Globalization Then and Now: Scale, Complexity, and Communication of Sustainability

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 114-115 (VCC West Building)
Globalization, or “flattening,” interconnects the world, with both positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, globalization increases the flow of information, goods, energy, and services, thereby facilitating efficiency and innovation. On the other hand, globalization magnifies disjunctures in scale between the flow of goods and the flow of information, and in the power relationship between “haves” and “have-nots.” This tension and interface has in some cases caused local populations to lose self-sufficiency and thereby sustainability. Globalized markets also increase demand for fossil fuels, even as supplies are increasingly tight and finding new oil requires more complex technology and social contracts. This symposium explores the consequences of this “flattening” on sustainability through the exposition of principles, methods of analysis, and research results at different geographic and temporal scales: electric grids in Nicaragua and East Africa; science education for local community engagement in energy and Earth resources; global- and country-scale fuel price and net energy trends; global influence on the management and evolution of local sustainability in communities (New Mexico; Epirus, Greece); and comparison of evolving urban structures from early civilizations to contemporary society. These cases identify opportunities for improved services to individuals and companies, promoting local and global sustainability while minimizing inequity and exploitation.
Carey King, University of Texas
Joseph Tainter, Utah State University
Carey King, University of Texas
Sander van der Leeuw, Arizona State University
An Anthropologist's View: How Does Globalization Work at the Local Scale?
Paul Sinclair, Uppsala University
An Archaeology of Urban Futures
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