Globalization1 is increasingly omnipresent. We are living in a – or even the – “global age” (Albrow 1996). Globalization is clearly a very important change; it can even be argued (Bauman 2003) that it is the most important change in human history.2 This is reflected in many domains, but particularly in social relationships and social structures,3 especially those that are widely dispersed geographically. “In the era of globalization… shared humanity face[s] the most fateful of the many fateful steps” it has made in its long history (Bauman 2003: 156, italics added).
The following is the definition of globalization4 to be used in this book (note that all of the italicized terms will be discussed in this chapter):
globalization is a transplanetary process or set of processes involving increasing liquidity and the growing multidirectional flows of people, objects, places and information as well as the structures they encounter and create that are barriers to, or expedite, those flows …5