Annotation: de Sousa Santos, Boaventura. 2006. Globalizations.

de Sousa Santos, Boaventura. 2006. Globalizations. Theory, Culture & Society, 23: 393-399.

The term “global” today refers to the processes and results of globalization. Globalization has two components: descriptive and prescriptive (hegemonic consensus; neoliberal consensus) (393). The idea of globalization as a “spontaneous, automatic, unavoidable and irreversible process,” the author argues, must be seen as an ideological and political move that promotes the two fallacies of determinism and of disappearance of the South (395). The author argues that the term globalization in fact pertains to “different sets of social relationships”, and thus it should only be used in the plural (395). Globalization, according to the author, is “a set of unequal exchanges in which a certain artefact, condition, entity or local identity extends its influence beyond its local or national borders and, in so doing, develops an ability to designate as local another rival artefact, condition, entity or identity” (396). There are two implications of this definition of globalization. First, that “there is no originally global condition”, meaning that “what we call globalization is always the successful globalization of a particular localism,” and that “there are no global conditions for which we cannot find local roots.” Second, that “globalization presupposes localization.” This means that the processes that create global hierarchies are the same ones which produce the local as the dominated and as the inferior position. Thus, “we live as much in a world of globalizations as we live in a world of localizations” (396). An examples of how globalization creates localization is the normalization of the English language as the language of globalization, and the marginalization of national languages. Another example is the compression of time and space, allowing events and trends to unfold fast on a global scale. Subordinated classes and groups such as migrants, however, “remain prisoners in their own time-space,” even though they are major contributors to globalization. For the author, “The production of globalization therefore entails the production of localization” (396). There are two main modes of production of globalization. The first is the twin processes of globalized localisms/localized globalisms (creation of hegemony on the one hand, and the disintegration, oppression, exclusion, de- and re-structuring processes at the local level); 2) the possibilities for insurgent cosmopolitanism or the transnationally organized resistance against inequalities produced by globalized localisms and localized globalisms.

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