Globalization: Exclusion and Inclusion

If globalization can be viewed as the shrinking of time and space (bringing individuals from around the world closer together), the increasing importance of technology can be viewed as a primary example. It provides the possibility for instant connection with people from across the world to engage in anything from discussing sports to conducting business. If technology represents the zenith of globalism, in many ways the nation-state represents the antithesis and something to which globalization is measured against.

Globalization is often viewed as something new, allowed to flourish following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, however, this is not the case. In fact, the world was arguably more globalized prior to the late 19th century where restrictions on trade and the movement of people were low. Nationalism and the creation of the nation-state which began at the end of the 19th century and became the prime ordering mechanism of the international system throughout the 20th century. Things like tariffs, fixed external borders, state citizenship and the welfare state created a strong sense of inclusion and exclusion.

Politics, Technology, and Social Media

That is why technology such as social media is viewed as a driver of globalization. It offers opportunities to individuals to engage internationally outside of the constraints of the nation-state. However, social media and the growing internationalism of nationalism are somewhat of a paradox. This includes the increasing use of social media by anti-globalist politicians, which has allowed them to overcome a perceived pro-globalist mainstream media. It is argued that a Donald Trump victory would not have been possible without social media. The same can be seen in many other democratic countries where social media offers the platform for less conventional political actors.

Nationalistic Social Movements

Even more perplexing is the rise of nationalistic social movements being played out on the international level. The “identitarian” movement in Europe, who’s mission is to preserve national differences, is a good example. Based in France, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands with smaller contingents in other parts of Europe, the “identitarian” movement uses social media and other online platforms to share ideas and coordinate action.

Ironically despite its raison d’etre being the preservation of nationalism it is surprisingly internationalist. This is not to say they aren’t both nationalist and internationalist at the same time, only the way we think about global connectivity is not quite as simple as measuring inclusion and exclusion.

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