Religion and Globalization   /   Summer 2002   /    Articles

Political Islam and the Hegemony of Globalization

Abdulaziz Sachedina

The subject of globlization has assumed a central position in international relations today. The topic has wide-ranging implications for North-South, East-West relationships in terms of the transfer of technology, control of the markets, and determination of material as well as ideological culture. In the post-Soviet era, globalization denotes the evolution of a supernational role that Western industrialized nations are going to play under the leadership of the United States in shaping the social, political, and economic future of humankind. Whether imagined or real, this emerging supernational role of the U.S. and its seminal influence in global politics is the source of fear in the rest of the world, including the European nations.

Professor Berger’s paper does not address the critical question of how globalization leads to the First World’s domination over the Third World. The marketplace that produces wealth by consuming imported goods and technical know-how and that fills the coffers of the industrialized nations is not neutral in value. There is a price to be paid in terms of domination by technocrats, mainly trained in the West, who wield and exercise the surrogate authority invested in them by profitmaking, multi-national corporations. This domination is seen by a number of keen native observers as a new type of colonization. Economic interests are not fully separate from political interests. Hence, globalization needs to be studied in light of the political interests that drive it, particularly in the relation between political Islam with its agenda to recover the losses of colonial periods, on the one hand, and globalization with its agenda of dominating the world market and all that is related to this market culture, on the other. A discussion of globalization cannot avoid larger questions about the sovereignties, political prerogatives, diplomatic or other matters connected with the geopolitics of the regions, and the autonomy of the communities in those regions.

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