Analysis Of The Views Of J.A. Scholte On Globalization And Its Meaning

What is Scholte’s central argument in this article? In other words, what is Scholte’s main claim?

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Scholte in this paper tries to define the term globalization through the history of words that can define the term globalization and several conceptions that define the world. Globalization has a wide spectrum that concludes: political social, economic, cultural, moral aspects that it’s needed to take into consideration to define the term, but we don’t go ahead with that. Scholte’s reasoning from the particular to general through to reject four terms to support the fifth, that is about the supraterritorial dimension of globalization. The author explains that there are many aspects to reach the claim of globalization, that the “globality” and “global” are connected to transplanetary and supraterritorial, at present.

People have the opportunity to engage with each other simple without limits that existed in the past. Scholte’s refer that people can engage easier legally, linguistically, culturally, physically, psychologically. This perspective contrasts from the other four conceptions and concentrate the term of globalization to social geography and eventually decline the localization. By the explanation of the transplanetary, Scholte means, the situation in which people connected direct, wherever they are. The central argument regarding the low power of borders and the new tend to a super- territorial conception of word and globalization. There are many old-aged terms that the author tries to explain and eventually define globalization in connection with the new circumstances in the world.

How does Scholte arrive at his central argument? In other words, how does he go about reaching his main claim, and what strategy used to do so?

Scholte recognizes the need and importance of identifying in understanding a phenomenon. Its analysis is divided into three stages. The former has the character of a historical overview, focusing on how globalization began as a concept and as a word formed and appeared in the vocabulary of various academics and intellectuals from the 18th century to its present evolution as an integral part of the social, political science and economics. The purpose of this approach is to highlight the diversity that globalization perceives as a phenomenon.

The second stage is perhaps the backbone of Scholte’s analysis as it focuses on four key interpretations of globalization. These interpretations, according to Scholte, do not delve deeper into the real essence of globalization or approach it holistically, but instead illuminate some aspects as they selectively associate some of its features with some of its consequences.

Scholte analyzes the term globalization through the academic vocabulary that already exists and it’s connected with the term of globalization, redundant and generate definitions of globalization, conceptualism of globalization and the explanation of supraterritorial social relations and transplanetary connection. Scholte analyzes the definition from the general way to a particular area.

Internationalization is the exchange of goods, purposes, ideas, investment and resources in general between countries. According to Scholte, such an interpretation highlights globalization as a phenomenon of global trade and interdependence. This approach focuses only on the material nature of globalization, which has led to the measurement of ‘globalization in terms of GDP as a proportion of GDP’ or the emergence of ‘globalization indexes […] concerning amounts of cross border activities’. This approach is inadequate as it tackles a new phenomenon (globalization) in traditional terms (those of internationalization) and limits the importance of globalization within the narrow relational context of ‘country units, state governments, and national communities’.

The other approach is globalization in terms of liberalization. This interpretation is particularly popular with thinkers who argue that liberalizing relationships (economic, social, institutional, etc) will work favorably for all of humanity, promoting peace, prosperity, democracy, etc. According to Scholte, this interpretation is a mistake as it seeks to overlay such a widespread, complex and multilevel phenomenon in terms of economic liberalization, namely the liberalization of economic relations, while globalization is about much more than that. Scholte refers that globalization is not liberalization.

The third interpretation of globalization is as universalization, an approach that primarily highlights the ability of globalization to interconnect both materials as well as intellectual/ideological objects between people on a global scale. However, this interpretation also fails to add something new to a new phenomenon. That is, the idea of ​​possibility or even the possibility of a global exchange – from goods to cultural values ​​- existed much earlier.

The last interpretative approach that underpins globalization is that of Westernization of the world. In other words, globalization is defined as a reference center for the dissemination and prevalence of Western world values ​​and institutions (capitalism, industrialism, individualism, democracy, etc) in the rest of the world. In essence, this interpretation recommends the ideological domination of the West over the East with the consequence that ‘globalization is often interpreted as colonization’.

Scholte, therefore, concludes that the above approaches do not reveal the essence and depth of globalization. That is why we need to find a ‘way forward’ as is the title of the section which deals with the introduction of a fundamental transformation which takes place like the social space. The innovation of his approach is based on the fact that, contrary to earlier interpretations of the concept of ‘continuity’ in the social geography of globalization, Scholte introduces the concepts of ‘transplanetary’ and ‘supraterritoriality’. The interconnection of both social relations and geographical spaces, innovatively disrupt the continuity of traditional relationships as interpreted in the above contexts.

What are the wider conclusions you draw from Scholte’s article? In other words, what we can learn from Scholte’s argument for our deeper understanding? Are these conclusions in any way helpful and practical? Or, do not see the functional relevance of what is he saying for real-word practices?

Scholte’s argument is mainly based on proposing a new methodological approach. The compass of this approach is the idea of transcending traditional perceptions and concepts in our attempt to interpret globalization. He therefore underlines that “ideas of globality avoid domestic/foreign, internal/external dichotomies and thereby foster a clear and important methodological reorientation”.

This is the meaning of the introduction of the two terms of ‘transplanetary’ and ‘supraterritoriality’. Scholte refers that the terms that already exist can support the definition of globalization but not to determine this. There is distinctive meaning between the trans- territorial and inter- territorial connections, the trans- border and the open- border transactions, the geographical and cultural focus.

The methodological reorientation he proposes hears in the name “methodological territorialism”. Scholte’s invites us to form a new theoretical-interpretative figure that will connect the traditional notions of social, political, economic and geographical sciences on the one hand, but within a completely new network of relations that is not based on traditional (mainly ethnic) divisions, but instead it will meet the demands of a universal model that responds to the trends of globalization.

According to the author, borders have reduced and globalization has a broad aspect the recent years. Scholte defines globalization trough structural and technological elements. Trasplanetary approach is more about the relations across the world but supraterritorial is about different types of connections between people. Supraterriotorial approaches not regard only the reduce of boarders but the new ways of connection. Scholte analyzes the notion of global and globality to explain the term of globalization from a distinctive way. Explain the new tendencies of globalization about the transworld simultaneity or transworld instantaneity. For instance, many people eat the same food across the world or have the opportunity to talk to each other.

According to Scholte space remain important but not influence the framework of geographical relationships in a different factor. A significant example is telecommunication, people can communicate across the world, no matter the place and time, international law, insurance policies, easy way to moving and travel in contrast with the past. There is an intersection dimension between the territory and the global, in the world. Rules and regulations have more Transworld character the recent years.

All of the above distinctions are helpful and approach with a realistic way the definition of globalization. Scholte’s point of view is helpful and explains the notion of globalization through a wide and multi-dimensional way that can give space for further examination and research.


Scholte, Jan Aart. (2008), DefiningGlobalisation, World Economy, 31(1): 1471-1502.

10 December 2020

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