chapter  6
22 Pages

Clashing civilizations: international cultures

The previous chapters make the claim that globalization proceeds most rapidly in contexts in which social relationships are mediated through symbols. Economic globalization is therefore most advanced in the financial markets that are mediated by monetary tokens and to the extent that production is dematerialized, and political globalization has proceeded to the extent that there is an appreciation of common planetary values and problems rather than commitments to material interests. These chapters also make the supplementary argument that material and power exchanges in the economic and political arenas are progressively becoming displaced by symbolic ones, that is, by relationships based on values, preferences and tastes rather than by material inequality and constraint. On these arguments globalization might be conceived as an aspect of the progressive ‘culturalization’ of social life proposed by theories of postmodernization (e.g. Crook, Pakulski and Waters 1992).