Globalization as a Dynamic Force in Contemporary Societies



Globalization is bringing about profound changes. The farthest reaches of the world are becoming accessible, in ways that most of us were unable to imagine even just 20 years ago. Accelerating advances in communication and information technologies are changing the ways in which we connect, access information, and interact with each other. For some, these changes have opened up new venues and opportunities: distant places are increasingly accessible, new relationships can be forged, and work and learning can occur from any location that has an Internet connection. For others, these same changes have been associated with loss: the loss of traditions, or jobs, or significant relationships. But whatever form these changes take, few realize the magnitude, intensity, and long-term implications of these transformations. Fundamental widespread beliefs and naturalized relationships are being questioned, negotiated, and, at times, dissolved. These changes are not just restricted to the West or the industrialized world. Instead, extreme transformation is rapidly becoming a global experience. While societies, communities, families, and individuals in all regions of the world, live under a multitude of conditions, they are not immune to the increasingly accelerated, profound, deeply rooted changes that we are witnessing. These changes, however, are not distributed equally between or within societies. Instead, in some areas we are witnessing extremely rapid societal transformation, and in other places only certain groups or regions are affected.

Even though globalization is a hotly contested phenomenon, there is some agreement that globalization entails a new form of bridging geographic and cultural distances, and that these developments are the product of constantly evolving transportation, communication and information technologies. From mid-1990 onward, there has been an increased awareness on the part of economists and political ­scientists on the impact of globalization. Of particular interest has been the movement of capital, the changing role of the nation-state, the increased transnational migration of individuals, and the growth and expansion of multinational corporations and transnational organizations. Despite the fact that individuals and families are affected by these phenomena, there has been remarkably little attention focused on the social side of globalization. This omission has occurred, in spite of a general realization that in a global context the meaning of the very categories that are a part of globalization have been altered: the nation-state, economies, communities, social class, gender, ethnicity, and families (Baars et al. 2006). Thus, it is remarkable that we do not have more extensive dialogue and critical analyses that examine the transformative nature of these processes from more societal and local levels. In particular, the implications and effects of globalization on families is a striking oversight.


Multinational Corporation Immigrant Family Cultural Distance Global Connectivity Transnational Migration 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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