Globalization and Regionalization: Four Paradigmatic Views

By Ardalan, Kavous | Journal of International Business Research, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Globalization and Regionalization: Four Paradigmatic Views


Ardalan, Kavous, Journal of International Business Research


ABSTRACT

Any adequate analysis of the relationship between globalization and regionalization necessarily requires fundamental understanding of the worldviews underlying the views expressed with respect to the nature of the relationship between globalization and regionalization. This paper is based on the premise that any worldview can be associated with one of the four basic paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. It argues that any view expressed with respect to the relationship between globalization and regionalization is based on one of the four paradigms or worldviews. It, therefore, discusses four views with respect to the relationship between globalization and regionalization which correspond to the four broad worldviews. The paper emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the relationship between globalization and regionalization from a certain paradigmatic viewpoint. Emphasizing this example in the area of the relationship between globalization and regionalization, the paper concludes that there are opportunities for each paradigm to benefit from contributions coming from the other three paradigms.

INTRODUCTION

Any adequate analysis of the relationship between globalization and regionalization necessarily requires a fundamental understanding of the worldviews underlying the views expressed with respect to the nature of the relationship between globalization and regionalization. Four general views with respect to the relationship between globalization and regionalization, corresponding to four broad worldviews, are discussed. These four views with respect to the relationship between globalization and regionalization are equally scientific and informative; each looks at the relationship between globalization and regionalization from a certain paradigmatic viewpoint.

Social theory can usefully be conceived in terms of four key paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The four paradigms are founded upon different assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each generates theories, concepts, and analytical tools which are different from those of other paradigms.

Each theory can be related to one of the four broad worldviews. These adhere to different sets of fundamental assumptions about; the nature of science (i.e., the subjective-objective dimension), and the nature of society (i.e., the dimension of regulation-radical change), as in Exhibit 1. (See Burrell and Morgan (1979) for the original work. (Ardalan, 2001, 2003; and Bettner, Robinson, and McGoun, 1994; have used this approach).

The aim of this paper is not so much to create a new piece of puzzle as it is to fit the existing pieces of puzzle together in order to make sense of it. Sections II to V, first, each lays down the foundation by discussing one of the four paradigms. Then, each section presents the relationship between globalization and regionalization from the point of view of the respective paradigm. These different perspectives should be regarded as polar ideal types. The work of certain authors helps to define the logically coherent form of a certain polar ideal type. But, the work of many authors who share more than one perspective is located between the poles of the spectrum defined by the polar ideal types. The purpose of this paper is not to put people into boxes. It is rather to recommend that a satisfactory perspective may draw upon several of the ideal types. Section VI concludes the paper.

FUNCTIONALIST PARADIGM

The functionalist paradigm assumes that society has a concrete existence and follows certain order. These assumptions lead to the existence of an objective and value-free social science which can produce true explanatory and predictive knowledge of the reality "out there." It assumes scientific theories can be assessed objectively by reference to empirical evidence. …

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