Guide to Globalization and Autonomy
The Globalization and Autonomy Online Compendium is designed to communicate the results of our research project on globalization and autonomy to a broad audience. Globalization is one of the buzz words of the day. Some people want it to end, others champion it as the way to progress. Often it seems that the word has as many meanings as there are people using the term.
Over time, however, some consensus is developing on what globalization entails. We can start with the following statement: Globalization is the growth of supraterritorial relations among people creating a complex series of connections that tie together what people do, what they experience, and how they live across the globe. In participating and acting in these connections, individuals and communities see the world increasingly as one place and imagine new activities and roles for themselves in this world. When we use the word "supraterritorial relations" here we refer to relationships that develop beyond the physical locations, even territorially defined countries, in which we live.
Defined in this way, we need to remember that these kinds of relationships and people becoming conscious of the world as one place are not new developments. They have been growing for several centuries, becoming more intense and affecting more people, beginning in the nineteenth century. Many argue that a new phase of intensified globalization arrived with the revolution in communications that has come from information technologies like the personal computer and the Internet. They suggest that these technologies have facilitated the penetration of market-based economies or capitalism into more parts of the globe and more areas of life than ever before. For this reason, some people associate globalization with ideas called "neo-liberalism," ideas that promote the use of markets at the expense of other institutions like governments or community cooperation.
When these kinds of significant changes take place in the lives of individuals and in their communities, people may want to resist them, or to shape them to suit their needs, or to promote them even further. Behind these kinds of actions, there will be various motivations. In the present phase of globalization, autonomy is one of the aspects of peoples' lives most at issue. For individuals, autonomy refers to their capacity to be able to make informed choices about what should be done and how to go about it. Having this capacity depends on people being healthy, having their basic physical needs satisfied, being aware of their culture, and having certain liberties or freedoms to act. More broadly, autonomy for communities means having the capacity to make the most important rules that shape how they live their lives.
Our research team believes that the relationships between globalization and autonomy are some of the most important ones in the world today. They are also often at the root of many of the difficult debates and conflicts about social and economic well-being in the lives of people across the globe. They are complicated relationships. Globalization might restrict or expand autonomy for individuals or communities. Exercising autonomy by more powerful persons or organizations may push globalization in one direction rather than another. Some people may be gravely hurt by globalization moving in that direction.
Research Summaries are a tool to make the findings of our research available in digest form to a wide audience. Each one describes the nature of the research in question, its importance, how the research was carried out, the main findings, and the implications of those findings for globalization and autonomy.
The glossary contains brief articles that provide key information on important persons, organizations, events, places, and concepts. These articles provide background for the research summaries in the Compendium, while also offering an encyclopedia of information on globalization and autonomy.
Position Papers are a tool for discussing aspects of our research on globalization and autonomy that will be of interest to a broad and general public. They may offer a commentary on a contemporary issue related to globalization and autonomy being debated and discussed in various parts of the world, a review of a popular book on globalization and autonomy issues, or a discussion of a technological innovation or an historical event important for understanding a contemporary issue or problem.
Designed for those interested in more technical issues examined in an academic way, these articles address globalization and autonomy relationships and questions that are not covered in the academic volumes published by UBC Press.
This searchable database provides a compilation of all the bibliographical items utilized by researchers in the project in the academic volumes plus collections of other items on globalization and autonomy compiled by team researchers. As such, it is a comprehensive database of writing on globalization and autonomy issues.