Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roland Robertson's Concept of Glocalization - definition

In "Glocalization:Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity" sociologist Roland Robertson suggests replacing the concept of globalization with the concept of "glocalization". In using "glocalization" rather than globalization Robertson wishes to blur the boundaries between the local and the global. Former views in sociology saw globalization as a contrast between the local and the global as theorized it in terms of action-reaction patterns. Robertson offers instead to see the local itself as one of the aspects of globalization. For example, the search for "home" and "roots" are a counter reaction to globalization but rather a need structured by it.

One of the ramifications of using the term glocalization instead of globalization is that claims of homogeneity of culture under globalization lose ground. Even though intercultural ties are increasingly fastened throughout the world Robertson believes that we are definitely not heading for a united human culture. The reason is that in glocaliztion these ties and influences are selected, processed and consumed according to the local culture's needs, taste and social structure.     

The shift from globalization to glocalization is also a shift in historical perspective. While many researchers position globalization in the second half of the 20th century, Robertson prefers to see it as modern phenomenon which can be traced back to the 19th century and even before, like the rise of the nation state, standardization of time, the emergence of international exhibitions and more. Robertson holds that these examples show how global processes are local processes and vise verse starting already with the 19th century and modernity.

In short, the term glocaliztion means that trends of homogenization and heterogenization coexist throughout the modern age. According to Robertson the use of the term glocalization means that it is local culture which assigns meaning to global influences, and that the two are therefore interdependent and enable each other.  

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