Documentary: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

“GLOBAL-RURAL. The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization”, research project

“GLOBAL-RURAL aims to advance our understanding of the workings and impact of globalization in rural regions through the development and application of new conceptual and methodological approaches. Globalization has a pervasive influence in transforming rural economies and societies, with implications for the major societal challenges of environmental change and resource security. However, in comparison to studies of the global city, relatively little research has focused on the ‘global countryside’, and existing research lacks integration. GLOBAL-RURAL will develop an integrated perspective by drawing on relational analysis (and particularly the approaches of ‘assemblage theory’ and ‘countertopography’) to focus on the actual mechanics by which rural localities are ‘re-made’ through engagement with globalization processes, examining the mediating effect of national and regional context and the opportunity for local interventions. The research will be organized through five work packages. WP1 will develop the methodological application of assemblage theory to analysing the global countryside, informed by case studies in 6 countries. WP2 will combine GIS analysis of quantitative and qualitative data to produce new narratives and visualisations of globalization processes, impacts and responses. WP3 will focus on mundane, ‘everyday globalization’ in a Welsh small town, using a countertopographic methodology. WP4 will apply the assemblage methodology developed in WP1 to analysing the differential global engagement of rural localities in Brazil, China and Tanzania. WP5 will apply the methodology to examine conflicts around renewable energy schemes, mining and water projects and industrial agriculture in rural areas, and the implications for strategies to address global challenges. A sixth work package, WP6, will identify the policy applications of the research, and disseminate research findings to academic and non-academic users.”

“Bye Bye Barcelona” #masstourism #globalization

Bye Bye Barcelona is a documentary about a city and it’s relationship with tourism, about the difficult coexistence between Barcelona and it’s people with tourism and tourists. It is a documentary that exposes through the thoughts of some of it’s residents, the grave effects that mass tourism has in the city. You can watch this documentary from beginning to end, or you can watch it through it’s chapters and at your own rhythm. It’s sole purpose is to serve as counterweight to the much repeated idea that tourism is a win-win business. This documentary is about what we lose because of it.

Limits of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects

The allegued Bilbao Miracle and Its Discontents” by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría (The Cooper Union) and part of the book: Megaprojects: A Worldwide View (Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 13) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.27 – 59.

See abstract:

This chapter outlines and explains the development of the Abandoibarra megaproject, focusing in particular on the key role of the Bilbao Ría 2000 – an innovative cross institution, public–private partnership, responsible for coordinating the transfer of land between public and private agents. The chapter critically assesses the impact of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the centerpiece in the Abandoibarra scheme. The narrative is based on fieldwork conducted by the author in the city of Bilbao. The chapter utilizes scholarly research, official sources, and reports in the news media to support the arguments. The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard. The motivations of the Basque political elite to attract a Guggenheim museum go beyond the potential (and we might add, limited) urban regeneration benefits of a building, and can only be understood within the political context of the Basque Country and its relations with Spain. The case of Bilbao’s revitalization has attracted significant attention as of late. This chapter uncovers the key issues surrounding Bilbao’s transformation and puts the process in the context of capitalist globalization and the formation of globalizing cities.

I would like to emphasize the bellow sentence, here the author warn that urban megraprojects in worldwide center might not be succesful in peripherial and different context in terms of revitalization:

The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard.

“Assembling for Development…” and “Globalization: capitalism and its alternatives”, by Leslie Sklair

First published in 1989, this book focuses upon the phenomenon of export-led industrialisation fuelled by foreign investment and technology. He concentrates on Mexico, where US companies have been taking advantage of inexpensive labour to establish “maquila” factories that assemble US parts for export. Through this detailed study of the maquila industry, Sklair charts the progress from the political imperialism of colonial days to the economic imperialism of today.

The book is the result of his research In the 1980s he carried out field research on the developmental impacts of foreign investment in Ireland, Egypt and (more intensively) China and Mexico. These works provided the material basis for Sociology of the Global System (published 1991, second updated edition in 1995, translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Persian and Korean). A third edition completely revised and updated, of this book, Globalization: capitalism and its alternatives, was published by OUP in 2002, and Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese translations are forthcoming. His book The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) is now in Chinese.

In this book, Leslie Sklair focuses on alternatives to global capitalism, arguing strongly that there are other futures that retain and encourage the positive aspects of globalization, whilst identifying what is wrong with capitalism. The book continues to offer a concise and illuminating treatment of globalization for all students and academics in understanding how the global system works.* Updated and refocused to consider global capitalism within the context of alternative futures, which encourage the positive aspects of globalization and identify the negative aspects of capitalism* The negative aspects of capitalist globalization are explored in a new critique and the class polarization crisis and the crisis of ecological unsustainability are considered* The book also presents a new analysis of a long-term alternative to global capitalism: the globalization of human rights* Very accessibly written, this book deals with a huge subject in a concise and illuminating way for a student readership.

Bellow are the content of this book. I´m particularly interested in the 8. Capitalist Globalization in Communist and Postcommunist Societies

1. Introduction

2. Thinking about the Global

3. From Development to Globalization

4. Transnational Corporations and Capitalist Globalization

5. Transnational Practices: Corporations, Class, and Consumerism

6. Transnational Practices in the Third World

7. The Culture-Ideology of Consumerism

8. Capitalist Globalization in Communist and Postcommunist Societies

9. Capitalist Globalization in China

10. Challenges to Capitalist Globalization

11. From Capitalist to Socialist Globalization through the Transformation of Human RightsIndex

Professor Leslie Sklair: Key researcher in Global Studies

Leslie Sklair is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at LSE. He received his PhD from LSE, and his thesis, Sociology of Progress, was published by Routledge in 1970 and was then translated into German. In 1973 he published Organized Knowledge: Sociological View of Science and Technology (which was translated into Spanish). In the 1980s he carried out field research on the developmental impacts of foreign investment in Ireland, Egypt and (more intensively) China and Mexico. He published Assembling for Development: the Maquila Industry in Mexico and the United States in 1989, with a second updated edition in 1993. These works provided the material basis for Sociology of the Global System (published 1991, second updated edition in 1995, translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Persian and Korean). A third edition completely revised and updated, of this book, Globalization: capitalism and its alternatives, was published by OUP in 2002, and Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese translations are forthcoming. His book The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) is now in Chinese.

Professor Sklair was a consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations in New York (1987-88); the ILO in Geneva (1993); the US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1991); and the UN Economic Commission on Latin America in Mexico City (1992). He was a Visiting Research Fellow: at the Center for US-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego (1986-87; 1990); the Centre of Asian Studies, Hong Kong University (1994); and the School of Sociology, University of New South Wales, Sydney (1995). In addition, he held Visiting Professorships at the Department of Sociology in New York University (Spring 1993); and University of Hong Kong (1994). New School University in New York (2002) , University of Southern California (2004) and Strathclyde University (2005-2008). He has lectured at universities and at conferences in the UK, Europe, North, Central and South America, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia and Jamaica.

Professor Sklair is currently the President of the Global Studies Association and also on the International Advisory Board of the ESRC funded major project ‘Cities in Conflict,’ based at Cambridge University.

Professor Sklair’s current research project, “Iconic architecture and capitalist globalization”, builds on his previous work on “Globalization and the FORTUNE Global 500”, which was partly based on interviews with major corporations around the world within a theoretical framework that recasts the relationship between global capitalism, classes, consumerism and the state. The architecture project focuses on how the transnational capitalist class uses iconic architecture.

Source: London School of Economics

ourouHe is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Review of International Political Economy, Social Forces, and Global Networks, and served as Vice-president (Sociology) of the Global Studies Association.

Mapping the global battle to protect our planet

A new project maps environmental protest across the world, powerfully visualising a growing movement
EJAtlas

The Atlas of Environmental Justice project tracks protests over natural resources. Photograph: EJAtlas

These struggles have sometimes toppled governments, such as the coup in Madagascar in 2008 that brought “land-grabbing” to global attention when Daewoo was given a lease to grow food and biofuels for export on half the country’s land. But most of the time, the evictions, forced relocations and the violent repression of those impacted by contamination from gold mines, oil extraction, plantations and agribusinessoperations are rarely covered in the press. Ecological violence inflicted upon the poor is often not news but simply considered to be part of the costs of “business as usual”.

While statistics on strike action have been collected since the late 19th century for many countries and now globally by the International Labour Organisation, there is no one body that tracks the occurrence and frequency of mobilisations and protests related to the environment. It was this need to better understand and to track such contentious activity that motivated the Atlas of Environmental Justice project, an online interactive map that catalogues localised stories of resistance against damaging projects: from toxic waste sites to oil refining operations to areas of deforestation.

EJatlas aims to make ecological conflicts more visible and to highlight the structural impacts of economic activities on the most vulnerable populations. It serves as a reference for scientists, journalists, teachers and a virtual space for information, networking and knowledge sharing among activists, communities and concerned citizens.

The EJatlas was inspired by the work of participating Environmental Justice Organisations, such as Grain, the World Rainforest Movement and Oilwatch International, OCMAL, the Latin American Observatory of Mining Conflicts, whose work fighting and supporting impacted communities for 20-30 years now has helped articulate a global movement for environmental justice. The global atlas of environmental justice is an initiative of Ejolt, a European supported research project that brings together 23 organisations to catalogue and analyse ecological conflicts. The conflicts are entered by collaborating activists and researchers and moderated by a team at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

At the moment the atlas documents 1,400 conflicts, with the ability to filter across over 100 fields describing the actors, the forms of mobilisation from blockades to referendums, impacts and outcomes. It resembles in many ways a medieval world map – while some regions have been mapped, others remain “blank spots” still to be filled. While much work remains to be done, the work so far offers several insights into the nature and shape of environmental resistance today.

Secondly, it shows how the globalisation of the economy and material and financial flows is being followed by the globalisation of resistance. Mobilisations are increasingly interlinked across locations: anti-incineration activists make alliances with waste-picker movements to argue how through recycling they “cool down the earth”. Foil Vedanta, a group of activists fighting a bauxite mine on a sacred mountain in India, follow the company’s supply chain to Zambia, where they reveal Vedanta is evading tax and spark street protests there. Trans-nationally, new points of convergence unite movements working on issues from food sovereignty to land-grabbing, biofuels and climate justice.

The evidence shows that “corporate social responsibility” is not a panacea and that until corporate accountability can be enforced, successful “cost-shifting” will remain a defining feature of doing business.

The danger such movements represent to powerful vested interests is attested to by the intensity of the violence and backlash wielded to repress them, with over 30% of cases shown on the map entailing arrests, killings, abuses and other forms of repression against activists. It is not an exaggeration in many countries to speak of a veritable “war against environmental defenders”.

Furthermore the number of violent conflicts is set to increase because the world’s remaining natural capital currently lies on or beneath lands occupied by indigenous and subsistence peoples. Communities who have nothing left to lose are willing to use increasingly contentious tactics to defend their way of life.

Beyond stories of disaster and degradation, the struggles documented in the atlas highlight how impacted communities are not helpless victims. These are not only defensive and reactionary battles but proactive struggles for common land, for energy and food sovereignty, for Buen Vivir, indigenous ways of life and for justice. The environment is increasingly a conduit for frustrations over the shape of capitalist development. Tracking these spaces of ecological resistance through the Environmental Justice Atlas highlights both the urgency and the potential of these movements to trigger broader transcendental movements that can confront asymmetrical power relations and move towards truly sustainable economic systems.

The up-to-date version of the atlas will be presented at the closing meeting of the Ejolt project in Brussels today where the project brings attention to the increasing persecution of environmental defenders and calls on European Union policymakers and parliamentarians to integrate environmental justice concerns into their policy agenda and move towards reducing the current atmosphere of impunity for environmental crimes.

Leah Temper is the coordinator and co-editor at EJAtlas. Follow @EnvJustice on Twitter.

Original source