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What challenge does fundamentalism pose for globalisation?

'Fundamentalism' and 'Globalisation' are two buzzwords which are constantly being thrown around within the academic disciplines; in particular cultural studies and political sciences, especially post 9/11. There is much debate surrounding these concepts and much debate involving these concepts. However, the purpose of this essay is to define these concepts critically and then to explore these concepts in relation to each other, and then also evaluate whether fundamentalism actually poses any threats to globalisation. It should be noted that both these concepts especially globalisation will be discussed within the remit of this essay, which is a focus on cultural studies as opposed to an economic stance.

Globalisation is a thought to be an important concept/issue, however analyses of globalisation are polarised to say the least. In addition globalisation is a theme studied in relation to various subject areas, and thus has a specific meaning or effect particular to each subject area.  For example in terms of social policy it is felt that the quest to keep national economies competitive in a global arena has prompted a neo-liberal consensus, across party lines, which affects the way policies are formulated, and prompted a move form the 'welfare-state' to the 'competition state'; where states  actor were concerned with using  institutions  to correct undesirable economic effects whilst promoting welfare goals, to a situation where state actors are no longer concerned with insulating '… states from key international market pressures, as state actors in the welfare state sought to do, political entrepreneurs in competition states embrace openness and marketization…' (Ellison N., Pierson C., 2003 p .26) The above example also highlights the general focus of the economic aspects of globalisation in relation to issues, as mentioned globalisation has varying connotations in relation to each field, but there is a general overwhelming focus on globalisation as economic function.

Fundamentalism like globalisation is also loosely defined and is usually used to describe 'Islamic terrorism'. This essay has demonstrated that fundamentalism is not exclusive to Islam and is also applicable to Christianity and does not necessitate terrorism. Fundamentalism is shown to be a 'theo-political ' programme, in that fundamentalists use the sacred text their religions centred around to extract fundamentals , which are then used as an 'ideology' to arrange society by. The rise of fundamentalism is associated with use of religion for purpose other than the sphere of an individual's personal life.

This essay has shown that in term of fundamentalism posing a challenge towards globalisation; it is more accurate to say that fundamentalism is actually a function of globalisation, a result of the spread of modernity and post-modernity. Without globalisation fundamentalists loses its relevance. The global spread of communication has also benefited fundamentalism and this highlights the argument that fundamentalism does not necessarily pose a threat to globalisation, but is in fact a consequence of globalisation. It also highlights the idea that when fundamentalism is not thought of terrorism it is in fact harmless.

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