chapter  22
Language in the Age of Globalization
ByMarco Jacquemet
Pages 19

In the late 1970s, multinational marketers, financial analysts, and social scientists began clamoring about the dawn of a new age, to be known as the age of globalization. In response, starting in the 1980s, multiple voices, particularly those of historians and political scientists, were raised to object to this characterization of late modernity and/or to critique its social importance. In particular, they pointed out that globalization was not an altogether new phenomenon, considering that the social, economic, and cultural flows that typify it have been shaping people’s lives since imperial and colonial times (Kellner 1989). Although globalization is indeed a long-term historical evolution (Braudel 1996, Wallerstein 1974, 2004), it is undeniable that late modernity is experiencing globalization at an unprecedented scale and scope, mostly because of the high degree of space-time compression achieved by the increasing mobility of people, commodities, texts, and knowledge (Harvey 1989, Hannerz 1996, Clifford 1997, Tomlinson 2007). These movements do not happen against the background of a neutral space, but rather are shaped by relations of power and inequality conveyed through “global” languages that cross national boundaries and political allegiances (Blommaert 2009, Coupland 2010).