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GS231 Study Guide - Final Guide: Multinational Corporation, Historicity Of Homer, Globalization


Department
Global Studies
Course Code
GS231
Professor
Bina Mehta
Study Guide
Final

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Van Bargen 1
Mackenzie Van Bargen
140240900
Bina Mehta & Carolyn Reimer
GS 221
12/08/15
2399 Words
Take Home Exam
1) The term colonialism directly correlates to globalization and culture as it has historically
developed the foundations for modern class structures and power distribution. To expand, the
relationships made during the time of European exploration currently “characterize the modern world
system, in which political, economic, and trade arrangements systematically favor manufacturing nations
and disadvantage nations that produce raw materials, including coffee” (Tucker, 2011). The term
colonialization will be critically analyzed by discussing power imbalances resulting in privilege,
addressing the idea that transnational corporations are assuming colonial tendencies and concluding with
some solutions to the implications of colonialism recognized in lecture.
Traditional colonialism is usually described as “a specific form of oppression in which one group
is seen as ‘inferior’ and in need of intervention by a ‘superiorother group” (Mehta, 2015). Meaning, the
traditional colonial dynamic is considered subject to object “because it is a systematic negotiation of the
other person and a furious determination to deny the other person all attributes of humanity” (Fanon,
1961). The term globalization can be described as the process of increased social, economic and cultural
across the globe. In my opinion, the reason that colonialism greatly influences globalization is that the
cultures with the most power and the resources have ability to explore and colonize. This in turn, has set
up the historical foundation to perpetuate this power into modern society which is partially the reason that
the western nations continue to have power. “The patterns of trade, interchange of ideas, and human
migrations (forced and voluntary) that began to emerge over 500 years ago laid the foundation for the
evolving interconnections, tensions, and contradictions of today’s world” (Tucker, 2011). With that being
said, it is important to understand that colonialism can take many forms and “we must be cognizant that
many discussions of colonialism should be nuanced; we out to be particularly careful when attempting to
identify generalizations about implications for contemporary society” (Mehta, 2015). In lecture, items
such as coffee and sugar were used to discuss the beginnings of trade routes and colonialization. The
availability of these items began to display emerging class structures that are still in place today, like
upper, middle and lower class. The emerging class structure showed the “separation of how goods are
produced from how they are consumed (Mintz, 2008). The oppressed population would usually produce
the products while the oppressors had the opportunity to consume the product. A modern example of this
type of exchange is parochial cosmopolitanism by Hunter and Yates. Parochial cosmopolitanism is a very
shallow encounter when travelling because there is no meaningful interaction with the local culture. This
is a colonial kind of encounter because it’s a service exchange which reinforces patterns of power and
domination. Using food as a lens for discussing colonialism, it is viewed that adventure cooking or
cooking exotic things is “strongly motivated by an attitude bearing deep connection to Western
colonialism and imperialism (Heldke, 2001). Meaning that adventure cooking is used as a way to create
cultural capital or “have an experience with an exotic Other as a way of making [ourselves] more
interesting” (Heldke, 2001). In a way, the colonizer is taking on the authenticity themselves. This
demonstrates that adventure cooking is motivated by colonialism and long standings in power because it
is turning a dish into a resource for own benefit. In addition, adventure cooking or cultural food
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Van Bargen 2
colonialism perpetuates positions of privilege. Meaning that there is an advantage for the colonizers due
to power imbalances. This power leads to the theft of possessions and ideas and creating an ideological
position of “us” and “them”. Moreover, “modern Western colonizing societies have been characterized in
part by an obsessive attraction to the new, the unique, the obscure, and the unknown, where the ‘new’ is
understood in relation to the colonizing society (Heldke, 2001). To conclude, the terms globalization and
colonization relate due to uneven power relations which create positions of privilege that are still
maintained within the infrastructure of modern society.
Modern day colonialism may be taking form within transnational corporations as they perpetuate
colonial and capitalistic ideals. A transnational corporation can be described as a corporation that controls
production of goods and services in one or more countries other than their home country. Much like what
has been stated above, transnational corporations have a large amount of power and economic resources.
The corporations decide to manufacture in other countries in order minimize cost of labour while
maximizing profits; “the colonizing role historically played by nation-states has now been assumed by
multinational corporations and international financial institutions” (Mehta, 2015). I find that there is a
lack of empathy in these corporations’ interactions because they reinforce colonial tendencies like
slave/cheap labor which is a detrimental to the resources and health of the people preforming labour.
Historically, many European entrepreneurs exploited the land and people creating a “new kind of
relationship between the ‘advanced’ areas and the rest of the world, tended constantly to intensify and
widen flows of commerce. This powerful, growing and accelerating current of overseas trade which swept
the infant industries of Europe with it the conquest of colonies designed to serve the economic advantage
of their European Owners” (Mintz, 2008). This ‘new’ relationship of intensified flows of commerce is
strengthened though modern globalization and reinforces tendencies of capitalism. To expand, the
colonizers treated culture, food and resources as a commodity which is amplified in modern society. “
Middle class members of colonizing society such as the United States inhabit an atmosphere in which it
becomes customary to regard members of a colonized culture as ‘resources,’ sources of materials to be
extracted to enhance one’s own life” (Heldke, 2001). An example from lecture readings state the historical
instances which show the beginning of modern patterns of capitalism. Tucker’s reading discussing coffee
and the rise of the world system. The author explores colonial coffee production and how “elite coffee
growers emerged in conjunction with large plantations and colonial administrations, and often became a
powerful interest group that shaped regional policies and social relationships” (Tucker, 2011). This
statement highlights the beginning of a corporate threshold on government institutions as the world
primarily values money and capital above all. Corporate threshold results in “current social tensions and
experiences of inequality” (Tucker, 2011). In conclusion, transnational corporations embodying the
legacy of colonialism has created unbalanced and capitalistic global relations.
Although the legacy of colonialism is historically embedded in modern societal structures, there
is a resolution that requires a “mutual recognition of racism [that] impacts both those who are dominated
and those who dominate” (Heldke, 2001). In order to address the issue of colonialism we must be more
conscious when we engage with other cultures by becoming are of how we are participating in the
dynamic and recognizing our privilege. The resolution to the legacy of colonialism will bring challenges
as the history is built into institutions, how we consume products and social norms. These challenges
need to be addressed by a nation that has privilege and power, “because cultural globalization involves
greater interconnectedness amongst people who do not share languages, religions, ways of living and
world outlooks, cultural change will be a dynamic process shaped by power” (Mehta, 2015). This way,
power will be used in order to disengage from attitude and a way of life that exploit and oppress and to
develop alternatives that subvert the colonizing order” (Heldke, 2001). In terms of food, “only addressing
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