British Expert Discusses Globalization Issues

British Expert Discusses Globalization Issues

Photo by Kevin Matthews

Over 125 people heard Blair adviser Anthony Giddens address global communications, security, and the history of the globalization debate.

This article was first published in the Daily Bruin.

Tucked away at the far end of the campus in the faculty center, a group gathered to listen in on the impact of the growing interconnectedness of economic and social growth in the world.

On Monday, a public lecture on the state of globalization was given by Lord Anthony Giddens, renowned author, professor and adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The iron-hot topic attracted over 125 students and faculty to engage in a discussion on the current state of the debate.

Globalization, as defined by Giddens, is the heightened worldwide social relations that are linked in different localities. In other words, local happenings are shaped or affected by events occurring at other places worldwide, and vice versa.

Giddens called globalization "the most significant debate in the social sciences and beyond."

Giddens has authored 35 books in over 30 languages, co-founded the publishing house Polity Press, and is a former director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Erin Kimura, a graduate student in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, said she decided to attend the event because Giddens is such a distinguished guest.

"I'm interested in knowing what the British perspective on globalization is, especially on neo-liberalism," Kimura said.

Giddens described the history of the term "globalization" as a process of three stages. In its first stage, the term was primarily used in education. In the second stage, the term was more readily used outside academia, while it stirred some resentment from those opposed to the concept of universal economic interdependence.

The third stage began when those who resented the force saw its impact as an outlet for social justice.

In simpler terms, those in economic distress would affect those in economic prosperity, creating a push for economic advancement on all sides.

Among those present, Suzanne Pelka, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics, said she was most intrigued by Giddens' three-stage history of globalization.

"It was encouraging that the whole rhetoric of globalization began in the academia and that the work we do really does disseminate into larger political systems," she said.

Giddens stressed that globalization does not mean the end of the nation-state, that rather it encourages local nationalism. However, Giddens said it does affect the sovereignty of nations.

"Nations are in an identity crisis. Many nations are asking themselves, 'Who are we? Where are we headed?' ... The answers are ambiguous because of the constant shifting nature of sovereignty" as determined by the impacts of globalization, Giddens said.

He also mentioned the success of some of the nations where there has been massive change because of increases in education and communication.

On the topic of global awareness, cooperation and interdependence, Giddens applauds active involvement as a means for global social justice and universal progression.

"It was a realistic talk, but it was also hopeful. He encourages not just massive critique on social systems, but really to share what we think is a better solution in favor of social justice," Pelka said.

Nga Scott, the coordinator of international affairs for the school of public affairs, helped spearhead the event. [The event was co-sponsored by the Center for European and Eurasian Studies.]

Scott said she was not surprised at the large turnout the event produced, because this forum in particular resonated the enthusiasm of students with Giddens' standpoint on globalization.

Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2005