In their introduction of The Globalization Reader, Frank Lechner and John Boli make the argument that globalization, while it does increase similarity between different regions, does not necessarily lead to a homogenous world. They claim this occurs because (1) general rules and models must adapt to local circumstances, (2) growing similarity provokes reactions, such as the desire to protect local culture, and (3) differences have become globally valid, meaning that distinctiveness itself is now accepted as part of global culture. It is the third supporting argument that I would like to challenge.
The current debate in France over the burkini ban (which centers around the several French towns which have banned the full-body bathing suit worn by some Muslim women) immediately springs to mind because it is fresh in the news, but there is no shortage of instances where departures from the status quo are policed and stamped out. While globalization might bring familiarity to different traditions, such between native French who are exposed to and become familiar with Muslim traditions, it does not necessarily bring tolerance.
When we discuss the benefits of globalization as promoting free trade or the freedom to define our own identities, these freedoms are only afforded to the privileged. For the rest, these freedoms are forced to negotiate with Western hegemony.