Globalization and Latin America: Seeing new potential


Mega-ports such as the Port of Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, receive and dispatch containers each day with massive mechanized equipment, a change from when thousands of dock workers loaded and unloaded ships. Photo: South China Morning Post.

by Richard Gaunt, David Johnson, and Tim Shenk
Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR)

The term “globalization” is on everybody’s lips today, from academics to policy makers to international business leaders. Yet the term’s precise meanings and consequences are often elusive. At CUSLAR, in our study of Latin America, we increasingly find it necessary to study globalization, a phase of capitalism that is rapidly knocking down the borders and barriers that formerly shaped our world and therefore altering the struggles we face.

In this article, we turn to the work of William I. Robinson, whose path-breaking work on critical theories of globalization is essential for social scientists and social movements alike. Robinson’s work charts globalization’s place in the historical development of our economic and political system. He demonstrates how we can apply the study of globalization as a lens through which to view contemporary issues in specific regions. A critical globalization perspective not only challenges the way we situate Latin American Studies, but also reveals the rising potential for global change and global action.

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