Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education
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Handbook on Globalization and Higher Education

Edited by Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo

Higher education has entered centre-stage in the context of the knowledge economy and has been deployed in the search for economic competitiveness and social development. Against this backdrop, this highly illuminating Handbook explores worldwide convergences and divergences in national higher education systems resulting from increased global co-operation and competition.
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Chapter 20: Globalization in the USA: The Case of California

William G. Tierney


William G. Tierney INTRODUCTION Globalization is a highly complex process that has impacted multiple national and international arenas. Sometimes the term has been employed as a synonym for American imperialism as if the term simply refers to the extension throughout the world of American power and culture. Although the rationale for such an assertion is understandable, such an assumption makes it appear that the USA is not influenced by globalization, as if the country is simply on a unidirectional trajectory and globalization is the next logical stage in the country’s development. In this chapter I shall argue, however, the opposite point of view. My reasoning will be twofold. First, I intend to suggest that the USA has been deeply affected by globalization and second, I wish to underscore the point that there is no static logic or trajectory to the idea that makes globalization’s impact a foregone conclusion. Although citizens have certainly been influenced by definitions and reactions to globalization, it is within our reach to determine the paths we choose rather than simply having to go down a predetermined avenue. I shall work through this argument by way of a discussion of higher education in California. Globalization is a difficult term to come to grips with, especially when we consider a country as large and diverse as the USA. A diversified economy and vastly differing cultural and population centers make generalizations difficult if the discussion is focused on abstractions. Issues of trade and immigration, for example, have been influenced...

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