How can globalisation be studied in a way that transcends the divide between material and ideational accounts? How has it resonated and dominated in different national contexts? What role have national political economies and domestic institutions played in those processes? This book sheds light on these issues by scrutinising the nexus between globalisation and national institutional settings. Refusing to simply take globalisation as a given, it explores how concrete practices by political actors have produced and reproduced the phenomenon of globalisation over time. Drawing on a comparative analysis of discourses, policies and strategies deployed by key institutional actors in Greece and Ireland, the book interrogates the nature of the interplay between global dynamics and domestic politics. In so doing, it offers insights into the emergence of globalisation as a hegemonic discourse, as well as into the theory of hegemonic discourse itself. Indeed, the book invites us to think differently about the nature of globalisation and the hegemonic within world politics and economics by placing human agency back at the forefront of international political economy.
The ascent of globalisation captures the sweeping drama of postwar globalisation through intimate portraits of twenty of its key architects. These profiles provide insights into what inspired these pioneers of globalisation — the beliefs they each imbibed in their youth, the formative experiences that shaped their ideas and their contributions to the global architecture. Engaging anecdotes and telling personal details, many of which have never been told, enliven each of the stories, as well as the behind-the-scenes dramas that accompanied the creation of institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, UN and World Trade Organization and the informal governance structures that are part of the postwar global architecture. Their legacies are critically examined, both their successes and their disappointments: a global financial system that is fragile and unstable; an international trading system that is unfair; the unintended consequences of largely unregulated transnational capital; and dysfunction that plagues institutions like the European Union and the United Nations. The book ends by examining what implications the flawed architecture may have for the future of globalisation.
The ‘globalisation’ concept has become ubiquitous in British politics, as it has in many countries of the world. This book examines discourse on foreign economic policy to determine the impact of globalisation across the ideological landscape of British politics. It critically interrogates the assumption that the idea of globalisation is derivative solely of neo-liberal ideology by profiling the discourse on globalisation of five political groups involved in making and contesting British foreign economic policy between 1997 and 2009: New Labour, International Financial Services London, the Liberal Democrats, Oxfam and the Socialist Workers Party. In addition to the relationship between neo-liberalism and globalisation, the book also explores the core meaning of the idea of globalisation, the implications for the principle of free trade, the impact on notions of the state, nation-state and global governance, and whether globalisation means different things across the ideological spectrum. Topically, it examines how the responses to the global financial crisis have been shaped by globalisation discourse and the value of ideology as an analytical concept able to mitigate debates on the primacy of material and ideational explanations in political economy.
3396 Producing globalisation
Globalisation discourse in Ireland
As argued in chapter 2 the decade of the 1990s signified a turning
point for the Irish political system. The well-established ‘Fianna Fáil
versus the rest’ political pattern – which had dominated the Irish
political life for approximately fifty years (1948–89) – ceased to
define Irish politics and gave way to a ‘new politics of coalitionmaking’ (Mair, 1999). Moreover, the turn from the 1980s to the 1990s
witnessed the significant empowerment of the socio-economic role
3396 Producing globalisation
Facets of globalisation discourse
The aim of this chapter is twofold. First it offers a comparison of the
communication of globalisation discourse in Greece and Ireland. Thus
it summarises, juxtaposes and compares the main findings of chapters
3 and 4. Second, it analyses how the differences between Greece and
Ireland can be explained, and draws some general conclusions on the
materialisation of globalisation discourse.
Globalisation discourse in Greece and Ireland: a comparison
The main political
3396 Producing globalisation
Globalisation discourse in Greece
The study of the materialisation of globalisation discourse in Greece
aims to examine the effect that this discourse had in the reproduction
of the Greek public discourse and politico-economic system. Some
broader contextualisation might be helpful here. It was argued in
chapter 2 that 1990 could be considered a turning point for Greek
politics. In the same framework it can also be argued that 1996 signified both the consolidation of this turning point and a new
Globalisation at work:
unheard voices and invisible agency
he contemporary problematic of globalisation has encouraged a particular mode of knowledge to dominate explanations of social change.
Academic and popular discussion of all matters ‘global’ have predominantly
asked ‘what is happening’ type questions. It has become almost common sense
to seek to explain the nature of the beast itself, making reference to technological and market structures as the driving forces of change. In this formulation the everyday lives of people are positioned passively
Political economy is a mere skeleton unless it has a little human covering and filling
out, a little human bloom upon it, and a little human warmth in it. (Charles Dickens,
Out of Africa
Expectations could not have sunk lower than when Kofi Annan took up his position as secretary general of the United Nations in January 1997. The organisation had rarely lived up to its promise and, with the spread of globalisation, was
wallowing in irrelevancy.
In a quiet revolution, Annan turned the UN around, showing that its value
and the flexibility discourse
Industrialisation characteristically redesigns and reshapes its human raw
materials, whatever the source … The development of an industrial
workforce necessarily involves the destruction of old ways of life and
work and the acceptance of the new imperatives of the industrial work
place and work community. (Kerr et al., 1962: 193)
Industries and firms almost everywhere are said to be leaving behind the
old, tired, boring, inefficient, staid past and entering into the new, highly
Bringing fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate, this text reveals the social and political contests that give ‘global’ its meaning, by examining the contested nature of globalization as it is expressed in the restructuring of work. The book rejects conventional explanations of globalization as a process that automatically leads to transformations in working lives, or as a project that is strategically designed to bring about lean and flexible forms of production, and advances an understanding of the social practices that constitute global change. Through case studies that span from the labour flexibility debates in Britain and Germany to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, it examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life and argues that contestation has become a central feature of the practices that enable or confound global restructuring.