Globalization and Identity

The logical outcome of modernism is Globalization. The complex networking of nations through economic commerce creates a new cosmopolitan society. Though Peter Wagner brings up the issues surrounding globalization. He doesn’t bring up explicitly the identity that is created through globalization. This I’m calling the cosmopolitan identity. What I want to explore is the effects of globalization in terms of how it affects other nations and how this cosmopolitan identity inevitably leads to more conflicts with other nations as we attach ourselves to their problems. I’m going to specifically look at current examples; how England views its own national identity, Sicily’s economic crisis, and Ukraine’s fight for human rights.

In globalization’s effect on national identity, globalization’s idea of inclusivity can be measured of the idea’s impact on other nations.

Process of recognition inside national boundaries went with external exclusion and, thus, denial of process of recognition. Arguably, the two processes are connected: the granting of political and social citizenship was seen as requiring definition and delimitation of the citizenry. In other words, internal recognition may go along with denial of external recognition. (Wagner, 47)

This idea of “social citizenship” is what needs to be looked at to understand what is happening. What needs to be noted is the “definition and delimitation of the citizenry”. This question of the strength of definition is the problem that is faced when considering National identity. The how much of “an American” you are or how much of “a Russian” you are is the thing considered, when confronting a multi-national identity. If the “national boundaries went with external exclusion” and thusly an identification of what you are and what you aren’t. How do we define ourselves nationally when these signifiers of identity aren’t reliant on national boundaries?

This question is faced in many countries. One such country that is really interested in this question is England. The BBC did an article that addressed the question, How British is Britain. It maps out the statistics of who considers themselves British in what region and considers what Religious group also considers themselves more British. What they found is very interesting, “The analysis also reveals that those whose ethnicity is white British are the least likely to describe their identity as British – just 14%. About half of people with black or Asian ethnicity picked British.” (Easton, How British is Britain?) What is interesting is that people who are traditionally thought of as being the most British, the descendants of Anglo-Saxons the white people don’t typically think of themselves as British. What is also odd is that English people of the national religion, Christianity, considers themselves least British “the faith group least likely to describe themselves as British are Christians (15%) and the most likely are Sikhs (62%)” (Easton, How British is Britain). This knowledge seems counter-intuitive to what most people think about British identity. The white Christian identity seems to be the least likely within the British brain to consider itself British. What is happening in England that what is the traditional marker of what is thought as being British would change? The answer according to Mark Easton, the writer of the article, in short is the “Britishness is attractive to those with a mixed cultural heritage. It has always been an accommodating label, tolerant of complexity and difference. It may be that our increasingly mobile and cosmopolitan society sees the British identity become more popular than it has been in its 300-year history” (Mark Easton, How British is Britain) that the, “British identity reflects the increasing diversity of our society.” (Mark Easton, How British is Britain) With more and more different groups of people coming in. They, according to the article, consider themselves British and as these different groups view themselves as British. The former group that once considered themselves British no longer views itself that way. That what sets national identity isn’t what is necessarily born into the country, but what enters the country. The multiplicity of groups becomes the defining feature of the country rather than the abundance of one type of group.

Economics is an essential feature of globalization. The glue that binds everything together from the commerce between nations causes changes in cultural expressions. One culture is changing from the influence of another culture via business transaction. The trade also adds revenue and value to the currency of the country being traded with. What happens though if a country is in economic crisis?

That’s exactly what’s happening in Sicily, where the country is in debt “to the tune of five billion euros ($6.1 billion) and in the Sicilian capital Palermo, the deficit stands at 500 million euros.” (Mirakyan, Russians Are Offered to Buy Sicily) and the fears of this financial disaster, “The central government fears the region’s debt of more than $6 billion could further endanger the country’s financial stability.” (Poggioli, Italy Worries Sicily’s Woes Could Have Ripple Effect). This ripple effect also effects other people’s ability to trade with Sicily in that if businesses are struggling to stay afloat that’ll effect exports that other countries might depend on. They mayor Leoluca Orlando said that “Because of an explosive mix of despair felt by many families and the stranglehold of organized crime, a civil war could even break out” (The Telegraph).

The worsening economic situations means that Sicily will need a solution that is outside of its own national resources, meaning it may have to rely on someone else to pay the debt for them. The country of Italy, which is Sicily’s home country, doesn’t have the resources to adequately address the problem. The European Union is not allowing Sicily to default on its debt.

The radical move to settle the debt comes from a member of parliament named Mario Borghezio. He is a part of “a party that favors the separation of the Northern territories from the rest of Italy in order to form a separate state called Padania, came up with a provocative initiative. He offered to sell to foreigners the Southern lands of Italy (Sicily, Naples and Sardinia).” (Mirakyan, Russians are offered to buy Sicily) The plan, “it is the Russian and American billionaires who can conquer the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Camorra from Sardinia. The parliamentarian is also convinced that Italy cannot only improve its economic situation, but also pay back some of its 2 trillion debt with the funds received from the sale.” (Mirakyan, Russians are offered to Buy Sicily) It is the larger world community that can in time own this little island, rather than its own native Italians.

The last modern example of globalization’s effects is Human Rights violations going on in the Ukraine. Currently the Ukraine’s record on Human rights according to the world report are poor.

Ukraine’s human rights record remained poor in 2012. Candidates and supporters faced violence and harassment from authorities ahead of October parliamentary elections. Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko alleged ill-treatment in prison, where she is serving a seven-year sentence, and twoof her former political allies were imprisoned. The government extradited two asylum seekers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists faced violence and harassment from nationalist groups. Parliament passed an anti-discrimination law and revised laws protecting asylum seekers. The European Union, United States,, and other countries criticized the country’s deteriorating human rights situation. (World Report)

Russia has recently stated its interests in the affairs of the Ukraine. “Lavrov did not mention the ousted president during his speech, but he did repeatedly cite actions taken by the Ukrainian parliament in recent days that convinced Russia to mobilize its military.” (Vargas, Russia: Ukraine Intervention about ‘Ensuring Human Rights’) The particular incident that has Russian officials incensed according to Vargas is “the parliament’s February 23rd decision to abolish a law authorizing two official languages in Ukrainian regions where minority language speakers account for more than 10% of the population.” (Vargas, Russia: Ukraine Intervention about ‘Ensuring Human Rights’) Larov has said that “All of this has called forth indignation in the east and south of Ukraine, and in the Crimea where millions of Russians live,” (Vargas, Russia: Ukraine Intervention about ‘Ensuring Human Rights’). This is very interesting considering Wagner’s point about national boundaries to create a “citizenry”. The citizenry in Larov’s argument is around the legislation of language. There are plenty speculative motives of what Larov is up to, but his justification for actions isn’t on that the Ukraine has passed a national boundary, but that they have isolated Russian speakers in their country. They have offended Russians world-wide so to speak as in an offense on one is an offense on all.

There are many affects that globalization has on any given nation. The implications of which are nearly endless. What should be noted though is this growing sense of interconnectedness of a global community seems to lead to more and more assumptions about interfering into other countries.















Works Cited

Easton, Mark. “How British Is Britain?” BBC News UK. BBC News UK, 29 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

“Italy’s Economic Crisis Risks Sparking ‘civil War’ in Sicily.” The Telegraph. The Telegraph, 20 July 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Mirakyan. “Russians Are Offered to Buy Siciliy.” The Voice of Russia Radio. The Voice of Russia, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Poggioli, Sylvia. “Italy Worries Sicily’s Woes Could Have Ripple Effect.” The National Public Radio. The National Public Radio, 31 July 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

Vargas, Luke. “Russia: Ukraine Intervention About ‘Ensuring Human Rights’.” Talk Radio News Service. Talk Radio News Service, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

“World Report 2013 Ukraine.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 2013. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.


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