Erasing knowledge: The discursive structure of globalization

Social Epistemology 24 (1):15 – 28 (2010)
Abstract
This article identifies two common academic discourses about globalization: that it is a “new” process unleashing fundamentally novel changes on society, and that it is an “old” process merely extending and building from previous events. Drawing from recent advances in social, cultural, and political theory, the article critiques both of these discourses and articulates four discursive themes—homogenization, aggrandizing, flexibility, and erasure—that occur in the way that both proponents and opponents conceive of globalization. Instead of treating globalization as homogeneous and all-encompassing, the author argues that it should be treated as a concept perennially in motion, a discourse continually under reconstruction. Tracing the representations and contradictions located within globalization helps to de-naturalize and re-politicize it. In this way, globalization can be viewed as a contested discourse constituted through the convergence of social, political, and economic ideologies
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