Jihad vs. McWorld - Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

Jihad vs. McWorld
Benjamin Barber, Ch. 4, pp. 32–38.
(Excerpted from Barber,
Introduction, in Jihad vs. McWorld,
Times Books, 1995)
GL is characterized as a
dialectic between two
opposing forces:
McWorld and Jihad
 dialectic: a contradiction of ideas that
serves as the determining factor in their
-"this situation created the inner dialectic of
American history" (WordNet)
 “…is a product of popular culture
driven by expansionist commerce”
 Its template is American
 Its goods are as much images as
materiel, an aesthetic as well as a
product line.
 It’s about culture as commodity,
apparel as ideology (36)
 Dogmatic and violent particularism,
opposed to multiculturalism and all
culture considered ‘other’
o Barber uses the term, "in its militant
construction to suggest dogmatic and
violent particularism of a kind known
to Christians no less than Muslims, to
Germans and Hindus as well as to
Arabs" (35)
German philosophers,
Hegel & Marx, also saw
history in dialectical terms…
But believed that it led to progress
- typical Enlightenment thinking
 Barber is more pessimistic
The 2 forces – paradoxically
interdependent – have one
thing in common:
Both work to undermine the
sovereign nation-state and thus
endanger democracy, civil society,
and democratic citizenship
 "Their common thread is indifference
to civil liberty" (34)
The identities spawned by McWorld &
Jihad – consumer vs. a member of
some particular tribe – seem to be
crowding out identities based on
democratic citizenship
 “Jihad pursues a bloody politics of identity,
McWorld a bloodless economics of profit.
 Belonging by default to McWorld, everyone is a
consumer; seeking a repository for identity,
everyone belongs to some tribe.
 But no one is a citizen. Without citizens, how
can there be democracy?” (35)
“Hard power yields to soft”
 Defining power as “the ability to get what
you want,” Joseph Nye (1990)
distinguishes two types:
 Soft power: employing cooptation and attraction (more
ideological means)
 Hard power: using means of
coercion and payment (more
material means)
“Ideology is transmuted into
a kind of videology”
 Videology works through sound bites and
film clips
 It’s “fuzzier” and less dogmatic than
traditional political ideology:
  it may as a consequence be far
more successful in instilling the novel
values required for global markets to
succeed” (36)
  the information revolution
Barber’s predictions:
 “Jihad’s microwars will hold the headlines
well into the next century… But
McWorld’s homogenization is likely to
establish a macropeace that favors the
triumph of commerce and its markets
and to give to those who control
information, communication, and
entertainment ultimate (if advertent)
control over human destiny” (38)
 Do the Tunisian and Egyptian cases
suggest there’s a way out of the JihadMcWorld dialectic?
 What kinds of identities drove the antigovernment protests?
 What conditions seem to promote
struggles for citizenship/rights (as
opposed to particularism/fundamentalism
and consumerism)?
The Clash of Civilizations?
Samuel P. Huntington, Ch. 5, pp. 39–46.
(Excerpted from “The Clash of
Civilizations?,” Foreign Affairs, Summer
Huntington’s hypothesis
The fundamental source of conflict in this
new world will not be primarily
ideological or primarily economic
It will be CULTURAL
Nation states will remain the most
powerful actors, but the principle
conflicts of global politics will occur
between nations and groups of different
The fault lines between civilizations will
be battle lines of future
Why Civilizations Will Clash: #1
 Differences among civilizations are basic,
durable, more fundamental than
differences among political ideologies &
political regimes
Differences don’t necessarily mean conflict,
and conflict isn't necessarily violent
Over centuries, however, civilizational
differences have caused the longest and
most violent conflicts
Why Civilizations Will Clash: #2
 The world is becoming smaller
 Interactions among different people of
different civilizations enhance the
“civilizational consciousness" of people,
and that invigorates differences and
Why Civilizations Will Clash: #3
 Processes of economic
modernization and social change
are separating people from local
 like anomie
Why Civilizations Will Clash: #4
 Growth of civilizational
consciousness is enhanced by the
dual role of the West, which has
sparked a “return-to-roots”
phenomenon among non-Western
Why Civilizations Will Clash: #5
 Cultural characteristics & differences
are less mutable and hence less
easily compromised and resolved
than political and economic ones
The Fault-Lines between
 "In the Arab world, in short, Western
democracy strengthens anti-Western
political forces" (44)
The West vs. The Rest - I
 The West is at peak of power (*written in 1993)
 The "world community" is controlled by the US
and great powers, through international org’s
 "The West in effect is using international institutions,
military power and economic resources to run the
world in ways that will maintain Western
predominance, protect Western interests and
promote Western political and economic values" (45)
 This succinctly expresses the "realist" perspective on
international organizations (See Ch. 8)
The West vs. the Rest - II
 Western concepts differ fundamentally
from those prevalent in other civilizations
 “Western ideas of individualism, liberalism,
constitutionalism, human rights, equality,
liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free
markets, the separation of church and state,
have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian,
Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist, or Orthodox
cultures" (p. 45)
 OR maybe they do? (e.g., Egypt 2011)
Questions about culture:
 How does Huntington understand
 How/why does he distinguish it from ideology?
 Are cultural characteristics really less
mutable (changeable) and less easily
compromised than political or economic
 Are “cultures” or “civilizations” as distinct
and contained as Huntington suggests?
 Are the boundaries between them clear?
What are we?
Nationality/Ethnicity/Race (8)
 American
 American-Dominican
 Italian/American
 *I am a girl from Pakistan
 outgoing white American…?
 Korean American
 Persian American (and very proud)
 *Guyanese-American Working Class Student
Organizational role (@ Queens College) (6)
 Student
 student studying to become a teacher
 *hard-working student who body builds for fun
 *female student
 I am a psych major
 professor
Species (5)
 Human (x 2)
 human
 A Human being
 I am a human being
Religion/Ethnicity/Nationality (4)
 I am Catholic
 I am Jewish
 Persian Jew
 *Determined Jewish American
Personal qualities (traits)/states of mind (4)
 "outgoing"
 kindhearted
 "patient"
 confused
Hobbies/passions (3)
 Car Guy
 I play sports
 Writer
Gender/Age (2) [+ 2 above?]
 I'm a19 yr old girl
 girl
Don't Know (1)
 I don't know anymore.
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