Handbook of Rural Development

Handbook of Rural Development

Elgar original reference

Edited by Gary Paul Green

Although most countries in the world are rapidly urbanizing, the majority of the global population – particularly the poor – continue to live in rural areas. This Handbook rejects the popular notion that urbanization should be universally encouraged and presents clear evidence of the vital importance of rural people and places, particularly in terms of environmental conservation. Expert contributors from around the world explore how global trends, state policies and grassroots movements affect contemporary rural areas in both developed and developing countries.

Chapter 2: Globalization

Alessandro Bonanno

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, environmental sociology


In recent decades, globalization has occupied center stage in both scientific and popular debates. This popularity engendered a wealth of contributions on the cultural, political, social and economic sides of globalization. Within this production, it is not uncommon to find strikingly divergent interpretations. At the cultural level, globalization has been viewed as a complex process that molds distant groups into networks, allows enhanced communication, and fosters understanding and communality of views and purposes. Ultimately, it brings people closer together, creating cooperation and synergy (Croucher 2004; Jagdish 2004). Simultaneously, it has been seen as a phenomenon that promotes the oppression of local groups and cultures, erases differences, represses identity and, as a result, instigates radical resistance. Fundamentalism, it has been argued, is one of the undesirable outcomes of globalization (Barber 1995; Giddens 2000; Hosseini 2009; Ritzer 2008). Globalization has been interpreted as a process that increases interdependence, mutual exchange and respect, and fortifies society’s cohesiveness (Friedman 2005). The free circulation of capital, labor and products has been heralded as one of the primary conditions for social growth (Woolf 2004). At the same time, globalization has been regarded as a process that enhances the centrifugal power of capitalism, dismembers communities and undermines the stability of society (Amoore 2005; Giddens 2000; Harvey 2006). Politically, globalization has been portrayed as a force that deters unilateralism and promotes cooperation among people and nations.

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