Shattle, Hans. Globalization and Citizenship

Article excerpt

Shattle, Hans. Globalization and Citizenship. Lanhan MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2012. Pp. vii, 217. ISBN 978-0-7425-6845-7 (cloth) $78.00; 978-0-7425-6846-4 (paper) $26.00.

This is one of a series of books on globalization, the 18th in the series, edited by Manfred Steger, a well know scholar on the subject and his colleague Terrel Carver. The advantage is that we have books on globalization and almost every conceivable topic from the media to Islam and culture to Postcolonialism. The problem is that this tack may lead to a sense of repetition or superficiality. This book starts well with a brief but interesting chapter on how the two concepts of citizenship and globalization are separately defined and how they relate in the field of politics. So far so good. The three traditional definitions of citizenship: rights and duties; empowerment and participation; and allegiance, belonging, identity and loyalty, all are examined within the context of globalization. Then Shattle explores three current debates about this relationship in terms of norms of citizens, institutions (expanding citizenship beyond the nation--as in the European union citizenship), and the sociological "debate ... Over whether certain groups of people are already, in effect, global citizens" (global activists who work globally) (p.19).

When we get to Chapter 2 on global media and the Arab Spring, we find instead of a research-and theory-based discussion, a long and detailed description of the use of social media in Tunisia and Egypt repeating in great detail how these two political transitions took place. The problem for communication readers is that this is already a familiar story and the author does not go much beyond description, leaving the reader wondering just what about these events had to do with globalization (social media were certainly a vehicle and are global, but this is an almost taken-for-granted assumption) and especially its connection with the notion of citizenship. Rather than bring some of the interesting insights about citizenship from the first chapter, the reader is left to make the connections for herself.

Chapter 3 focuses on two global citizens, Lui Xiaobo and Julian Assange, again with a great deal of description of what happened with the Chinese dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 after more than 20 years of active campaigning for a more democratic state and a number of years in prison. The detail of the case of Lui provides Shattle an opportunity of showing how a major power like China tried to limit citizen rights of freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed by China's own constitution. With the case of Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame and the leaking of a number of confidential documents from the U.S. Defense and State Departments, the author uses the same analysis of a major power attempting to limit the power of Assange and his assumed co-conspirator Bradley Manning in making information available to the public. The latter case is a bit harder to make but the basic issue of citizenship is highlighted: What rights do citizens have in terms of free speech in a global world? Media again are at the heart of the dilemma because the loss of national credibility is at stake for both the u.S. and China in how they justify their actions against dissidents who gain world attention.

In Chapter 4 Shattle embarks on a two chapter treatment of migration and globalization/citizenship. …