ABSTRACT

I’ve been struck recently by a growing polarization (or at least obfuscation) around the use of such terms as global/globalization, which we “progressives” originally claimed as our special tool of analysis. It is a little frightening. When the annual reports of American transnational corporations marvel at the “new economy” of globalization, and when even the Bush administration throws around such terms as globalization and global leadership (while reneging on any international agreements not to its liking), we must ask why a concept that had so much promise as a powerful analytic tool has now been preempted by the ruling class. Is there any meaning left? Has it become just another word for hypermodernization in the image of and under the domination of “the West,” whatever that may be? What is the relationship between theories of globalization and world-system theories? And since we are interested in antisystemic movements, how do the somewhat inchoate protests against globalization-in the streets of Seattle and other unlikely places-fit in? What are the politics of labeling? Where are all the fancy terms coming from? And why are they surfacing now? Is there a real deprovincialization

of American social science or does the new verbiage conceal the same old preoccupation with the United States, this time viewed not in isolation but as the center of its larger empire?