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Global marketing and the effect of macro environment Essay

Global marketing and the effect of macro environment


Globalization might be conceived as empirical fact, as theory, or as thought. In reality, these combine together, but diverse researchers tend to put emphasis on one or another. Those who observes globalization as a simple fact, or set of facts, point out quantitative data that show a world that is more and more economically incorporated; national markets have opened more than ever before to worldwide, local, and global trade; financial markets communicate instantly with any place in the world; international corporations diffuse the processes of production and allocation to many different nations; labor markets are particularly fluid, overlooking national borders.

As Don Kalb (2000:1) puts it: “In principle [globalization] does not assert more than a geographic fact: people and places in the world are becoming more widely and densely connected to each other as a consequence of increasing transnational flows of capital/goods, information/ideas, and people.”

The first uses of the term “global marketing” dates to the mid fifties, where the terms appeared in a business context with reference to the rising significance of international trade (Weiner and Simpson 1991). The timing is no surprise. Following World War II, war-weakened European, Japanese, and allied colonial markets

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suddenly became enthusiastically accessible to the conquering United States. This relatively unipolar extension of world trade interrelated with capital surpluses in the mature markets of the United States to form a push and complementary pull into global trade for both U.S. capital and firms. These investments were soon to be pursued by non-U.S. capital and firms as economic recovery took hold in Europe, Japan and, in conclusion, numerous newly industrializing countries. As geographically extensive trading systems are barely unique to the twentieth Century (Abu-Lughod 1989), these postwar expansions were to result in two major economic phenomena. First, escalating flows of trans-border investment, abetted by the domination of the U.S. dollar and the advent of “quicksilver capital” subsequent the collapse of the Bretton Woods Agreement in the early seventies. And subsequently, the resulting generation of the transnational corporation (TNC, or MNC for multinational corporation). In time, these quicksilver capitalized TNCs would take on such forms as dependent alliances between TNCs of contradictory nationalities, and geographically “distributed multinational enterprises” that, measured as total entities, have no single effectively nationality whatsoever (OTA 1993, 28).

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These immense institutions, and their even more widespread subcontracting networks, are at the heart of globalization as predicted from the perspective of the business and newsweekly press. Such institutions control the production and dissemination of commodities, capital, and information worldwide, and so cast globalization as a planet wide process of standardization in all globes of human endeavor (Barnet and Cavanagh 1994). In response, popular debate has polarized between two opposing divisions. The first is consisting of those who champion macroeconomic models of globalization, extolling a purportedly generalizable standard of affluence acceptable by commodity capitalism. The second consists of those who look to boost local particularity, decrying the similar affluent standards of living as obtainable only to elites and, thus, not generalizable at all. For this latter faction, macroeconomic globalization is essentially destructive of local cultural disparity informing alternative ways of life, and offers the majority little in response.

Literature Review

Market characteristics

Leading marketing thinker Professor Philip Kotler (1999) sees the digital revolt as the driving force for markets and marketing to function on primarily different principles than they have for the past hundred years. Marketing managers should adapt to the emerging electronic marketing, rethinking the progressions by which customer value is identified, communicated about, and delivered in numerous cases co-designing desired products. Advertising will be attained by consumers and buyers on-demand, with information to aid product selection being found by intelligent agents and information brokers.

Kitchen and Wheeler (1997) identify seven market characteristics in the way corporations develop and apply marketing in the contemporary world that are impacting on marketing communication thinking and practice:

            1 growth in advertising and promotion

            2 the emergence of the global consumer

            3 development and importance of integrated marketing communication

            4 direct marketing (using local rather than mass media) as a new promotional tool in targeting the likeliest customers for the particular brand

            5 database marketing

            6 internet advertising and e-commerce

            7 process-oriented coordination and control

Cultural Factor

The world is changing politically, economically, technically, and collectively at a previously unthinkable rate. Both new and skilled multinational firms are stumbling and committing mistakes as they confront these recently emerging environmental forces. What is desired now is a new way of viewing both the global and foreign operations of multinational firms. To be as thriving as possible, these firms should be as culturally attuned to the world and to every foreign society in which they seek to work as they are to their own home society.

The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1980) defines culture as “the incorporated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends on man’s competence for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations” and “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material behavior of a racial, religious, or social group.” These definitions point to numerous important aspects of culture. First, culture permeates all human behaviors and interactions. Second, culture is shared by members of a group. And third, it is handed down to newcomers and from one generation to the next. This description of culture is not aimed at organizations but is very appropriate to them (AAhad M. Osman-Gani & Zidan, S.S. 2001, pp.452-460).

Economic factors

Marketing attempts is a part of the economic factors of all products or service and is so treated in the divisions of a gross national product and certain of its sectors or segments.

One of the least understood distinctiveness of marketing activities is their prolific nature. It is inopportune that the term “production” is used in two diverse ways, causing substantial ambiguity and confusion. In one sense, it is used to signify the result of industrial activity, as in referring to the output of farms, factories, or mines. On the other hand, it is more properly used in referring to the whole productive process.

Economists usually define production as the formation of economic values, which are the capacities of goods and services to persuade humanly wants. Economic factors might be described as the distinctiveness of a good or service which provokes people to sacrifice their efforts, either past or present, to attain it. Value is mainly dependent upon utility. The only convenient way to measure the utilities or satisfactions formed by the productive process is through the expression of values in market prices which form the foundation for exchange.

Fundamental economic factors lead to the macro environment of marketing. Some common approaches comprise:

Building economies of scale or experience curve benefits process innovations might consolidate an industry.

Standardizing diverse market needs—product or marketing innovations can attain this.

Overcoming those aspects most accountable for fragmentation.

Making acquisitions for a critical mass, making numerous acquisitions of neighboring firms can be successful provided that the acquisitions can be incorporated and managed.

Spotting industry trends early—effectively this means examining the impact of market drivers such as political, economic, social, technological and business trends as they collision on the industry (Tony Proctor, 2001).

Technological Factors

New technologies and skills are becoming ever more diffused world-wide and more and more businesses are becoming high-tech. For instance, South Korean companies were well-known once for producing cheap and shoddy goods such as shoes and textiles. Now they are known for producing high-tech high-quality goods. The push was led by leading producers like Samsung and Hyundai.

Technological developments are taking place at a breathtaking place specially in the telecommunications and entertainment industries. Advances in technologies will deepen competition. The convergence of computing, communication and information will show the way to a global information superhighway which will expand markets, extend new businesses and increase competition.

The emergence of the internet has also malformed the business landscape. It has been said that no technology in history has spread faster than the internet. Its main impact is speed. It delivers speed of deliberations, transactions and information. It forms a market where buyers and sellers come together. Cisco, it is reported, sold $5 billion in goods over the internet in 1998.

Demographic factors

Demographic factors make up society-wide influences and changes that can influence the marketing environment. In terms of demographic factors, the following are of interest to marketers:

Population: size, growth rate, distribution by gender, birth rates, death rates, life expectancy

Density: location, geographical/regional shifts

Household/family: size, make-up

Income/wealth distribution

Socio-economic groups: occupations, ethnic groups.

These factors change slowly over time and exert authoritative effects on the volume and nature of demand for most products and services. Several influences are obvious: the demand for children’s products and services will be linked to birth rate patterns. The demand for products and services to meet the wants and needs of the elderly will be linked to characteristics and trends of an ageing population.

In European countries in current times there has been a slowing down of the birth rate. Together with this, an extension of life expectancy has resulted in a shift in the profile of the population to that of an ageing one. Additionally, many changes have taken place in the make-up and size of family households. Fewer marriages and fewer children coupled with an increase in the labor force of married women have changed the basic nature of the family household. Career couples with no children are now quite common and are a objective group of interest to many marketers because of their moderately high disposable income.

Another characteristic seems to have been a growth in non-family households. Some of these are made up of single, career people, whereas others are made up of divorced or widowed adults. There has also been a raise in single parent families. These changes in the structure and characteristics of households have had a major concern on the pattern of demand for a wide range of daily goods and services.

Consumer issues:

Daniel Miller’s (1997) in his study of marketing and consumerism contrast to the pure international capitalism of neoliberal ideology, his analysis exposes a more organic capitalism at the local level. Markets respond mechanically to supply and competitive pricing, the local economy is greatly consumer driven. Consumers insert all sorts of symbolic values into products that might have little to do with quality and price, and consequently, business people who administer subsidiaries of global corporations continuously chaff against the universalized prescriptions, based on pure capitalism, of their parent companies. For instance, there is a inclination to view goods coming from the United States, Europe, and Japan as higher quality and local goods as lower excellence even when objective measures divulge little difference. While China is measured a “worst-quality” country, right down there with Trinidad itself, shiny peanuts from China are extremely valued, apparently for their shininess rather than their taste. Soft drink manufacturers should constantly compete to produce brands that can be joined to gender or ethnicity. More and more, people take their identities from the things that they acquire.

What these studies have in common is the matter that the issue of cultural homogenization versus disintegration is a complex one. In several of its early manifestations, globalization was held to be coterminous with homogenization. Just as in old modernization theory (with which neoliberalism has much in common), customary society would inexorably be absorbed by development, so Western cultural hegemony would inevitably overrun non-Western cultures. If there is any consensus concerning anything in anthropology, it is that this perspective is flatly incorrect. Ethnography after ethnography has revealed fragmentation and differentiation escalating ethnicities, nationalisms, retribalisms, and the like.

This might itself be an relic both of traditional anthropological thinking and of postmodern influences; modern anthropologists are theoretically disposed to look for divergence not similarity, resistance not accommodation, transnational not assimilation. Friedman (1994:10-11) points out that there are several examples of cultural devolution unaccounted in evolutionary theories—cultures such as those of Hawaii, North American and Peruvian Indians, and Congo pygmies that have lost much of their original autonomy and complication as they are captivated into the margins of dominant cultures. Brumann (1998:499) remarks that, though there is a consensus among anthropologists that no cultural convergence is evident, “there are good reasons to suppose that the total repertoire of cultural forms in the world has been lessening for some time.”

It is conceivably appropriate to initiate here a simple and obvious principle, which is at times overlooked in theoretical generalizations: Some do; some don’t. A great many individuals are certainly being absorbed into a sort of globalize, mostly Western culture and so are a number of groups of people. By and large, specific cultures are inexorably transformed by changes in technology, mobility, and more porous and impressionable boundaries, but moderately than being absorbed by several global cultures, they do most of the absorbing.

There seem to be two spheres of culture. At the global level is a depthless Coca-Cola culture consisting of relatively un-integrated traits. The most considerable of these traits, and the one most significant to global profit and therefore most promoted, is consumerism. Other traits, not all of them Western, are factory work-time, music videos, women’s fashion, T-shirts, Kalishnikov rifles, white weddings, television and radio soap operas, Chinese food, bilateral kinship, acceptance of various gender roles, and the worship of technological modernization.

Environmental factors:

The specific-culture level is more united, more holistic. It has chronological depth, even if that history is continually reinvented. If we take a cue from ecological anthropology, we can say that culture is personalized to its environment. Of course people do not constantly have the capacity to pick and choose what traits of Coca-Cola culture they want. If a factory is built smack in the core of Maya country or a massive advertising campaign for McDonald’s is aimed at Russians, they have no substitute but to respond in some manner; refusal itself is a choice. Also there are numerous aspects of global culture that might not be accessible, such as automobiles in an extremely poor country or certain television programs. Generally, however, there is a lot of judgment available at the local and individual level to take what is professed as useful or desirable and reject what is not. Whatever peculiarity is taken in, however, will most likely presume a meaning diverse perhaps quite different from that which it has in its place of origin. A television set, for instance, can be used not as a communication mechanism but as a prestige item for dowry or bride price; images approaching through the television may be interpreted in a totally different manner than intended (Friedman 1994:203).

Brumann (1998:501) argues that in Japan, compartmentalization has become the leading mode of appropriating Western culture; a much deeper native culture remains relatively unscathed by it.

Enduring cultural ecology metaphor, we might think that within broad parameters similar physical and social environments provide rise to similar cultures. On the surface, the life of a middle-class advertising executive working in midtown São Paulo or Singapore might not be that diverse from that of a similarly employed New Yorker. The transformations of society linked with global processes global cities, routine long-distance travel, massive farms devoted to export agriculture form roughly similar environments in numerous parts of the world. Though, to the extent that consumerism is the leading cultural force of globalization, enculturation in global culture will take place to the greatest degree amongst those with enough money to buy into the consumer ethic, namely the middle class and the elite. Those reasonably marginalized by global processes or prohibited from participating in such processes by innate religious values will more likely boost their sense of cultural self-sufficiency and discrimination, perceiving global culture as a threat or simply as inappropriate to their lives.

Even in the most Westernized setting, globalization is not laid over several cultural tabula rasa. As Aihwa Ong (1999) observes, Asia has its own deep multicultural legacy that sets all sorts of cultural constrictions on global processes that valorize mobility, flexibility, and consumerism. The “cultural logics” of international global processes ensure that revolutions, adaptations, and resistances will go on in intricate ways, for instance, in China’s maintenance of an “authoritative Asian” political model, while at the similar time it opens itself to neoliberal globalization.

Given its triviality and fragmentation, global culture is never marked in any pure state, but only in relations. To the degree that culture is generated and lived locally, global culture exists simply through other cultures.


Globalization is homogenization forced from on high, potholed against localization as a fragmented and fragmenting reaction from below (Barber 1996). This situation has been further convoluted by management theories acknowledging that TNCs have failed to offer for local taste, and to make use of distinctive local talent. Such failures shuffle large firms’ competitiveness in local markets virtual to both local competitors and to more locally accepting transnational firms (Dunning, 1993; Economist, 1994). From this latter position has appeared the notion of “globalization”, a very important to acclimatize transnational business and marketing performs to local exigencies. Several have gone so far as to assert that in the absence of globalization’s increased understanding to local culture, the macroeconomic globalization of the TNCs will sabotage itself. In this scenario, localizing response will lean toward resistance, giving rise to such phenomena as protectionism and even terrorism. Consecutively, these will impel the crumple of both national and world markets (Friedman 1994).

Morrison (2006) characterized a global industry as having intense levels of international competition, competitors marketing a standardized product worldwide, industry competitors that have a presence in all key international markets and high levels of international trade. These definitions have the common thread of the need and opportunity to integrate strategy across countries.

Though aspects of globalization and the guiding principles of the IMF and the World Bank have not always been affirmative for developing countries, it is a generalization to place all or most of the blame for the marginalization of developing countries onto these factors. Development is a multifaceted process but some countries have managed it successfully. Considerably, it is those countries that have affianced most intensively with the outside world (that is, in East Asia), that have been most successful in their development endeavors. Equally considerable has been the keenness of each state to take a central role in the development process, a role that assorted from country to country depending on its culture and early circumstances.

Development is a significant, and often ignored, issue for international business. Too often, international business and development are simply discussed within the context of problems such as child labor or environmental degradation. Certainly, these and similar issues pose serious challenges for multinational enterprises and policy-makers but they are ultimately problems that, with adequate political will, are amenable to solution (admittedly, the political will requisite is of a much greater extent than has hitherto been seen). Successful development, however, forms markets and improves the quality of labor forces and key features of infrastructure, thereby creating investment opportunities. Investment in turn is essential to the development process.

Organizational factors:

Types of organization certainly influence the marketing; international production mainly comes from the proponents of the ‘internationalization of capital’ school. As focus on monopoly is based on a neoclassical-type ‘quantity theory of competition’, which observes competition and monopoly as polar opposite types of market structure. In fact, competition must be viewed as a process which dialectically links competition and monopoly. Accordingly, escalating concentration need not entail monopoly power, given actual and prospective competition by rival firms.

The market forces is a nexus of horizontal relations in which virtual power is not given, but is contestable on the basis of the capability to influence organization productive activity. The organization of production and industrial competition are as a result the instruments for affirming the rights of individuals in society. The economic dynamic is therefore associated to institutional change, and this is linked to the existence of a multiplicity of subjects, free of institutional restrictions and economically independent, capable to compete to confirm their power and their social position. an economy based on the development of market forces needs a strong state to guarantee property rights and to legal private contracts, but also to guarantee those positive externalities that no one individual citizen could set off by himself, like defense, justice and public works, and those essential for collective growth such as communications, educational and health systems, and finally to avert any risk of monopolization (Robbins 1978:37).

Managerial factors:

A managerial factor generates opportunities for centralization of decision making and corporate orientation that take a number of risks and investigate projects that don’t need coordinating with others. On the other hand, when managers put too high a premium on evading workplace discord, even distinctive employees may be disheartened from providing potentially productive feedback (Moran, Robert T. and Stripp, William G., 1991).

However, managers require comprehending the people with whom they work (Casse, Pierre 1995). Devoid of clear mutual understanding, it is almost not possible for a team to attain its objectives. Even in a comparatively standardized organization, designers and accountants, for instance, might be seen as representing diverse cultural perspectives. Getting them to work efficiently together is perceptibly crucial for a company’s success. And, most confidently, getting people whose cultural variety is based on diverse issues is no less significant (Adelman, Mara B and Levine Deena R.1993).

In global marketing, managers function cross culturally, firms have characteristically focused on management selection and training. The thought here is that if being culturally attuned at home yields a non-cognitive automatic response, then suitably oriented managers could be selected and trained in the cultures of the world to exhibit also appropriate responses in other societies. IBM, for instance, requires that each manager shall receive forty-two hours of training each year on topics such as managing multinational groups of people and the internationalization of IBM’s business (Callahan 1989, 28-32). Still, despite efforts such as these, one study noted that cross-cultural obstacles facing émigré employees continue to result in a failure rate of 20 to 50 percent of all expatriate assignments.

International organizations develop certain assumptions, norms, patterns of speech and behavior that make them unique. Also, similar to social or racial groups, culture is one of the factors that differentiate one organization from another. Applying the concept of culture to organizations gives them a human quality. Organizations become much more than the profit margin, the buildings, and the organizational charts. As living entities, organizations grow and change. They adapt to their environment and maintain internal health.

Many management scholars have focused on the thought of adapting national culture in international business. It is usually defined as a series of basic assumptions that an organization has developed in learning to handle with its external environment and its internal functioning. These assumptions have been found to be effectual and valid and are therefore communicated to new employees. Adapting foreign culture makes every international organization unique and bonds members of an organization together. The culture in the organization verifies what behaviors and ideas are acceptable and appropriate.

Modernization Factor

Beside this modern debate over the pleasures and perils of international homogenization, however, is an implication of colonialist practice in general and Eurocentric diffusionism (Blaut 1993) in particular. Broadly, Eurocentric diffusionism progresses from the idea of a “European miracle” accounting for an endogenous vitality in certain European peoples. This apparently inherent quality boosts the European to a “higher” stage of development comprising true civilization. It is this path that supposedly “backward” societies (sometimes equated with racial inferiority) should follow if they are to accomplish the material rewards of “becoming civilized.” In this formulation, restricted sectors of Europe bear the “white man’s burden” of supporting in a civilizing process commonly described as lubricating the evolution from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft. In its most self-congratulatory polemical form, this process of predetermined sociopolitical evolution will appear (or, some argue, has now arrived) at an “end of history,” wherein a best of all potential worlds with a neoliberal economy and a politics of liberal democracy controls supreme (Fukuyama 1992).

Of course, this combination of “civilization” against “barbarism” and “backwardness” is no colonialist European invention. Peoples as varied as the Attic Greeks and Shang Dynasty Chinese have seen their city states and regal capitals as the cardinal point of civilization, with barbarism rising as a function of distance from that center (Marshall 1991, 168). What is possibly unique about the civilization/barbarism dichotomy’s expression in Eurocentric diffusionism is the probable for all persons and peoples to endure conversion to civilization. This missionary position was harmonized by emerging technologies in transportation, communication and conflict to stimulate a civilizade. Civilizade is a term coined circa 1870 distinguishing proposals to compulsorily eliminate such “civilizationally regressive” practices as polygamy in the Middle East (Weiner and Simpson 1991), but it is in no manner a defunct conception. The civilizade finds modern expression in the rhetorical justification for the apparently never-ending aerial bombardments of Iraq as a reinstatement of the rule of law, or in arguments for the 1990s military intervention in ex-Yugoslavia as a declaration of civilization against the suspected tactical barbarism of Chetniki combatants.

But the concept of a civilizade persists most radically in modernization theories that recommend the emulation of Europe’s socioeconomic evolutionary route as the remedy to “underdevelopment.” Such theories prescribe a set sequence of modernization phases (e.g., the takeoff stage at which progress commences), performance standards derived from late-and post-industrial societies (Gereffi 1989), and the assimilation of Western European modes of thought, methods of environmental transformation, and material standards of living. These “modernizing” Euro-American constructs are thus deployed as the standard against which other societies are assessed, and often evaluate themselves (Arruda 1996; Weisband 1989).

These benchmarks do certainly have much to offer, and have not occasionally made good upon such offers to present benefits like the abolition of numerous life-threatening diseases, fundamental decreases in infant mortality and illiteracy, and even such too-frequently underappreciated creature comforts as indoor plumbing. From a broader standpoint, however, critics challenge that the pursuit of such benchmarks under the auspices of Western financial and technological authority has resulted in development that is grotesquely uneven at every geographical scale. According to this line of reasoning, developmentalist modernization deliberates influence, discretion and capital ever more irregularly into the economies of the “developed world” and their principal investors (King 1991; Gorostiaga 1984) to the point of dejection and even eliminating local autonomy. In the process, the obligation of both broader development regimes and detailed restructuring programs produces a host of dysfunctions. The majority viscerally, they spatially displace and, in the process, reasonably destabilize broad populations (Weisband 1989). They extirpate varied local lifeways by striking unitary product and production regimes upon speckled peoples (Shiva 1993). They limit those who are bothered in the world marketplace to the roles of raw contribution and commodifiable exotica. Lastly, and perhaps most portentously, they advance ecologically unsustainable overdevelopment worldwide (Anton 1995). Further, it has been emphasized that these are not accidental side effects, but part and parcel of harmonized programs by effective alliances of state and corporate high functionaries. Such initiatives introduce a debt-leveraged imperialism that protected the privileges of global hegemony (Chomsky 1991). Nor is this dynamic essentially seen as limited to the “developing world.” Rather, the growing pervasiveness of “backwardness” in the “developed world” designates that the absorption of overdevelopment’s perquisites might rely upon a very systematic global circulation of underdevelopment’s privations.

The broader argument about the developmentalist production of disproportion, however, is borne out by World Bank and United Nations Development Program statistics on planetary resource disposition. Between the 1960s and the 1990s the income of the world population’s most affluent 20 percent improved from 70.2 percent to 84.7 percent of the planet’s liquid assets, up from thirty to over sixty times that of the world’s poorest 20 percent. And while this is a comparative measure, the poverty of the latter cohort, excessively concentrated in the excolonial world, will likely raise throughout the coming years in the absolute sense as well, with foreign direct investment increasingly prone to flow between “developed” economies and evade “developing” regions entirely. Meanwhile, the lion’s share of concerted wealth wasn’t in the hands of persons at all (except in the legally fictive sense). As of the mid-1990s, 60 percent of the world’s twenty trillion dollars worth of prolific capital was in the ‘hands’ of the world’s fifty largest financial companies, and the three hundred largest non-financial companies (employing roughly .3 percent of the world’s population) owned 25 percent of the world’s productive assets (Korten 1996).

Advocates of globally deregulated trade ridicule these arguments as just one of the numerous flavors of “globaloney” (Krugman 1996), stating instead the market certainty that a rising tide of globally bloating sweatshops will ultimately float all boats (no matter, it would seem, how small or leaky). With even more such globalization, inequities will be conquering (Economist 2001a). This prescription, however, has failed to prevent the statistical symptoms of inequality from growing ever more distinct, turning “the gap between rich and poor…into an economic gorge” (New York Times 1999).

Thus, theories of globalization as a progression of macroeconomic integration readily become discourses for legitimizing the continuance of specifically the colonial praxis that provided “less developed countries” less developed to begin with, accomplished concretely by depicting the societies of the excolonial world penetrable to large financial and international aid institutions (McMichael, 1996; Krugman and Venables, 1995). And under these circumstances, globalization becomes simply a reprimand to “oppress global, recruit local.”

Globalization defined by world-systems theory is thus a procedure of continuing incorporation into a single, ever more adjustable economic regime. This integration is accomplished by means of an explicit spatial strategy. Continually shifting commodity chains anchor the division of labor in each geographical periphery, yoking that fringe into endemically unequal exchange relations with center regions either directly, or via the intercession of an ever-changing cast of semi peripheral locales (Weisband 1989). The dichotomy of homogenizing universality and the heterogeneity of the particular is thus uninvolved from the realm of culture and recast as neoimperium versus confrontation. Within this formulation a global, class-based movement is best appropriate to overcoming the imperium and its ideological manipulations. While cultural individuality is not stripped completely from the picture, its value is limited to the formation of collective identities that can serve as a support “to combat the falling away from freedom and parity” (Wallerstein 1997, 105).


Globalization involves radical shifts in modes of production, identity pattern, and cultural assertion. If such diverse notions of globalization could be useful concurrently, there would appear potentials for polyperspectival global analyses. Yet these diverse takes on globalization are also consequently divergent as to leave them talking across one another. Each assumes the ontological dominance of a different field of inquiry, and each is driven by very diverse socio-structural mechanisms.

This presence of sociostructural mechanisms in all theories points a broader problematic, their shared conceptualization of globalization as an entity. Each abovementioned approach to the global needs a predisposition toward conceptualizing globalization as first and leading a complex system of higher-order summative processes. These processes, in turn, account for the progressively more hyper extended and interculturalized experiences, responses, and resistances occurring at the level of the local. Every approach thus places globalization “out there,” a result of the inevitable dynamics of the planet imploding under its own socio, politico, or cultural-economic weight. In the progression, localities become only illustrative of globalization, its impacts and its discontents, detaining space and those who stand in it to the role of something upon and against which globalization acts. Consequently, albeit with a partial exception for Appadurai’s ‘scapes, all these viewpoints on the global represent processes of globalization in which real places, their inhabitants, and their particularities are beneficiary and respondents at best, residual by-products at worst.

We all do not know through actual experience that modes of production, identity pattern, and cultural assertion are not disparate realms, nor are they phenomenon that can be evocatively ranked in order of primacy. Translate these abstractions into actual experiences: being insecurely employed at a McDonalds, checking more than one racial categorization on a census form, playing Persian pop music loudly in public without authorization. Abruptly it becomes noticeable that the varied aspects of global formation come together where we are. They are not just co present, but intermeshed to form the settings of our daily lives. And though it may seem an axiom, it is worth repeating that without such settings and their empirical correlates there would be nothing from which we could obtain “higher order” theoretical abstractions to explicate global formation. This suggests adopting a very diverse standpoint in discussing globalization, one that puts us on the ground and in situ.

A setting-up (view of globalization situates the dialogical commitment of otherwise incommensurable theories on globalization. Seen in this new framework, such theories might be recast as interwoven perspectives on the same emplaced progressions of global formation. The particularities we contribute with others (and may even endeavor to universalize) across ever greater distances concatenate into non-local fields.

Such non-local fields are the globe as we experience it most openly, and thus define the parameters of our expected worlds. Of course, we also act in keeping with our imagined worlds, and so enact them transversely assorted landscapes. In so doing, our imagined worlds contend with one another to occur as alternate global realities or, more simply, globalities-imagined worlds made real. And certainly, contention implies extremely variable outcomes: neither global ties nor their particular fields of origin are all equal in scope, scale, gravity, and shrewdness. The result of this unevenness is currently manifested as the domination of financescapes, and their habituation of global space into gradated hierarchies of cores and peripheries. altogether, this grounding of globalization theories yields what might be called a hysterically relativized world system, one consisting of multiple, ever-shifting, alternate globalities with extremely differentiated spheres and extents of dominance.

One critical insinuation to be drawn from seeing global formation in this way is that globalities do not occur in segregation. They are dependent upon how non-local fields partly cover, interpenetrate, and exchange particularities in precise places, and upon the ways and extents to which such overlaps and interpenetrations are keeping up or even prohibited. Thus, globalities are engendered where non-local fields are most tending to congeal and dislocalities most prone to cluster-in the large city associated to others of its kind. It is in such places that the daily praxis of global configuration is at its most intense.


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