The Global Mobilization of Environmental Concepts: Re-Thinking the Western/Non-Western Divide

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Abstract

It is increasingly evident that the process of globalization is a more complex and conflicted one than has been thought to be the case. Former iconographic images of “one world” have come to be suspect (Ingold, 1993; Sachs, 1992), and predictions of the coming “global village” have receded in the face of increasingly prominent divisions between developed and under-developed countries, North and South, Western and non-Western (Huntington, 1996).1 The first challenge of global governance, as the debate over global warming has demonstrated, is not to coordinate solutions to global environmental problems, but to agree on a definition of the problem in the first place (Dove, 1994). An apparent irony of the globalization process is that at the same time as it erases some barriers and boundaries it constructs and crosses others. The simultaneous construction and destruction of boundaries is evident in the new and unorthodox alliances and oppositions that global mechanisms like the World Trade Organization have fomented.