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Social Sci LibreTexts

12: Globalization (Griffith)

  • Page ID

    • Define globalization and the five “scapes” that can be used to characterize global flows or exchanges.
    • Explain the relationship between globalization and the creation of new “glocal” lifestyles and forms of consumption.
    • Describe some of the ways people use agency to respond to globalization including syncretism and participation in alternative markets.
    • Assess the relationship between globalization, neoliberalism, and neocolonialism.
    • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the intensification of globalization.
    • Discuss the implications of globalization for anthropology.

    It is Tuesday on campus as you enter the dining hall. The day’s hot lunch entrées include Caribbean jerk pork with mango salsa and a side of collard greens. The next station is offering made-to-order Asian stir-fry. At the sandwich counter, tuna salad, an all-American classic, is being served in a pita. Now, are these dishes authentic? That, of course, depends on how you define authenticity.1 A similar question was asked at Oberlin College in December 2015 when a group of students claimed that adapting foreign cuisines constituted a form of social injustice.2 Their claim, which raised a great deal of controversy, was that the cafeteria’s appropriation and poor execution of ethnic dishes was disrespectful to the cultures from which those recipes were taken. Many people dismissed the students’ concerns as either an overreaction or as an attempt to rephrase a perennial complaint (bad cafeteria food) in a politically loaded language of social justice likely to garner a response from the administration. Regardless of what one thinks about this case, it is revealing of how college campuses—as well as the larger societies in which they are situated—have changed over time. The fact that dishes like sushi and banh mi sandwiches are even available in an Ohio college cafeteria suggests that globalization has intensified. The fact that the students would be reflexive enough to question the ethical implications of appropriating foreign cuisine suggests that we are truly in a new era. But what, in fact, is globalization?

    Thumbnail: Counter service in a McDonald's restaurant in Dukhan, Qatar. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0; Vincent van Zeijst).