I want to talk more about the global intensification of transnational connectedness, mentioned in the first chapter of Eriksen’s Globalisation, The Key Concepts. I think it is a very important issue that needs deeper exploration.
As Eriksen mentions in the summary of the first chapter:
Globalization entails both the intensification of transnational connectedness and the awareness of such an intensification.
This characteristic of globalisation is so significant, that it might in fact, as I shall elaborate, render the term it describes redundant. Earlier in the chapter, Eriksen quotes Roland Roberson by saying:
Globalization as a concept that refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness about the world as a whole.
This view was the basis that lead some theorist to talk about glocalisation instead of globalisation. As Eriksen puts it:
Local identities are usually strengthened by globalization because people begin to emphasize their uniqueness overtly only when it appears to be threatened. On the other hand, it is evidently true that local power is often weakened as a result of globalization.
The way I think about it however is that it might make more sense to talk about what is happening in the world it terms of time, and not space.
What happened in the world after the intensification of connectedness, both in terms of communication and transportation, is that it also increased and diversified interactions. Identities and ideologies suddenly started to solidify faster, or be uncovered because of these interactions, and hence become visible. This gave them the potential to go global, because without being visible to a certain amount, it was not possible to be conscious about them, not to mention go global with them.
So the global can lead to the consciousness of the local, which gives it the potential to go global. And this increases the number of actors that interact with each other, which also creates more friction, and therefore more reactions that can take many forms, ranging from ‘heat’ to ‘explosions’. All blur together and the distinction between what is global and what is local becomes increasingly difficult, and so the effects and reactions of the interactions happening.
This is why I might agree with those who say that glocalisation is a more accurate term than globalisation to describe what is happening to our world.
But I also think that it makes only sense to distinguish between global and local when we think about them in a specific moment. Since the interactions in our world are increasing and accelerating however, the global-local question becomes less relevant because of the difficulty of determination.
So the question arises of whether we should abandon the terms globalisation or glocalisation all together and talk instead about the intensified interactivation of the world; the intensified connectedness that leads to more interaction, but also to the accelerated activation of additional factors that intensify these interactions and increase their impact even further, rendering space less significant in the process.