This chapter explores “anti-consumerist” critique and practice as articulated in a range of Western nations over the last two decades. It surveys the rise of a twenty-first-century consumption politics, identifying how it has coalesced around opposition to consumerism and overconsumption, while remaining elusive in the extent to which it advocates substantive social and economic change and in the degree to which it rejects or embraces consumption as an arena of agency. The chapter explores this ambiguity through discussion of two interconnected forms of recent consumption politics—“responsible” consumer choice and “alternative” enterprise—outlining the fractured and tenuous ways in which these practices speak of contestation and of the emancipatory in relation to consumption and consumer economies. The chapter concludes by recognizing the conceptual and ideological limits of contemporary consumption politics, while insisting also that it has significantly expanded the political and ethical sensibilities through which we understand the commodity and its impact.
This chapter focuses on research among internally displaced Afghan communities who had fled to Pakistan over the protracted periods of conflict and were then unable to return to their homes and are currently living in temporary accommodation. Drawing on interviews with forced migrants this chapter aims to explore their lived experiences. In doing so, it highlights the complexities of the decision-making processes that involuntary migrants undertake. Negative public discourses of Afghan refugees notwithstanding, they are the quintessential exemplars of a global migration crisis, given that the geopolitical situation in the region over the last three decades have compelled millions to flee their homes. In order to dispel the fears and distrust toward asylum-seekers this chapter shows the importance of producing accurate data based on the worldviews of the displaced as they are formulating their decisions to flee. This in turn enables us to challenge both the artificially constructed demonizing discourses centered on asylum-seekers as well as the refugees’ own retrospective accounts, which are sometimes at odds with their actual experiences.
The theme of the Anthropocene raises fundamental questions for how world politics is now to be understood. Geopolitics can now no longer take the context of the human drama for granted; transformations are afoot that are of humanity’s own making. Nature is increasingly being produced at the largest of scales, and political thinking has to come to terms with this new condition. Globalization is, it turns out, a profoundly physical process, not just a matter of trade and cultural change networked by communication technologies. The global economy is effectively a new geomorphic force at work in the biosphere. The Anthropocene thus provides a formulation for rethinking many things and is, as such, a profoundly useful category for new thinking about global studies.
This chapter assesses how from early modernity to the present day, art has been a significant agent in the cultural transmission of globalization. It is a cultural legacy, however, that continues to be divided by a deep sense of ambivalence toward the question of how social imaginaries are delimited by the ubiquitous processes of global capital. The field of contemporary art is often entirely complicit with a culture of manufactured exclusivity and large profits, yet it also has its critical edge that has shown how the glossy allure of transnational capital obscures visions of other possible, less inequitable worlds. Other possible worlds have also appeared in art in a recent turn to the great, circulatory systems of the oceans as both the historical conduits of globalization and the channels through which we might envisage what kind of global imaginary will prevail in response to environmental crisis.
Throughout the past forty years various leaders from both major political parties in Australia have categorized the arrival by boat of people seeking asylum as a “crisis” and the people themselves as “illegal.” This is despite Australia being a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and receiving relatively few people who seek asylum compared with many other countries. Punitive government policies and processes have further reinforced these representations, such that “crisis” and “illegal” can now be understood as both categories of analysis and practice. The repeated use of such categories may be helping to produce and reproduce prejudice and racism and obscure the needs and experiences of people seeking asylum.
Leisy J. Abrego
This chapter analyzes President Obama and his Administration’s construction of Central American migrants as a crisis. Based on a close reading of letters to Congress, governmental Fact Sheets, speeches, and other written documents of the administration, the chapter argues that the language that initially established violence against migrants as the crux of the crisis simultaneously erased the role of the United States in supporting the conditions that are expelling migrants from their homelands. The faulty logic during a purported moment of crisis, moreover, made it possible to propose family detention centers and ramped-up enforcement as the main solutions. Central American refugees, therefore, are left with only their bodies to resist and to draw attention to the true crises: US intervention and nation-states’ long-term unwillingness to enforce human rights protections in the region.
Although the concept of “charismatic” leaders is commonplace in political discourse, many academics hold that the notion is vague and these leaders’ alleged appeal to voters untestable. This chapter sets out a conceptualization of such leaders, focusing on radical mission, personal presence, symbiotic hierarchy, and Manichean demonization. It then considers four broad theories about why charismatic leaders have notable effects (and why the radical right gathers support): socioeconomic change and crisis, political opportunity structures, cultural legitimation, and psychological affinities. While it is important not to overstate the powers of most leaders, the chapter concludes by arguing that we need to appreciate the role of “coterie” charisma over an inner core, helping to keep parties together. Moreover, charismatic leaders exert a centripetal appeal, particularly to authoritarians and/or those least interested in politics, creating a more differentiated following than the affective bond stressed in the classic Weberian model.
This chapter explores citizenship as an interdisciplinary concept of central interest in the field of global studies. The chapter outlines the general concept of citizenship and discusses how several circumstances related to globalization and its accompanying social and economic disparities, in addition to ongoing patterns of immigration and cultural change, have disrupted the civil, political, and social rights of modern citizenship and opened new lines of contestation over questions of “who belongs” within specific nation-states. Next, the chapter discusses global citizenship, tracing the progression of this specific concept in political thought and contemporary scholarship and then reckoning with several lines of critique that have questioned the feasibility and desirability of global citizenship. The chapter also examines how global citizenship and related ideas, such as global competency and global consciousness, have been employed within the endeavor of civic education.
For all its myriad debates, interpretations, and discussions, research on detailing and imagining civil society, global civil society, and associated social relations is constrained in how it conceives global social relations. There is confusion as to whether civil society and global civil society refer to an analytical concept or an actually existing reality or both simultaneously. This chapter adds a missing dimension to these discussions through engaging a critical dialogue or dialectics between concept and reality in civil society research on the nature and extent of civil society particularly as they relate to global governance and contestation. The theoretical and practical activities of civil society, seen through a dialectical lens of the world, are related in the conclusion to a greater understanding of movement and change through the processes of transversal hegemony.
Greenhouse gases emitted anywhere affect people everywhere, and they will do so for a very long time. Progress on an international response to climate change has been bedeviled by ethical, political, and economic fractures, highlighting the severe limitations of the Westphalian state system. Non-state actors have played a crucial role in negotiations; some are “internationalist,” whereas others are “globalist.” Climate change is inseparable from capitalism’s insatiable appetite for growth. The rise of China destabilizes previous understandings of the world, including those of global studies and world-systems analysis. There are signs of a new cosmopolitanism, although securitization of the climate threat works against it. The globality of the natural world calls for a rethinking of global studies.