Virtual Globalization: Virtual Spaces/Tourist Spaces

Virtual Globalization: Virtual Spaces/Tourist Spaces

Virtual Globalization: Virtual Spaces/Tourist Spaces

Virtual Globalization: Virtual Spaces/Tourist Spaces

Synopsis

This book examines the interrelationship between telecommunications and tourism in shaping the nature of space, place and the urban at the end of the twentieth century. They discuss how these agents are instrumental in the production of homogenous world-spaces, and how these, in turn, presuppose new kinds of political and cultural identity. This work will be of essential interest to scholars and students in the fields of sociology, geography, cultural studies and media studies.

Excerpt

As a now firmly established metaphor for social change, 'globalization' has rapidly made its way into an exclusive, but endangered, list of terms which risk emptying themselves of definition by their reckless application. At once, globalization - defined as a largely economic process - has been held responsible for the termination of the nation-state, the death of history (Fukuyama 1992) and even the 'end' of the social itself (Rose 1996; Touraine 1998).

For the journalist and the politician, globalization is sometimes portrayed as a tear-away condition: cause for a new moral panic over the ability of nations to regulate and control a post-industrial marketplace. Along with the dot.com frenzy of the 1990s the spectre of globalization has been at the front line of a fin-de-siècle, fin-de-millennium ferment which persists today.

This fetishism of globalization as an exclusive kind of 'label' by which corporate and media cultures exalt and advertise themselves has attained such proportions that social thinkers of past eras are to be admonished because they overlooked 'globalization' as a word. A recent commentary by Oliver August in the Times of London declared any links that are alleged to exist between the prophecies of Marxism and globalization erroneous because, he claims, 'Marx and Engels never used the term globalization' (31 October 2000:20). At the same time nation-bound citizens are expected to stand to attention when stock-market and currency movements occur, as global comparisons of financial performance figure more prominently in daily news services.

From the horizon of the nation, the new metaphysics of globalization encourages protectionism by governments around the world who respond to the media-generated panic among their constituents with the now familiar restrictions on migration and refugees, and the scrutiny of tariffs and trade relations. Of course, such panic is only to the benefit of nation-building politicians in times of peace, providing, as it does, a convenient justification for governmental restructurings of finance policy.

Yet, despite the obvious ideological investments in promoting the idea of 'tidal-wave' globalization, there has appeared a range of texts in recent times which adopt varying strengths of the thesis that the nation-state is being overtaken by this new kind of globalization (Ohmae 1995; Martin 1997; Greider 1997; Elazar 1998). Where each of their arguments comes unstuck, of course, is

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