Mention globalization to an economist and she will most likely hear ‘foreign trade’; ask a sociologist and he’ll tell you about ‘international mobility’.
More than sociology, originally it was human geography that dealt with the role of movements in the functioning of the social fabric. And it was human geographers who proposed the crucial notion of ‘time-space compression’ as the distinctive feature of the contemporary age, engendered by the joint effect of progress in transport and telecommunications and the worldwide spread of the capitalist organization of the economy. This compression constitutes the essential premise of globalization. Only at the beginning of the millennium, sociology – pioneered by John Urry’s somewhat visionary work – came to surmise that the enhanced movement of persons, objects and images is the hallmark of our age. Continue reading