Globalization and Social Change has a refreshing new perspective on globalization and widening social and spatial inequalities. It draws on ideas about the new economy, risk society, welfare regimes and political economy to explain the growing social and spatial divisions characteristic of our increasingly divided world. The book combines original argument with a clear exposition of the underlying processes and is illustrated through a series of case studies linking people in rich and poor countries. Emphasis is placed on the socio-economic aspects of change, particularly changes in working patterns and living arrangements. The role of new information and communication technologies is highlighted but it is argued that their potential for increasing social well-being is impeded by the prevailing neo-liberal model of development. While there are spectacular new landscapes throughout the world, work and incomes are polarized between highly paid knowledge workers and low paid workers who directly or indirectly cater to their needs sustaining uneven development at national, regional and urban scales.
Reference is made to the new global division of labour, declining industria regions and widening social divisions within what the author terms superstar regions. Changing family structures, the feminization of employment, migration, work life balance and new conceptions of gender identity and gender roles, are all discussed. Having outlined growing inequalities at different spatial scales Diane Perrons then looks at the role of the state and social movements in shaping development to explain how people in different places are affected by and in turn affect these processes. Changing patterns of global governance, participation and empowerment as well as social resistance to the global order, are all reviewed. The book concludes that divisions by social class and gender are in some ways becoming more significant than divisions between nations and suggests that new systems of social end economic organization are necessary for social peace in the new millennium.
Diane Perrons is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environment and a Fellow of the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics.