global Power and Its Alternatives. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Silver, Beverly. 2003 Forces of Labor: Workers’ Movements and Globalization Since 1870. Cambridge University Press.

Sklar, Leslie. 1995. Sociology of the Global System. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Smith, Jackie, Charles Chatfield, and Ron Pagnucco. 1997. Transnational Social Movements and Global Politics: Solidarity Beyond the State. Syracuse University Press.

Wallerstein, Immanuel Maurice. 2004. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, N.C.; London: Duke University Press.

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