Jan Aart Scholte - Globalization Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 – Explaining Globalization

Scholte briefly examines six differing theoretical approaches to explaining globalization – what are they? What is the central theme of each?

Liberalisms Liberalist position globalization is, at the most elementary level, a result of ‘natural’ human desires for economic welfare and political liberty. As such, increased transplanetary connectivity is ultimately derived from human drives to maximize material well-being (through markets) and to exercise basic freedoms (as guaranteed by publicly accountable government). For liberalists globalization is an outcome of people’s strivings to escape poverty as well as to achieve civil and political rights. On a liberalist account it is inherent in market
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In these cases, transplanetary connectivity is said to have arisen because of the way that people have mentally constructed the social world with symbols, language, interpretation, and so on. From ideational perspectives, globalization has resulted from particular forms and dynamics of consciousness. For methodological idealists, patterns of production and governance are second-order structures that derive from deeper cultural and socio-psychological forces. Such accounts of globalization have come especially from the fields of Anthropology, Humanities, Media Studies, and Sociology, although idealist arguments have also influenced some researchers in Geography, Politics and even Business Studies. One type of ideational explanation is constructivism, an approach that has been popular particularly since the 1990s among International Studies scholars in North America and Western Europe who wish to develop an alternative perspective to liberalism and political realism. As the theory’s name suggests, constructivism concentrates on the ways that social actors ‘construct’ their world: both within their own minds and through inter-subjective communication with others. Particularly, constructivists examine how inter-subjective communication generates common understandings of reality, shared norms for social behaviour, and notions of group identity and solidarity. Conversation and

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