Defination of Globalisation

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Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security

Definitions of Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition

Dr. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security Geneva Centre for Security Policy

Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann Director Geneva Centre for Security Policy

June 19, 2006
To comment, please email Ms. Bethany Webster at b.webster@gcsp.ch. All copyrights are reserved by the authors.
Avenue de la Paix 7bis P.O. Box 1295 CH-1211 Geneva 1 Telephone Telefax www.gcsp.ch +41 22 906 83 17 +41 22 906 16 49 info@gcsp.ch

Dr. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann

Definitions of Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition

Abstract Many authors have attempted, with relative success, to define globalization in a variety of ways. Some claim that it cannot be done, others claim that it would constrain the meaning to do so, and still others have defied these two beliefs and have constructed a working definition. Despite differing opinions about developing a definition, all authors agree on one thing: that defining this term is anything but easy. This paper will attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing definitions of globalization and introduce our proposed definition: “Globalization is a process that encompasses the causes, course, and consequences of transnational and transcultural integration of human and non-human activities.”

All copyrights are reserved by the authors.

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Dr. Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan Ambassador Gérard Stoudmann

Definitions of Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition

Introduction
Globalization is not a single concept that can be defined and encompassed within a set time frame, nor is it a process that can be defined clearly with a beginning and an end. Furthermore, it cannot be expounded upon with certainty and be applicable to all people and in all situations. Globalization involves economic integration; the transfer of policies across borders; the transmission of knowledge; cultural stability; the reproduction, relations, and discourses of power; it is a global process, a concept, a revolution, and “an establishment of the global market free from sociopolitical control.” 1 Globalization encompasses all of these things. It is a concept that has been defined variously over the years, with some connotations referring to progress, development and stability, integration and cooperation, and others referring to regression, colonialism, and destabilization. Despite these challenges, this term brings with it a multitude of hidden agendas. An individual’s political ideology, geographic location, social status, cultural background, and ethnic and religious affiliation provide the background that determines how globalization is interpreted. In 1995, Martin Khor, President of the Third World Network 2

in Malaysia, referred to globalization as colonization.

Concurrently, Swedish journalist Thomas Larsson, in his book The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization (2001), stated that globalization:

“is the process of world shrinkage, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer. It pertains to the increasing ease with which somebody on one side of the world can interact, to mutual benefit, with somebody on the other side of the world.” 3

These two different interpretations reflect different perspectives rooted in different world positions.

By its nature, globalization spans a multitude of disciplines, communities, and cultures. This, of course, allows for a variety of viewpoints, be they economic, social, or political. The definitions presented here reflect some of those viewpoints. It is also vital that these definitions be presented against the reality of the global situation, as Vidya S. A. Kumar rightly points out in his...
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