Gsa alternative Globalizations Conference Abstracts May 12 –14, 2006 DePaul University, Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL

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GSA Alternative Globalizations Conference Abstracts

May 12 –14, 2006

DePaul University, Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL
Mona Aburmishan, DePaul University

“Namibia’s Economic in Transition”

The thesis examines the Republic of Namibia’s economic policies for greater poverty since independence in 1990. While interning at the Namibian Economic Policy and Research Unit in Namibia, I plan to work directly with economists in order to examine the geo-spatial element of poverty. My hypothesis is that using Geographic Information Systems and spatial-statistical analysis software- ArcGIS, SPSS, and GeoDa, will allow me to examine and test dependent and/or independent variable trends reflected in the 1996 and 2006 National Household Income and Expenditure Surveys to determine the overall impact Namibia’s poverty policies have had in only one decade.

Ron Baiman, University of Illinois, Chicago

“The International Trade and Unequal Exchange”

This paper uses a modified three sector, two good, fixed coefficient, Roemerian model, first developed by Hahnel (1999), to analyze the effects of different international trading regimes on north south trade. Perfectly competitive "Free Trade" leads to "unequal exchange" that delivers all of the benefits of trade to the north resulting in increasing global inequality and relative poverty in the south and greater inequality and unemployment in the north. Hahnel's version of "Fair Trade" eliminates international inequality but preserves a global division of labor that limits long term development. A "Global Marshall Plan" and "Developmental Trade" with a "Solidarity Trading Regime" would allow for balanced and sustainable long-term development and mutually beneficial global trade for the south and the north.

Manuel Freire Barcia

“Society of Cities, Regions and Borderland: A Roadmap to the Iberian-American Dream”

COMBAR has been engaged for the last thirty years in regional and borderland integration issues in the Venezuelan Andean Region bordering with Colombia. Through this work, it has developed significant amounts of information, up-to-date contacts and experience in the search of a new model of regional and borderland sustainable economic development involving governments, universities, productive sector, labor and non-government organizations (NGO’s). Currently, we are focusing on a concrete proposal of “Sustainable Regional and Borderland Economic Development Pilot Program” in the geographical settings of Venezuela-Colombia in order to compare experiences with other selected regions of Iberian-America, especially with crossing borders between the State of Chihuahua (Mexico and the State of Texas (USA) and the Mid West Region targeting Illinois in the first stage of the integration process. In the Colombian-Venezuelan borderland, COMBAR detected the following priorities:1.- Tourism; 2.- Integrated Food Chains Systems; 3.- Rational handling of hydrographic rivers basins, including water, soil, forest resources and eco-systems of biological diversity.

We expect universities to assume a crucial role in the process of developing a viable “Agenda as a Road Map” toward the formation of new municipal governance, decentralization, cultural values, and cadres to orchestrate the changes needed to confront globalization, strengthening institutions, building coalitions and synergies, enhancing community participation through education, (workshops, forums, conferences, debates, etc) in the context of new global realities and anticipated political trends. ” In this regard we are preparing a research-outreach proposal aimed at linking universities with policy makers, entrepreneurs and Civil Society as a multidisciplinary and inter-institutional paradigm.

Turgay Bayindir, Purdue University

“The Emergence of ‘Gay’ Identity as a Product of Recent Globalization in Turkey”

The publication of Escinsel Erkekler (Homosexual Men) in 2002 was an important event in Turkey since intimate accounts of homosexual men were being made public. An analysis of the interviews collected in this book shows that homosexuality as a sexual identity is a recent phenomenon in Turkish culture. Before 1980s, it was considered only as a sexual act conducted strictly along the binary of “active” straight men and “passive” males who are not considered “men.” Most of the men interviewed belong to the generation that saw Turkey’s first attempts to be “westernized” by applying to become a member of the European Union. Their testimonies reveal that the recent change in the conception of male homosexuality in Turkey is directly related to the new liberal government’s open-door policy to globalization, which is symbolized by Turkey’s first application to the EU for membership in 1987. However, there are also specifically Turkish factors influencing the globalization of sexual identities, resulting in a co-existence of old and new conceptions of homosexuality in contemporary Turkish culture.

Jason Willhoite Bell, DePaul University

“Mali and the Doha Development Round”

This panelist’s presentation will focus on Mali’s situation as it stands in negotiations with the World Trade Organization. Current WTO issues of major concern to Mali, including cotton subsidies and an overall trade deficit, will be given particularly close attention. The presentation will explore the potential allies that Mali has in negotiations, and will put forth recommendations for future action in the concluding months of the Doha Round of negotiations.

Luis Berruecos, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco

“Alcohol consumption patterns and the effects of globalization in an Indian Mexican Community”

In Mexico, the recent establishment of the maquila industry in the surroundings of an Indian community in Mexico, has provoked the homogenisation/ westernization of lifestyles, values and cultural representations in suggested outcomes - such as cultural resistance, re-invention, indigenization or creolization as socio-cultural consequences of globalization, such as the re-shaping people’s everyday lifestyle experiences, such as alcohol consumption, and the adverse effects and consequences on an emergent cosmopolitanism on social and cultural life that facilitates the migration of cultural meanings and practices from one place to another. Currently, there are more than 2,100 industries in Mexico and 16% of the labour force in the manufacturing industry are located in the maquila. The strategy followed by the maquila industry is very clear within the process of globalization of world economies through intensive production of capital in industrialized countries, whereas the intensive production in generalized scale is done in pheripherical countries where wages are low. Transnational companies have fewer taxes to pay, and they transfer their models of technology to maquila countries where the owners also own the capital.

In the city of Teziutlán in the northern State of Puebla, Mexico, and its surroundings close to the Indian village where I have been working in the last 37 years, there are around 300 maquila industries. Most of them produce clothing of different kinds for exportation. Most of the people that work in the maquila industry are from Teziutlán and surrounding small cities. Since Teziutlán is only exporting low cost wages, there are local systems of control of these industries through the Ministry of Finance, the Local Chamber and the Municipality, but there no longer is easy to find workers for the field in agricultural activities since people prefer to work in the maquilas and the cost of living is higher than before.

In this essay, I will analyze the effects of globalization via the installation of maquila industries, in the socio cultural aspects of the members of an Indian community in Mexico, specially, paying attention on the transformation of alcohol consumption patterns of the inhabitants of this particular Indian village.

Lina Beydoun, Wayne State University

“Examining Lebanese Migration within a Global Framework”

Does a global framework contribute to the understanding of the lives of Lebanese immigrants? Does the host country influence how Lebanese immigrants think globally? Providing examples from a case study of Lebanese immigration to Sierra Leone, I argue that Lebanese form global networks that provide economic and political strategies, including “laissez-faire” attitudes toward emerging global markets, compatible with neo-liberal forms of globalization. I conclude that a global framework allows for more than a transnational bi-polar vision of home and host country, and incorporates an individual identity.

Robina Bhatti, California State University, Monterey Bay

“Alternative to Global Capital: Global South as an Ecological Creditor”

This paper adopts an ‘ecological political economy’ approach, an alternative perspective on globalization to examine issues of global finance and debt. The South-South movement initiated by global South constructs global North as an ecological debtor and global South as an ecological creditor. Prevailing scholarship understands ecological debt as ecological damage caused over time, to ‘other’ ecosystems, places, and people through production and consumption patterns. A global coloniality perspective asserts that global South, given the exploitation of its peoples, places and resources throughout the history of a global economy is an ecological creditor as opposed to being in financial debt to global North. We engage postcolonial understandings of Asian, African and Latin American scholars to re-examine questions of extraction, production, waste, distancing, and consumption as they are related to issues of race, class, gender in the construction of ‘globalization’. The paper draws upon ‘alternate’ notions of what it means to be ‘global’ from the rich history of resistance to global capital in global South.

Scott Byrd, University of California, Irvine

“The spaces between: Alternative globalizations as radically restructured social relations”

By analyzing instances of ‘alternative globalizations’, autonomous farming communities, Argentinean worker coops, World Social Forums, and the Movemento Sem Terra, I seek to determine tactical and strategic uses of relational spaces to disempower the forces of global capitalism. I propose a framework for examining forms of alternative globalizations based on relational interconnected spaces—real and corporeal. This radical restructuring of social relations represents an ‘alternative’ not only in the sense that it challenges the legitimacy of the neo-liberal project, but also employs counter social logics and relational schemas anchored in cultural representations characterized by self-organizing systems, horizontal networking, and a politics of flux/tension.

Dominique Charles, DePaul University

“Haiti and the Doha Development Round”

Since 1986, Haiti has fully liberalized its economy by applying structural adjustment programs under the “guidance” of international financial institutions, which has made it one of the most liberalized markets of the Least Developed countries (LDCs). Nevertheless, instead of increasing growth, trade liberalization has led to a decline of agricultural, manufacture and services industries. Therefore, Haiti is taking the opportunities offered by the Doha trade round and the NAMA trade negotiations to ask for an end of trade subsidies, and for assistance and cooperation from international organizations to improve the capacity of LDCs to argue for their positions and implement the agreements. The non-reflective fiction that created friction: Anti-WTO protest and media coverage in Seattle.

Bobby Chen, University of California, Irvine

“The non-reflective fiction that created friction: Anti-WTO protest and media coverage in Seattle”

Can we expand our understanding of the concept and instantiation of the multitude by examining the point of contact between the multitude against empire/sovereignty? In this paper I present a case on the content of the cultural form (mass media) by examining the irreflexive nature of the dominant storytelling vis-a-vis binary code. I argue that media narrative on the multitude was not offered as a closed book in the first instance, contrary to theories of empire, but developed over the course of the WTO event. The discursive field was at first, relatively open and concluded with a frustration/anger narrative.

David Cormier, West Virginia University and Harry Targ, Purdue University

“Political Economy of Precarious Classes Formation in Latin America & the Caribbean”

The paper examines the formation of “precarious classes” as defined by Samir Amin in Latin America and the Caribbean and its possible connection to neoliberal globalization. It focuses on the process of impoverishment as a labor market outcome and uses segmented labor market theory (Cambridge, UK version) to explain empirical findings. Empirical evidence of impoverishment in the region is obtained from ILO and other databases. In light of these findings, a proposed model of a mechanism for the formation of precarious classes is offered based on the political economy of the region under neoliberal globalization.

Michael Curtin, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

“Media Capital: The Cultural Geography of Global Communication”

Until the 1990s, film and television studies tended to focus on media practices as contained within the regulatory, cultural, and economic environs of the nation-state. International media studies maintained similar respect for state sovereignty by primarily attending to the exchange of cultural products between nations or producing comparative studies of national cinemas and media systems. More recently, however, scholars are relinquishing the metaphor of national containers, choosing instead to theorize the ways in which contemporary media are transcending frontiers and disrupting conventional structures of operation. This presentation offers a theoretical framework for analyzing locations of media production and patterns of circulation in an increasingly global media environment. It employs “media capital” as a concept that both explains the geographical dynamics of contemporary media and the regime of accumulation that governs the operations of media industries.

Simone Cavalcante DaSilva, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Queer Tourism in Rio: A Queer Utopia?”

This paper aims to analyze the state of the queer community in Brazil and its visibility through the scope of queer tourism. As the main determinant for this analysis, queer tourism may function in contemporary times as a kind of 'thermometer of progressiveness and modernity ’ in relation to a nation's political discourse. Within this scope, I focus on contradictions found between the view of Brazil, and most specific the city of Rio de Janeiro, as a gay paradise and the real conditions of acceptance and recognition of these transgressive sexualities as sexual citizens.

Deepanwita Dasgupta, University of Minnesota

“Ends of Modernity and the Alternative Science Debate in India”

With the European expansion and its consequent companion, colonialism, a new set of methods about investigating nature was transmitted to the colonies. Backed by a suitable ontology scientific knowledge-- this new methodology claimed to supersede all other local knowledge systems. After the independence of 1947, this methodology was retained by the newly emerging Indian nation state along with its old colonial medium of transmission the English language. The resulting project of modernization over the next fifty years has however come under severe fire in the recent decades. Faced with the problematic consequence of the development ideal-- whether in ecology or in human resources-- scholars within the Indian science studies have often argued for a new kind of ideal-- an alternative science that will reject, or at least provincialize, the western scientific method. In this paper, I examine the implications of such a claim in the Indian context. What, indeed, would be the shape of such an alternative science and how will it re-structure the directions of modernity in a non-western society like India? What kind of different projects will be inspired by such an alternative ideal? Finally, does such a view really authorize a program of going backwards as some scholars recently have suggested in their work?

Javier Vazquez D'Elia, University of Pittsburgh

“Problems of Democratization in Global Civil Society”

The goal of this paper is to discuss some theoretical limitations that constitute a common background of a set of authors that approach the problem of democratization at a global level through the notion of Global Civil Society. My focus will be neither on analyzing whether the concept of global civil society has been adequately constructed or utilized, nor on assessing whether it provides the best theoretical tool in order to deal with the question of global democracy. Instead, I will be centering my discussion on the problems that the authors who rely on it experience when faced with the tasks of analyzing the impact that the phenomena they identify as conducive to the constitution of a globalcivil society may eventually have in terms of changes of transnational power relationships and of democratization. My conclusions do not entail denial neither of the relevance of the development of forms of transnational collective action, nor of the democratizing effects that that development may bring. I contend, however, that both relevance and democratic condition cannot be assumed, but need to be demonstrated, and that requires the development of theoretical tools for the analysis of transnational forms of power, of an empirical theory of global democratization, and of normative foundations for democracy in a context of globalization.

Ann Ferguson, Professor, University of Massachusetts /Amherst 

“Women, Globalization and Global Justice”

This paper compares liberal, social democratic and radical theories of social justice in the context of social movements against corporate globalization, with particular regard to issues of women’s oppression and women’s activism. It argues that a new concept of justice as solidarity is emerging from alternative political and economic spaces created by globalization from below projects, within which political and practical projects for women’s empowerment are key. Images are shown of women activists whose projects promote all three types of social justice.

Stephen Gasteyer, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

“Competing Coalitions and Corporate Privatization of Municipal Water Supply”

This paper will use a comparative case approach to understand the role of coalitions that link local, regional, national and international actors in battles over municipal privatization in developing countries. Looking at case studies from Bolivia, Tanzania, Ghana, and the Philippines, the author will discuss the outcomes in terms of water system ownership and management to date in each of these cases and provide explanations of the factors that have led to these outcomes.

Zsuzsa Gille, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“The Tale of the Toxic Paprika: The Hungarian Taste of Euro-Globalization”

In the Fall of 2004, the Hungarian government banned paprika, the hallmark national spice, from grocery stores and restaurants and warned the public not to use their own until further notice. As it turned out, a carcinogenic mold had been found in this pride of Hungarian cuisine. This came as a shock not only because such a microtoxin could only survive in pepper products from the Mediterranean and Latin-America, thus questioning just how Hungarian the paprika that is sold all over the world as a “Hungaricum” is, but also because the elaborate quality and hygiene standards food producers had to adopt already two years before accession to the European Union were thought to prevent exactly these types of dangers to public health. The case exemplifies the tug of war between two opposing tendencies of Euro-globalization: the race to the bottom (the unchecked flow of goods in the name of free trade and producers’ preference for the cheapest raw materials) and the race to the top (the imposition of newer and newer standards on EU-constituent producers and consumers as a way to protect domestic markets and local and regional brands). In this paper, I argue that in the EU, 'race to the top' and 'race to the bottom' have synergistically congealed into a third model, which, with the help of theories of neoliberalism as governmentality I conceptualize as Euro-globalization. The analysis of this model raises new questions about the role of culture and national identity in globalization and about the operationalization of freedom. The research for this paper is based on interviews with auditors, food producers and consumers and the analysis of expert studies, newspaper accounts and official documents.

Karen Bettez Halnon, Penn State Abington

“Beyond 'Bourgeois Democracy' and 'Masochistic Conformity'”

Herbert Marcuse wrote in 1972: "The Left must realize that never before was the power and the mass base of the ruling class as large as it is in the USA today, and never as ready to use this power with all available means. It is sustained by the sadomasochistic conformism of the people." Applying these observations to the present historical moment, this paper addresses two issues: (1) the extent to which the State reflects and reinforces the political economic interests of a power elite aimed at US global military pre-eminence, and a supporting set of proto-fascist domestic policies; and (2) the extent to which the general public has acquiesced, at its own expense, to the imposition of "bourgeois democracy", both internationally and domestically. Of particular concern are impediments to energizing college and university youth as harbingers of social change, and possible means of redirecting aggressive masochistic energies onto their proper targets.

Jerry Harris, DeVry University, Chicago

“Dialectical Democracy: the State, Market and Civil Society”

Far from the “end of history” the twenty-first century has witness the birth of widespread alternatives to neo-liberal capitalism. These new political struggles create the mass experience, practice and consciousness that will help determine the future course of global society. Key to understanding this process is the linked relationship of the state, market and civil society, and the necessity of building counter-hegemonic forces and contesting for power in each area. Latin America, particularly Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are all producing rich experiences for rebuilding a left alternative to neo-liberalism.

Dale R. Howard, NorthWest Arkansas Community College

“Ideology, Globalization, and Educational Policy”

Since the late 1990s, and especially with the publication of John Levin's book Globalizing the Community College (NY: Palgrave, 2001), "globalization" has become the new buzz word in all of higher education. It has become a new ideology, and, like all ideologies, one that is promoted and touted by transnational corporate interests. Much like the public relations approach to public policy today ("Clear Skies Initiative," "No Child Left Behind," "The Patriot Act") the oft-repeated word "globalization" becomes not only entrenched as the "new reality" but also one that is hard to disagree with or question, even if one may be unclear exactly what it means or entails. After considering anecdotal information (asking faculty and students at my institution: What is globalization?) I explore the following in this presentation: (1) What is the reality of globalization? (2) How many (faculty, especially) in the community college take a critical look at the word, or go beyond such analyses as "the accelerated pace of change," "greater interconnection of the world", or, the favorites, "diversity" and "multiculturalism"? (3) Finally, I analyze the questions: What is ideology? What is the ideology of corporate globalization? How does this affect educational policy? 

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