Sustainable Scotland
Sustainable Scotland

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Sustainable Scotland

3 Understanding globalisation

Placing Scotland in the wider world demands that we explore what we mean by globalisation and what globalisation means for Scotland.

Activity 4

Before we begin, let's think about globalisation.

Jot down the words and phrases that come to mind when you hear the term 'globalisation'.

What is globalisation?

Globalisation is not so much a thing, as a series of overlapping, connected and interdependent processes. As a term, globalisation is an attempt to capture the profound social, cultural, political and economic changes ushered in by new communication technologies and the development of extensive transport networks for goods and people.

The increasing movement of peoples between different states to find work is an example of our global world. Economic migration (that is, moving to another place to find work) is now fairly common. For example, the expansion of the European Union (EU) to include Eastern European countries in 2004 led to a rise in economic migration within Europe. Many places in Scotland now have well-established and dynamic Eastern European — in particular Polish — communities.

Prior to EU expansion, the Polish community in the UK was relatively small and was made up of unwilling migrants trying to escape first Nazi and then Soviet oppression. Post-expansion we have Polish shops, Polish community organisations (especially churches), Polish food in our supermarkets, and Polish articles in the local press. The above examples demonstrate three of the key features of contemporary globalisation: fluid populations (people are free to move about), economic openness (no barriers to economic migration), and cultural diversity. However, as we will see later in this course, globalisation has been around in some form since humanity began.

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