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Chaos and Globalization in the Middle East

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image of Asian Journal of Social Science

This paper examines the role of economic and cultural globalization in the interaction between Muslim and European public spheres. Focusing on the dynamics of globalization at three levels — broadly, in the Muslim world and in Europe — I argue that globalization today is both more complicated and less broad than most of its proponents or critics assume. While most commentators assume that it is a primarily economic phenomenon (and so focus on the impact of supposedly increased global economic integration or technological innovation), these phenomena are concentrated largely within the mature G-8 economies and the most successful recent industrializers (such as the "Asian tigers"), leaving much of the developing world marginalized from the emerging "globalized" economy as defined in the mainstream literature. In this context it is culture that is the most powerful driver of contemporary globalization as it is experienced in the Muslims' majority world and in Muslim communities in Europe. This dynamic, in turn, has a powerful impact on how Muslim public spheres are shaped across Eurasia, particularly in the context of a transformation in the nature of globalization in the wake of September 11 towards a more militarized form of global economic interaction. An exploration of the dynamics of chaos as a defining feature of this emerging global system in the Middle East and North Africa, and Europe as well, along with a discussion of the role of anti-Semitism in contemporary discourses of globalization in the MENA and Europe, reveal the challenges to building more positive "Euro-Islamic" public spheres.


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