Anthropology of Conflict and Crisis Major Essay Example

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Globalization and Conflict

Globalization and Conflict


The globalization process has been enhanced given the fact that it is being driven by rapid advances in technology regarding transportation and communications (Cooper, Neu and Lehman, 2003). The increasing advancements in transportation and communication are significantly connecting the entire humanity across the world in the vast transportation, communications, and economic networks. This is because there is the easy transmission of different cultural images and ideas from one part of the world to the other in an instant through the various means of communication like satellite and wireless technologies (Ayres et al., 2002). Following this, the cultures and social structures of diverse individuals and countries are being connected at very high rates (Razavi et al., 2012). However, it has been argued that this rapid globalization process is among the primary drivers of conflicts between the different cultures, social, and economic structures of various countries (Canclini, 2001). The paper will, therefore, seek to discuss how the globalization process drives conflicts and the impacts that they have at the local levels.

Globalization and Conflict

It has been argued that the globalization process drives conflicts in various ways. One of the ways that this can be explained is from the perspective of the migratory flows (Zoomers, 2010). The flows of migration are associated with the rapid flow of fiscal reforms, economic liberalization, as well as the global information. These aspects of globalization are termed as the globalization markers which evidently reshuffled the significant social and cultural relations around the globe (Zoomers, 2010). As immigrants flock in a particular country, it often results in multiculturalism especially in those nations that were previously characterized by social pressures, and homogenous societies (Tomlinson, 2003). Despite globalization being considered and termed as a force of integration, the rates at which cultural conflicts are being experienced is alarming which could quickly turn into international violence especially since the rate of globalization is accelerating.

For example, in the year 2003, out of the total 36 conflicts that took place which were also violent, only one of them was an international war which was the Iraq invasion (Tomlinson, 2003). All of the other 35 conflicts were internal and were inside the territory of 28 countries (Tomlinson, 2003). Additionally, all of these conflicts aside from only four of them were the communal conflicts which were precisely as a result of the religious, sectarian, and ethnic grievances (Tomlinson, 2003). Although these conflicts have started being resolved peacefully, the increasing rate of the globalization process is still affecting how cultures are living together without the prolonged conflicts and hostility among them.

The globalization process has also resulted in the increasing social change which has in turn been linked with some enhanced conflict levels. The globalization process has evidently resulted in increasing levels of social strife because it has made the society to be highly mixed and therefore, undergo significant societal change (Modelski, Devezas, and Thompson, 2007). These changes can explicitly be spelled out to be transitional. Additionally, these societal changes are primarily characterized by the various interests and values conflicts which are increasingly spreading and becoming violent in various countries (Ribeiro, 2006).

According to various scholars relating to how globalization drives conflicts, there is an agreement that the acceleration and the spreading of globalization processes are increasingly generating high levels of societal change and in turn conflicts in some unprecedented scales (Ribeiro, 2006). Following this agreement, it is evident that the globalization process is continuing to be inherently disruptive which means that the increasing conflict incidents are an apparent by-product of these societal changes (Modelski, Devezas, and Thompson, 2007). Additionally, some scholars have also documented that the various conflicts which are as a result of the globalization process are a representation of the early challenges of the world civilization (Zarsky, 2012).

The ways in which the globalization process drives conflicts can also be explained through the paradoxical impact of the accelerated process of globalization. This paradoxical effect is that while the globalization process aims at homogenizing cultures and societies all around the world, it is at the same time enhancing the social heterogeneity awareness among the different people and societies around the world (Halliday and Carruthers, 2007). For example, the cultural and societal groups whose solidarity and identity is primarily based on language, religion, ethnicity, and race, are continuing to become vocal about various issues and they are utilizing the global media in making their discomfort known by everybody in the world (Halliday and Carruthers, 2007).

Following this, while this aspect becomes known by different people in the world, then different people will have different reactions about the same, and this is where conflicts become generated (Halliday and Carruthers, 2007). On the other hand, scholars have argued that the principal focus of conflicts cannot only be witnessed among nations any more, but conflicts are now found amongst the subnational groups which are being accelerated by the rapid processes of globalization (Friedman and Randeria, 2004). This means that the overall impact of these globalization developments and the resulting conflicts has been the increasing salience of the various issues concerning cultural diversity across and within the borders as well (Friedman and Randeria, 2004).

As studies have suggested, there are two distinct elements of the globalization process which have increased possibilities of triggering cultural and societal conflicts which are trade and migration (Bastin et al., 2003). The requirements of trade, as well as its expansion, may result in nation-shrinking which affects the underdeveloped and the developed world (Bastin et al., 2003). At the same time, the increasing rates of immigration have the possibility of igniting conflicts, especially in the highly industrialized countries (Schuerkens, 2003). This is because both immigration and trade often tend to turn the homogenous and conservative states and societies into becoming highly heterogeneous countries and societies which are often characterized by the significant differences in the cultural practices, societal values, as well as wealth (Schuerkens, 2003).

It is not typical for the immigrants to get into their host countries without taking with them the community and family ties that they had in their home country (Zarsky, 2012). These already tight communities and family ties are what tends to enhance the importance of these immigrant communities and the role that they play in the process of globalization. When these people come into a new country, they will then tend to impose some of the values and ties on to the people in the host countries which then results in some conflicts in the process of adjustment in the new community systems (Zarsky, 2012).

The economic and political forces which are evident in the process of globalization have also been witnessed to drive the vicious cycle of conflicts in different parts of the world (Friedman and Randeria, 2004). Precisely, the ‘state-shrinking’ policies which have been associated with globalization have in various instances resulted in the radical dislocation and social disruption of different communities around the world (Friedman and Randeria, 2004). In the communities and countries that are already multicultural, the hardships that come in, as a result, could be allocated among the different cultural groups disproportionately (Cooper, Neu and Lehman, 2003). This is especially the case where cultural division regarding labor is experienced where the various cultural groups get divided into different economic sectors. Following this division, the current political cleavages that are concerned with the cultural differences are done away with, and some new political divisions based on the same are then created (Cooper, Neu and Lehman, 2003). This destabilization among these groups of people and sectors is what primarily drives conflicts.

Impact at the Local Level

Globalization has evidently resulted in significant opportunities for wealth creation as well as the potentials of development. However, at the local levels, the economic effect of the globalization processes has elevated the problems regarding poverty, inequality, and unemployment (Okongwu and Mencher, 2000). Although the aim of the globalization processes is to enhance the liberty freedom, and standards of living of the local communities, it has instead enhanced the gap that exists between the poor and the rich people which have consequently resulted in the marginalization of some distinct sections of these individuals in their countries (Eade, 2003). These cases of inequalities and the increasing gap between the poor and rich are mostly experienced by the developing countries who are blindly injecting the idea of capitalism into their economies (Eade, 2003). They are doing this and failing to take into consideration the foundations which are needed to create the economic stability for the people in their countries at the local level.

On the political perspective, the globalization processes have resulted in the reduction of the importance of the country states (McCarty, 2011). Most of the countries that have embraced globalization have been organized into some distinct trade blocs like the G8, the World Trade Organization, and the European Union. These blocs have tended to either replace or extend their national functions with the aim of facilitating the international agreements (McCarty, 2011). Following this, at the local level, the globalization processes have resulted in the reduction of the sovereignty of the individual countries at the local level regarding making some critical decisions that affect the citizens of their countries (Lewellen, 2002). In every decision that these various countries try to make, they always have to take into consideration the blocs in which they are a part of which limits their decision-making capabilities for their people at the local levels.

On a social perspective, it is evident that the globalization processes have affected the societies, people, as well as the families of individuals at the local level. The people at the local level are benefitting from the social justice which is as a result of globalization processes (Blommaert, 2003). This social justice at the local level is focused on developing a sane society which is based on the perceptions and values of solidarity and equality, as well as the dignity of every person in the community (Blommaert, 2003). Additionally, the social aspect as has been shaped by the globalization processes has also impacted the social structure of the societies present at the local level (Banerjee and Linstead, 2001).

Every society has their distinct culture regarding their morality, social norms, civic sense, and language, among others. Following the fact that the globalization process has challenged the social structures of people at the local level, they usually tend to keep up with the influences of the western culture so that they can be termed as being ‘civilized’ (Banerjee and Linstead, 2001). Therefore, the globalization processes have resulted in the change of the social structures and cultures of these people at the local level to fit in with that of the western culture and that of the entire world as a whole.

Among the significant impacts of the globalization process at the local level is the cultural effect which is continuously gaining attention by the scholars. It is evident that the globalization processes have resulted in the complicated interactions between individuals from different cultures (Brady, Beckfield and Zhao, 2007). This has then led to cultural diversity as opposed to the cultural homogeneity that had dominated more so locally in the various countries. Since many countries have embraced globalization, there has been the introduction of various types of services and goods into their countries (Brady, Beckfield and Zhao, 2007). However, the integration of other cultures into the local cultures has resulted in increased cultural conflicts because of the differences in what they believe is right and wrong. These conflicts affect the local people in various ways some of which may be positive like enhanced cultural diversity and integration and some of which may be negative like if it leads to violence cases (Brady, Beckfield and Zhao, 2007).


The globalization process is always accelerating and increasing all across the world which is something that is responsible for bringing the world close together yet far apart at the same time. There are various ways in which the globalization processes have driven conflicts. These conflicts are evident in the case in aspects of migratory flows, the social changes, economic aspects, the paradoxical effect of globalization, as well as the political aspects. On the other hand, the globalization processes have had various effects at the local level. Some of these impacts have been explained in the social, cultural, economic, and political perspectives.


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