Dynamics and Experiences of Globalization - Global Crises, Deviance, and Threats

Dynamics and Experiences of Globalization - Global Crises, Deviance, and Threats

Graduate School Global and Area Studies, Universität Leipzig; Centre Marc Bloch Berlin
Took place
From - Until
21.09.2022 - 23.09.2022
Yasmine Najm, Global Studies, Leipzig University; Shirwan Muhammed, Graduate School Global and Area Studies, Universität Leipzig

Considering the experiences and perceptions of living in a seemingly ever-more globally connected world, the summer school focused on global crises, illicit globalization and transnational connections, threats on a global scale, both in scientific and political discourses, as well as phenomena such as trafficking, illicit flows and communication, and criminal networks. ELISABETH KASKE, Speaker of the Graduate School of Global and Areas Studies (GSGAS), and ISABELLA LÖHR, Vice Director of the Centre Marc Bloch (CMB), opened the event with a view on the various crises that have taken place in recent years and that have led researchers from various disciplines of the humanities and social sciences to re-evaluate previous ideas about "globalization" and bring attention to the "negative" and deviant side of globalization that is rarely considered as an integral part of globalization processes.

ZABRINA WALTER (Freiburg) opened the first panel “Local Experience of Globality” with a presentation on different processes of territorialization generated by the practice of illegal mining by local actors in the Quinamayó River in Colombia. She demonstrated how these processes have fuelled many socio-environmental conflicts in the region, and with it, limit the ability of Afro-descendant people to appropriate the land for their autonomous livelihood. The agency of local actors was also central to ANSGAR ENGEL’s (Leipzig) paper, which examined smuggling practices carried out by slaves and indigenous peoples in Spanish-ruled Venezuela in the 18th century. He demonstrated that by championing deviant trade practices, subaltern groups preserved their share in a globalized flow of commodities like cocoa and, in doing so, negotiated their place in society away from the order of local elites and the Spanish crown. GÖKAY KANMAZALP’s (Leipzig) contribution discussed the representation of multilingual Turkish students in Turkey and explored the relationship between foreign educational institutions and Ottoman sultans and ministers of the Republic of Turkey since the 19th century. Indeed, his study focused particularly on the relationship between multilingualism, Turkish identity, and the threat that this practice potentially represents to the country's social cohesion since the 19th century. All three papers shed light on how local actors such as illegal minors, cacao smugglers, or bilingual students dealt with the global nature of their identity to negotiate their presence in a world shaped by the global condition.

The contributions in Panel 2 showed how regional actors use non-traditional methods to promote their ideas and promote their globalisation projects: KRISCHAN BOCKHORST (Leipzig) addressed how political activism was instrumentalized in West German society in the face of a potential nuclear war in the 1980s. He showed that the West German government used indirect channels or intragovernmental assistance such as waiving the postage for aid mail to Poland to indirectly support the emerging Solidarność movement in the wake of political tensions between the United States in the West and the German Democratic Republic in the East. MIRIAM PFORDTE (Leipzig) presented a paper about the transformation of the inner-German border into a biotope (Green Belt) as an expression of the politics of remembrance. She stressed the importance of the material infrastructure of the inner-German border and its spatial perception. PHOEBE SHAMBAUGH (Manchester) presented a paper about global networks and refugee education projects and their localization and action in Uganda. She showed through qualitative interviews, text, and reflexive analysis how the web of flows through which specific, localized education projects and imaginaries are connected to global agendas such as education for state-building and sustainable development.

In her keynote lecture, HANNAH CATHERINE DAVIES (Zurich) offered a new perspective on the socioeconomic context that led to the transatlantic financial crisis of 1873. Drawing on a wide variety of sources and archival material – including credit reports, business correspondences, newspapers, and legal treatises – she showed how investors were enticed to put their money in distant businesses, how journalists and bankers created and disseminated financial information, and misinformation, how its subjects created and experienced transatlantic financial flows, and how responses ranged from political reform to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories when those flows were suddenly cut short. Davies went beyond national analytical frameworks to explore international economic entanglement, using the interconnectedness of panics to shed light on contemporary notions of the global economy. She closed the first day of the Summer School by offering an inspiring transnational and comparative perspective on a critical moment for financial markets, capitalism, and globalization.

REBECCA GROSSI (Leipzig) opened the third panel with the presentation on the understudied case of Romania’s “return to Europe” in the 1990s. She showed how Romania’s communist past influenced and shaped the country’s foreign policy and geopolitical orientation in the process toward integration of the Euro-Atlantic world. CEDRIC JÜRGENSEN’s (Leipzig) paper moved the focus westward, toward the UK-EU border, showing the impacts of Brexit on the mobility of workers in the border regions. He showed how a variety of actors such as lorry drivers, fishers, and volunteers are subjected to new and stricter rules-making, the separation between the EU and the UK more salient and thus creating a new barrier to the mobility of workers. The two articles showed how three states on Europe's border revised and adapted their national foreign policy considering the global political crisis.

The three papers of the fourth panel shifted the geographical focus toward Africa, starting with YITAWOK BALEMLAY KEBEDE (Leipzig / Addis Ababa), who presented preliminary results on the collective African response toward COVID-19. He introduced the African Union's newly established Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to support member states’ efforts to strengthen public health systems and coordinate collective responses. WALLELIGN ZELALEM GETIE (Leipzig / Addis Ababa) explained the influence of security privatization in a globalized Africa and specifically spoke on Ethiopia in the post-1990s. He demonstrated how private security industries in Africa serve as security guardians in the absence of a strong state security apparatus. He showed that the involvement of private security actors in the recent development of the war between the Tigrayan force and the Ethiopian government exacerbated the conflict. KEREM DYMUS (Leipzig) spoke on the Salafist ideology of Boko Haram and its decentralized strategies in the religious war against the Nigerian government. He then placed this conflict within the global context and the connections between the World Bank, NGOs, and Nigerian terrorism.

MARIAN AUGUSTINA BRAINOO’s (Leipzig) paper discussed the theoretical concepts of the global knowledge economy and the practices of local enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), specifically Ghana and Kenya, considering the dynamics of their respective economies. By looking at SSA as a case region, the study explored innovation beyond core regions, world cities, and territorial innovation models, thereby shedding new light on innovation in non-Global North settings. KARINA KHASNULINA’s (Leipzig) article explored historical representations of Sino-Soviet economic cooperation in light of the contemporary realignment between Russia and China. She showed how the memory of the first Chinese tractor factory built in the 1950s under USSR supervision is used differently in its respective contexts. While on the one hand, narratives of the Sino-Soviet friendship are used by members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a tool for national identity at home and cultural diplomacy abroad, both in Ukraine and Russia, on the other hand, local narratives of the Sino-Soviet friendship are not used in official discourses of memory and remain a very neglected topic in general. GUS CHAN’s (Leipzig) contribution showed how the activities of foreign merchants impacted the fiscal relations between central and local governments in China in the 1910s. Chan’s case study showed that the competition between two oil companies became the catalyst for a new political and economic discourse, in which local merchant groups began to articulate an overarching sense of national identity and solidarity in opposition to foreign interests in the context of economic globalization. Whether from a conceptual perspective on innovation from a Sub-Saharan perspective, economic cooperation between the Soviet Union and China, or the involvement of foreign companies in challenging the taxation system in china, all three papers showed how global economics shape national identities and belonging.

In the last panel, BANTAYEHU DEMISSEW ENEYEW (Leipzig / Addis Ababa) discussed Ethiopia’s human rights records since the coming to power of Aby Ahmed in 2018. He showed how despite the introduction of various reforms to improve human rights such as opening up space for the press, political parties, and think tanks, state and non-state actors have continued to violate human rights in various parts of the country. ROHI JEHAN (Manchester) spoke about the limitations of online research concerning women in conflict, using Kashmiri women’s relationship to internet usage as an example. Jehan explained how men have control over technology while women are at the receiving end of the cultural norms, which widens the gap between the haves and have-nots of Information and Communication Tools (ICTs). She argued that doing online research in a society where the gendered gaps pre-existed the IT revolution reduced the scope of research on women in Kashmir to a larger extent. GALCHU JARSO DULLACHA’s ( Leipzig / Addis Ababa) paper argued that the embattled conceptualization of the state-building in Ethiopia is the main cause of democratic fragility and the proliferation of ethnically charged violence in different parts of the country today. Based on the analysis of secondary sources, Dullacha illustrated Ethiopia’s contradictory state-building history and the strategies adopted by the ruling parties to resolve and normalize those contradictions.

Altogether, the panels addressed the limits of nation-states’ responses to global crises, deviances, and threats and allowed the participants to reflect in an interdisciplinary way on how local, regional but also global actors behave under the global condition. While the first panel showed how local actors’ experiences challenge the efficiency of the state, the second panel addressed how the states mobilize political change in an uncertain ecological future. The third and fourth panels dealt with nation-states’ relationship with each other and showed the limits of national institutions in the governance of global dynamics. Finally, the fifth and sixth panels showed how those local actors are driving technological innovation and that methodological nationalism is being challenged in the tackling of global challenges such as human rights violations and global inequality. The closing statements by Elizabeth Kaske (Leipzig), PAUL FRANKE (Marburg / Centre Marc Bloch), and SARAH FRENKING (Erfurt / Centre Marc Bloch) encouraged young scholars to pay attention to definitions of “the global” or “crises”, and to reflect on the scale of the analysis by varying between a bird’s eye perspective and a focus on the actors on the ground and their experiences. Asking about the creation of norms shows how deviance is produced and constructed. They also highlighted how global perspectives and methodologies require scholars themselves to be highly mobile and having access to their respective materials, sources, interview partners, and the spatial contexts they study. These prerequisites are, however, challenged by the growing number of crisis and may reproduce hierarchies that global research perspectives originally wanted to challenge.

Conference Overview

Welcome by Isabella Löhr (CMB) and Elisabeth Kaske (GSGAS)

Panel 1: Local Experiences of Globality
Chair: Milan Procyk (Leipzig)

Zabrina Welter (Freiburg): Mining Extractivisms and Territorial Transformations in the Quinamayó River Watershed, Columbia

Ansgar Engels (Leipzig): Smuggling in Venezuela during the 18th Century

Gökay Kanmazalp (Leipzig): Multilingual Identities: Negotiation of Identities at Foreign Educational Institutions in Turkey

Comment: Paul Franke (Marburg/Berlin)

Panel 2: Regional Responses to Global Crises
Chair: Konstantin Groß (Leipzig)

Krischan Bockhorst (Leipzig): How Humanitarian Aid can change Infrastructure in the Phase of Crisis

Miriam Pfordte (Leipzig): „Death strip“ - „No-man’s-land“ - „lifeline“. The Historical Development of the Infrastructure of the inner-German Border into a Biotope as a Crisis Response

Phoebe Shambaugh (Manchester): Global Networks and Imagined Futures: Refugee Education Projects in Global Circulation

Comment: Barbara Lüthi (Leipzig)

Hannah Catherine Davies (Zürich): ‘Mingled in an Almost Inextricable Confusion‘ – Experiencing and Interpreting the Panics of 1873
Moderation: Sarah Frenking (Erfurt/Berlin)

Panel 3: Dynamics of Change at the Borders of Europe
Chair: Saskia Steszewski (Leipzig)

Rebecca Grossi (Leipzig): The Slow and Difficult “Return to Europe” of Romania and its Reflections in the National Foreign Policy

Cedric Jürgensen (Leipzig): (Re)bordering Europe? Sketching the First Impacts of Brexit on the UK-EU Border

Comment: Kathleen Schlütter (Leipzig)

Panel 4: Institutions Governing Deviance and Crisis
Chair: Yasmine Najm (Leipzig)

Yitawok Balemlay Kebede (Addis Abeba/Leipzig): COVID-19 and Global Health Diplomacy: Revitalisation of Africa’s Multilateralism

Wallelign Zelalem Getie (Addis Abeba/Leipzig): Impact of Privatization of Security in a Globalized Africa: A Focus on Post 1990 Ethiopia – online

Kerem Dymus (Leipzig): Decentral Strategies of Boko Haram in the Global Context: Intersection of World Bank, NGOs and Terrorism in Nigeria

Comment: Gilad Ben-Nun (Leipzig)

Panel 5: Local Actors in Global Economics
Chair: Paul Franke (Marburg/Berlin)

Karina Khasnulina (Leipzig): Discourse of Sino-Soviet Economic Cooperation in the Context of Russian-Chinese Realignment in 2022

Marian Augustina Brainoo (Leipzig): The Practices of Innovative Enterprises in Sub-Saharan African in the Global Knowledge Economy

Gus Chan (Leipzig): How Foreign Enterprises Challenged Chinese Regional Finance: A Case Study of the Operation of Asiatic Petroleum and Standard Oil in Suzhou in the 1910s

Comment: Ismay Milford (Leipzig)

Panel 6: Global Inequalities and Human Rights
Chair: Steffi Marung (Leipzig)

Bantayehu Demissew Eneyew (Leipzig/Addis Abeba): Globalization of Human Rights vis a vis the Status of Human Rights in Ethiopia after 2018 – online

Rohi Jehan (Manchester): Limitations of Online Research with Women in Conflict

Galchu Jarso Dullacha (Addis Abeba/Leipzig): Contradictory Perspectives on State Formation and Its Consequences: The Ethiopian Experience – online

Comment: Katarina Ristic (Leipzig)

Concluding Remarks
Elizabeth Kaske (GSGAS Leipzig), Paul Franke (Marburg / Centre Marc Bloch), and Sarah Frenking (Erfurt / Centre Marc Bloch)

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