With the prevalence of multinational corporations, intercontinental migration and the forming of international organizations, it is evident that the world is more globalized now than ever. In fact, I would argue, this has been the case for over two decades. Long gone is the paradigm of two distinct, rival supernations in the U.S. and Soviet Union; replaced now with a new rivalry of balancing powers rather than balancing intimidation, namely with the U.S. and China. Yet it mystifies me that some elite scholars today downplay and even disbelieve this notion of interconnectedness. I came across a piece by the now deceased Clifford Geertz, a renowned anthropologist and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University that showed me perhaps globalization is not as cut and dry to everyone as it is for me.
The ideas presented in “The World In Pieces” attest that the world is currently more divided now than ever, as implied by the title. This theory discounts the existence of globalization and speciously cites the pluralistic nature of world peoples nowadays; but this notion is ultimately unfounded. The omnipresence of globalization is clearly materialized economically through global companies, the popularity of outsourcing, and by the trending intercontinental immigration throughout the world of people, capital and ideals.
The creation of global communities, such as the European Union, has furthermore perpetuated the crossbreeding of cultures around the world. Various global diasporas of once-isolated nations disseminate customs to far-reaching territories, uniting the world in unprecedented fashion. Geertz stresses the importance of acknowledging the “differences and particularities of unique cultures,” but nearly every country has antithetically adopted the global paradigm, opting to create a melting pot of cultures in lieu of embracing individuality. This transnational solution is exemplified through companies like McDonalds whose brands are recognizable throughout the world, and likewise through large corporations that outsource production to developing countries to cut costs and export to distant region, thus consequentially integrating their brand in different regions.
While Geertz published many praised works throughout his time, this particular piece certainly left me with questions. Perhaps it is more evident today in our established globalized society, but one cannot ignore that the book was published at the turn of the century when globalization was in full effect (some might argue more globalized then than now). If you would like to read “The World In Pieces,” I have attached a link to a third-party website below.
Further reading: http://hypergeertz.jku.at/GeertzTexts/world_in_pieces.htm