The Meaning of Globalization: From Ulrich Beck’s Vision to the Rise of Anti-Globalization (6)

Because of the rise of information technology, another approach to understanding the concept of “no-distance” is emerged, which is related to the rapid development of a new communication form between people. Today, the flowering of many internet services and handy gadgets (e.g. mobile phones) has helped to facilitate the realization of the breaking-down of the space-time distance that hindered people from connecting with friends and relatives living in different countries across the world. This development does not eliminate the existence of distance, but does realize the “no-distance” reality that actually links up all of the people who have the condition to access to the technology around the globe. Obviously, the positive aspect of the development is minimizing the cost and geographical restriction on human communication. However, the “no-distance” connection simultaneously causes the alienation of the natural relationship between individuals: when real-time communication is too easy to be reached, many would tend to downgrade or even ignore the value or significance of it and human solidarity would be more difficult to be carried out, despite the “possibility for change” already at hand. This phenomenon can be evidenced by the universality of the distant, chilly and passive attitude of the developed towards the serious political and social issues in contemporary globalization. The people always think it is not necessary to hastily put an eye on the issues because we can forever click (check) it out and find out the solution online in the “next second”.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)


The Meaning of Globalization: From Ulrich Beck’s Vision to the Rise of Anti-Globalization (5)

Nowadays, world governments are so busy with tackling the unwanted side effects of globalization, such as digital crime, imbalanced distribution of wealth, etc. because when border “disappears”, the distance between any nation-states or political entities also become meaningless. Here, it is necessary to indicate that there is a close relationship between border and distance. Generally speaking, distance can cause separation and prevent communication between peoples. As the outcome of the establishment of political border, separation is a very end which helps control the free-floating of population. On the other hand, distance can be a substantial protection for the political. Therefore, if border becomes “dysfunctional”, distance can no longer be existed. The consequence of this is: various politico-social risks like terrorism and human diseases would easily spread from one country to another.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

The Meaning of Globalization: From Ulrich Beck’s Vision to the Rise of Anti-Globalization (3)

Therefore, it is rational to say that another thinking angle of analyzing the nature of globalization is needed. Ulrich Beck, Similar to some social science theorists, argues that globalization is developing with the characters of “the-border-vanished” and “no-distance”[1]. However, he also points out under globalization “people are thrown into transnational lifestyles that they often neither want nor understand”, “…changing [people’s] everyday life with considerable force and compelling everyone to adapt and respond in various ways[2]. These direct comments clearly indicate the coercive nature of globalization. Perhaps we can use this metaphor to discuss it further: globalization is like a “train” on which full of “rich men” are carried. These men ask the “stationmasters” – the heads of countries – to accept the “train’s coming”, promising that the arrival of the “train” will benefit everyone because they have the power to create “economic prosperity”.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] “Globalization means that borders become markedly less relevant to everyday behaviour in the various dimensions of economics, information, ecology, technology, cross-cultural conflict and civil society. It points to something not understood and hard to understand yet at the same time familiar…. Money, technologies, commodities, information and toxins ‘cross’ frontiers as if they did not exist. Even things, people and ideas that governments would like to keep out (for example, drugs, illegal immigrants or criticisms of human rights abuses) find their way into new territories. So does globalization conjure away distance.” See: Beck, Ulrich (2001). What Is Globalization? USA: Blackwell. p. 20.

[2] Ibid.

The Meaning of Globalization: From Ulrich Beck’s Vision to the Rise of Anti-Globalization (2)

Generally speaking, the form of globalization is related to certain historical factor(s): at the beginning it started its elementary development in the Age of Discovery in the fifteenth century. After that, the eighteenth-century Industrial Revolution caused the rise of international commercialism, making the growth of colonialism as well as imperialism on the globe. Then capitalism became more dominant in the human realm that indirectly caused the outbreak of World War I and II. Eventually, the Western colonialism broke down because of the upsurge of the waves of national independent movement and democratization across Asia and Africa. However, world economy was still controlled by the West, especially the United States. Through the propagation of the capitalist ideology: “neo-liberalism”, the dominant powers further concretize the “unavoidability” of the development of economic globalization, which brings us a serious imbalanced distribution of social wealth and natural resources. Although the “developed” have got tremendous interest through economic globalization, the “global market” is continuously developing in accordance with the so-called “principle of profit maximization”. Since then, different nations in the world have been set to play different roles in the single market: the “developed” are responsible for designing the “prototype” of products and for researching on the possibility of “customization”; the “developing” are in charge of selling their labour power and natural resources for goods manufacturing. Globalization, as we can see, lets all people play their “appropriate” roles in serving the market with different levels of development. The question is still here: who makes it “unavoidable”?

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

A New Approach to Understanding the Contemporary China (5)

We are focusing on examining an emerging social power which represents the rise of anti-globalization movement. This kind of social power is always shifting its shape, density and capacity based on different politico-economic climates and social conditions. Of course, it is possible to measure this power by following the quantitative method mentioned above: to produce lots of statistic figures related to the existing of the social power. However, the figures can only indicate the “status quo” of the power sustaining in a very short time. To produce complex quantitative data is, in our research context, not a right approach to constructing a qualitative understanding on the current ongoing development of the social power for common people’s voices.

Here is an alternative approach to discovering the significance of the practices of the independent media activism as an influential social power developing in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

We will get start with revealing and analyzing the unique characteristics of the practices of the independent media movement in the Chinese societies. Comparing the characteristics of the movement practices with the Western counterparts’ and discovering the hidden connection between the contemporary social movement and the Chinese traditional thought – Daoism are the next two important steps. There is no doubt that Chinese society as a whole has been impacted by the domination of globalized capitalist economy and Western scientific civilization. However, the Chinese is still keeping its unique thinking logic and its clear attitude toward the contemporary changing world in a distinctive historical context. This can be evidenced by the fact that a “dialectical adaptive logic” has been embedded, developed and working in Chinese people’s mind, influencing the development of Chinese society from past to now. The form of this special logic for life is made by the long-term feudalism of the ancient China and the Westerns’ “colonization” with the Communist ruling over the modern China that the Chinese have never had the opportunity to develop their socio-political sense “to live their own life”.

Today, the brain of the West has dominated most of the academic studies on contemporary China, seeing the Chinese as the “follower”, ignoring the existence of the distinctive logic for harmonizing the hard social reality with the “to-be-oneself” idealism of the Chinese people. Therefore, how to open up a new approach to consider this “home-grown” logic is a crucial thing. Through our study on the independent media in Hong Kong and Taiwan, we discover that certain Chinese traditional thoughts can play a role in explaining various social phenomena emerging in the contemporary Chinese society, meanwhile the logic is fully considered.

Finally, a completely new theory – “Open Structure” is to be presented not only for embodying the logic’s existentiality but also for interpreting the close relationship between the Chinese society, the characteristics of the media movement practices and Daoism. Through the theory, a bold attempt to examine the significant reflection of today’s Chinese people on the nature of the globalized civilization by reconnecting the ancient thinking with the contemporary reality will be realized. Also, the theory is anticipated to help open up an advanced construction of an open knowledge structure beyond existing East-West epistemological perspectives, on which the next stage of human civilization for all people can be based.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

耶穌言行的無政府性 (3)



(摘自: 無政府與全球化. 台北: 國立政治大學. 2003)

耶穌言行的無政府性 (2)

上帝憐憫、體恤萬民苦難,祂要世人知道苦難的原由:世界上每一個人都帶著永遠無法洗脫的原罪。我們無法追究這種罪的成因。人人生來就有罪,這根源於上帝創世之時,亞當與夏娃(Adam and Eve)因偷嚐「禁果」所犯下的。現世人類對這段「真理」陳述無法知道更多,亦無法挽回這個因欲望驅使所犯下的罪業。所以耶穌說:天國近了。在世界末日之時,上帝將審判所有人。凡未抱悔改之心的「罪人」,必下地獄。只有全心信仰基督、相信人子來世的目的是為了洗脫人們的罪,天堂之門是打開的,所有人將獲得永恆的生命。



(摘自: 無政府與全球化. 台北: 國立政治大學. 2003)

No Relationship with the Cultural Difference between the East and the West (4)

Different from the Oriental’s thinking logic, the West has a long history of positioning and categorizing the “unknown” by constructing a stronghold of absolute knowledge system. For this, the rise of natural science[1] is a good example. The construction of so-called scientific knowledge as a Western civilization tradition has affected people’s spirit, thinking logic and way of life in every aspect of human society. In social sciences, the impact of the development of the scientific spirit embodies in the inclination of trying to present a “fixed picture” of social phenomenon: taking social movement practice as an example, why the people do it; how the people carry out the movement; what the major factors are the causes of the movement; what the approaches to participating in the movement are provided at the specific moment are all needed to be studied in the scientific methodology. Therefore, from this point we can understand the practice form of the independent media movement in the West is impacted by this kind of reasoning: for instance, social movement activists would carry out their action by creating a “systemic tool” for promoting their practice – building up an online website or blog as a public communicative platform for expanding their social influence. By clicking on the platform, people can understand the movement’s idealism and practical goal in an ordered context. After that, they can decide whether they want to support the activism ongoing. Through this approach, people’s social power can be brought together and strengthened further effectively.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

[1] “By the mid-nineteenth century, science was having an ever-greater impact on European life. The Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had fundamentally transformed the Western worldview and led to a modern, rational approach to the study of the natural world….Moreover, the technical advances of the early Industrial Revolution had depended little on pure science and much more on the practical experiments of technologically oriented amateur inventors. Advances in industrial technology, however, fed an interest in basic scientific research, which in the 1830s and afterward resulted in a rash of basic scientific discoveries that were soon converted into technological improvements that affected everybody. …The steadily increasing and often dramatic material gains generated by science and technology led to a growing faith in the benefits of science. The popularity of scientific and technological achievement produced a widespread acceptance of the scientific method, based on observation, experiment, and logical analysis, as the only path to objective truth and objective reality.” See: Spielvogel, Jackson J. (2010). Western Civilization. USA: Cengage Learning. p. 783.

No “Label” (5)

Similar to the alienation of the use of currency, the reasoning method of “induction” – to label social phenomena by linking up known theories, thoughts and principles and by categorizing things as a typical approach to “scientific knowledge production” – is to be impotent and needed to be reflected nowadays. Through labeling, we seem to have deeper understanding on the things studied. However, by following this approach we would unconsciously ignore the importance of the nature and characteristics of the things developing within distinctive historical contexts when enjoying the “academic achievement” brought by the doing, being misled by the “power of human knowledge” based on the so-called “absolute effectiveness of the method endorsed by the name of “science”, blurring our original goal for understanding the existing within the Nature on the Earth. Human beings are not the “creator” of the world, but created by the world. However, human knowledge labeled by “science” makes everyone believe in it without reflection. This is a very obstacle of human civilization progression. Therefore, it is certain to say when we get used to put any social phenomena into a fixed understanding system of human knowledge development through labeling things, we lose a significant opportunity to rediscover the only world without the interference from power.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)

No “Label” (3)

Some sociologists are so keen to analyze the historical development of social movement. They categorize and compare known theories and practice cases of social movement in human society in different ages, creating various specialized terms for labeling the “new”, trying to facilitate the structuring of knowledge systematization. For example, the term “Left/Right Wing” is commonly used as ideology which refers to a group of individuals who hold specific positions, ideas or opinions on how people should live in politics, economics, and humanities categorized by academicians on the intellectual scene. Also, the so-called “-ism” is another one for solidifying any theories.

Generally speaking, this labeling behaviour of knowledge makers can be significant: it contributes to the enlightenment of human understanding. However, the behaviour simultaneously produces many negative effects on civilization development, such as ossifying people’s thinking, causing power fetishism under the “scientific umbrella”, etc., that does not conform to the original aim of the doing. Here, “derailing from its original” is a kind of alienation, which is one of the characters of human developing tendency.

(See: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Globalization Movement: Case Studies of the Independent Media in the Chinese Societies – Hong Kong and Taiwan. Bonn: Bonn University. 2014)