Globalacious, Globalasia, Globalatio, Globalemic, Globalescent, Globalactic, Globaloney…
Richard Wilk, “Globobabble” 1
…what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
“Globalization” has become the academic and media buzzword of the early 21st century. The most cursory of computer explorations, whether through an on-line bookstore, FirstSearch, or any commercial search engine, will turn up hundreds or even thousands of entries. 2 Considering that the term was seldom encountered before 1990, this sudden ubiquity may set some sort of record. Such trendyness might suggest a shallow fad and has already given rise to satire, as the opening quotation shows. Obviously, a book titled The Anthropology of Globalization might be expected to take the concept seriously and to assume a degree of staying power.
Definitions of globalization are almost as legion as the number of experts on the subject. To get our bearings, however, it might be worth starting out with a bare-bones definition, which will be elaborated as we go along: Contemporary globalization is the increasing flow of trade, finance, culture, ideas, and people brought about by the sophisticated technology of communications and travel and by the worldwide spread of neoliberal capitalism,