Navigating the Global Jungle Full of Political, Economic, and Social Interactions, by Franziska Fischer

By Franziska Fischer, PhD student at the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria

Globalization has us all moving closer together. Space has become a relative concept, which is overcome through technology, through economic agreements and political collaborations on a global scale.

But while in many aspects this transgression of physical and imagined space is celebrated and supported under the slogan of progress, a  different aspect has emerged that produces anxiety and uncertainty in the population and in the political and economic landscape. Issues over security, inequality, environmental degradation, migration and questions concerning the interrelationship between global and national politics have shaped the contemporary discussion on globalization.

We can witness these issues rise, especially after moments of crisis, whether that takes the shape of a terrorist attack, human rights violations, rising unemployment and a widening gap between rich and poor, natural disasters due to climate change and an influx in migration and refugees due to conflict and war. What follows these nodal points are the installment of mechanisms of control that aim to contain these issues, and to provide some relief for the uncertainty and anxiety that evolved around globalization.

These mechanisms of control may take various shapes and forms through law, policy-making, economic and political agreements and even the shaping of perception through various media channels. They are initiated on a local, national or global level, within communities, by nation-states, and through supranational or international organizations or cooperation, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, just to name a few.

But how do we navigate this global jungle full of political, economic, and social interactions that make it very difficult to find a clear path towards the solution to our current problems, while providing an encompassing understanding of the pros and cons, and all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ that rise with every new turn we take? One point of departure may be to focus on these mechanisms of control that emerge out of crisis and that shape the ongoing direction of political and economic agendas, that determine the future tone and attitude towards the issues, and that provide an understanding of the uncertainties and anxieties different societies deal with. We can split these mechanisms of control into three different subsections, dealing with the public perception of a crisis reflected in media channels, the legislative approach that may already be in place, and emerging public policies as a result of a crisis. All the mechanisms are highly interactive and regularly depend on each other or evolve as a consequence of each other. Thus, the public perception may impact the policy-making process, laws may shape the public standpoint on an issue, and policies may contradict or support legislative agreements.

About the author: Franziska Fischer currently pursues her Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Victoria in the faculty of Political Science under the supervision of Dr. Oliver Schmidtke and in collaboration with the Centre for Global Studies. She successfully balances her academic career and the arrival of her first child in January 2019. Franziska holds an MA joint degree in Erasmus Mundus Global Studies from the University of Leipzig and the University of Wroclaw with an additional research semester at Dalhousie University in Halifax Canada, and a BA in North American Politics and International Law from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich and Bishops University in Quebec, Canada. Additionally, she has worked with the non-profit organization ‘Lifting Hand International’ in Serres, Greece in a Community Center for Refugees, managing and conducting the German language and the Music program. In context to her endeavors to connect refugees and local communities, she has established the network ‘Share the world Project’ in 2018, through which she aimed to give different voices a space to be heard and different narratives to be exchanged.

Pics by Oscar Nilsson

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