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The Anthropological Approach to Globalization Aspects Essay


Globalization is discussed in contemporary society as the issue according to which the researchers are inclined to explain all the processes in the modern world.

As a result, the development of the societies and the aspects of the people’s interactions are examined from the larger perspectives, and the results of examination are usually presented in ‘convergence narratives’ which are focused on the idea of globalization as the process which causes the specific compression of the world space where people become more interconnected (Steger 18-19).

It is possible to discuss globalization from many points, but it is necessary to state that the phenomenon of globalization exists, and convergence and connectivity are the main characteristics of this process. Thus, convergence narratives explain the processes which are observed in the real world while analyzing their causes and predicting the outcomes.

In spite of the fact that there are many researchers who state that globalization is the contemporary phenomenon, convergence narratives present the evidence that globalization in different forms was characteristic for various historical periods and it can be discussed as the long-term process; furthermore, these narratives often accentuate the anthropological approach to discussing the issue as closely associated with the aspect of culture.

Convergence narratives discuss globalization as the developed process which is based on the ideas of connectivity, exchange, and sameness. Thus, people all over the world become more and more interconnected because of the use of information and communication technologies, developing transport, and global trade.

Ferguson notes that globalization depends on erasing the borders of cultures, on the easy flow of capitals, and on the transformation of governance systems and approaches (Ferguson 30).

From this point, convergence is observed in each aspect of people’s life and activities, including the culture, society, economy, and politics. The authors of the convergence narratives usually make their conclusions referring to the ethnographic evidence and analysis of the observed tendencies (Steger 19).

Therefore, referring to the real-life ethnographic data and comparison of the processes from the historical perspective, the authors of convergence narratives conclude that the modern world is shrinking, interconnectedness of the cultures and nations is intensifying, the cultures become deterritorialized, and the flows of information and capitals continue to play a significant role in drawing the pattern of the global world’s progress.

Although the researchers can discuss globalization as the new phenomenon, this process should be considered as long-term because the characteristic features of globalization are observed during the ages, and only during several decades, this specific process became known as ‘globalization.’ Steger pays attention to the fact that “globalization is an ancient process that, over many centuries, has crossed distinct qualitative thresholds” (Steger 19).

Thus, only the names of the process change, but the phenomenon based on the idea of convergence remains to be noticeable during the centuries. Globalization is associated with the channels to communicate between the peoples and nations, with the development of international trade and transportation, and with the increased migration.

During the ages, people are focused on inventing the technologies which can be helpful to overcome different geographical and social barriers and borders (Steger 19). From this perspective, the aspects of globalization are observed at different stages of the world’s historical progress.

That is why, to determine the time-frame of the globalization as the long-term process, it is necessary to select the criterion to choose within the range from the pre-historic era to the modern era. While focusing on the progress of technologies, development of the global market, and immigration, it is possible to start with the Industrial Revolution as the process which changed the minds of people about barriers between the nations and societies.

The time-frame of the globalization process starting in the modern era seems to be reasonable because of accentuating the role of trade, industry, transportation, and technology as the factors which stimulate globalization and people’s interconnectedness.

Many convergence narratives discuss the issue of globalization using the anthropological approach. It is important to note that the anthropological approach differs from the other perspectives because the researchers choose to focus on the aspect of culture as the main lens to examine the process of globalization in the world. Thus, culture plays an important role in describing the relations between different peoples and nations.

The process of globalization means the exchange of the cultural principles and values between the nations, and the unique cultural pattern characteristic for different societies becomes subtle (Steger 18-20). For instance, there are no more strict cultural borders in the world relation to traditions, practices, cuisine, and customs. Thus, Asian cooking traditions are followed not only in Eastern countries but around the world.

Yoga is popular among all the Western nations without references to people’s origin. The details help to accentuate the idea that the cultures tend to mix as a result of intensifying global connections. However, Ferguson notes that Africa is not influenced by the globalization process significantly.

The author states that “from the earliest European projects of colonization to the latest structural-adjustment programs, Africa has proved remarkably resistant to a range of externally imposed projects that have aimed to bring it into conformity with Western or ‘global’ models” (Ferguson 27). Thus, following the anthropological approach, African cultures are not affected by Western cultures.

Nevertheless, it is possible to observe that unique African society can influence the Westerners’ traditions, as it is observed about the increased interest in the African religions and ceremonies. From this perspective, the fact that Africa is not influenced by the globalization processes only emphasizes the idea that these processes areobserved widely, in all the parts of the world, except the African continent.

The followers of the anthropological approach rely on the ethnographic evidence and data received as the result of the fieldwork, and these facts can add significantly to the discussion of the globalization processes observed around the world. Anthropology studies the nations and their increased connectivity with the focus on people’s daily practices and activities.

The ethnographic data provides the researchers with the opportunity to conclude the real processes and tendencies in the world. For instance, Markowitz pays attention to the fact that globalization is inflows such as the flows of “money, media, ideas, people and things,” and the researchers need to provide the evidence to support this idea and to demonstrate the flows (Markowitz 333).

It is not enough for the authors of the convergence narratives to state that the compression of the world space is observed and people’s intercultural communications are intensified. It is necessary to provide real data to support these statements. Thus, anthropology operates the ethnographic and fieldwork data to conclude about the presence and spread of this or that process.

That is why, the anthropological approach to discussing globalization allows focusing on details, on the real-life examples, and on the discussion of the process as affecting each person in the world.

However, the anthropological approach cannot explain the processes of globalization from the perspectives of geography, justice, and challenges. If the geographical approach is rather popular to discuss the issue of globalization, the focuses on justice and globalization and challenges of globalization are new approaches to speaking about the global interconnectedness.

Thus, Rankin notes that “in ‘situating’ social and economic processes, geographers approach space not as a neutral or fixed container of human activity, but rather as playing a structuring role in those processes” (Rankin 720).

In his turn, Markowitz accentuates the role of justice in the context of globalization processes because “globalization without global justice and open borders can, therefore, take on odious and ominous implications” (Markowitz 334). From this point, the anthropological approach is effective to examine the idea of globalization from many sides and perspectives, but it can be improved with the help of new modern methods to discuss the issue in detail.

Globalization is the controversial and challenging process which is noted by many researchers and which is discussed with references to many approaches, including the anthropological one.

It is stated in convergence narratives that globalization means the accentuated connectivity of the nations and societies, and this discussion of the issue is rather reasonable and effective. During the centuries, people tend to find ways how to interconnect easily, and today, these ways are discussed under the new name of the issue of globalization.

Works Cited

Ferguson, James. “Globalizing Africa: Observations from an Inconvenient Continent”. Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Ed. James Ferguson. USA: Duke University Press, 2006. 25-49. Print.

Markowitz, Fran. “Talking about Culture: Globalization, Human Rights and Anthropology”. Anthropological Theory 4.3 (2004): 329-352. Print.

Rankin, Katharine. “Anthropologies and Geographies of Globalization”. Progress in Human Geography 27.6 (2003): 708–734. Print.

Steger, Manfred. “Globalization and History: Is Globalization a New Phenomenon?” Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Ed. Manfred Steger. USA: Oxford University Press, 2013. 17-36. Print.

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