Social Globalization: Characteristics, Advantages, and Disadvantages

We are in the era of social globalization. Find out what this means and the advantages and disadvantages of living in this time here.
Social Globalization: Characteristics, Advantages, and Disadvantages
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 24 November, 2022

The process of globalization can be understood from a fourfold perspective since it’s related to and has repercussions in the political and economic as well as in the social and cultural spheres. Hence, it’s also referred to as social globalization.

This term refers to a phenomenon, trend, or feature of contemporary civilization in which there is increasing interaction between individuals and groups, even those that are geographically distant. As a consequence, with social globalization, there’s an overall integration of human relations and, at the same time, an assimilation of patterns, habits, and lifestyles.

The characteristics of social globalization

Social globalization is a broad concept that relates to various issues, such as the struggle for human rights and the preservation of the environment, as well as identity, labor relations, education, the concept of family, religion, culture, and art.

A characteristic feature of globalization is the way in which social processes become worldwide phenomena, almost immediately and in a synchronized manner. In this dynamic, the exchange that occurs from and through the new information and communication technologies is essential. Initially, this was television, but now it also includes social networks.

In this way, there’s a gradual assimilation of other patterns, forms, and lifestyles. This may refer to the use of language, clothing, or gastronomy.

Beyond this, the media have also become the instrument of decision-making and the scenario in which the expression of the will of the majority takes place. On the other hand, with social globalization, people connect, identify and keep abreast of movements, events, and situations in different places. However, this is not always the case with those in their immediate environment.

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The advantages of social globalization

Social globalization means both advantages and challenges for individuals and collectives. Here are its main benefits.

Social reconciliation and inclusion

With the increase in communication and exchange, people become closer. Not only physically or geographically, but in terms of common interests, consolidating a globalized collaborative culture.

In this sense, today there are many virtual communities formed by members of different sites, around a topic or activity that interests them. Likewise, within the framework of social globalization, the sense of inclusion takes on a new dimension.

social globalization and social media
Social networks based on information technologies generate a sense of togetherness never before experienced by humanity.

Enrichment of thought and culture

In learning about other ways of living, being, and thinking, social globalization confronts and questions the bases of traditions and ideas that are shared. This has repercussions on the assimilation of ideas that enrich one’s own values. As a result, idiosyncrasies are broadened or reconfigured, giving rise to new currents of ideas and trends.

Awareness and solidarity with global issues

Today, we’re more aware of the fact that we’re all part of the same planet and are all connected. In this way, we rediscover that the problems of others also affect us, even if they are apparently distant.

In some way, social networks and other spaces for exchange have kept common problems such as climate change, hunger, and poverty on the agenda of public opinion.

Social globalization has contributed to the visibility of struggles for rights. Various groups have found support in other people who identify with their cause, as seen in the movement of people with disabilities.

Improvements in productivity and work

Business organizations exchange information that makes it possible to improve ways of carrying out production processes. This can translate into savings in effort, time, and resources.

On the other hand, there’s the phenomenon of teleworking, which has arisen in the context of social globalization. This modality has become a great alternative for many people and companies.

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The disadvantages of social globalization

Although social globalization encourages interaction within the framework of respect, equality, tolerance, and coexistence, it also has its adverse side, as you will see below.

Individualism and isolation

The fact that people seek to relate to those who share their own tastes and interests is beneficial because we feel that we’re with others who understand and accept us. However, this can also lead us stop relating to those who have other affinities and points of view.

Sectarianism and conflict

The formation of closed groups around interests, like sects, can generate conflicts with others who have different positions or opinions, leading to psychological harassment. In addition, in this environment, derogatory, disqualifying, racist, xenophobic, or homophobic comments are often expressed.

There’s even a phenomenon known as “social sanctioning”.

Single-minded thinking

The term “GroupThink” was proposed by Schopenhauer and taken up by Ignacio Ramonet to refer to certain ideas that feed and sustain themselves. This single-minded form of thinking ends up becoming predominant in groups of people, threatening the diversity of ideas and promoting intolerance.

Although social globalization implies openness, paradoxically, the opposite effect can occur. This is especially the case when strong opinion matrixes emerge that monopolize public opinion.

intolerance
Intolerance, censorship, and single-mindedness have gained ground in a globalized world, even if it may seem like the objectives of social globalization were otherwise.

Cultural uniformity and loss of tradition

One of the aspects that experts and scholars on the subject most question is related to the fact that a homogeneous culture has begun to appear. Fashions are adopted in relation to clothing, music, and language all around the world that are independent of an often even inappropriate to individual cultures.

This occurs to the detriment of cultural richness and diversity, including tradition. There’s therefore a loss of identity and values in some people.

Social globalization is part of the world we inhabit

There’s no doubt that the world we live in is very different from the one our parents and grandparents saw. We are in the era of social globalization, which is occurring equally in almost all countries and regions.

In turn, social globalization has brought with it a series of economic, political, social, and cultural changes. This is evident in the way we think and relate to others.

Now, in the face of any situation of change, human beings can opt for being “apocalyptic or integrated” as the renowned Italian thinker Umberto Eco said. Thus, we can come to believe that change is terrible and means the end of the world, or we can adapt to what is happening.

In short, social globalization is not the panacea that will solve all our problems. However, neither is it an apocalypse. It’s no more and no less than a distinctive feature of our culture, of our time, and of the world that we have inherited.

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