Globalization: Myths and Realities1


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    The author acknowledges assistance from New York State Experiment Station, Grant #159–6415, and is grateful for helpful suggestions from Gil Gillespie, Clare Hinrichs, Tom Lyson and an anonymous reviewer.


Abstract The current decline of the developmentalist paradigm, and its view of the rural as increasingly residual, revitalizes rural sociology. The blossoming of studies of rurality and ecology is paralleled by the growing currency of globalization as an object of analysis. This is more than a coincidence—in fact, globalization crystallizes local diversity. The two phenomena go hand in hand. But each needs to be understood as an historical construct; that is, they need to be problematized. In problematizing “globalization,” I argue that it must be understood as a post-developmentalist construct. The postwar goal of national development, institutionalized in the international Bretton Woods regime, has run its course—dramatized by the assault on developmentalist states and institutions in the monetarist regime established under the auspices of the 1980s debt crisis. The nationally oriented institutions of the developmentalist era are now being replaced by globally oriented institutions under the legitimizing cloak of efficiency and financial credibility. Related to this trend, producing communities scramble to reposition themselves either through finding niches in a new global economy or through resistance to global pressures. Either way, there is a new emphasis on defining the local. This article explores the conjunction of global and local definition.