Mark Dixon - Murdoch University

Conventional Representations of Modern Globalisation

In the 21st century, globalisation seems to have been widely accepted as a major feature of life. Alongside it's obvious economic implications, the global market influences people in a range of cultural, social and political ways. A significant feature of modern economic structures is the inherent disadvantages experienced by many as a result of highly competitive market forces. Political Economy Discourses of Globalisation and Feminist Politics, by Suzanne Bergeron, aids in the critique of traditional views on globalisation while providing suggestions for methods of rectifying the resulting gender inequities. Bergeron explains that, when it comes to globalisation and the modern capitalist market, there are a number of dominant positions which frame the discourses of social, cultural and economic analysis. Most of these perspectives, however, further the marginalisation of groups along gender boundaries and continue systems of patriarchal hierarchical domination. By questioning a number of views implicit within conventional positions on the global economy, such as assumptions about power structures and gender roles within the market, she is able to break down these arguments in favour of a modern feminist alternative.


September 10, 2010

with its main role that of protection of respective national interests. while each side has clear lines of argument and equally valid theoretical bases for belief. it is argued. pp. 2001. 2001. identifiable boundary between each. The national management approach.Murdoch University As Bergeron explains. social and political world that can by only countered by non-governmental. particularly with respect to implicit gender subjectivity. Nevertheless. 984). there remains no distinct. are the global imperative and the national management approaches (Bergeron. The main problem present with any critique or assessment of these perspectives lies in the surprisingly ambiguous line drawn between the two. 987). argues that the nation-state retains a degree of power in a globalised world. the two major viewpoints with regards to political economy. 2 September 10. the major difference between these approaches involves the role of the nation-state as a potential resistor to the forces of globalisation. Further. integration itself – or in many cases. further integration – is promoted as the solution to any problem that the global market may face. by the full removal of the notion of any state being involved in market actions.Mark Dixon . The global imperative approach asserts that the success of capitalism can only result in a truly globalised economic. global bodies of resistance. rather than any intervention from a nation state (Bergeron. pp. 2010 . Proponents of the global imperative approach argue that the diminishing role of the nation state is an inevitable part of economic development in a highly capitalistic world market. A truly integrated worldwide market can indeed only be achieved. however.

Mark Dixon . 2010 . pp. acknowledging the negative aspects of globalisation but arguing that.Murdoch University On the other hand. 2001. few treat the resulting social and cultural changes with equal importance (Bergeron. the solution can be found through government intervention defending the nation from these negative aspects. The protection of national interests remains the dominant focus of the national management approach. 989) model featuring a mostly free market tempered by selective state regulation and protective mechanisms for its citizens is generally supported by this position. beliefs and values in some areas. As Bergeron highlights. 2001. 2001. 985). rather than further integrating both regions and markets. while marginalising the social and cultural implications of such trends. pp. While few would argue for complete state control of the market. 986) can be unified by the apparent competing forces of 3 September 10. those who support the ideals of the national management approach assert that a degree of intervention and regulation by nation states and similar bodies would benefit people both economically and culturally by supporting collective common interests. as a “site of collective identity” (Bergeron. These traditional approaches to globalisation and political economy tend to focus primarily on the economic implications of policies that both enforce and promote globalised economic trends. the restructuring of identity that can occur in regions experiencing change as a result of globalisation is one of the most important points of contention in the debate. While some argue that economic homogenisation results in the blending of cultural signifiers. Indeed. others contend that a nation. pp. while many consider the main impact of globalisation to be economic changes. an ideal “hybrid” (Bergeron.

Additionally. Both of the main positions on political economy as outlined above place significant. such as the World Bank’s structural adjustment models. As the traditionally less powerful people in the labour market suffer as a result of the lack of state support.Murdoch University external economic and national groups. 2010 . and are forced into the paid labour market to earn more in substitute. financial bodies. The changes to feminist labour trends during the 20th century’s periods of intense globalisation were significant. are marginalised by the dominant worldviews associated with political economy and globalisation. These groups include predominantly multinational businesses. women in particular. if perhaps undue. In any examination of the wider social and cultural trends. Bergeron points out that studies and organisations aiming to rectify some of these issues. the impact of the forces of globalisation upon women cannot be overlooked.Mark Dixon . with such trends continuing into a number of developing countries even now. and of course nation state – while implicitly overlooking groups that are either currently uninvolved or only minimally involved in the free market mechanism. emphasis upon the main bodies involved in the global market. The realignment of a number of economies entering the globalised free market has meant that a significant number of nation states have reduced the focus upon welfare support and state-sponsored social services. this cycle of disadvantage impacts upon a huge number of women. Bergeron provides alternatives to these positions in order to temper such conventional representations of globalisation with the feminist views of political economy. simply accept a number of assumptions about women in unconscious support of an inherently 4 September 10. In this way. gender-based groups.

Additionally.Mark Dixon . 991). Further. 991). Most feminist alternatives to the major positions on the political economy simply acknowledge and accept the gender-based dichotomy present in globalised economies. A number of “gendered assumptions and effects” (Bergeron. 2010 . 2001. 997). 2001. underpin the dominant discourses of globalisation and need to be deconstructed in order to properly critique such pervasive views.Murdoch University patriarchal system (Bergeron. rather than a single global market dominated by multinational organisations and other seemingly hegemonic groups. often aiding in the reinforcement of essentially “feminine ways of being” (Bergeron. The conventional representations of globalisation rely upon traditional hierarchical notions of male domination in their views of the globalised world. one can view the globalised economic situation as more of a network of smaller interconnected economic networks. the acceptance of conventional power structures as the norm. as well as assumptions based on the conventional ideas of economic hegemony. must be questioned. including assumptions relating to the apparent might of multinational organisations and their place in the market. 2001. pp. By deconstructing the notion of a global market. by analysing the potential for restrictions and weaknesses even within such 5 September 10. Bergeron places emphasis on the fact that the process and condition of economic globalisation is symbolic of the normative patriarchal structures present in society. pp. pp. Women often find themselves subject to predetermined outcomes and identities without the option of a self-created individual or collective identity.

The importance of “(recognising) the different articulations of economic processes and areas of common concern and intervention in the transnational area” (Bergeron. not only would such groups increase the likelihood of positive influence upon the women in their area. 998) and provides a number of examples of the implementation of collective initiatives in support of women’s communities. 2001.Mark Dixon . 1000) must also be recognised. 2001. She emphasises the importance of women’s organisations and associations at the local level (Bergeron. there is the potential for feminist action that may utilise such deficiencies. and reducing the perceived significance of transnational groups. but also be able to demonstrate to other regions the success of specified initiatives.Murdoch University organisations. p. pp. 2010 . By viewing the globalised economy in terms of potential localised impact of feminist action. Bergeron argues that there is indeed a place for women to aid in the redistribution of wealth and resources. Bergeron asserts. 6 September 10. depending on the individual economic situations of each locality or region of influence. These groups must. though only whilst maintaining a level of respect for both similarities and differences behind the collective feminist movements in such areas. Once the traditional power structures have been questioned in favour of a more all-encompassing view emphasising the importance of regional factors and networks. utilise a variety of different economic techniques to encourage power distribution among disadvantaged women.

would aid in the achievement of global economic restructuring with respect to feminist ideals. The maintenance of a combined local and global perspective in women’s associations and organisations worldwide. 983). 2001. collective action based on critical analysis of globalisation could potentially eradicate a great amount of its inherent feminist subjectivity. allows the deconstruction of such views along both gender. While we may agree that global capitalism is “here to stay” (Bergeron. in addition to collective action based upon assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of conventional economic powers. 7 September 10. Bergeron. cultural. with a number of social and cultural conditions also aiding in conventional patriarchal norms. or economic gender binaries would not itself result in a more equitable distribution of power amongst the sexes. While it is clear that the amendment of simply one aspect of social. by explaining the conventional views on political economy. pp.Mark Dixon .and power-based lines in order to provide examples of how women may utilise economic restructuring to their advantage. the encouragement of female economic self-determination could only benefit the complex process of gender equity. to the benefit of so many worldwide.Murdoch University Economic conditions are not the only oppressive social structures influencing women. 2010 .

(2001) “Political Economy Discourses of Globalisation and Feminist Politics” Signs 26 (4): 983-1006 8 September 10.Mark Dixon .Murdoch University Reference List Bergeron. S. 2010 .