Voices of Globalization: Volume 21

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Table of contents

(18 chapters)
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Abstract

Recent scholarship in neo-evolutionary sociology has rejected stage-models in favor of multilinear theories that shift the study of sociocultural change away from teleological arguments toward those that emphasize selection pressures and macrodynamics. The paper below adopts a neo-evolutionary frame to revisit one of the most epochal moments in human sociocultural evolution, the urban revolution (about 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, and perhaps the Indus Valley) and the rise of the first political units. Shifting the analysis from conventional perspectives, this paper asks the question why the polity was the first autonomous institution besides kinship and what consequences did this have on the trajectory of the human societies, and more generally, human sociocultural evolution. By doing so, a slightly different historiography is presented in which institutional autonomy corresponds not with stages, but rather an historical “phasing” that emphasizes the role that institutional entrepreneurs have played in driving institutional evolution via structural opportunities and historical contingencies.

Abstract

It is common to identify democracy with a form of organization of national states and to study democratization primarily at the national level. But in the early twenty-first century, questions are being raised about a variety of geographic scales, from transnational and global processes to sites much smaller than national states. We describe here a program of research into the relationship of local struggles for democracy and national processes in Spain over an extended period of time. Apart from its well-known democratic transition beginning in the mid-1970s Spain has not garnered much attention from students of democratization and within Spain rural Andalusia has not seemed in the forefront of democratization at any time. We are assembling data on local social movements and local political life for two contrasting small Andalusian towns and their surrounding countryside. Preliminary results suggest that these apparently unlikely places have been sites of significant movements for democracy and that there is much to learn about the history of democracy generally from the study of such sites. We describe here the kinds of data we have been assembling and present a few preliminary results.

Abstract

The resurgence of left governments in Latin America raised expectations for the reincorporation of popular sectors broadly writ into the political arena from which they largely had been excluded by governments committed to Washington Consensus policies. This was particularly true in cases where mobilization by broad-based, heterogeneous social movement coalitions set the stage for their election. In some cases highly contentious cycles of mass mobilization in the context of economic crisis and party system collapse opened opportunities for outsider left candidates and their new political movements and parties to sweep into office. This was the case of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and, partially, Argentina. In other cases institutional continuity prevailed but mass discontent with low average growth, increasing poverty and inequality, and declining opportunities drove the electorate to vote for more established left parties. Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile are the emblematic cases. In all cases, to a greater or lesser degree, there was an assumption of a closer alignment between left governments and social movements than before. This chapter tests such assumption in the case of Bolivia because it exhibited exceptionally favorable conditions for a close alignment of social movements and the government of Evo Morales, the country’s first president of indigenous origin.

Abstract

This study examines post-conflict Georgian youth attitude toward conflict and tolerance. It is described in detail how post-conflict young people (14–24 years old) define conflict and tolerance and what association do they have with the terminology. The outcome of the qualitative research made in the conflict areas in Georgia, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia shows that even though young people participating in the research were growing up and still have been living in these conflict zones, their views/understanding of conflict and tolerance are not distorted.

Abstract

Postcommunist democratization opened many former communist societies to a freedom of religious expression that stimulates the birth of new forms of evangelism. Using the example of Poland, this chapter analyzes the forms of evangelism that became available and were most frequently practiced in democratizing Poland. It also investigates the results of evangelization in terms of change in the scope and degree of faith of Polish society, depicting changes in expressed religious practices.

Abstract

In the context of the protest against the recent Iraq War, some art and entertainment celebrities have used their access to mass media to publicly contest the legitimacy of governmental action. By doing so, they have turned themselves into new spokespeople, claiming to be more authentic intermediaries for the will of the voiceless. This paper – based on sociological interviews with various types of art professionals – focuses on how these representational claims were constituted and how they competed, objectively and sometimes explicitly, with the prerogatives that politicians hold by virtue of their election. I first analyze the public posture adopted by the artists. They fashioned themselves into “celebrity citizens,” which enabled them to assume a role of popular representation while maintaining a clear separation between this public function and their regular professional activity, in their particular art world. They based their legitimacy to talk politics on their access to and influence over extended audiences. The second section of this paper analyzes how the public of the arts is thus symbolically converted into a political public. In giving themselves a mission of political and civic education, the artists participated in publicly designing and promoting a new model of the “good citizen” mirroring their reinvention of the “good representative.”

Abstract

Campaign songs have been staples of U.S. presidential elections for more than 200 years, but have undergone important changes in not only structure over time, but who uses them and why. Following a discussion of the concentration of the American popular music industry and the shift from party-based to ideology-driven electoral politics, a two-dimension typology and hypotheses are formulated to help discern the distinct roles of these institutions in the transformation of the U.S. presidential campaign song. Data was systematically collected on the most prominent songs associated with each presidential campaign from 1788 to the present. In order to provide greater context for the use of songs in presidential campaigns over time, additional newspaper articles were collected for four elections. Results suggest that changes in the structure of the American music industry and the organization of presidential campaigns significantly affect the form of U.S. presidential campaign songs.

Abstract

This research note focuses on the quest to move beyond the poverty paradigm in researching, planning, and developing distressed urban neighborhoods. It is based on the notion that the poverty paradigm hides more than it reveals about the positionality of people in neoliberal society. It argues that low incomes and joblessness are structural components of neoliberal economies. Therefore, they cannot be eliminated without making fundamental changes in the way that neoliberalism operates. Thus, in a neoliberal society, with a small, passive government, both low incomes and joblessness will grow over time, especially among blacks, Latinos, and immigrants of color. Within this context, the distress found in inner-city neighborhoods is a product of failed urban institutions and the lack of investments in such places. However, there are no laws of socioeconomic development that say low income and joblessness must equate with living in distressed neighborhoods, where dilapidation, crime, and violence are characteristic features of the landscape. This reality is a public policy decision. Therefore, it can be changed by altering the investment strategy in distressed community and by radically transforming the institutions operating in these communities. If this happens, it will be possible to produce communities where low-income workers live in energetic places where they enjoy a high quality of life and standard of living. In such regenerated neighborhoods, it will also be possible to develop innovative strategies that put the jobless to work.

Abstract

Corporate foundations – entities established to regularize corporate giving at an arm’s length removed from the firm – command substantial resources, root companies in the nonprofit sectors of their host communities, indirectly augment perceptions of corporate responsibility, and help firms to deflect controversies in an attentive global media environment. Despite these important roles, relatively little research has examined the institutional and strategic factors that influence such proximate charitable giving by firms. Using systematic data on foundations linked to S&P 3000 firms in the health sector – a growing domain in which public trust in high-stakes products and services is critical – fixed-effects models illustrate the primary role of network influences on giving: corporate foundations give substantially more in years following higher contributions by other (noncorporate) foundations in the health sector in a firm’s headquarters locality and also following increased contributions by industry peers through their corporate foundations. Giving also appears to reflect strategic reputational concerns, in that foundation contributions increase significantly following controversies associated with the corporate parent’s products and/or services. By contrast, giving tends to decline as the presence of outside directors on a firm’s board increases, as well as when firms carry heavier debt loads. Combined, these findings suggest that corporate foundations serve as a strategic proxy for the firm, reflecting both a company's position in community and interfirm networks while also mitigating the threat of reputational challenges.

Abstract

Participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) have been increasingly employed for decision-making in planning, environmental conservation, zoning, and development. This research explores the use of PGIS and its significant role for environmental zoning plans (EZP). PGIS methodology intends to incorporate local knowledge, increase data access, multiple realities, and bottom-up decision-making in EZP in a very sensitive water body in Southern Sri Lanka.

This research presents the lessons learned from a case study of Madu Ganga estuary in Galle District, Sri Lanka. Madu Ganga is an extraordinarily stretch of water body (an estuary) with abundant natural resources and beauty. In recent years, Madu Ganga has faced serious environmental threats due to increase in human activities leading to overexploitation of natural resources. To protect and manage this valuable environment, a team of geographers from the Center for Environmental Studies, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka was invited by the Coastal Resource Management Project to undertake the zoning study. Various participatory methods including PGIS applications were adopted and affected communities were also involved in developing a zoning plan. The study illustrates that the use of PGIS approach is effective in incorporating local people into environmental planning, and it also supports affected people to be actively involved in development activities in their own communities.

Abstract

Depending on the adopted principles of their domestic energy policy, individual countries responded in different ways to the information coming in from Japan. The majority of European countries having atomic power stations recommended inspection of the installations, particularly of those of older types. Discussion concerning the safety of nuclear installations also flared up. Opponents of the atomic power industry and environmentalists, asexpected, pointed to a need to lean energy production toward so-called renewable energy sources. This chapter explores public debate on the planned construction of nuclear power station in Poland in the aftermath of the Chernobyl and Japanese nuclear reactor explosions.

Abstract

At the time of its spread, globalization was perceived as pervasive, loosely controlled worldwide force that shaped societal opportunities, global equity, and equality of countries and of individual citizens within each country. As this volume demonstrates the forces of globalization are not uncontrollable and the states are much more forceful in determining the formation and the activity of social institutions and international organizations. When analyzing globalization the interaction of local and global milieu provides the best platform to understand processes and developments of the contemporary world.

DOI
10.1108/S0895-9935(2013)21
Publication date
Book series
Research in Political Sociology
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-545-6
eISBN
978-1-78190-546-3
Book series ISSN
0895-9935