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.
Fernando Carrión Mena and Markus Gottsbacher
Violence across borders has experienced a global transformation as a consequence of regional integration, especially in border regions where the presence of global crime networks exacerbates complementary asymmetries. In such cases, borders are transformed from predominantly national spaces of encountering and separation into hubs of world economic circuits—both legal and illegal. This transformation produces two important changes: on the one hand, borders become less geographically fixed and more fluid spaces; on the other hand, the central actor of illegal markets is no longer the contraband smuggler but rather a trafficker of persons, goods, and services from distant territories. The text addresses these dynamics and focuses on three topics: the relationship between borders and actors, the configuration of particular forms of border violence, and the security politics in South American countries.
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.
The conventional narrative on the crisis of climate change and its links to migration sees the physical impacts of climate change—such as sea-level rise, drought, soil salinization, and floods—as driving massive human migration, increasing existing flows from the Global South to the Global North as people flee disasters and famine. Yet contradictory evidence demonstrates that the relationship between climate change and migration is not so simple. Africa is indeed the most vulnerable content to these impacts, but this extreme vulnerability arises from physical exposure and because of the interplay of numerous social, political, economic, and environmental factors. Moreover, migration dynamics related to the climate change crisis manifest in nonlinear, heterogeneous ways across subregions and countries. Thus, this chapter outlines the varying and multidimensional relationships between human mobility and climate change in Africa. It considers the threat of climate change to African settlement dynamics both presently and in the century to come, before providing an overview of climate change–migration dynamics and challenges throughout the continent.
Celia McMichael, Carol Farbotko, and Karen E. McNamara
There is widespread understanding that migration can represent an adaptive response to emerging and realized climate threats. However, the concept of “migration as adaptation” positions vulnerable populations as adaptive agents who can and even must migrate in response to climate change impacts, despite their often negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The Pacific islands region is widely viewed as an iconic site of climate change impacts and subsequent climate migration risk. This chapter discusses three Pacific countries—Fiji, Tuvalu, and Kiribati—and explores how people and government officials in these countries respond to the dynamic discursive, policy, social, and biophysical domains of “migration as climate change adaptation.”
John R. Campbell
In sharp contrast to the sense of a “migrant crisis” which prevails in Europe, nation states in the Horn of Africa understand migration, including state-induced population displacement, as unexceptional. The chapter addresses this apparent paradox by contrasting European policy discourse on migration with the long-term political and structural processes in northeastern Africa that cause population displacement and migration. The chapter then examines the migration policies of governments in the Horn and concludes by arguing that the European Union misrepresents and misunderstands the factors responsible for large-scale migration and the role of states in exploiting migrants. For these reasons it is highly unlikely that the EU-Horn of Africa Action Plan/Khartoum process will bring about better border management policies and practices.
This chapter examines the criminalization of asylum seekers arriving irregularly into Canada and the human rights implications of this process, in particular the Designated Foreign National (DFN) policy established in 2012 and the increased role of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the refugee system. These changes exemplify the crisis-led management by the previous Conservative government as a reaction to the 2009 and 2010 boat arrivals of nearly 600 Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka. The specific objectives of the policy amendments are scrutinized to determine whether their stated goals are being achieved. The chapter draws on interviews conducted between October 2015 and May 2017 in three major provinces (Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia) that host the majority of asylum seekers in Canada.
S. Irudaya Rajan
The discovery of oil in Gulf countries significantly influenced international migration of workers to the Gulf region as these countries required human resources from other countries to work in oil industry. Due to the nonavailability of nationals, migrant workers, first from Arab-speaking countries and later from Asia, began to be employed. These migrant workers brought change not only to the economy of the Gulf region but also in the age-sex composition of the region. Initially there were no plans to reduce or to stop immigrant workers because of the need for skilled and semiskilled workers for the development of the economy. The respective governments of Gulf countries started implementing nationalist policies to reduce or regulate migration due to high unemployment among nationals. In addition, due to the large-scale presence of undocumented migrant workers or shadow labor forces, Gulf countries faced a crisis which they solved through amnesty schemes introduced from time to time. This chapter explains the role of migration in the Gulf and its implications for migration policy, undocumented workers, and resulting crises brought forth in the economy and society.
This chapter explores the mechanisms and underlying socioeconomic causes of the forced migrations that attended the decolonization of Southeast Asia. It is argued that these migrations share many characteristics with those in the wake of dissolution of the empires of the European continent after the First World War. Unlike in Europe, however, most of the displacements remained under the radar of the international refugee agencies even if they entailed harrowing conditions and human suffering. Expulsion of colonial elites to Europe, China, or Japan were rubricized as repatriations rather than international migrations, even if they involved migrants having to leave for countries they had never seen before. For most of the decolonization era that extended well into the 1970s, only international refugee diasporas were identified as migration crises. They were nonetheless just the tip of the iceberg of all the displacements that attended the decades of decolonization and nation building. It is only since the 1990s that internal displacements in Southeast Asia have become defined as migration crises as part of global turn on this subject.
This chapter argues for the need to decolonize global studies, particularly as it is emerging as a new field of inquiry in the Global North. This entails decolonizing the basic building blocks that have dominated the past three centuries of Western thought. For global studies scholars, this means decentering the dominance of a White privileged world view that naturally assumes that such a world view leads the rest at home and abroad. It also means actively seeking to understand social and political relations from the standpoint of non-Western communities. The chapter argues for the need to decolonize Western thinking precisely because histories of marginalization and being “cut out” of the positive impacts of global capitalism have long been the experience among many non-Western peoples of the world..
Jan Aart Scholte
This chapter explores democracy as a key normative challenge for global research and global action. It asks how “people’s power” can and should be conceived and practiced in respect of global spaces. This question is examined from both institutional and deeper structural perspectives. In terms of institutions, the discussion summarizes and critically assesses six suggested organizational designs for democratic global politics: communitarianism, multilateralism, world federalism, multistakeholder initiatives, deliberative forums, and resistance struggles. In terms of deeper structures, the analysis considers matters of resource distribution, cultural diversity, and political ecology. The chapter concludes that reinvented democracy for today’s global world requires both institutional and structural transformations, in combinations that will likely vary according to the specific context at hand. It is a key normative task for global studies to foster these new ideas and practices.
Sung Ho Kim
Weber is not generally recognized as a democratic theorist of civil society. Drawing from his religious and political writings, this chapter reconstructs his vision of pluralistically organized civil society. As such, Weber’s civil society was primarily a site of civic education and leadership selection where dynamic culture and a system of contestation would help arrest the bureaucratic petrification of modern democracy. Based on this reconstruction, Weber’s deeply political vision is brought to bear upon contemporary theories of civil society, including the partisanship theory of late, in order to explore the relevance of his politics of civil society in a time of troubled democracy.