As a student new to both the field of anthropology as well as the idea of studying globalization, I consider myself somewhat of a blank-slate to high-concept theories and ideas. Of course I, like many others, considered globalization in its simplest form to be a compression of the barriers and boundaries between societies. Technology has made it so easy to connect that our world has become smaller. However, I now find that this is far too simplistic and naive of an explanation for globalization.
Roland Robertson instead mentions two facets to globalization: one is this simple concept of “world-shrinking,” while the other is the idea of an increasing consciousness of globalism. I find this second aspect fascinating. What I find this increasing consciousness to refer to is the fact that globalization has put the idea of “the globe” in the minds of so many world citizens. Usually, we just think that globalization has put McDonald’s in the hands of so many previously-unaware consumers. What Robertson suggests is that globalization has put the entire idea of globalism into the minds of previously-unaware people all over the globe. Before globalization, a child in China may never have even heard of the city of Houston, Texas. Nowadays, that child may not only have a Yao Ming or Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets jersey but he could even consider the fact that he may end up there one day. It is too simple to dismiss globalization as a simple expansion of material consumerism. Instead, we must factor in the expansion of worldwide consciousness of globalism in our studies.
(***Of course, these last few paragraphs haven’t exactly dug too deep. Many problems arise with an expanding global consciousness, many of which Robertson mentions and maybe the most important of which is warring religions. I simply found this idea to be interesting and new to me, and expanded upon it a bit.)