It is generally agreed that globalisation has four key features. They are:
•Stretched networks of connections, linking people and places across the world.
•Intensification of flows within these networks, both in magnitude and in the ability to connect people and events across the world almost simultaneously.
•Increased homogeneity in the way we do things. The economic, social and cultural traditions of different places seem to be increasingly similar.
•A global infrastructure of informal and institutional arrangements that allow networks to develop worldwide
This description of globalisation clearly resonates with much of what we have already said here about the globalised world. There’s that sense of being connected to often very distant places, through flows of trade or through the movement of immigrants or through our television screens. Communications technologies are often seen as the causes of the intensity of these flows, as more and more images are transmitted in real time. The huge numbers of migrants of different kinds often suggest a cultural mixing too: similar ideas and ways of doing things spread across the world (Figure 5). Finally, there are all the organisations at work that cross the borders of nations: everything from charities to development organisations to trade agreements to political organisations such as the UN.
Block 1 introduces the central themes of the module. Its main component is a DVD, which carries eleven short videos about the MexicoUS border region. This is the first example in the module of the use of a case study as a particularly revealing example of globalisation’s key characteristics.
The video material focuses on the many everyday experiences that make up this globalised place. You’ll hear from would-be migrants and factory bosses, trade unionists and environmental activists, border guards and prisoners, Christian humanitarian workers and right-wing activists, factory workers and native American healers,...