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MODERNITY AND

GLOBALIZATION
Gurminder K. Bhambra

GLOBALIZATION AS
CONNECTIONS
Week 14

STEAMSHIP ROUTES, 1900

http://qed.princeton.edu/main/MG/Maps

TRADE ROUTES, 1912

http://qed.princeton.edu/main/MG/Maps

UNDERSEA CABLES, 2004

http://international.com.com/2300-1033_3-6035611-1.html

GLOBALIZATION AS CONNECTIONS

Mapping Globalization

http://qed.princeton.edu/index.php/MG

Holmwood, John 2006. Only Connect: The


Challenge of Globalization for the Social
Sciences, 21st Century Society: Journal of the
Academy of the Social Sciences 2 (1): 79-93
Available

online via the internet

THE CHALLENGE OF
GLOBALIZATION
Holmwood asks: what is the challenge posed by
globalization to sociology?
He starts by asking what is the nature of
sociology itself

Sociology,

he suggests, is an opportunity to make


connections in a systematic way
He uses Mills The Sociological Imagination in
arguing that the private troubles of individuals
should be connected to public issues

PRIVATE TROUBLES / PUBLIC


ISSUES

Public issues to be understood in terms of social


structures and these to be understood historically
we

understand the direction of events in the rise and


fall of social structures and the forces at work in them

When we reconnect these forces to private


troubles, we understand how events seemingly
out of control are generated by our own actions
and inactions
From understanding, we can redirect our actions
towards solving these problems, or at least
ameliorating their effects

CONNECTIONS

In making these connections, we need to


understand how our actions have consequences in
the lives of other people who may be spatially or
culturally remote from us
except,

that is, in the consequences of our actions for

them
and, increasingly, our fear that their actions may
have consequences for us

Mills believed that sociology had failed to make


the necessary connections in addressing such
problems

MODERN CONNECTIONS

Globalization brings into being new problems and


issues which require address
The

global character of transactions and flows of


goods and people requires social inquiry to go beyond
the boundaries of nation states and of disciplines tied
to national agendas

The mass media is more pervasive and is


increasingly the main lens through which public
issues are presented
Commercialization: the impact of tuition fees

As

students (or their parents) invest more in their


own education, they become more concerned and
anxious about the returns to this investment, thereby
reinforcing a utilitarian conception of education

SINCE MILLS

More aware of the impact of social location on


knowledge production

From Marx on, scholars have been concerned about the


dislocation of ways of living brought about by capitalism
However, Marx wrote of the impact of British manufacture
on Indian handicraft and the impoverishment that this was
causing
Current discussions of globalization stress the transfer of
jobs, outsourcing, from the UK, Europe and the US to India
or to China

It is this shift in perspective that others might now


be the cause of our private troubles which explains
why globalization is seen as a new phenomenon by
us, when it is a rather old phenomenon for others

RETHINKING GLOBALIZATION

The need for connected histories and sociologies


Not only about recognizing the local in the global,
but also that the global is no more than the
aggregation of some local experiences
Private troubles are different in different locations,
but these different locations also provide alternative
perspectives on the nature of social structures, their
mechanisms and their trends of development
The identification of the global as something distinct
from the local and as exhibiting its own logic
independent of local manifestations is necessarily the
privileging of some perspectives over others

THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA


It is our perspective that dominates both in
social science and in the media
The mass media have become more pervasive in
the identification of public issues and as the
filter through which the social world and
globalization is understood

The

impact of democratization on the media is less in


terms of a dialogic relation and more in a tendency
toward populism

The Mumbai attacks what was reported, what


was not?

A CURRICULUM OF CONNECTIONS
This would be a means of engaging with students
and encouraging their engagement with public
issues
The implication is that this will be a process of
learning, where they will come to see the world
differently

There

is no proper connection without the revision of


previous knowledge and belief
That must also include a process of learning within
sociology

QUESTIONS
What does Holmwood (presenting Mills) mean
when he suggests that we should connect private
troubles to public issues?
Why does an ethics of sociology become (more)
important in a global context?
What are some contemporary examples of
connecting private troubles to public issues?
What might a curriculum of connections look
like? Come to the seminar with some examples.