Globalization And Law In Everyday Life

1648 words - 7 pages

Globalization and Law in Everyday LifeSince the early 1980s, a vast scholarly literature has explored the subject of globalization in its many manifestations. As a part of this burgeoning field of inquiry, law and society researchers have discovered numerous aspects of transnational legal behavior that are worthy of attention. Their research has offered new explanations for sociolegal change that previously eluded scholars who too narrowly focused on the nation-state as the primary unit of analysis. Nevertheless, law and society research has focused primarily on transnational interactions and global actors and has paid less attention to the implications of globalization for a topic that has long been central to the law and society field: the role of law in the everyday lives, interactions, and consciousness of ordinary people. This entry addresses the connections that law and society researchers can draw between these two subjects.In the diverse and often contested scholarship on globalization, the one thing that all writers agree upon is that the term itself means different things to different scholars. David Harvey noted that an essential feature of globalization is "time-space compression" (1990: 240). Anthony Giddens cautioned against the common assumption that globalization is essentially an economic phenomenon and argued instead that it has arisen from the transformation of the technologies of communication. "Globalization is political, technological and cultural, as well as economic. It has been influenced above all by developments in systems of communication, dating back only to the late 1960s" (2003: 10). Consistent with this emphasis on the communicative aspects of globalization, Arjun Appadurai contended that it is best understood in terms of "global cultural flows" that can be studied along five related dimensions: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes.A body of theory has thus emerged that suggests globalization is not simply economic "development" or "modernization" by a different name. It has to do with the transformation of lived experience, with new forms of consciousness arising out of new technologies that have diminished the barriers of time and space that previously separated distant people, cultures, and activities. These transformations have produced new ways of living and thinking that connect individuals and groups more directly to others around the world, breaching the boundaries of community and nation that formerly contained people and practices within established political-legal jurisdictions. For sociolegal scholars, these developments have created new opportunities to study transnational actors, organizations, and "legal fields" that have emerged in the new spaces created by globalization.Law and society scholars who have tackled the subject of globalization have been drawn to actors who are most clearly caught up in transnational networks and who are often themselves the agents of...

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