Towards an Anthropology of Globalization
Edited by Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee, Vanessa C.M. Chio and Raza Mir
Chapter 4: Contesting Boundaries: The Shifting Borders of Globalization
Diana J. Wong-MingJi INTRODUCTION Discussions of globalization often include frequent commentaries about blurring boundaries, which imply they are either diminishing in relevance or disappearing altogether. Ohmae (1990) described the increasing trend of globalization as ultimately leading to a ‘borderless world’ where boundaries essentially become meaningless. Mantras from convergence theories refer to declining trade barriers; free and rapid ﬂows of peoples, goods, services, and ideas; integration of societies and economics; and alliance networks of new organizational forms, and rising tides of development and wealth proliferate many of the arguments in support of globalization (Dunning, 1995). In this context, boundaries are problematic obstacles that impede globalization and must be overcome in the interest of progressing with the agenda of economic integration and general societal well-being. More importantly, the projected images of globalization from such discourse create a sense of inevitability that cannot or should not be resisted or stopped, and to do so would be a foolhardy futile enterprise or backward looking. Yet a growing chorus, albeit fragmented from diﬀerent quarters, is questioning, resisting, and opposing the seemingly inescapable tsunami of globalization. The collection of voices comes from wide ranging and disparate perspectives that include trade unionists, environmentalists, farmers, blue-collar industrial workers, faith-based communities, human rights advocates, intellectual thinkers and researchers, and so on (Ancelovici, 2002; Cox and Jones, 1999). Their objections to globalization illustrate that boundaries as deﬁned by blurring borders are not dissolving and giving way to a borderless world. Instead, boundaries are actually spaces where global contestations...
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