Globalization as a Dynamic Force in Contemporary Societies

  • Bahira Sherif Trask


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 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Appadurai, A. (1990). Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy. In M. Featherstone (Ed.), Global culture: Nationalism, globalization and modernity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Baars, J., Dannefer, D., Phillipson, C., & Walker, A. (2006). Introduction: Critical perspectives in social gerontology. In J. Baars, D. Dannefer, C. Phillipson & A. Walker (Eds.), Aging, globalization and inequality: The new critical gerontology (pp. 1–16). Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Berger, B. (2002). The family in the modern age: More than a lifestyle choice. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Castells, M. (2000). The end of millennium. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Cole, J., & Durham, D. (2006). Introduction: Age, regeneration and the intimate politics of globalization. In J. Cole & D. Durham (Eds.), Generations and globalization: Youth, age, and family in the new world economy (pp. 1–28). Bloomington, IL: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Coontz, S. (2000). Historical perspectives on family studies. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 283–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cvetkovich, A., & Kellner, D. (1997). Thinking global and local. In A. Cvetkovich & D. Kellner (Eds.), Articulating the global and the local: Globalization and cultural studies, 5 (pp. 1–32). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dehesa, G. (2007). What do we know about globalization? Issues of poverty and income distribution. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Drucker, P. F. (1993). Post-capitalist society. Oxford: Butterworth-Heineman.Google Scholar
  10. Edgar, D. (2004). Globalization and Western bias in family sociology. In J. Scott, J. Treas & M. Richards (Eds.), The Blackwell companion to the sociology of families (pp. 3–16). Malden, MA: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  12. Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Giddens, A. (2003). Runaway world: How globalization is reshaping our lives. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Glatzer, M., & Rueschemeyer, D. (2005). Globalization and the future of the welfare state. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gramsci, A. (1985). Selections from cultural writings. D. Forgacs & G. Nowell-Smith (Eds.) Trans. W. Boelhower. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Grew, R. (2005). On seeking global history’s inner child. Journal of Social History, 38, 849–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guillen, M. F. (2001). Is globalization civilizing, destructive, or feeble? A critique of five key debates in the social science literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 235–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hareven, T. (2000). The history of the family and the complexity of social change. In T. Hareven (Ed.), Families, history, and social change: Life-course and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 3–30). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kelly, R. M. (2001). Gender, globalization and democratization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Levitt, T. (1991). Thinking about management. Toronto: New York Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lieber, R., & Weisberg, R. (2002). Globalization, culture and identities in crisis. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 16, 273–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mittleman, J. (2002). Globalization: An ascendant paradigm? International Studies Perspectives, 3, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nagar, R., Lawson, V., McDowell, L., & Hanson, S. (2002). Locating globalization: Feminist re-readings of the subjects and spaces of globalization. Economic Geography, 78, 257–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Prakash, A., & Hart, J. (2000). Coping with globalization: An introduction. In A. Prakash & J. Hart (Eds.), Coping with globalization (pp. 1–26). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ritzer, G. (2003). Rethinking globalization: Glocalization/grobalization and something/nothing. Sociological Theory, 21, 193–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodrik, D. (1997). Has globalization gone too far?. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  28. Rudra, N. (2008). Globalization and the race to the bottom in developing countries: Who really gets hurt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scholte, J. A. (2000). Globalization: A critical introduction. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  30. Stephens, S. (1994). Children and the environment: Local worlds and global connections. Childhood, 2, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stiglitz, J. (2002). Globalization and its discontents. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  32. Sun, J. (2005). Global connectivity and local transformation: A study of space and culture in post 1980 Shangai (China). Dissertation. University of Illinois at Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations