Importance of Becoming a Global Citizen
[WLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Prior to beginning work on this assignment, read the
A Model of Global Citizenship: Antecedents and Outcomes(Links to an external site.)
article and watch the
Globalization at a Crossroads
(Links to an external site.)
video. Go to the UAGC Library and locate one additional source on global citizenship that will help support your viewpoint, or you may choose one of the following articles found in the Week 1 Required Resources:
From Globalism to Globalization: The Politics of Resistance(Links to an external site.)
Globalization, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism as an Educational Ideal(Links to an external site.)
Transnationalism and Anti-Globalism(Links to an external site.)
Reflect:Please take some time to reflect on how the concept of global citizenship has shaped your identity and think about how being a global citizen has made you a better person in your community.
Week 1 Example Assignment Guide
Download Week 1 Example Assignment Guidewhen addressing the following prompts:
· Describe and explain a clear distinction between “globalism” and “globalization” after viewing the video and reading the article.
· Describe how being a global citizen in the world of advanced technology can be beneficial to your success in meeting your personal, academic, and professional goals.
· Explain why there has been disagreement between theorists about the definition of global citizenship and develop your own definition of global citizenship after reading the article by Reysen and Katzarska-Miller.
· Choose two of the six outcomes of global citizenship from the article (i.e., intergroup empathy, valuing diversity, social justice, environmental sustainability, intergroup helping, and the level of responsibility to act for the betterment of this world).
· Explain why those two outcomes are the most important in becoming a global citizen compared to the others.
· Describe at least two personal examples or events in your life that illustrate the development of global citizenship based on the two outcomes you chose.
· Identify two specific general education courses.
· Explain how each course influenced you to become a global citizen.
The Importance of Becoming a Global Citizen
· Must be 750 to 1,000 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style, as outlined in the UAGC Writing Center’s
APA Style resource.(Links to an external site.)
· Must include a separate title page with the following:
· Title of paper
· Student’s name
· Course name and number
· Instructor’s name
· Date submitted
· Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your paper.
· Must use at least one credible source in addition to the two required sources (video and article).
· Must document in APA style any information used from sources, as outlined in the UAGC Writing Center’s
In-Text Citation Guide(Links to an external site.)
· Must have no more than 15% quoted material in the body of your essay based on the Turnitin report. References list will be excluded from the Turnitin originality score.
· Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style. See the
Formatting Your References List(Links to an external site.)
resource in the UAGC Writing Center for specifications.
Week 1 Assignment Two
Importance of Becoming a Global Citizen
The University of Arizona Global Campus
GEN499: General Education Capstone
Note: This assignment should be written in the correct format per APA guidelines. Please click on the Writing Center & Library tab at the left-hand toolbar of the course. You will then click on the “
Writing a Paper
” link, which goes over the basics of writing an essay. For information on how to write in-text citations in APA format, click on the “
Citing Within Your Paper
” link within the Writing Center & Library tab. This paper needs to consist of 750 – 1,000 words (excluding the title and reference page).
Start your paper with the title of this assignment:
Importance of Becoming a Global Citizen
The introduction paragraph of this paper should inform the reader of the topic you are writing about while providing background information and the purpose or importance of addressing this topic of global citizenship. You should prepare the reader by stating the concepts you are about to address further in your paper. Typically a good introduction paragraph is made up of 5 – 7 sentences.
Create Short Title of First Prompt (i.e., Distinction between “Globalism” and “Globalization”)
After viewing the required video “Globalization at a Crossroads”, you need write a paragraph of 5 – 7 sentences addressing the distinction between “globalism” and “globalization” It’s important to cite the video per APA guidelines within this paragraph.
Create Short Title of Second Prompt
Write a paragraph (about 5 sentences) describing how being a global citizen in the world of advanced technology can be beneficial to your success in meeting your persona, academic, and professional goals.
Create Short Title of Third Prompt
After reading the article by Reysen and Katzarska-Miller, you need to write a paragraph of 5 – 7 sentences explaining why there has been a disagreement between theorists about the definition of global citizenship. Within the article, the authors address how specific schools of thought define global citizenship. It would be a good idea to paraphrase this information in your own words and cite the article per APA guidelines. Also, within this paragraph, you should provide your own definition of global citizenship after reading what other ideas are from the article.
Create Short Title of Fourth Prompt
Note: Based on the article, you need to write two paragraphs: a paragraph on each of the two outcomes of global citizenship you chose (intergroup empathy, valuing diversity, social justice, environmental sustainability, intergroup helping, and the level of responsibility to act for the betterment of this world).
Name of First Outcome Addressed (i.e., Valuing Diversity)
Within this paragraph you need to explain why this outcome is important in becoming a global citizen. It’s a good idea to first define the outcome in your own words and then provide a thorough explanation on why it’s important for your own development as a global citizen.
Name of Second Outcome Addressed (i.e., Social Justice)
Same instructions as the first paragraph above.
Short Title for Fifth Prompt
First Personal Example on (Name First Outcome)
You need to write a short paragraph describing a personal experience that has corresponds to the first outcome you addressed in the third prompt and has assisted or resulted in your development as a global citizen.
Second Personal Example on (Name of Second Outcome)
You need to write a short paragraph describing a personal experience that has corresponds to the second outcome you addressed in the third prompt and has assisted or resulted in your development as a global citizen.
Create Short Title of Sixth Prompt
You need to write a 5 – 7 sentence paragraph that identifies two specific education courses and explains how each of those courses assisted or influenced your development in becoming a global citizen.
In this paragraph, you need to summarize the main points of this assignment and include a description of why this topic is important to address when it comes to the development of global citizenship. Typically a good conclusion paragraph consists of 5 – 7 sentences. Keep in mind that you should not share new information in the conclusion paragraph. This means that there should not be any in-text citations. You are basically summarizing what you have written.
Note: References are written below in the correct format per APA guidelines. In addition to these two required resources, you must locate another scholarly source from the University of Arizona Global Campus Library that applies to this topic and can be used to support your perspective. For help with formatting your references, see this guide:
APA: Formatting Your References List
Reysen, S., & Katzarska-Miller, I. (2013). A model of global citizenship: Antecedents and outcomes. International Journal of Psychology, 48(5), 858-870. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2012.701749
Stucke, K. (Writer). (2009). Globalization at a crossroads [Series episode]. In M. Stucke & Claudin, C. (Executive Producers), Global issues. https://fod.infobase.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?token=39350&wID=100753&plt=FOD&loid=0&w=640&h=480&fWidth=660&fHeight=530
Add one more scholarly source per the requirements.
New Political Science, Volume 26, Number 1, March 2004
From Globalism to Globalization: The Politics of
National University of Mexico (UNAM)
Abstract The assumption of this article is that the “second great transformation”
proposed by global actors parallels the one advanced by those who resisted laissez-faire
capitalism in the 19th century. Both dispute the unilateral imposition of a new planetary
order and endeavor to modify the rhythm and direction of economic processes presented
as either fact or fate. In doing so, they effectively place the question of the political
institution of this order on the agenda. I look briefly at the familiar underside of
globalism and then move on to develop a tentative typology of initiatives that set the tone
for a politics of globalization. These include radical and viral direct action, the
improvement of the terms of exchange between industrialized and developing countries,
the expansion of the public sphere outside national borders through global networks, the
accountability of multilateral organizations, and the advancement of democracy at a
supranational level. Participants in these initiatives take politics beyond the liberal-
democratic format of elections and partisan competition within the nation-state. They
exercise an informal supranational citizenship that reclaims—and at the same time
reformulates—the banners of social justice, solidarity, and internationalism as part of the
Ever since the market ceased to be a taboo and globalization became a dominant
cognitive framework, the Left seems to have confined itself to a principled
commitment toward the dispossessed and a continual call for measures to
ameliorate inequality. Outside the mainstream, globaliphobic groups—an ex-
pression I use as shorthand to designate the naysayer as well as Beck’s “black,”
“green,” and “red” protectionists2—offer more militant, yet scarcely innovative
responses. They conceive globalization as a purely negative phenomenon, little
more than old capitalism dressed in new clothes. For them, especially the red
and black globaliphobes, the assault on sovereignty spearheaded by govern-
ments and multilateral agencies in the name of international trade strengthens
the hand of the business and financial community, compromises the autonomy
of domestic political decisions, and reinforces the submissive status of less
1 I would like to thank Toshi Knell, Eric Mamer and two anonymous reviewers for
New Political Science for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.
2 Ulrich Beck, What is Globalization? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000). For Beck, “black”
protectionists mourn the loss of national values, the “green” variety upholds the state as
the last line of defense against the international market’s assault on environmental values,
while the “red” ones maintain their faith in Marxism and see globalization as yet another
example of the class struggle.
ISSN 0739-3148 print/ISSN 1469-9931 online/04/010005–18 2004 Caucus for a New Political Science
6 Benjamin Arditi
developed countries to the dictates of the major industrial nations. Globali-
phobes are quite right about this, but they also think about the phenomenon
from a reductionist perspective that confuses globalization with what Beck calls
“globalism,” that is, “the ideology of rule by the world market, the ideology of
neoliberalism.”3 In doing so, they neglect the range of contending forces set into
motion by the process of globalization itself. The paradoxical effect of this
confusion is that their diagnostic converges with that of the neoliberal right: both
conceive globalization as a victory of liberalism, except that each assigns
opposite values to it.
Yet the hegemony of the market and free trade is not quite the same as the
victory of liberalism tout court. When one looks at the efforts to recast the rules
and the institutional design of the international order that has been emerging
from the ruins of the Berlin wall, the thesis of a liberal end of history proves to
be somewhat premature. Globalism undermines Westphalian sovereignty and
deepens inequality, but also has at least a potential for political innovation as the
resistance to globalism opens the doors for an expansion of collective action
beyond its conventional enclosure within national borders. Notwithstanding the
unipolarity of the international order, the wide array of new global warriors that
rally around the banner of the World Social Forum—“another world is poss-
ible”—are assembling a politics that seeks to move the current setting beyond
mere globalism. This intervention examines some of the symptoms of this move.
The Underside of Globalism
Every age of great changes brings along an underside. Nineteenth-century
industrialization unleashed a productive power on a scale unknown before
while it simultaneously destroyed traditional communities, virtually wiped out
the cottage industry of artisan production, and created a new urban underclass.
Industrial society also saw the emergence of efforts to resist and modify the
capitalist reorganization of the world. Globalization, with its remarkable time–
space compression and its impact on our perception of distance,4 presents us
with an underside too. It has three salient aspects: the deepening gap between
rich and poor countries, the creation of a mobile elite and an increasingly
confined mass, and the resurrection of more rigid and less liberal models of
identity as a defensive reaction to the dislocations brought upon by globalization
under the guise of globalism.
The first point has been discussed profusely.5 For the purpose of our
3 Ibid., p. 9.
4 Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization: The Human Consequences (Cambridge: Polity Press,
1998), pp. 16ff.
5 The figures of inequality are staggering. At the end of the 19th century, the difference
in the average income of the richest and the poorest country was 9:1. Things got much
worse since then. According to the UN, the income gap between the richest 20% and the
poorest 20% of the planet in 1960 was 30:1, while in 1997 it jumped to 74:1. The case of
Africa is even more daunting, as the average GNP of around US$360 per person is below
the annual service of the foreign debt. In countries like Angola and the Ivory Coast, it is
simply not payable, for it stands at 298% and 146% of their GNP correspondingly.
Moreover, despite our extraordinary capacity to produce food, every 3.6 seconds some-
where on the planet someone dies of hunger or for reasons directly derived from it. That
makes 24,000 deaths per day. In the meantime, average international aid from develop-
From Globalism to Globalization 7
argument, it suffices to point out that one does not need to be an orthodox
communist or a Rousseau-style egalitarian to understand that a minimum
threshold of equality is required to shore up governance and level the field for
participants in the public sphere. The second aspect addresses a sociological
issue. While moral indignation in the face of human suffering is not enough to
reorient the global patterns of development towards greater social justice and
solidarity, the persistence of exclusion confirms the coexistence of two worlds or
life-experiences concerning globalization. These typically show themselves, and
converge, in one place, border crossings, and around one issue, mobility.
Advocates of globalism extol the virtues of the free transit of capitals, goods,
services, and people. Without it, globalization faces a real and perhaps unsur-
passable limit. That is why the World Trade Organization (WTO) insists on this
free passage. However, migratory controls to stop the entry of those fleeing from
poverty or persecution multiply. The freedom of the market, say Zincone and
Agnew, entails a schizophrenic logic—positive for capital and negative for
labor.6 The UN reports something similar: “The collapse of space, time and
borders may be creating a global village, but not everyone can be a citizen. The
global professional elite now face low borders, but billions of others find borders
as high as ever.”7 Bauman builds on this to identify a novel socio-political
division developing in the global order. If distance has ceased to be an obstacle
only for the rich—since for the poor it never was more than a shackle—this
creates a new type of division between the haves and the haves not. The former
are tourists who travel because they can and want to do so, while the latter are
vagabonds, people who move because the world around them is unbearable,
more of a prison than a home.8 While the vagabond is the nightmare of the
tourist, he says, they share something in that they are both “radicalized”
consumers—they are embarked in a continual pursuit of satisfaction fueled by
desire rather than by the object of desire—only that the former is a “defective”
one. Thus, they are not mutually exclusive categories, both because tourists
might become vagabonds and because one might occupy the position of the
tourist in some domains and of the vagabond in others.
The third salient aspect of globalization arises from the exponential increase
in the pace of political, technological, economic, or cultural change. Its impact is
ment countries has dropped from 0.33% of their GNI in 1990 to 0.23% in 2001, with
Denmark topping the list at 1.08% and the US positioning itself at the bottom with just
0.11%. See United Nations, Human Development Report 1999 (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1999); UN, Human Development Report 2003, http://www.undp.org/hdr2003/;
Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents (London: Penguin Books, 2002); Jan
Nederveen Pieterse, “Global Inequality: Bringing Politics Back In,” Third World Quarterly
23:6 (2002), pp. 1023–1046; Nancy Birdsall, “Life is Unfair: Inequality in the World,”
Foreign Policy 111 (1998), pp. 76–93; Adam Zagorin, “Seattle Sequel,” TIME, April 17, 2000,
p. 36; http://www.thehungersite.com; Giovanna Zincone and John Agnew, “The Second
Great Transformation: The Politics of Globalization in the Global North,” Space and Polity
4:2 (2000), pp. 5–21; W. Bowman Cutter, Joan Spero and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, “New
World, New Deal: A Democratic Approach to Globalization,” Foreign Affairs 79:2 (2000),
pp. 80–98; Barry K. Gills (ed.), Globalization and the Politics of Resistance (Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
6 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., p. 12.
7 Human Development Report 1999, p. 31.
8 Bauman, op. cit., pp. 20–24, 92–97.
8 Benjamin Arditi
undecidable. It can be lived as an opening up of possibilities for emancipatory
projects or as a threat to identity and to the certainties of a more familiar world.
When the latter gains the upper hand, people might turn to aggressive forms of
nationalism, religious orthodoxy, tribalism, or messianic leaders—none of which
are likely to enhance toleration—with the expectation of restoring certainty. This
is not entirely new. The industrial revolution also undermined the referents of
everyday life without offering cultural responses, at least not at the beginning.
Marx and Engels describe the distinctive traits of the dislocations brought upon
by capitalism in a well-known passage of the Manifesto. They say:
Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social
conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch
from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and
venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become
antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy
Nationalism helped to counteract this “uninterrupted disturbance” that un-
dermined identities and governmentality. Kahler argues that in the 19th century,
especially after the expansion of the franchise, the emergence of mass national-
ism had a political function, for it enabled states to forge strong links with the
citizenry and to ensure their loyalty in an age of democracy. Later, anticommu-
nism and the promise of economic prosperity replaced nationalism as a political
programmed.9 Globalism has nothing comparable to offer, or rather, as Debray
remarks, it seems to offer no other mystique than the prospect of economic
growth.10 The latter is certainly desirable, at least if one expects some form of
income distribution as its side effect, but it is probably not enough to sway those
whose livelihood and identity are threatened by the rapid reorganization of
labor markets and trade patterns. As suggested, the danger here is the possible
appeal of projects that offer certainty at the expense of toleration. The strong and
often violent revival of nationalism and the aggressive affirmation of ethnic
identities illustrate an uncanny hardening of territorial and cultural frontiers in
a global setting where the role of borders is supposed to have waned. This is
complicated further by the rise of religious radicalism and by the religious
coding of the global terrorism that became notorious after the events of 9/11.
Since then, those hitherto known as freedom fighters became the security
nightmare of the West. Much to the chagrin of those advocating the end of
history in the aftermath of the Cold War, the enduring presence of such
radicalism shows that the liberal world-view is not without rivals. Interestingly,
Debray describes religious radicalism—but not religious terrorism—as a defens-
ive response to the loss of a sense of belonging, or better still, to the dislocation
of cultural referents in the wake of globalism. He argues that when people feel
lost the list of “believers” usually grows. That is why he says that sometimes
9 Miles Kahler, “The Survival of the State in European International Relations,” in
Charles S. Maier (ed.), The Changing Boundaries of the Political (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1987), pp. 288, 290; also Richard Falk, “The Decline of Citizenship in the
Era of Globalization,” Meeting Point (1998), http://www.transnational.org/forum/meet/
10 Regis Debray, “God and the Political Planet,” New Perspectives Quarterly 4:2 (1994),
From Globalism to Globalization 9
religion (but we could also say “nationalism” or “ethnic intolerance,” which are
similar in this respect) turns out to be not the opium of the people but the
vitamin of the weak.11
Globalism therefore revolutionizes the certainties of the past and inserts
entire populations into a more open, changing and diverse world, often enhanc-
ing the array of options of how and where to live their lives. Bauman’s tourists
embody this freedom of choice and movement, so dear to liberal thought. Yet it
also reminds us of a possible trade off between these new possibilities and the
relative security that accompanied identities in a more parochial world. Bauman
captures this disorientation when he speaks of globalization as the perception of
“things getting out of hand.”12 The question here is not simply the fear of
turning into vagabonds or remaining trapped forever in that position; it refers
instead to the demand for certainty, a desire for more rigid codes that function
as navigational maps for living in a world in constant flux. This is what Debray
had in mind when he described religion as a vitamin of the weak. This vitamin,
however, is not sought by the casualties of globalism alone, but also by the
champions of globalism who must now face the flip side of cheap airfares, cheap
weapons, and cheap digital communications being available to its opponents
too. In an international scene dominated by a neo-Hobbesian concern for
security—terrorism, AIDS, drugs or immigration—the trade off between a
rapidly changing world and the demand for certainty—both in the center and in
the periphery of global capitalism—reinforces our suspicion about a facile
endorsement of a liberal telos of history. It does so if only because it reveals that
not everyone sees capitalism—which Milton Friedman famously characterized
as a general freedom to choose—and political liberalism as universally valid
goods, and because sometimes the very advocates of those values easily override
them by imposing illegal tariffs on imports or by engaging in wars of aggression
in the name of prosperity and security.
Resistances to Globalism
Yet to accept this underside as a necessary consequence of globalization is to
submit to the naturalist fallacy of globalism, which presents the unilateral
imposition of a world order modeled around the Washington Consensus as our
destiny instead of as an act of political institution. Arguably, one could say that
the war on terrorism unleashed after 9/11 reactivates its political origin. It is the
true index of globalization, or if one prefers, an implicit acknowledgement that
globalism seeks to hegemonize globalization but can neither control nor exhaust
it. However, it is the disagreement with and resistance to the current state of
things that reactivates it explicitly.
What type of resistance? Another parallel with the 19th century can help to
clarify this. Simplifying things a bit, the range of responses of those excluded
from the benefits of the industrial revolution oscillated between two perspec-
tives. One was the destruction of machines advocated by the Luddites in the
revolts of the 1810s and 1820s in the North of England—mainly the Midlands,
Yorkshire, and Lancashire. Theirs was a mode of direct action motivated by near
12 Bauman, Globalization: Human Consequences, p. 59.
10 Benjamin Arditi
starvation and the desperation stemming from it, but also by a desire to restore
the working conditions of earlier times, which presupposed that a return to the
pre-industrial economy of small-scale producers and artisans was a viable
alternative. Marx and the International Working Men’s Association or First
International exemplified the other position. For them there was little or no room
for nostalgia since capitalism was here to stay, so the political task of the day
was not to destroy machines but to organize the resistance of the dispossessed
through trade unions and other movements. Their aim was to transform capital-
ism from within in order to build a more just and fraternal society. In the
celebrated opening lines of the Manifesto, their socialist and internationalist
project was the specter haunting Europe—or rather, the European ruling classes.
Polanyi sees the alternative in similar, yet less revolutionary terms, as he claims
that by the 1830s “[E]ither machines had to be demolished, as the Luddites had
tried to do, or a regular labor market had to be created. Thus was mankind
forced into the paths of a utopian experiment.”13
Today we face a similar challenge and a new specter, one haunting the
neoliberal efforts to reduce globalization to globalism. While globaliphobes—in
many ways the latter-day Luddites—see globalization as the ruse of capitalism
and call for a return to the state-centered and protectionist policies of the past,
others have chosen to become global warriors to transform the current state of
affairs. Like their socialist predecessors in the industrial age, the more lucid
critics of the global condition are not against globalization or trade per se. Just
like those who opposed Gulf War II were not always pacifists, in the sense that
many did not pose a moral injunction to war as such but only to a war that
lacked the moral and political legitimacy of a UN resolution, these critics are not
necessarily opposed to globalization but rather to globalism.14 They do not stand
in awe for the momentum it has gathered nor delude themselves about the
eventual disappearance of its negative effects either. They partake in the global
fray to modify the course of globalization from within. Global warriors aim to
bring about what Zincone and Agnew, in a felicitous play of words with the title
of Polanyi’s celebrated study of industrialization, call the political phase of the
“second great transformation.”15
We can read the latter as a move from globalism to globalization, which
amounts to an effort to politicize economic processes currently mystified as
either fact or fate. I propose a tentative typology of the initiatives undertaken by
global-minded actors. It functions as a provisional guideline to differentiate
forms of collective action that seek to modify the course of globalization. Their
common trait is the resistance to the Washington Consensus of the 1990s—cap-
tured in ATTAC’s slogan “The World is not for Sale”—in order to transform
13 Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
(1944), foreword by Joseph E. Stiglitz and introduction by Fred Block (Boston: Beacon
Press, 2001), p. 85.
14 A similar point is made by Fabio de Nardis, “From Local to Global: Values and
Political Identity of the Young Participants in the European Social Forum,” paper
presented at the Sixth Conference of the European Sociological Association, Murcia,
Spain, September 23–26, 2003.
15 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., pp. 7–8. Also Mary Kaldor, “‘Civilizing’ Globalization?
The Implications of the ‘Battle in Seattle’,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 29:1
(2000), pp. 105–114.
From Globalism to Globalization 11
globalism from within and below. Their actions extend the political field—and
by implication, the scope of citizenship—beyond the enclosure of the nation-
state. As in any classification, the boundaries between the various groupings are
somewhat porous, as initiatives tend to overlap and to appear conjointly. I will
distinguish six types, the first two being common to political activism more
Radical Direct Action
The lingering perception of the anti-globalization (i.e. anti- globalism) movement
consists of a string of cities—Seattle, Prague, Gothenburg, Genoa—accompanied
by images of sit-ins, smashed windows, street violence, police barricades, and
people being arrested. It also includes iconic referents like the destruction of a
McDonald’s restaurant in France led by José Bové and the Confédération
Paysanne to protest against the use of genetically modified foods. This imagery
is prevalent partly because street-based politics tends to be more salient and thus
the media picks on it as newsworthy. They are also the ones that instill most fear
in the hearts of governments, business leaders, and multilateral agencies more
accustomed to the logic of expert committees than to mass mobilizations,
although at times they embarrass and even undermine the strategic planning of
other global protesters too. That is why some might argue that many activist
groups lack a strategic political compass. This is correct, but it is not the full
story, as they range from strict globaliphobes to those with a clearer agenda for
transforming globalism. Examples of those who do have such an agenda are
those who participate in the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre, in the more
recent European Social Forum, which gathered nearly 60,000 people when
launched in Florence in November 2002, as well in other initiatives I will
mention shortly.16 Leading organizations associated with direct action include
the Ruckus Society, Global Exchange, and an array of anarchist groups like the
Black Bloc.17 One could also mention the “glocal” dimension of resistance, like
the international support for local struggles against privatized utility companies
in Third World countries. Here one can think of solidarity campaigns for the
Bolivian Water Wars of 2000 against a subsidiary of Bechtel Corporation in
Cochabamba, or for the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee set up to resist rate
increases of privatized state utilities in South Africa.18
16 See Fabio de Nardis, “Note Marginale del Forum Sociale Europeo,” Il Dubbio: Rivista
di Critica Sociale 3:3 (2002), http://www.ildubbio.com.
17 Jeffrey St. Clair, “Seattle Diary: It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas,” New Left Review 238 (1999),
p. 88; also “Hans Bennett Interviews Bobo,” Alternative Press Review 7:1 (2002), http://
www.altpr.org/apr16/blackbloc.html. The Ruckus Society (http://ruckus.org/training/
index.html) has a training camp for direct action where “Participants split their time
between theoretical/strategic workshops focusing on a wide array of advanced campaign
skills and hands-on technical training in tactics for non-violent demonstrations. The
objective of each Action camp is to provide participants with the opportunity to share
strategies, facilitate leadership development, and build relationships that will help to
spawn more collaboration in the form of alliance, networks, and coalitions.”
18 For the Bechtel case, see http://www.democracyctr.org/bechtel/index.htm. For the
Soweto and other resistances to the privatization programs induced by the IMF and the
WB, see Paul Kingsnorth, “One No, Many Yesses: The Rise of the New Resistance
Movement,” June 2003, http://www.signsofthetimes.org.uk/king.html.
12 Benjamin Arditi
Advocates of direct action—who can be violent or non-violent in their
expression of discontent with the order of things—are the generic equivalent of
the “dangerous classes” of 19th-century conservative discourse. Yet most move-
ments and protests have a radical wing or radical strands among their ranks.
Luddites shunned negotiation or accommodation within the system, and pro-
moted the destruction of machines instead of proposing an alternative to the
brutal exploitation of early capitalism. They ultimately failed, but theirs proved
to be a productive failure, for cotton merchants and politicians got the message
about the perils of excessive greed. New social movements have been perhaps
less destructive of private property, although the cathartic dimension of destruc-
tion should not be overlooked in mass protests. Yet they also appealed to radical
direct action to advance their cause—the antinuclear protests in Germany during
the 1970s and the guerrilla tactics of Greenpeace are typical examples. One can
agree or not with these “hot” actions, which are often accompanied by more
protests and slogans than by strategic proposals, but they play an important
role. They provide an initial momentum for resistances to globalism and for the
globalization of resistances, and therefore contribute to give visibility to the
political phase of the “second great transformation.” As Wallach says, some-
times direct action helps to cut through the arrogance of the international
bureaucracy.19 Experts of multilateral agencies often refuse to give any serious
thought to proposals of advocacy groups or stall them in the paper chase of
countless committees. As theorists of realpolitik have shown, a capacity for
disruption—which is a de facto veto power—serves as a bargaining tool, in this
case helping global warriors to get their case heard.
Viral Direct Action
The analogical model of these initiatives is the propagation of digital viruses
over the Web: once they start to circulate, whoever created them loses track of
how they propagate and cannot control who will get infected or when they will
be contained. Chain letters are a less damaging example of such dissemination.
Terrorist cells are a more threatening illustration. Viral action coincides with
what Deleuze and Guattari designate as a “rhizome,” a mode of organization
that lacks an “arborescent” or tree-like central structure connecting and directing
its parts.20 A rhizome links people and individuals, and facilitates further
links—independent initiatives generated by other groups and individuals—
without the usual hierarchies or infrastructure of more conventional social and
political organizations. The range of viral actions is quite broad. While it is not
confined to the “cool” medium of cyberspace, the latter provides interesting
examples. Some consist of gathering funds for relief operations or clicking on
websites like The Hunger Site (www.thehungersite.org) to donate a cup of food,
a percentage of a mammogram, or to save a square foot of rainforest—all of this
free of cost for those who do so. Others include organizing independent boycotts
of firms employing child labor or sharing information and other resources for
19 Lori Wallach, “Lori’s War,” interview with Moisés Naı́m, Foreign Policy 118 (2000),
20 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (London: Athlone Press,
1988), pp. 3–25.
From Globalism to Globalization 13
sponsoring initiatives or organizing protests. Among the latter, one could
mention the efforts of MoveOn (www.moveon.org, which has an e-mail list with
1.8 million members) to organize an internet protest against the war on Iraq, or
to disseminate information linking the war with the “Project for a New Ameri-
can Century” and its goal of positioning the US as the unconditioned pole of the
new world order.21
The strategic matrix for this mode of action in cyberspace is electronic civil
disobedience (ECD). It was posed in the mid-1990s by the Critical Art Ensemble
as a way to match the de-centralized and de-territorialized nature of contempor-
ary capitalism, particularly financial capital. Like all forms of radical direct
action, it eschews electoral and/or party politics. If the streets were the privi-
leged sites of traditional civil disobedience, the non-physical cyberspace is the
milieu where ECD takes place. The rhizomatic structure of viral direct action is
clearly at work here, for instead of aiming for a mass movement of public
objectors, it favors a de-centralized flow of particularized micro-organizations.
“Hacktivism,” the recombinant encounter of technology-savvy hackers and
traditional political activists, is one of its modalities. In December 1997, the
Anonymous Digital Coalition called people to block access to websites of
Mexican financial institutions by repeatedly reloading them to protest the
massacre of indigenous people in Acteal, Chiapas, by pro-government paramil-
itary groups. The Electronic Disturbance Theatre, a pro-Zapatista group, devel-
oped the FloodNet software to engage in acts of ECD: in 1998, they flooded the
then President Ernesto Zedillo’s webpage with the list of people killed in Acteal.
In December 2000, the Electrohippies group organized a virtual “sit-in” of some
450,000 people to overload the WTO servers, and more recently, Our World Our
Say staged a 30,000 person virtual march on the US Embassy in London to
protest George W. Bush’s visit to the United Kingdom in November 2003.22
In addition to the obvious difficulty to measure their degree of success,
whether in the “cool” medium of cyberspace or as “hot” spaces of street actions,
a possible disadvantage of this type of initiatives is their inbuilt difficulty to
generate consensus or to develop and pursue what Gramsci would call a
“counter-hegemonic project.” However, this might not be such a bad thing. Viral
direct action can function both as an obstacle for large-scale institutional trans-
formations and as an alternative to resource-heavy projects. Instead of aiming to
articulate a wide array of forces to reinstitute the political order or communal
21 This is available at www.newamericancentury.org. For an analysis of this document,
see Benjamin Arditi, “Resisting an Unconditioned Pole: Global Politics in the Aftermath
of the Iraq War,” Signs of the Times, May 2003, http://www.signsofthetimes.org.uk/
22 Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic Civil Disobedience (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia,
1996), pp. 7–32, 57–69, and Digital Resistance (Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 1999), pp. 13–
27; Stefan Wray, “On Electronic Civil Disobedience,” 1998, http://cristine.org/borders/
Wray_Essay.html, and “Electronic Civil Disobedience and the WWW of Hacktivism: A
Mapping of Extraparliamentarian Direct Action Net Politics,” Switch 4:2 (1998), http://
switch.sjsu.edu/web/v4n2/stefan/; Electrohippies, http://www.gn.apc.org/pmhp/
ehippies; David Cassel, “Hacktivism in the Cyberstreets,” May 30, 2000,
http://www.alternet,org/story.html?StoryID � 9223, “Hacktivism and Technopolitics,”
http://www.thehactivist.com/hacktivism.php; Erika Pearson, The Digital is Political,
2000, http://madcelt.org/~erika/; Barry Cox, “Hacktivism,” 2001, http://nml.ru.ac.za/
14 Benjamin Arditi
space as a whole, the rhizome setup of viral action connects a myriad of local
and global initiatives—in cyber or physical space—without a master plan or a
central command structure. Groups and individuals can participate and share
resources on their own terms quickly, visibly, and cost-effectively by setting up
transient virtual communities of action that provide ad-hoc modes of partici-
pation for people who are neither militants nor committed activists. It is a
post-hegemony mode of political action, or at least a mode of intervention that
does not fit strictly within the logic of hegemony.
This is precisely what makes viral initiatives so useful. Despite appearances
to the contrary, those who stay away from politics are not necessarily apolitical.
Many still want to change the world, but not all the time, for they do not
conform to Rousseau’s idealized image of virtuous citizens who rush to assem-
blies when called. They might be unhappy with the available political options
yet lack the time, the resources, or the inclination to build institutional alterna-
tives. This is not so much a proof of depoliticization as it is an indication that
dispersed people or loosely organized groups rarely count as political stakehold-
ers. In a way, they live citizenship as functional denizens. The rhizome-structure
of viral direct action can contribute to counteract this experience of disenfran-
chisement. Signing a petition over the web, refusing to buy tuna cans that lack
the dolphin-friendly label, participating in boycotts of products imported from
countries with repressive regimes, joining a virtual sit-in, or taking to the streets
to join forces with those who oppose wars of aggression, enables people to
support a cause and intervene in the public sphere without the usual risks and
the costs—not to mention the complex logistics—associated with collective
action. Here “the public sphere” might be a misnomer, for viral action is often
a crossover between the public and the private. It engenders fleeting, ad-hoc
publics that appear whenever and wherever private individuals decide to act,
even if they only connect with others in the virtual communities resulting from
the circulation of a pamphlet or forwarded e-mails for a particular action.
Initiatives to Modify North–South Inequality
More institutional-oriented interventions include the campaigns to condone the
debt of poor countries or to allocate 0.7% of the GDP of developed countries to
international aid. One of the more ambitious initiative to foster equality is the
Tobin Tax Initiative (www.tobintax.org) supported by a wide array of networks
and organizations such as ATTAC, Global Exchange, the AFL-CIO, or
DebtChannel.org. The Tobin tax, named after the Nobel laureate economist who
first suggested it, aims to discourage the ubiquitous cross-border financial flows
carried out by currency speculators—estimated at 1.8 trillion US dollars daily—
by imposing a sales tax of 0.1 to 0.3% on each trade. Such a tax would generate
estimated revenues ranging from $100 to $300 billion yearly. As the main
financial markets are located in industrialized countries, this would amount to
a net transfer of resources to the developing world. These funds could be
earmarked for poverty eradication, disease prevention, and environmental pro-
grams. This is a far-reaching initiative and its advocates are aware of the
obstacles that stand in the way of its implementation. It requires extensive
lobbying and political mobilization, both to persuade legislatures and multilat-
eral agencies to support it and to overcome the strong opposition of currency
From Globalism to Globalization 15
traders and the US-led efforts to peg bilateral trade agreements to the elimin-
ation of capital controls. It also has to sort out operational issues concerning the
collection and enforcement of the taxes.
TransFair USA, a non-profit organization that certifies products that comply
with the Fair Trade criterion, launched a more modest but currently more
successful initiative. It aims to improve the income of direct producers of coffee,
tea and bananas by lobbying mayor buyers to purchase them directly from small
agricultural cooperatives in Latin American, African and Asian countries instead
of ordering them through intermediaries. Coffee is the first item licensed
through this program. There are currently some 500,000 producers organized in
small and medium-sized democratically run cooperatives over an estimated four
million coffee growers worldwide. The average price they obtained in 2000 was
under $1.10 dollars per pound FOB, whereas by eliminating intermediaries, the
amount went up to $2.77.23 With the subsequent collapse of coffee prices in the
international markets, the Fair Trade price guarantees that direct producers will
receive $1.26 per pound FOB.24 In exchange, Starbucks, Safeways and other
participating companies are licensed to use the “Fair Trade Certified” label on
the coffee bags they sell to consumers worldwide.
One of the problems faced by TransFair is checking compliance, although it
is less daunting than in the case of, say, campaigns to eradicate child labor,
which require a continuous (and costly) monitoring of small shops and enter-
prises scattered across the globe. Moreover, the volume of trade handled by
TransFair is a relatively low at $400 million per year, yet its effects are broader
than the figures involved, if only because it has a visible impact on direct
producers living on or below the poverty line. Like all campaigns around social
labels, it serves to exert moral pressure on business conglomerates to adjust their
commercial practices to ethical codes of conduct, and to foster a semblance of
moral conscience among consumers whose overriding preoccupation with max-
imizing benefits is a strong disincentive for spontaneous altruistic behavior.
Initiatives to Expand the Public Sphere
There are many indicators of the growth of supranational initiatives and arenas.
Keohane and Nye speak of complex interdependence in the global age, in the
sense that we are witnessing the multiplication of the channels between soci-
eties, and of the number and the diversity of issues and participants in global
networks. They point out that the number of international NGOs increased from
6000 at the beginning of the 1990s to 26,000 by the end of the decade.25 Other
indicators are multilateral financial institutions, transnational professional asso-
ciations, drug cartels, scientific and religious communities, loose coalitions of
those sharing lifestyles or cultural consumption, and so on.26 In a setting of
23 Margot Hornblower, “Wake up and Smell the Protest,” TIME, April 17, 2000, p. 37.
24 See http://www.transfairusa.org/products/coffee/criteria.html.
25 Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye Jr., “Globalization: What’s New? What’s Not?
(And So What?),” Foreign Policy 118 (2000), pp. 115–116. Numbers alone should not blind
us to the fact that NGOs often compete among themselves for the end-users of their
services—the oppressed, the persecuted, the sick, and the hungry—and intervene with
their own agenda in the recipient country.
26 Beck, What is Globalization?, op. cit., pp. 12–13, 36.
16 Benjamin Arditi
complex interdependence, the initiatives of NGOs, social movements, and inter-
national advocacy networks also contribute to transform global politics from the
standpoint of civil society.27 They organize campaigns to stop torture and other
human rights abuses, lobby governments to introduce stricter environmental
regulations and ratify the Kyoto protocol on gas emissions or to suspend
military aid to repressive regimes, and struggle to open up the projects of
multilateral lending institutions to public scrutiny. Organizations like Médecins
sans Frontièrs, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, ATTAC, the Bretton Woods
Project, and Public Citizen are good examples. All this runs counter to the idea
that politics is enclosed within the nation-state or that whatever takes place
abroad must fall under the heading of foreign affairs.
In a way, these networks of non-traditional players bear a family relation
with viral direct action, at least in the sense that they have low levels of
formalization, membership is based on normative and strategic trust, exchange
information, have fairly open mechanisms of entry and exit, and set up joint
initiatives. They are, then, imaginary communities of people who want to
change the world. On the one hand, they seek to modify the public agenda and
influence political outcomes, but more importantly, they contribute to change
the terms and the nature of the debate and to shape the political arenas in which
they intervene.28 On the other hand, they presuppose a global public and aim to
expand its role. Their initiatives spread through the printed or electronic media
of countries where they act, but also through global information networks like
CNN, and now the Internet, used so effectively by the Zapatista guerrillas in
Mexico at least since 1996 to build international support for their cause and
disseminate information about human rights abuses in indigenous communities.
We have already seen some examples. Networks also take advantage of the new
technologies of communications and the aforementioned fall in the cost of air
travel to get together, organize protests, engage in lobbying, or set up other
domestic or international networks. This facilitates the tasks of activists like
those who coordinated the 1999 campaign against the WTO in Seattle, but also
of militants from a host of international terrorist organizations.
The combination of a physical presence as pressure groups (acting on their
governments, on other governments, or on multilateral agencies) and a virtual
presence in the media contributes to create a global public opinion. Like any
public opinion, it gives visibility to issues that are overlooked or ignored by
decision-makers. It serves as a moral counterweight for the actions of govern-
ments and multilateral organizations, and as an informational input to foster
deliberation among citizens and modify their cognitive maps. Its “moral” status
does not make it extra-political. As Manin says in relation to representative
government, public opinion seeks to counteract the partial autonomy of elected
representatives, for once in office they might not be compelled to follow that
27 See Craig Warkentin and Karen Mingst, “International Institutions, the State, and
Global Civil Society in the Age of the World Wide Web,” Global Governance 6 (2000),
28 Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Without Borders: Advocacy Networks
in International Politics (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 2–5, 14–15,
From Globalism to Globalization 17
opinion, but they cannot ignore it either—or ignore it at their own risk.29 Global
public opinion is no different. Perhaps its distinctiveness is that it operates as a
de-territorialized moral force, or rather, as one that is largely unconcerned by
Initiatives Seeking Accountability and Public Scrutiny of Multilateral Organizations
Critics of globalization insist on the democratic deficit of the international order,
particularly in the case of technical agencies like the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and the WTO. They point out that policy
recommendations of these agencies affect the lives of millions of people, shape
the behavior of governments, and put an effective limit to the autonomy of
political leaders in the elaboration and implementation of domestic policies.
Their decisions, however, are not subjected to public scrutiny, and there are few
mechanisms to make them accountable for their consequences. Full transparency
is, of course, unlikely, as many of the negotiations into which they enter are by
definition opaque. Yet the question of scrutiny refers more specifically to the fact
that gross errors of estimation of a country’s reliability and risk—as happened
in the 1996–1998 Asian crisis—have little or no consequence for these agencies
or their resident experts.30 They need to be submitted to public scrutiny to
counteract policy recommendations that often amount to a thinly disguised
unilateral imposition on governments. Indeed, coalitions like those pieced to-
gether for the Seattle protests coalesce around the conviction that the democratic
deficit of the world order is neither necessary nor acceptable, and that we must
create rules capable of regulating international actors so that those who must
live with their decisions can hold them accountable.31
There are many proposals. Those by Jeffrey Sachs focus on the IMF.32 He
claims that it is too powerful and that no single agency should have responsi-
bility for economic policy in half of the developing world. That is why he asks
that its executive board do its job of overseeing rather than rubber-stamping
staff proposals, consult with outside experts and canvas international opinion
and that its operations should be made public to guarantee professional debate
and review. “Global Trade Watch,” a division of Public Citizen, advocates a
series of changes to modify the WTO dispute settlement system. Wallach, its
director, cites two reasons for these changes. First, because the consultation
period involves a costly process of litigation in Geneva, something that poor
countries are in no condition to afford. And second, because if the consultation
is unsuccessful, the affected country must ask for the formation of a special
panel of people ill-suited for judging on issues concerning the social costs of
29 Bernard Manin, The Principles of Representative Government (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997).
30 Zincone and Agnew, op. cit., pp. 15–16; Stiglitz, op. cit., pp. 89ff.
31 Wallach, op. cit., pp. 35, 47, 54; also Richard Falk, “Meeting the Political Challenge
to Globalization,” Meeting Point, 2000, http://www.transnational.org/forum/meet/
2000/globalisation.html; Fred Halliday, “Getting Real about Seattle,” Millennium: Journal
of International Studies 29:1 (2000), pp. 123–129; and the Bretton Woods Project
(www.brettonwoodsproject.org), the watchdog organization set up for monitoring and
influencing the projects, policy reforms and overall management of the IMF and the WB.
32 Jeffrey Sachs, “IMF is a Power unto Itself,” Financial Times, December 11, 1997.
18 Benjamin Arditi
trade policy or legislation. Its three members are selected from a roster made up
of previous employees and national delegates to the GATT, people who have
worked in ministries of finance or economics, or private attorneys specializing in
international trade.33 Wallach adds that their discussions, proceedings, and
documents are confidential, they are not obliged to seek outside expertise to deal
with issues of public health or genetically modified foods, and their decisions
enter into effect immediately. Contrary to what many would think, Public
Citizen does not propose a return to protectionism or the elimination of the
WTO, but rather to reform the latter so that social indicators are also taken into
account when they make decisions and more favorable terms of exchange for
developing countries can be secured.
Somewhat paradoxically, the defense of developing countries might also
prompt these critics to side with the WTO, if only to counteract the negative
effects of US-sponsored bilateral trade deals. Bhagwati and Panagariya point out
that by the end of 2002, the WTO had been notified of agreements to create 250
Free Trade Areas, which are exempted from the most favored nation rule that
ensures equal treatment within the WTO. By reaching one-on-one agreements,
they say, the US undermines the bargaining power of Third World countries in
multilateral negotiations, and by linking these bilateral agreements to the agenda
of domestic groups in the US, trade liberalization becomes an alibi for “the
capture, reshaping and distortion of the WTO in the image of American
lobbying interests.”34 One can see this at work in the negotiations for a Free
Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); the US pressured Colombia and Peru to
leave the alliance led by Brazil, effectively weakening its bargaining power.35 In
the face of an unconditioned pole that wishes to impose the rules of the global
trade system, activists who do not oppose trade per se might find themselves in
the position of defending the WTO as a multilateral arena for scrutinizing and
contesting the policies of the sole remaining superpower.
Initiatives to Advance Democracy at a Supranational Level
Despite the lack of accountability of supranational actors, or precisely because of
it, democracy is a recurrent yet contested issue. Advocates of radical and viral
33 Lori Wallach, “The WTO’s Slow Motion Coup against Democracy,” Multinational
Monitor 20:10–11 (1999), pp. 27–29.
34 Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya, “Bilateral Trade Treaties are a Sham,”
Financial Times, July 13, 2003, http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename
� FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c � StoryFT&cid � 1057562355896. They illustrate this with
two examples. One is that Mexico was forced to accept provisions for intellectual
property protection to close the deal on NAFTA, which placed the US in a position to
demand the same from other countries or face retaliatory tariffs. Eventually, it enabled
the US “to insert the trade-related intellectual property regime (TRIPs) into the WTO,
even though no intellectual case had ever been made that TRIPs, which is about royalty
collection and not trade, should be included.” The other is that while even the IMF does
not reject capital controls per se, the US conditioned trade agreements with Chile and
Singapore to the ban on capital controls. Both countries gave in to this demand, making
it more difficult for others to uphold capital controls in future multilateral trade
35 Tim Padgett and Andrew Downie, “Lula’s Next Big Fight,” TIME, November 24,
2003, pp. 46–47.
From Globalism to Globalization 19
direct action, together with those who aim to make international agencies more
transparent and accountable, demand more democracy in the global order.
Looking at the literature, one can see that mainstream thinkers tend to empha-
size the liberal-democratic components of governance and representation,
whereas global activists are less troubled about the link between elections and
political participation. While Schmitter talks of the need to develop an institu-
tional setting to strengthen citizen participation in the European Union (EU),
Held and others who speak of “cosmopolitan democracy” advance one of the
more cited projects of reform.36 They claim that the idea of autonomous
communities with their own endogenous agendas can no longer be reduced to
the territorial space of national states. In the past, the history and the practice of
democracy was based on the idea of locality, whereas the future of democracy
depends on its reorganization on a global scale because the site of effective
power no longer lies only in national governments. It is now shared by a series
of economic forces and regulative agencies outside the nation, as well as NGOs,
new regional blocs like the EU and MERCOSUR in South America, and a host
of other actors that must be taken into account in political calculation. Held is
aware of the deficit of supranational democratic institutions and insists in the
need to rethink the charter of the UN and other institutions to boost the
prospects of democracy on a global scale.37 That is why he invites us to rethink
the national criteria of democracy by adding to it regional parliaments, the
scrutiny of international organizations, and a greater influence of international
courts. His cosmopolitan democracy does not seek to create a Kantian league of
states but to secure greater public accountability, and thus to enhance the
democratic component of that order.38
One possible shortfall of this cosmopolitanism is that with the exception of
the experience of the EU after Maastricht, which allows citizens of member states
to vote and to be candidates in local elections of the country where they have
settled, the institutionalization of a genuinely supranational mode of citizenship
is incipient. Moreover, Schmitter and others argue that we still lack real
mechanisms of democratic representation outside the national state. The list of
institutions of cosmopolitan democracy, he says, is rather limited and the
evidence supporting the tendency toward it is based largely on functional
equivalents of both governance and democracy.39 With the notable, yet limited
exception of UN-sanctioned human rights and of some political rights in the EU,
we lack institutional arrangements outside the state capable of enforcing rights
36 Philippe Schmitter, “The Future of Democracy: Could it be a Matter of Scale?” Social
Research 66:3 (1999), pp. 933–958; David Held, “Democracy, the Nation state and the
Global System,” Economy and Society 20:2 (1991), pp. 130–172, and “Democracy: From
City-States to a Cosmopolitan Order?” in Held (ed.), Prospects for Democracy (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1993), pp. 13–52; Daniele Archibugi, David Held and Martin
Köhler (eds), Re-imaging Political Community: Studies in Cosmopolitan Democracy (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1998); David Held, “Regulating Globalization?” in D. Held and
Anthony McGreen (eds), The Global Transformations Reader (Cambridge: Polity Press,
2000), pp. 420–430.
37 David Held, “Democracy and Globalization,” in Archibugi et al., op. cit., pp. 25–26.
38 Held, “Democracy: From City-States to a Cosmopolitan Order?” op. cit., p. 41;
Archibugi et al., op. cit., p. 4.
39 Schmitter, “The Future of Democracy: Could it be a Matter of Scale?” op. cit.,
20 Benjamin Arditi
and obligations associated with citizenship. To be fair, though, Held speaks of
cosmopolitan democracy as a political project to reform the international order
and not as an actually existing reality, so it is perhaps premature to expect the
institutional framework demanded by critics. Having said this, we should add
a note of caution about the prospects of such democratization given the obstacles
it faces, especially when considering the refusal of the US to endorse the
International Criminal Court or its willingness to go to war in Iraq without the
endorsement of the UN Security Council.40
Supranational Arenas, Informal Global Citizenship and a Progressive Agenda
The range of these initiatives tells us something about the current state of a
politics of resistance. As they reactivate the question of globalization, the new
internationalists spearhead a “second great transformation”—less as a model
than as a horizon—that puts into play the ground rules of globalism champi-
oned by neoliberal rhetoric. I will draw from the preceding discussion to suggest
a set of coordinates that map the political contours of this horizon, and also fuel
the return of a progressive agenda to counteract conservative complacency. The
first and more obvious one refers to the expansion of the political frontier
through the creation of supplementary supranational arenas. The literature usu-
ally cites the case of the EU or agreements concerning international tribunals,
but the initiatives developing from below the intergovernmental level seek to
both modify the current forms and rhythms of globalization and to expand the
idea of citizenship beyond the framework of the nation-state. Global actors often
disregard the assumption that ties politics to a state-centered political cartogra-
phy and therefore dispute the liberal enclosure of politics within the physical
setting of the nation-state. That is why Virilio suggests that we are now more
exposed to the end of geography than to the end of history.41 They are carving
up supranational spaces of political exchange, new sites for the enactment of
collective forms of resistance, confrontation, negotiation, and innovation that
may (or may not) become formalized as legally sanctioned institutional domains.
Yet even if they do not, the challenge to globalism effectively destabilizes the
frontiers between the public and the private, and between the political and the
Second, let us concede these initiatives and organizations can be political
without always being democratic, either because they fail to represent any actual
constituency, lack participatory decision-making mechanisms, or are run by
self-perpetuating cliques that are not subjected to public scrutiny by the mem-
bership. They would merely reinforce Roberto Michels’ iron rule of oligarchy.
However—and this is an important qualification—those that are democratic and
seek to expand democracy do so without always invoking the electoral format
of liberal democracy. This is not because elections are outdated or have been
superseded by other forms of political participation. Elections at a supranational
level are very much at the center of the debate on democratic participation and
40 For more on this point, see Arditi, “Resisting an Unconditioned Pole: Global Politics
in the Aftermath of the Iraq War,” op. cit.
41 Paul Virilio, “Fin de l’histoire ou fin de la géographie?” http://www.monde-diplo-
From Globalism to Globalization 21
accountability, notably in the case of the European Union, but they do not exhaust
the multiple forms of participation and accountability in the global setting. This is
because involvement in public affairs at a supranational level deepens the gap
between the concept of democracy and the position of citizen-voter. Bobbio once
observed that from the late 19th to the mid-20th century the thrust of the
democratic demand was reflected in the phrase “who votes,” whereas today
democracy has undergone a transformation whereby the key question is “on what
issues one can vote.”42 While voting seems to remain as the independent variable
in this shift from “who” to “what,” it is no longer restricted to the election of
representatives as it now refers to the issues that are open to discussion and
participation. This might be Bobbio’s way of telling us that “representation” does
not exhaust the semantic field of “democracy,” or rather, of reminding us of the
excess of participation over elections without endorsing a model of direct democ-
racy. Activists want to have a say in political decisions, scrutinize the practices of
major global players like multilateral organizations or business conglomerates,
and hold them accountable for their policy recommendations. Yet they want to do
so primarily by instituting mechanisms to control and regulate their field of action
rather than by subjecting them to electoral scrutiny. That is why participation in
supranational arenas can be democratic and post-liberal.
Third, a model of citizenship restricted to the nation-state is being challenged
daily even if it is premature to claim that we are already on the threshold of
global citizenship. The idea of citizenship was born in the struggle against
monarchical absolutism to set up the rules defining the relations between the
individual and public authorities in the secularized territory of the nation-state.
It empowered city dwellers by gradually legitimizing what Arendt calls “the
right to have rights” or, in Balibar’s more politically charged language, by giving
birth to the idea of subjects who resist their subjection and therefore perform
their own emancipation.43 This has lost none of its political or intellectual
purchase among global warriors. The point of contention is whether the absence
of non-state mechanisms to validate rights and redress wrongs prevents us from
talking about supranational citizenship. My view is that it does not, or rather
that this absence does not stop people from exercising it in an informal or de facto
manner with a real impact on outcomes. Even within nation-states, we find
subjects who are not always authorized yet are often acknowledged as actors in
the public sphere even though they fall outside the legal framework of citizen-
ship—undocumented migrants, Roma people, and so on. Moreover, the nom-
inal, state-sanctioned idea of citizenship itself is no guarantee for the respects of
the rights associated with it. Outside pressure often contributes to validate them
or at least curbs blatant forms of repression. This is precisely what prompted
human rights activists to create Amnesty International. Campaigns set up by
activists in different countries have been decisive to get governments to modify
their treatment of dissidents or respect women’s rights. Thus, one should not
confuse the informal status of supranational citizenship with its ineffectiveness.
42 Norberto Bobbio, Democracy and Dictatorship: The Nature and Limits of State Power
(Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989), pp. 156–157.
43 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harvester, 1973); Etienne
Balibar, “Subjection and Subjectivation,” in Joan Copjec (ed.), Supposing the Subject
(London: Verso, 1994), pp. 8–9.
22 Benjamin Arditi
Fourth, in addition to their efforts to expand the scope of publicness and
participation, the new global warriors reintroduce the socialist preoccupation
with social justice and solidarity into the political agenda. They do so by
drawing from the Marxist heritage, yet without following a Marxist political
script. By and large, the identity of cross-border coalitions and protest move-
ments is not posed in terms of working-class resistance, their logic of collective
action is not framed in terms of class warfare, and their effort to counteract the
unequal exchange between North and South does not aim to suppress free trade
or private enterprise. The specter of socialism, or of the imaginary fostered by
the socialist tradition, is re-entering the public scene in the shape of a new,
loosely assembled internationalism that seeks to counteract the weight of its
conservative counterpart in order to address questions of equality and solidarity
on a global scale. The new internationalists are concerned with North–South
inequality, with the standing of borders with regard to immigrants from the
capitalist periphery, and with AIDS, gender mutilation, child slavery, and so on.
As Derrida put it, this new internationalism calls for a solidarity “of which no
state, no party, no syndicate, no civic organization really takes charge,” for it is
made up of all those “who suffer and all those who are not insensitive to the
dimension of these urgent issues.”44 The new internationalists, then, are firing
the opening salvos of the political phase of the second “great transformation” by
moving things beyond the ideology and the practice of globalism.
Finally, the emerging supranational arenas and initiatives are neither the
destiny of politics nor the replacement of liberal democracy. Instead, they are the
more recent symptoms of the migratory arc exhibited by politics since the dawn
of modernity. This migratory arc manifests itself through a continual coloniza-
tion of new territories, and its itinerary is marked by three salient moments.45 It
begins with Leviathan, the metaphor of the sovereign state coined by Hobbes to
describe a model in which the state seeks to become the sole subject of politics,
that is, to hegemonize the political. The second moment is the offspring of
democratic liberalism in its drive to displace politics into the field of elections
and partisan competition. Here the political is no longer hegemonized by the
state but by territorial representation. The third, ongoing moment, consists of a
double migration, first into the supposedly apolitical space of civil society
through the endeavors of new social movements, and then toward arenas
outside the nation-state through the initiatives of the new internationalists. The
corollary of this continual displacement of politics is that instead of a liberal end
of history, contemporary politics is starting to look more like a post-liberal
archipelago of interlocking tiers. In this archipelago, the liberal format of
electoral politics and partisan competition within the nation-state coexists with
a second tier of social movements (and organizations) and with the suprana-
tional arenas that are being opened up by the new internationalists as they claim
and exercise an informal global citizenship.
44 Jacques Derrida, “Intellectual Courage: An Interview,” Culture Machine, 2000, http:/
/culturemachine.tees.ac.uk/Cmach/Backissues/j002/Articles/art_derr.htm. Also J. Der-
rida, Specters of Marx (Routledge: London and New York, 1994), pp. 85–86.
45 This migratory arc and its three moments is developed in Benjamin Arditi, “The
Becoming-Other of Politics: A Post-Liberal Archipelago,” Contemporary Political Theory 2:3
(2003), pp. 307–326.
Educational Philosophy and Theor y, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2005
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK and
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA
Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.Oxford, UKEPATEducational Philosophy and Theory0013-1857© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of AustralasiaSeptember 2005374Original ArticleGlobalisation, Globalism and CosmopolitanismMarianna Papastephanou
Globalisation, Globalism and
Cosmopolitanism as an Educational Ideal
University of Cyprus
In this paper, I discuss globalisation as an empirical reality that is in a complex relation
to its corresponding discourse and in a critical distance from the cosmopolitan ideal. I argue
that failure to grasp the distinctions between globalisation, globalism, and cosmopolitanism
derives from mistaken identifications of the Is with the Ought and leads to naïve and
ethnocentric glorifications of the potentialities of globalisation. Conversely, drawing the
appropriate distinctions helps us articulate a more critical approach to contemporary cultural
phenomena, and reconsider the current place and potential role of education within the
context of global affairs. From this perspective, the antagonistic impulses cultivated by
globalisation and some globalist discourse are singled out and targeted via a radicalization
of educational orientations. The final suggestion of the article concerns the vision of a more
cosmopolitically sensitive education.
Keywords: globalisation, nation-state, identity, antagonism, hybridity, Bauman,
Giddens, Kristeva, Dewey
As early as 1916, John Dewey wrote:
Every expansive era in the history of mankind has coincided with the
operation of factors which have tended to eliminate distance between
peoples and classes previously hemmed off from one another. Even the
alleged benefits of war, so far as more than alleged, spring from the fact
that conflict of peoples at least enforces intercourse between them and
thus accidentally enables them to learn from one another, and thereby to
expand their horizons. Travels, economic and commercial tendencies,
have at present gone far to break down external barriers; to bring peoples
and classes into closer and more perceptible connection with one another.
It remains for the most part to secure the intellectual and emotional
significance of this physical annihilation of space. (Dewey, 1993, p. 110)
Today, although the relevant empirical phenomena have advanced in incredible
ways and paces, the intellectual and emotional significance has not been debated
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
exhaustively, let alone secured. The economic and commercial tendencies that
Dewey noticed have now taken the form of a shift of the population to the tertiary
sector of economy, i.e. services, commerce, transport, etc. (Habermas, 1998, p. 308),
what is often seen as knowledge economy, and an unprecedented flow of informa-
tion across the globe. These facts—and many more—constitute the phenomenon of
globalisation, which has become the object of globalist studies.
In this paper, after exploring the connection of globalisation and globalism
meta-theoretically, I discuss some tendencies in the globalist examination of the
factual, intellectual and emotional significance of globalisation and show how they
affect educational theory. A critical assessment of these tendencies leads me to sugges-
tions regarding the direction globalism and the theorization of the cosmopolitan
pedagogical ideal must take.
Globalisation is an empirical phenomenon that has been primarily felt as a structural
transformation of the world economic system operating in a complex dialectics with
time and space compression effected by advances in technology and communication.
Politically, globalisation is playing a major role in issues of state sovereignty, world-
order, extra-state policies and administration practices. Culturally, it is intervening
dramatically in the (re)shaping of identities and self-conceptions, the premises of
human encounter and exchange of world-interpretations and the frame of diverse
sensitivities, creativities and responses to aesthetic experience. As a result of its
multi-dimensionality and the chaotic force of its effects, globalisation denotes the
‘indeterminate, unruly and self-propelled character of world affairs: the absence of
a centre, of a controlling desk, of a board of directors’ (Bauman, 1998, p. 38).
Theoretical responses to the facts of globalisation vary and often conflate empirical
reality and rhetorical myth. The line distinguishing the two is fuzzy since our access
to empirical reality is always linguistically and culturally mediated but this should
not lead us to blurring the distinction itself. To see Globalisation as a ‘discursively
constructed master discourse of uncontrollable global market forces’ ( Janice Dudley,
cf. Porter & Vidovich, 2000, p. 451) ignores the material effects of globalisation
and their extra-linguistic factual character. That this character is thematized and
known to us through our linguistically mediated interactions (a chiefly epistemo-
logical matter) should not obscure the fact that globalisation occurs as a set of
actualities that radicalize and accentuate older phenomena of cross-cultural human
contact. Such a set may be entangled in a complex dialectics with its discursiveness,
as its narrativity, its representation and the imaginary investments they create play
an important ideological role in that very consolidation and promotion of globali-
zing effects and the construction of the particular symbolic sphere that nurtures
globalisation. Globalisation often becomes an ideological device that states and
governments employ as an excuse for imposing certain policies that would otherwise
fail to gain public acceptance or support. But it would be erroneous to conclude
that the admission of the ideological role globalisation plays should lead us some-
how to deny its reality. It could even be politically dangerous since the political
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
significance of a discursive construction differs from that of a detectable reality and
focusing on the former would engender one-sided interpretations overlooking the
need to deal with the latter. In any case, as Giddens writes,
… a few years ago, there was some doubt, particularly on the left, about
whether globalization was a reality. The unpersuaded would write
‘globalization’ in inverted commas, to demonstrate their essential scepticism
about the idea. This controversy has moved on. Discussion continues
about how best to conceptualize globalization, but few would any longer
deny its influence—as signalled by the role of global financial markets,
new developments in electronic communication and geopolitical
transitions [ … ]. Discussion of globalization is no longer concentrated on
whether or not it exists, but on what its consequences are (Giddens,
2001, p. 3).
In this respect, I argue, the idea that ‘globalization is best understood as a kind of
’ (Smith, 1999, p. 2) should rather correspond to globalism than the
latter’s object of inquiry. For, the facticity of globalisation is one thing but the
of this facticity is quite another.
For many thinkers, especially Third Way advocates, the impact of globalisation
‘has been compared to that of the weather; a “self-regulating, implacable Force of
nature” about which we can do nothing except look out of the window and hope
for the best’ (Andrews, 1999, p. 1). But also critics of the Third way such as
Bauman diagnose the same quality. ‘Globalization is not about what we all or at
least the most resourceful and enterprising among us wish or hope
. It is about
happening to us all
. It explicitly refers to the foggy and slushy “no man’s
land” stretching beyond the reach of the design and action capacity of anybody in
particular’ (Bauman, 1998, p. 39). These meteorological metaphors that have been
employed by many theorists to illustrate the unanticipated and unintended character
of globalisation prove indirectly the facticity of this phenomenon and the need for
a nuanced conceptual treatment of globalisation and its discursive thematization.
Given such a chaotic multiplicity and lack of determinate responsibility or liability,
it is no wonder that the causes and consequences of globalisation, ‘let alone the
new political arrangements and kinds of democracy—cosmopolitan, realist, liberal,
radical—that should respond to globalization are debated and contested’ (Isin &
Wood, 1999, p. 92). To render the distinction between empirical reality and its
theorization more operative, I suggest that we reserve the term ‘globalization’ for
the description of the intensification of global interconnectedness and use the term
‘globalism’ for the discursive treatment and analysis of the empirical phenomenon.
Globalisation as an empirical phenomenon involves various practices—some of
which are discursive—and states of affairs. But the discourse about globalisation,
i.e. its thematization, should be examined separately, at least for methodological
purposes, and under a different heading: the term I suggest is ‘globalism’. To use
an example, it is part of globalisation that a multinational company operating in a
Western state may cause an ecological disaster that will affect primarily the clima-
tological conditions of some remote countries or perhaps even the whole planet.
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
The debate on this phenomenon, however, belongs to a particular discourse that
we may call globalist.
Following Isin & Wood, we may regard globalism as a discourse that constitutes
globalisation as an object (Isin & Wood, 1999, p. 92). Therefore, globalism is not
a process or a set of realities independent from researchers.
It is a ‘discourse in
which the very idea of globalization is articulated, disseminated, justified, debated,
in short, constituted as an object of reflection and analysis’ (Isin & Wood, 1999,
Globalist discourse operates at many levels deploying a large variety of descrip-
tive, evaluative and normative judgements—most frequently in a syncretic and
eclectic fashion. But one may synthesize some of the approaches so as to group
them in three main categories of responses to globalisation.
category includes the positions that express deep concern about globalisa-
tion as a new form of domination propelled by a ‘homogenization’ principle.
comprises those that have a more positive and optimistic outlook resting
on what I would call a ‘global diversity thesis’.
involves positions that share the pessimism of the first category but explain
it via a description that acknowledges more subtle differentiations and accepts the
dual nature of globalisation.
The first and third focus on the concentration of power whereas the second on its
dispersal. One may associate the first with Eric Hobsbawm, the second with Feath-
erstone, Giddens and Appadurai and the last with Bauman. (It should be noted
here that there is nothing ‘essential’ about the association of the above thinkers
with the corresponding positions on globalisation. Categorizations of the above
kind serve methodological purposes and can become easily relativized by the
polemical shifts that often guide theoretical discussions. For instance, Giddens’s
approach can be largely associated with the ‘global diversity thesis’ but when he
confronts the glorifications of globalisation that derive from the conservative inter-
nationalist camp he adopts a far more sceptical and critical outlook. Therefore, like
all generalizations, the above segregation of positions is subject to the vagaries of
1. Hobsbawm deplores the fact that globalisation puts heterogeneity and particularity
under threat by imposing a single dominant culture as the model of all operations.
Globalisation is ‘a state of affairs in which the globe is the essential unit of operation
of some human activity, and where this activity is ideally conducted in terms of
single, universal, systems of thought, techniques and modes of communication.
Other particularities of those who engage in such activities, or of the territories in
which they are conducted, are troublesome or, at best, irrelevant’ (Hobsbawm,
1998, p. 1).
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
2. The opposite holds for Featherstone who ‘calls into question the homogenization
thesis, arguing that globalization often results in indigenization and syncretization of
global symbols and hybridization of various local symbols’ (Isin & Wood, 1999, p.
105). To him, complexity is the most important feature of globalisation. He argues
that a paradoxical consequence of that phenomenon and the awareness of ‘finitude
and boundedness of the planet and humanity, is not to produce homogeneity but to
familiarize us with greater diversity, the extensive range of the local cultures’ (cf.
Porter & Vidovich, 2000, p. 451). Giddens singles out and focuses on another
positive effect of globalisation, namely, the freedom that stems from the enlarge-
ment of the economic, political and cultural horizons of people. Thus, he considers
globalisation a ‘transformation of space and time in which the development of
global systems and networks reduces the hold of local circumstances over people’s
lives’ (Porter & Vidovich, 2000, p. 449).
3. Giddens’ approach appears one-sided when compared to Bauman’s position. Bau-
man associates the above kind of freedom with the potentialities of a small percent-
age of the population worldwide. ‘The global network of communication, acclaimed
as the gateway to a new and unheard of freedom, is clearly very selectively used; it
is a narrow cleft in the thick wall, rather than a gate’ (Bauman, 1998, p. 44). The
sway of a localizing trend triggers a new social division and hierarchy. The knowl-
edge economy that cancels old modes and relations of production, as well as the
movement of the footloose élites and their sense of time are such that secure for the
rich an unprecedented independence from the poor. Those are now even removed
from the sight of the privileged classes and become so tied to their local circum-
stances that social mobility seems no longer to be a feasible life option for them.
Habermas’s analysis converges with Bauman’s on this point. As Habermas writes,
‘pauperized groups are no longer able to change their social situation by their own
efforts’ (1998, p. 315). Overall, the third large category of positions we notice in
globalist discourse provides a comprehensive and nuanced reading of globalisation
but concentrates on a diagnosis of negative global effects. I will return to the
positions that have consolidated in globalist discourse thematically after I examine
how educational theory has responded to them by generating what I would call
The main positions of general globalism are traceable and informative in educa-
tional globalism too. Additionally, within it, one may discern perspectives from
which the relation of education and globalisation can be examined. One perspective
is concerned with research in ways by which practices, institutions, discourses and
structures of education have been affected by globalisation. Another places more
emphasis on ways by which educational policies express and respond to the pres-
sures of globalisation (Rizvi & Lingard, 2000, p. 421), i.e. on how education
actively engages with the facts of globalisation and often with the promotion of
globalizing effects. A third perspective, which appears as yet underdeveloped,
explores ways by which education should try to counterbalance the negative effects
of globalisation and extend the potentialities of it for all in a democratic fashion.
Most authors have dealt with the first two points in a diagnostic mode. [With
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
respect to this last point, cosmopolitanism can contribute a lot having first being
defined in an appropriate way.]
What underlies most approaches, however, is the same feeling of unease, power-
lessness and bewilderment that characterizes general globalism. As Gregory Heath
remarks, ‘education sits in an unfamiliar and interesting position in the face of
globalisation. This is new territory for education, its institutions and practitioners’
(2002, p. 37). Patrick Fitzsimons comments that, regarding globalisation, ‘exactly
how education is involved or what it can or should do, is not quite as clear’ (2000,
p. 505). Overall, education seems to be unsure of its direction regarding globalisation
and this is often attributed precisely to the tensions between the global and the local
and unity and difference that mark globalist discourse (Fitzsimons, 2000, p. 520).
A Critique of Globalist Positions
The position I defend in relation to the theorization of globalisation, which under-
lies the suggestions in the educational frame that will follow, is deontological. By
this I mean that my approach is primarily concerned with the imperatives and the
impact of globalisation regarding the ethical dimension of intersubjectivity rather
than with the economic growth or techno-informational progress it may facilitate.
Issues such as productivity, efficiency and profit enter the picture of a deontological
approach only when and if they answer the question: for whom? Who or which
group of people benefit from globalisation? How are justice and equality affected?
What seems to be happening to diversity and cultural plurality in a globalized
world? How does the Is of globalisation relates to the Ought of the vision of better
conditions for all biota?
Therefore, I shall concentrate on how globalisation is viewed as affecting unity
and plurality, social and international justice, and emancipatory enrichment of
humanity and protection of natural life. I shall expound my critique thematically
by focusing on the issues of (i) the nation-state and territoriality, (ii) diversity and
homogeneity, (iii) identity and rootlessness and (iv) equality and life options.
The Nation-state and Territoriality
The nation-state and its prospects constitute a crucial point of contention within
globalism. Advocates of globalisation celebrate its challenging impact on the modernist
construction of the nation-state because they associate with this configuration the
terror of totality and homogeneity and treat it as a barrier to ‘cosmopolitanism’.
Detractors of globalisation (and of the corresponding appreciative globalist theory)
defend the nation-state invoking a very wide spectrum of arguments. For polemical
reasons, or due to lack of true engagement in the debate, many thinkers who regard
globalisation positively draw a caricature of their opponents and reduce the latter’s
defense of the nation-state to a conservative and reactionary commitment to obso-
lete notions such as consanguinity, community ethos, and cultural purism. ‘For
some, the de-realisation and de-territorialisation of place associated with the
growth of globalisation and symbolic exchange results in a loss of social meaning
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
and disruption of established senses of community and identity’ (Usher, 2002,
p. 48). This picture is accurate only for a small group of globalist theorists and
within it there is room for a variety of positions, not all of which could be considered
as motivated by conservative nationalist concerns. By contrast, there are those who
defend the nation-state precisely because they see it as the last bulwark of particu-
larity against the homogenizing flows of globalisation. Additionally, there are thinkers
who offer the theoretical means for dissociating the nation-state from the unity
plurality binarism by unmasking operations of domination that use diversity
totality equally effectively for their purposes but detrimentally for people and nature.
Let us examine the issue of the nation-state more closely. It may be true that
‘the establishment of any sovereign state required as a rule the suppression of state-
formative ambitions of many lesser collectivities’ (Bauman, 1998, p. 40). But
accounts presenting the nation-state as a product of homogenization at the expense
of the lives of millions of people by suppressing uprisings, oppositional movements,
and so on (Isin & Wood, 1999, p. 93) are one-sided and eurocentric. They are so
in the sense that they generalize the data that concern major Occidental states to
cover all cases of territorial sovereignty on the planet without taking into consideration
independence wars and anti-colonial movements. The reason why I pinpoint this
has nothing to do with a defense of the nation-state or a belief in its preservation.
It aims solely to draw attention to its double nature which problematizes any effort
to render the nation-state a scapegoat on which we could project the trials of moder-
nity and establish its overcoming as the new legitimating metaphor of globalisation.
Another reason motivating some globalist theorists to allocate globalisation’s
challenges of the nation-state immediately into the sphere of progressivism is the
assumption that national territoriality is intimately bound up with tribal instincts
that impede the just and equal treatment of alterity imposing homogeneity. Glo-
balisation then is presented as the process that disarms territoriality and allows
more diasporic and differentiated political configurations to flourish. A concomi-
tant—and equally faulty assumption—is that cosmopolitanism is a simple matter of
rootlessness. In turn, this idea leads to a mistaken identification of globalized
managerialism and footloose entrepreneurs as ‘emerging cosmopolitan classes’ (Isin
& Wood, 1999, 7). Both assumptions are reflected in the following connection of
globalisation and postmodernism. ‘If globalization is contesting the sovereignty of the
nation-state and making its boundaries permeable, giving rise to various forms of
cosmopolitan citizenship, postmodernization is creating new forms of social differ-
entiation, establishing new relationships between class and citizenship’ (Isin &
Wood, 1999, p. 23). I will deal with the issue of rootlessness and cosmopolitanism
later on but now I will turn to territoriality.
Contrary to the fashionable idea that the territorial principle of political organization
emanates from a dormant tribalism, Bauman writes that it ‘does not stem from the
natural or contrived tribal instincts alone (not even primarily)’ (1998, pp. 41–2)
and proves that its relation to globalisation is far more complicated. Beneath the
surface gloss, and despite its threat to the nation-state, globalisation encourages
forms of tribal territoriality for reasons of money and power. The territorial principle
is being revived now because ‘global finance, trade and information industry
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
depend for their liberty of movement and their unconstrained freedom to pursue
their ends on the political fragmentation, the
of the world scene’
(Bauman, 1998, p. 42). Thus, homogenizing and imperialist forces use plurality in
a strategic way while destroying those aspects of that plurality that would slow
down the ‘free movement of capital and limit market liberty’ (p. 42). ‘Far from
acting at cross-purposes and being at war with each other, the political “tribalization”
and economic “globalization” are close allies and fellow conspirators’ (p. 42).
In those circumstances, the task of a profound postmodernist outlook would be,
I argue, to unveil the fact that in the complexities of globalisation doubleness
borders with duplicity. This becomes more evident if we recall that the debilitating
effects of globalizing processes on territorial sovereignty do not affect all nation-
states equally. On the contrary, some powerful nations stand up against extra-national
publics and stop the globalizing measures the latter impose so long as they do not
serve the interests of the former. An obvious and relatively recent example is ‘the
refusal of the United States to accept one of the few international agreements
genuinely accepted by everyone else, namely, the commitment to cut the emission
of greenhouse gases down to the required level. It has thus single-handed sabotaged
a global measure’ (Hobsbawm, 1998, p. 3).
I would like to conclude this section by stressing that if competitiveness damages
the significance intersubjectivity may acquire for our lives, then, the nation-state,
by not being the only possible carrier of competitiveness, cannot be the only cause of
oppression of alterity, culturally or socially. Recalling the cold war, we realize the
fact that at that time the nodal points of coexistence and competition were the
blocks of states rather than the states themselves (Bauman, 1998, p. 40). And in
the Fordist and post-Fordist landscapes, economy has gradually shifted some of the
political initiative and control from the nation-state to extra-national formations
while preserving and even exacerbating self-interested antagonism
and individuals. The persistence of competitiveness and its negative effects (that
we cannot take up here)
transcending the nation-state ought to put us on guard
vis-à-vis postmodern political optimism. Like other things, imperialism takes a
new form too. It no longer conquers territories but preserves and intensifies the
aggression and competitiveness that used to characterize the nationalist claims of
Diversity and Homogeneity
However, affirmative responses to globalisation do not herald only the limitations
confronting the nation-state. They also discard the idea that the New World order
promotes a Western-led homogenization as too simplistic and argue that, though
Occidental influence is significant, ‘there is a degree of cultural interpenetration,
hybridity and fluidity across different localities around the globe’ (Isin & Wood,
1999, p. 94). Equated with either modernization or Westernization, globalisation
becomes bereft of the multiplicity of its rationalities. Moreover, within the frame
of globalisation-as-modernization the mobilization of encounter and influence of
non-western cultures would be underestimated. For many globalist theorists, ‘the
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
“global” and the “local” are not opposing but mutually constituting elements of
globalization’ (Isin & Wood, 1999, p. 94).
For Bauman, on the other hand, this complexity and interrelation of the global
and the local—what he calls ‘glo
lization’—is precisely the vehicle of new modes
of domination and oppression of diverse others. Glo
lization as the process of the
‘world-wide redistribution of sovereignty, power, and freedom to act’ (Bauman,
1998, p. 42) divides the world into the tourists of the planet and the vagabonds of
regions, i.e. those that ‘inhabit the globe’ and the others that ‘are chained to place’
(p. 45). Moreover, I believe, counterarguments to the positive globalist outlook do
not emanate solely from different interpretations and appraisals of the interconnec-
tion of the global and local. Doing justice to the qualitative asymmetries of influence
among cultures is an additional motivation for turning a critical eye on favourable
treatments of globalisation. ‘If globalization has to adjust to local particularities, of
which “nations” are an important subvariety, particularities are much more powerfully
affected by globalization and have to adjust to it or be eliminated by it’
(Hobsbawm, 1998, p. 2). Hence, what is sidestepped by the positive category of
globalist discourse is the fact that, in certain cases, the difference in degree makes all
the difference in the world and the deflationist theorization of modernization and
Westernization misdirects globalism.
Consider for instance the fact that to the critical and often dismissive treatments
of globalisation through the employment of notions such as ‘Americanization’,
Westernization’, and ‘McDonaldization’ is counterpoised a set of terms such as
‘diaspora’, ‘hybridity’, ‘
identities’ and so on. However, if one thinks over
the generality of the latter set of terms one cannot but notice that they do not really
articulate processes that run truly counter the occidental domination of cultural
influence. Contrasted to the concrete character of the terms signifying one-sided
expansion and concentration of power, the generality and vagueness of ‘diaspora’
and ‘hybridity’ speaks for a lack of analogous influence of non-western cultures on the
western ones rather than a possibility for a more even-handed reshuffling and dis-
persal of power. None of the defenders of the complexity of cultural interpenetration
seems to have terms to offer that account for how the Western world is influenced
by non-Western cultures—and that is no accident. The lack of terms theorizing e.g.
‘Easternization’ is very telling regarding the asymmetries of cultural interplay.
Also, the implicit assumption of some positive treatments of globalisation that
cultural influence is a matter of free play in which people select merrily what they
find attractive is politically insensitive and sociologically blind to issues of power
and control. Capitalism with its subsystems of economy and administration pene-
trates lifeworlds anchoring in them and often eroding them in ways that go far
beyond the scope of cultural merry-go-rounds. Finally, we should take into account
the qualitative differences that mark the reception of or, adaptation to, otherness
by diverse cultures. Even when western cultures are influenced by others this does
not occur with respect to what they really desire but with respect to what they lack.
For instance, the ‘fastfoodization’ of foreign food we notice in the western world
has added variety to western eating habits without contributing significantly to
changes of western perceptions of time, labor, and lifestyle. Eating Chinese or
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
Indian or Mexican food relates to cultural sufficiency, desire, social position and
overall influence in ways that are strikingly different from those surrounding the
introduction of fast food in the non-Western world. Fast food in the latter world
goes hand in hand with a change in the conception of time, the sense of worthy
activity and the assumptions about what is nutritious or healthy.
Identity and Rootlessness
Many globalists hope that the recognition of the fact that subjectivities are con-
structions rather than essences will lead to eliminating or complicating the neat
categorization of people that usually sparks off wars, violence, exclusion and rac-
ism. It is true that phenomena of globalisation could be credited with a reassertion
of fluid, diasporic, hybrid and contingent identities but this is only one side of the
story. Only by way of a logical leap one could justify the identification of fluidity
as such with its potential fruitful political interpretation. That is to say, the
diasporic and the hybrid identity on their own do not determine the conditions of
their political treatment or their cultural reception and ethical significance. To give
an example, the relativized identity of footloose élites does not appear very helpful
when they negotiate in the good old capitalist fashion about their interests. Worse,
it does not seem to enter the picture when they display the disarming innocence
of the unsuspecting with regard to their own, subtle or manifest, complicities.
In this respect, rootlessness may be a disguise of a deep and unreflective rootedness
in the Occidental culture of performativity, modernization and profit. A closer look
shows that the hope that rootlessness is the royal route to transcending a tyrannical
conception of identity is grounded in problematic and ethnocentric premises. Let
us first examine an example of the attention rootlessness has received. In certain
locations, the space-time compression results in globalized senses of place. This
‘can lead to what Benko refers to as non-places, spaces “devoid of the symbolic
expressions of identity, relations and history: examples include airports, motoways,
anonymous hotel rooms, public transport”—and possibly even cyberspace’ (cf.
Usher, 2002, p. 47). This phenomenon invites a careful interpretation. In my
opinion, the anonymity of a hotel room, instead of rendering it a non-place, is
precisely one of the features that root it in a particular culture in relational distinc-
tion to non-anonymous space. The sense of normalcy it enjoys because it is ours
empties it in our eyes of any content as we forget that its lack of name is exactly
what makes it northwestern, i.e. ours and nobody else’s.
As to airports being non-places, once again, this idea mirrors our ethnocentric
forgetfulness that efficiency, passports, security, regional or racial origin and so on,
are still loaded with various cultural meanings. For instance, as Habermas argues,
international flights, global stock market transactions, the millennium, conferences
etc, are scheduled by the Christian calendar (1998, p. 307). I believe that this
example proves that the identity of the supposed non-places, which is not discernible
to us when we assume that history and culture are cancelled out when convention-
ally standardized, is surely felt by those who follow our conventions temporarily
and then return to their own. ‘World air travel is possible because of a number of
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
arrangements which link all airports and airlines of the globe, and which are
handled in a standardized manner everywhere and, in fact, with the use of a single
language of communication for all essential technicians anywhere in the world’
(Hobsbawm, 1998, p. 1). Thus, the so-called rootlessness and its supposed mani-
festations speak more for the homogenizing effects of globalisation and the euro-
centrism they encourage rather than the redemption of pluralism. If there is freedom
from the constraints of identity, that freedom is for those others who make the effort
to adjust to our normalized and eurocentrically anonymized modes of existence.
Equality and Life Options
The approaches I have placed in the large category of affirmative theorizations of
globalisation also converge in their appreciation of the new opportunities for
improvement of people’s lives. ‘The movement of people, money, and information
across national and cultural boundaries means that we now have access to markets,
cultural practices, and products as never before. This access clearly has the poten-
tial for enriching our lives by providing lifestyle and employment options that were
once beyond our reach. [ … ] Even the remotest cultural traditions are now readily
accessible to us’ (Rizvi & Lingard, 2000, p. 419). It is true that politically pessimist
globalist discourses often downplay these opportunities or unduly demystify them
as being a smoke screen. But the undue emphasis on prospects for equality and
enlarged existential choice founders upon serious problems too. These involve
issues such as for whom the employment options are truly available, what happens
to cultures that are not very adaptable to the globalizing rationale and to what
extent (and filtered through what) remote cultures are really accessible.
Besides, any account of globalisation, precisely those which purport to grasp the
complexities and paradoxes of the phenomenon, must pay attention to the fundamental
inequalities that solidify or emerge from the course of restratification (Bauman, 1998,
p. 43) effected through globalisation. As Habermas diagnoses, ‘the gap between the
living conditions of the employed, the underemployed, and the unemployed is widen-
ing’ (1998, p. 315). Globalisation as, primarily, ‘a redistribution of privileges and
deprivations, of wealth and poverty, of resources and impotence’ (Bauman, 1998,
p. 43) widens the scope of choice for some and drastically narrows it for some others.
Given that our times are marked ‘by the structural menace to the welfarist
domestication of capitalism and by the revival of a neoliberalism unhampered by
considerations of social justice’ (Habermas, 1998, p. 314),
equality is sacrificed
on the altar of performativity. A consequence of economic globalisation and the
competitiveness it has imposed is the transformation and reduction of the welfare
state mirrored in the fact that benefits drop, access to social security is toughened
and pressure on the unemployed is increased (Habermas, 1998, p. 315).
Educational Globalist Discourse
The dilemmas and tensions of globalism are noticeable in educational theory too.
Some commentators concentrate on the complexities of the global knowledge
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
economy and their impact on education directing their endeavours in a theorization
of the new possibilities. Novel conceptions of spatiality, the cyberspace, and diaspora
(Usher, 2002) as well as the features of knowledge economy (Peters, 2002)
the attention of theorists in a way that often refrains from painting a gloomy
picture—or sometimes creates a picture that is even overtly optimist.
Some others refer to the fact that globalisation threatens traditional forms and
structures of pedagogy to render them obsolete (Heath, 2002). Haynes (2002, p. 103)
contrasts the conception of the university ‘as a community of academics engaged
in a range of traditions or practices’ with its conception as a ‘quasi-governmental
administrative entity’—a conception shaped by globalizing procedures and the
tolerance or welcome they encounter in educational systems and policies. The latter
conception should be combated because it reduces the university to an organization
‘employing workers to value-add to customers intending to maximise personal
economic rewards from future engagement in a more competitive national economy’
Others focus not so much on the threats confronting tradition and community
but rather on what they view as an overwhelming tendency of the globalized world
to treat education solely as a means to an end (Coxon, 2002, pp. 69 –70). Education,
then, turned to a commodity (Bagnall, 2002, p. 81), becomes ‘instrumental to
goods which lie outside the realm of knowledge and rational or critical understand-
ing’ (Heath, 2002, p. 38).
In this way, it is complicitous in the cultivation of
consumptive subjectivities (Fitzsimons, 2000, p. 519) and the promotion of policies
that aim to ‘ensure the competitiveness of the national economy in the face of
globalization’ disregarding the democratic deficits they involve (Rizvi & Lingard,
2000, p. 421). Such deficits affect detrimentally, among other things, gender sensitive
state policies and educational practices (Blackmore, 2000).
True, there is a positive side in the relation of globalisation and education which
seems to relate chiefly to new modes of encouraging multiculturalism, group dif-
ferentiated citizenship, diversity and cross-cultural encounters. However, this
admission should not be overgeneralized and exaggerated lest the negative side will
be obscured and covered up. Some educationalists have already acknowledged that
the educational systems of the newer states emerging as a result of recent developments
in world affairs ‘may be shaped by some degree by colonialism’ (Dale, 2000, p.
446). Bagnall argues that the internationalisation of higher education may be seen
as ‘counter-ethical to the extent that it is irremediably cultural hegemonic regard-
less of the efforts that are made to be sensitive and responsive to the cultures into
which it is marketed’ (2002, p. 85). Others diagnose a homogenizing linguistic
imperialism operating in educational systems worldwide endangering linguistic
diversity and plurality (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2001; Phillipson, 2001). And, in spite of
the fact that the extent of global educational curricular homogeneity is contestable,
it is evident that it imposes, at least to some degree, a kind of world culture. This
favors unity rather than plurality since isomorphism of curricular categories across
the world applies ‘irrespectively of national, economic, political and cultural differences’
(Dale, 2000, p. 430). To summarize, globalisation regarding education is guilty of
a promotion of unity over plurality through cultural imperialism (Porter & Vidovich,
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
2000, p. 451) and the cultivation of antagonism.
Via market imperialism, it is
guilty of vocationalization of higher education, privatisation of educational respon-
sibility and benefit, dependence of accountability on educational outcomes and
‘competitive marketization of educational institutions and their services’ (Bagnall,
2002, p. 78).
Overall, this kind of educational globalist critique of the unethical consequences
of globalisation shares nothing—in most cases—with reactionary or conservative
notions attached to narrow conceptions of value, identity and cultural homogeneity. It
also reflects the concerns of the equivalent tendencies within general globalism.
What is more important is that this educational critique displays a very ‘healthy’
reaction to the connection of globalisation and competitiveness. It seems to be well
aware of the fact that the system encourages self-regarding rather than ethical conduct
through an assumption of ‘enlightened self-interest through individual choice’
(Bagnall, 2002, pp. 81-2) and condemns it relentlessly. ‘Education has been seen
as the key factor in honing states’ competitive edge with respect to each other’ (Dale,
2000, p. 441), which means that local diversity is promoted only to the extent that
it is conducive to the goals of the market. Thus, situational sensitivity serves a largely
Western, privatized, and ego-centred set of cultural values (Bagnall, 2002, p. 86).
Due to a conflation of conflict and antagonism, postmodernism often becomes a
secret accomplice of the market by associating dissent, pluralism and competition.
The awareness ‘that highly competitive, unregulated, marketised systems do not,
in fact, encourage educational (or any other “product”) diversity, at least beyond a
particular minimal level’ (p. 82), should lead us to questioning this hasty identifica-
tion of antagonism as the inexhaustible source of the new and the unknown.
As I mentioned in my introductory comments, educational philosophical globalism
performs diagnostic interventions rather than concrete and deontological sugges-
tions for change. Or, it draws from the suggestions offered within general glo-
balism. The latter has produced a wide spectrum of speculations about the future
of the globalizing world, some of which have a clearly normative character and
mirror the position one takes regarding the significance of globalisation. I shall
examine some of these ideas (regardless of whether they have been used in educa-
tion or not) in order to move to my own suggestions.
First of all, I believe, identity politics sometimes approximates conservatism and
purism wishing cultures to remain as they are, supposedly uncontaminated by
obtrusive otherness. It tries to arrest time and sees change as violation and distor-
tion. The solutions it offers do not touch upon issues of power but rather on issues
of communal bonds and preservation of the ‘spirit’ of collectivities. More than
anything, the emphasis on the idea of community is no antidote to globalisation
‘but one of its indispensable global corollaries simultaneously products (
conditions’ (Bauman, 1998, p. 43).
Part of the postmodernist discourse that seems to be less troubled by globalisa-
tion imagines a future in which diversity and hybridity will effect new forms of
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
solidarity. Kristeva’s position seems to me to be exemplary of this trend. Admitting
that one is strange to oneself creates a sense of solidarity among us because ‘we all
belong to a future type of humanity which will be made entirely of foreigners/strangers
who try to understand each other’ (1998, p. 323). To my mind, this position betrays
overgeneralizations, is completely negligent of the complex politics of difference
and normalizes the experiences of one as being those of all.
Worse, it not only
misses all the tensions and negative effects that material and symbolic competitive-
ness produces but it even justifies them through a very misguided and conservative
pragmatism. This is evident by the following. Kristeva mentions cultural difference
as something we have to pay attention to but, as she adds, ‘still, we are fully aware of
the risks that may come with such an attitude: ignorance of contemporary economic
reality, excessive union demands, inability to take part in international competition,
idleness, backwardness. This is why we need to be alert and always remember the
new constraints of our technological world, of “causes and effects” ’ (1998, p. 329).
Kristeva’s main suggestion, however, reflects a psychoanalytic rather than a socio-
political problematic—and a very dubious one—as the next citation shows. ‘In
order to fight the state of national depression that we have in France (and in other
countries as well) as a result of globalization and the influx of immigrants, and also
in order to oppose maniacal reactions to this depression (such as that of the
National Front), it is important to restore national confidence’ (p. 326). Here, the
association of national depression with globalisation and the influx of immigrants
is negligent of other important factors. As for the idea of restoring national confidence,
in its vagueness, it accommodates the worldwide pressures for more competitive
nation-states instead of fighting them.
Other approaches along similar lines derive a ‘critical’ aspect of globalisation
from the very lack of coherence and unity characterizing this phenomenon. As I
have mentioned previously, this move takes a leap of thought that is arbitrary and,
arguably, in underestimating the negative signs of globalisation, it makes unwit-
tingly common cause with the market. A more sophisticated variation of this theme
connects the unpredictability of globalizing realities with the possibility for the
emergence of a critical localism (Fitzsimons, 2000). But as Habermas argues, local
governmental measures ‘would bring about local advantages, but would not change
the pattern of international competition between countries. Economic globalisa-
tion, no matter how we look at it, destroys a historical constellation in which, for
a certain period, the welfare state compromise was possible. This compromise, to
be sure, is by no means the ideal solution of a problem inherent to capitalism, but
it has after all succeeded in keeping the social costs within accepted limits’ (1998,
Now, Habermas seems to opt for the opposite solution, i.e. instead of critical
localism he defends the idea of differentiated international publics. To him, welfare
functions may be rescued if transferred from the nation-state to larger political
units that can catch up with transnationalized economy (1998, p. 317). A supra-
national politics catching up with markets would promote the transformation of
the world into a community of solidarity placing the emphasis on generalizable
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
However, this solution is also problematic for nothing guarantees that these
publics will truly serve the interests of all people. Habermas admits a similar
weakness when he writes that ‘the creation of larger political units leads to defen-
sive alliances opposed to the rest of the world, but does not change the mode of
competition between countries as such’ (p. 317). Hence he sets the following
precondition that he hopes it will have a reforming effect on human relations. ‘Only
under the pressure of the changing consciousness of citizens, and of its impact on
the field of domestic affairs, may those collective actors capable of acting globally
come to perceive themselves differently, that is, increasingly as members of a
community that leaves them no choice but cooperation and compromise’ (pp. 318 –
9). Now, if we consider the role education plays in the shaping and change of the
consciousness of future citizens, we realize that the need for new pedagogical ideals
is compelling. These will undo the effects of dominant ideals such as the individ-
ualist and the technicist that have elevated antagonism to a major given of human
coexistence. I suggest, then, that we search for or construct those ideals the edu-
cational cultivation of which will encourage a different way of relating to otherness.
And here is where cosmopolitanism enters the picture.
There has been a revived interest in cosmopolitanism recently that has created,
in my opinion, two major tendencies: one is to understand cosmopolitanism in a
pragmatist way as mobility, rootlessness, openness to different lifestyles and detach-
ment from the nation-state;
the other adds to it strong legal and ethical dimensions.
The former derives from a confused and under-theorized equation of the everyday
use of the term with the philosophical one whereas the latter attempts to reformu-
late the notion drawing from the philosophical tradition but couching it in a more
adequate philosophical idiom. The former, light-hearted, sense of cosmopolitanism
can be encountered in the work of many contemporary and influential political
philosophers like Jeremy Waldron (2000) and to a lesser degree even in Bruce
Ackerman (1994). The latter, deeper, sense of cosmopolitanism can be found in
Nussbaum’s renegotiation of Stoicism and in neo-Kantian and post-Kantian polit-
ical philosophies. The notion of cosmopolitanism I see as compatible with the
above mentioned educational suggestion is this latter one, but as I argue elsewhere,
it has first to address some serious criticisms, which here I shall only briefly
summarize. First, it must distance itself from a ‘tourist’ conception of cosmopoli-
tanism. It must also show that it does not rest on obsolete philosophical accounts
of the self i.e. accounts that give antagonism ontological citizenship and establish
it as an inescapable human reality (Papastephanou, 2002). Then it must prove that
it is not a secret accomplice of ethnocentrism and finally that it does not express
the concerns of a paternalistic and elitist small group of intellectuals (Lu, 2000).
What is important here is that only a reformulated conception of cosmopolitanism
and its transference to educational goal-setting can address the need for a change
of consciousness and frame it legally and ethically. The relevance of the legal
dimension is demonstrated by the fact that all efforts to counterbalancing the
negative side of globalisation founder upon a fundamental lack. As Habermas
writes, ‘what is lacking is the emergence of a cosmopolitan solidarity, less binding,
of course, than the civic solidarity that has emerged within nation-states’ (1998,
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
p. 319). The ethical dimension concerns the fact that true cosmopolitanism is not
just about openness to alternative ways of life but involves also the duty to material
aid and transnational redistribution (Nussbaum, 2000).
In this context, it becomes apparent that, whereas globalisation regarding edu-
cation concerns new global policies and the structural changes of schooling they
are causing, the cosmopolitan pedagogical ideal should concern the cultivation of
resistant, critical and reflective subjectivities. It should concern the effort to mini-
mize the risks for individuals and cultures and maximize the positive potentialities
of globalisation in a fairer way by encouraging non-competitive feelings to others
and acknowledging that there are more than just negative duties towards them.
A very powerful objection to what I have suggested above would involve the
assumption that the cultivation of non-competitive attitudes is unrealistic because
antagonism is—supposedly—intrinsic in human nature. Because people are self-
centred beings, the excessive competitiveness we notice nowadays among individuals
and nations is not a pathology but rather a side-effect of an otherwise much desired
freedom of thought and action. However, one of the very few points on which
postmodernist trends—and globalism that concerns us here—converge is that post-
modern discourse is de-essentializing, although the implications of this appear not
to be fully recognized yet. Had they been recognized, the objection would have lost
its meaning. For, if there are no essential characteristics of humanity, then no
possibility of becoming could be blocked from the start. A rejection of assumptions
such as the antagonistic nature of people should become part of anti-essentialism
as much as the questioning of identity, transcendentalism, rationalism and absolute
truth. Consequently, a discourse or practice that relies tacitly on the idea that
people are self-serving and interest-driven cannot be de-essentialist or at least not
all the way. Some postmodernists are led astray by their conflation of agonistics
with antagonism and their hasty glorification of conflict. By omitting to draw the
necessary distinctions within conflict, they weaken its explanatory power and tran-
scendentalize it by making it an almost mystical source of innovation and progress.
They do so as they hope that in this way they protect heterogeneity and lose sight
of the fact that antagonism is the worst enemy precisely of that kind of cosmo-
politanism that recognizes and defends plurality. If the major issue is to change the
consciousness of people, then education has a heavy burden, because people often
become what they are taught that they are. Thus, in the endeavour to problematize
external borders, many postmodernists forget that borders are sometimes internal
and their overcoming presupposes a dismantling of the binarisms (e.g. internal vs
external, nature vs culture etc.) that have grounded them. By emphasizing so much
the overcoming of external borders we overlook the complex interplay of internal
and external. Such an ‘internal’ border—philosophical, psychological, and moral—is
the one created by the assumption of closed and competitive subjectivities.
Habermas states that ‘the Hobbesian problem of how to create and to stabilize
social order is too big a challenge, on the global scale as well, for the capacity of
Globalisation, Globalism and Cosmopolitanism
© 2005 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
rational egotists to cooperate’ (1998, p. 319). Postmodernist philosophers have
taken great pains to demonstrate that the rational egotists are not exactly rational.
It remains now to demonstrate that they are not necessarily egotists either. It is perhaps
then that the intellectual and emotional significance of the physical annihilation of
space that Dewey mentioned will be secured.
1. It should be noted here that not only philosophers and academics but many others
participate in the constitution of globalization as discourse, e.g. government officials,
journalists, social movements, artists, managers, politicians, etc.
2. ‘There can be little doubt that there has been an intensification of economic competition
among nations, regions, and industries with dramatic changes in state policies, markets,
and work’ (Porter & Vidovich, 2000, p. 453).
3. On how the international competitiveness places the nation-states in a self-contradictory
position, see Habermas (1998, p. 316).
4. On the dangerous impact of competitiveness and the pursuit of self-interest on gender issues,
see Blackmore (2000, pp. 480 –1) and on personal relations generally, see Haynes (2002, p. 108).
5. Many educationalists also see neoliberalism as the underpinning logic of the most recent
wave of globalization (Fitzsimons, 2000, p. 505; Blackmore, 2000).
6. Knowledge economy ‘allegedly differs from the traditional economy with an emphasis
on what I shall call the “economics of abundance”, the “annihilation of distance”,
“deterritoralisation of the state”, the importance of “local knowledge”, and “investment
in human capital” (and its embedding in processes)’ (Peters, 2002, p. 94).
7. ‘Not least of the ironies is that in the knowledge economy, knowledge and its legitimation
is controlled by the consumers rather than the producers of knowledge’ (ibid.).
8. As for the optimist view that schooling can now better contribute to a meritocratic
stratification structure, it is debatable first and foremost due to the philosophical
challenges the notion of meritocracy faces today.
9. Grubb uses the book
A Nation at Risk
(US Government Printing, 1983) as a source of
a major strand of new vocationalism in American education and he writes that this book
epitomizes the insistent economic rhetoric of this strand of new vocationalism ‘the great
threat to our country’s future was “a rising tide of mediocrity” in the schools, causing
a decline in competitiveness with the Japanese, the South Koreans, and the Germans’
(Grubb, 1996, p. 2).
10. This becomes more apparent when she writes (1998, p. 323), ‘whatever its ostracisms and
difficulties with foreigners, on American soil I feel foreigner just like all the other foreigners’.
The problem here is the equation of all foreigners and their feelings and experiences.
11. Consider, for instance, the following comment: ‘the new professional-managerial groups
have become less concerned about national interests and turned their back on the
nation-state: they display cosmopolitan tendencies’ (Isin & Wood, 1999, p. 101).
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Transnationalism and Anti-Globalism
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© Johns Hopkins University Press and West Chester University 2017
TRANSNATIONALISM AND ANTI-GLOBALISM
The recent resurgence of nationalism in the United States finds
expression in a whole vocabulary, made up of slogans, rallying
cries, and buzzwords. Most prominent among them may be “Make
America Great Again” and “America First,” but there is another
buzzword—anti-globalism—which is particularly suggestive of the
conundrum transnationalism faces in the Age of Trump. The term
anti-globalism results from an act of rhetorical appropriation and
resignification, and as I want to suggest, the idea of transnationalism
plays an important role in this repackaging effort.
Anti-globalism recalls the anti-globalization movement of the
1990s and early 2000s, but this resonance brings out the differences
rather than similarities between the two: where anti-globalization
was concerned with a critique of the economic system, anti-global-
ism attacks what is perceived as a larger ideology of globalism that
allegedly promotes free trade as well as cultural and racial mixing.
From the view of the leftist anti-globalization movement, globaliza-
tion was driven by the institutions that backed the Washington Con-
sensus (such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank,
and the US Treasury), global corporations that exploited the waning
sovereignty of nation-states, and national governments that colluded
with the forces of global capital, for instance by entering into inter-
national free trade agreements, such as the North American Free
522 COLLEGE LITERATURE | 44.4 Fall 2017
Trade Agreement. The targets of that earlier movement were there-
fore the profiteers and structures of economic globalization.
This economic understanding of globalization opened up a space
for alternative conceptions of globalization that could compete with
the economic version. It is no coincidence, therefore, that it was also
in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the academic field of Amer-
ican Studies turned to the transnational as an emerging paradigm.
American Studies entered its transnational phase by engaging in
profound soul-searching about the possibilities of altering the object
of study seemingly prescribed by the field’s name (see, for instance,
Janice Radway’s 1998 Presidential Address at the American Studies
Association, titled “What’s in a Name?”). Although rather diverse
manifestos appeared in quick succession, there emerged a consensus
that sticking to the nation form was a sign of ideological backward-
ness, whereas transcending the nation held out the potential for pro-
gressive change. From the get-go, transnational American Studies
aimed to transcend the nation on two different conceptual planes:
first, on the level of methodology, where transnationalism in essence
meant adopting a particular perspective; second, on the level of the
object of study, where transnationalism referred to phenomena that
went beyond the limits of the nation. This blending of method and
object of study meant in effect that the transnational wasn’t some-
thing one could neutrally observe, describe, and chart. Rather,
studying the transnational meant affirming the transnational. This
is because the approval for the new method jumped over, as it were,
to an approval of the phenomena studied. If, in other words, the
transnational perspective of scholars was greeted as the successful
overcoming of critical parochialism, then phenomena embodying
the transnational were themselves to be commended. This valua-
tion guided the choice of what was to be studied: Preferred objects
included oppositional social movements that traversed national
boundaries, aesthetic forms that traveled beyond the confines of the
nation, and ideas that circulated in similarly unbounded ways (clearly,
this list is not meant to be comprehensive). In short, transnational
American Studies provided the opportunity to salvage a “globaliza-
tion from below” (to use a phrase popular with the anti-globalization
movement), and to favorably contrast it to both nationalism and eco-
nomic globalization (or “globalization from above”).
One of the problems faced—but rarely addressed—by propo-
nents of transnationalism emerged from this differentiation of eco-
nomic and cultural globalization. Did the idea that these two forms
of globalization are principally different really hold up? Didn’t both
Johannes Voelz | CRITICAL FORUM 523
visions of globalization rely on some of the very same images: flows
(of goods, people, ideas) as something natural, borders and bound-
aries as artificial? Wasn’t there, in fact, a deep affinity between the
longing for cultural transnationalism and the ideology of economic
globalization, despite the political differences that seemed to keep
them both neatly separated? I have argued elsewhere that conceptu-
ally (though not politically) transnational American Studies is indeed
indebted to economic globalization, and that it is nonetheless advis-
able to pursue the project of transnationalism, albeit in a self-re-
flexive manner (Voelz 2011). But rather than revisiting this debate
at this point, suffice it to say that the question of transnationalism’s
oppositional purity emerged from the somewhat tenuous conceptual
framework shared by the anti-globalization movement and transna-
tional Americanists: globalization, according to this framework, had
an economic and a cultural aspect, which were to be seen as opposed
to one another.
Quite some time has passed since the early 2000s. By now, aca-
demic transnationalism in American literary and cultural stud-
ies has been solidly institutionalized. Think only of the Journal of
Transnational American Studies, the recent Cambridge Companion to
Transnational American Literature, edited by Yogita Goyal (2017), or
the founding of the “Obama Institute for Transnational American
Studies” at the University of Mainz, Germany. Meanwhile, pre-
dictably, the hype that initially attended the “transnational turn”
has faded rather quickly. The anti-globalization movement, on the
other hand, has largely run out steam, mostly because center-left
parties across North America and Europe failed to support it; they
embraced neoliberal reforms instead, a decision which has cost many
of them a good share of their votes. (One could add that the move-
ment only petered out after the demise of Occupy, or that, in fact,
it has survived in places like Spain, where Podemos has managed
to transform the protest against neoliberal globalization into party
politics—but these are nuances that don’t change the big picture.)
Along with the overall decline of anti-globalization came the rise of
anti-globalism (itself a movement of transnational scope), and thus
the seemingly miraculous transformation of a left-wing into a right-
How in the world could that happen? In moving the critique
of globalization across the political spectrum, anti-globalists have
rejected the foundational premise of anti-globalization and academic
transnationalism: they refuse to differentiate between two differ-
ent kinds of globalization, be they “from below and from above,”
524 COLLEGE LITERATURE | 44.4 Fall 2017
“cultural and economic,” or simply “good and bad.” As London-based
blogger Jacob Stringer has aptly summarized it on opendemocracy.
net: “[Anti-]Globalisation refers to certain processes in the interests
of corporate trade. [Anti-]Globalism refers to a global outlook, bor-
ders too open, a feared mingling of cultures, implied dangerous liai-
sons with aliens” (March 26, 2017). Anti-globalists, in other words,
have tied the critique of economic globalization to xenophobia, rac-
ism, and a disdain for global elites, and have thus conceptualized
economic and cultural globalization as hanging together.
Anti-globalists’ longing for cultural isolationism, it must be
admitted, has rendered the economic dimension of anti-globalism
strikingly toothless. It is as if they offered cultural anti-globalism as
a solution to the problems caused by global capitalism: their implied
economic platform seems to be limited to the call for protectionism
(the economic dimension of “America First!”) and the hope for more
high-paying manufacturing jobs. In Strangers in Their Own Land,
sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild (2016) has recently shown just
how deeply the Tea Party members and Trump supporters she inter-
viewed in Louisiana are invested in the free market, and how much
they detest the welfare state. Their critique of economic globaliza-
tion spares multinational corporations (even if these corporations,
like the petrochemical companies in Louisiana, ruin the environ-
ment and cause a virtual cancer epidemic) because they are seen as
the older siblings of small businesses run by local entrepreneurs.
Though the anti-globalists’ mix of economic and cultural anti-glo-
balism may be rife with logical faults and moral deficiencies, their
triumph should not be simply dismissed as racist and xenophobic
(though it is that, too). Instead, their rise should prompt scholars
of transnationalism to reflect on the involvement of the idea of the
transnational in the political struggle that divides the United States
and, increasingly, other countries in which right-wing populism
has taken hold. In this context, it becomes newly significant that
transnational Americanists have tended to politically identify with
the transnational formations they study and that they have thus, as
described earlier, conflated method and object of study. As a result
of this conflation, academic transnationalism has come to embody
the idea of globalism targeted by the anti-globalist agenda. Econom-
ically, transnationalism encapsulates the privileged status of a global
elite (here, transnationalism refers to the scholars) and culturally, it
raises fears of migration, hybridity, and the demise of white hege-
mony (here, transnationalism refers to the phenomena studied).
Seen in this light, the idea of globalism embodied by transnational
Johannes Voelz | CRITICAL FORUM 525
American Studies becomes a tailor-made point of attack for what
John Judis, in The Populist Explosion (2016), has described as the tri-
angular scapegoating of right-wing populism. Right-wing populism
is triangular in that it claims to defend “the people” against two per-
ceived enemies: the elites (situated above) and undeserving “others”
The challenge of anti-globalism, then, is not only that it rejects
transnationalism’s starting premise of the two kinds of globaliza-
tion, but, more crucially, that it brings to light the degree to which
transnationalism is itself involved in the divisive struggle currently
rocking the United States. This challenge, I think, can be seen as
a welcome opportunity to generate a new kind of knowledge from
within transnational American Studies. It calls for an approach that
is more self-reflexive than the identificatory stance taken by many
scholars of transnationalism so far. Rather than starting from the
presumption that studying transnational formations means helping
to fight the good fight, transnational American Studies could begin to
chart how the transnational itself has become a currency, or capital,
in the struggle for symbolic advantages in a starkly divided society.
This isn’t to devalue the study of transnational formations, but
rather to come to realize that embracing and valuing the transna-
tional is a maneuver that helps secure symbolically advantageous
positions. This is the case both in the academic field of American
Studies, which has long been organized around a moral economy of
political engagement, and in the larger public sphere of the United
States. The idea (taken from Bourdieu) is not that we consciously
try to amass as much symbolic capital as possible—as if we were
rational-choice actors in the field of symbolic capital—but instead
that trying to carve out for ourselves a recognized position in the
field of transnational American Studies is what it means to “have
an investment in the game” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, 98).
The same goes for the other side of the divide: the embrace of
anti-globalism speaks to the specific value of the ideas and princi-
ples captured by the term transnationalism in the broader political
discourse of the United States. Here, too, the currency of the idea
of transnationalism has a particular valuation. The fact that we may
think of this value as “negative” when used by anti-globalists begins
to suggest that taking stock of transnationalism as a currency helps
us capture its political existence. I am suggesting, in other words,
to incorporate a self-reflexive and relational sociology of the trans-
national into the program of transnational American literary and
526 COLLEGE LITERATURE | 44.4 Fall 2017
One of the welcome ramifications of such an extension of Amer-
icanist transnationalism, it seems to me, would be to overcome the
harmful dualism of nation and trans-nation. Ultimately, this dualism
suggests that by turning to the transnational, we will have to learn
to stop worrying about the nation-state. But Trump’s rise to power
should make it apparent that American Studies needs to be able
to provide explanations of what goes on inside the United States.
The truly surprising suggestion to be taken away from the rise of
anti-globalism is this: a self-reflexively and relationally revamped
transnational American Studies may provide a necessary tool for
coming to terms with the nationalist resurgence.
Bourdieu, Pierre, and Loïc Wacquant. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociol-
ogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goyal, Yogita, ed. 2017. The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American
Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2016. Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and
Mourning on the American Right. New York: The New Press.
Judis, John. 2016. The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed
American and European Politics. New York: Columbia Global Reports.
Radway, Janice. 1999. “What’s in a Name? Presidential Address to the
American Studies Association, 20 November, 1998.” American Quarterly
Stringer, Jacob. “Why did anti-globalisation fail and anti-globalism suc-
ceed?” Open Democracy. March 26, 2017. Opendemocracy.net. Last vis-
ited: May 28, 2017.
Voelz, Johannes. 2011. “Utopias of Transnationalism and the Neoliberal
State.” In Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies, edited
by Winfried Fluck, Donald E. Pease, and John Carlos Rowe. Hanover,
NH: University Press of New England.
JOHANNES VOELZ is Heisenberg-Professor of American Studies,
Democracy, and Aesthetics at Goethe-University Frankfurt, Ger-
many. He is the author of Transcendental Resistance: The New Amer-
icanists and Emerson’s Challenge (UP New England, 2010) and The
Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat (Cambridge
UP, forthcoming 2017).
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