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The Political Functions of the State The Influence of Globalization on the State The New Higher Educational Policy of the State Conclusion
Some key sociologists, such as A. Gramsci and M. Foucault, tend to view the state as a passive tool, serving the interests of dominant groups. Such perspectives tend to underestimate the positive functions of the state.
In contrast, C. Offe believes that internal rationalization will maximize the positive functions of bureaucracy. Although such a viewpoint is able to fill the gap noted above, the influence of globalization has not been taken into account.
This essay intends to profile the relationships between globalization and the state. A further intention is to identify ways in which globalization drives the higher educational policy of the state.
The Theory of A. Gramsci The Theory of M. Foucault The Theory of C. Offe
Gramsci (1971) argued that social control is not mainly reliant upon coercive force, termed as political society, but upon social consensus, termed as civil society. This is because values are the main force that drives people’s behavior.
Furthermore, values are normally embedded within social cultures. Immersed within such a context, people will be effectively socialized to internalize those values. As a result, most people view social cultures as normal and, thus, lose their critical consciousness. Therefore, in order to maintain the governance of ruling classes, they need to establish the mechanism of cultural hegemony.
This connection indicates that the culture is able to reshape the public’s philosophy of life and, thus, make them subject to its domination. Furthermore, the state in temporary society behaves as an educator.
Foucault (1972) argues that for doing social control a more effective method needs to be employed, which is to construct social discourse which functions to cultivate people with certain forms of ideas and values. This cultivation intends to hatch people into ‘docile bodies’ who view the existing social institutes as a natural and inevitable result and, then, willingly take the instructions of ruling groups (Foucault, 1991).
The close connection between ideas and docile bodies indicates that social discourse serves as a key means for dominant groups to achieve social control. What Foucault emphasizes is that the system of social institutes actively constructs and transmits dominant concepts in order to regulate people’s behaviors naturally.
state =passive tool state as a device, serving the interests of dominant classes The above analysis shows that A. Gramsci and M. Foucault tend to view the state as a device, serving the interests of dominant classes. Therefore, in the eyes of those two scholars, the state is pictured as a passive tool without a neutral position or positive functions.
positive functions of the state internal rationalization
C. Offe (1985a) intends to highlight the positive functions of the state. Borrowing concepts from some key sociologists, such as T. Parsons and M. Weber, Offe developed the notion of internal rationalization with a functional orientation. Internal rationalization refers to the idea that civil servants in the bureaucratic system will be loyal to their duties rather than defer to the interests of dominant classes.
What civil servants are concerned with is to benefit the majority of people. Because the relevant policies that they introduce are able to enlarge the scope of economic activities, this change inevitably brings a side effect – that capitalists gain more profit. If they cannot be loyal to their legitimate obligations, the state will fail to implement its role, and, thus, people’s trust in the state will collapse. This situation will jeopardize the operation of the state and, thus, result in the generation of social chaos.
Although Offe’s argument is able to fill the gap in the theories of Gramsci and Foucault, his functional-oriented perspective doesn’t take the issue of globalization into account. Globalization has had a profound influence on the reshaping of new relationships among countries.
Backgrounds The Influence of Globalization on the State
It has been argued that the emergence of globalization can be traced back to the oil crisis in 1970s, which put the issue of natural resources onto the political agenda and also made regional conflict a world issue.
This change further instituted the formation of a new political context from 1979 to 1985 in which industrialized societies realized that cooperation rather than competition was the way to produce more profit. This new value has driven most advanced societies to devote themselves to exporting, and, has further significantly expanded the size of the global market.
70s oil crisis 80s deficit budget policy of the U.S. 1990 entry of former socialist countries
This market has been further enlarged by the entry of former socialist countries from 1990. Another critical factor to brew the development of globalization derived from the deficit budget policy in America since the 1980s, which has gradually opened a large international market for the flow of capital.
For whatever reasons, the key force to move globalization forwards is capitalism. The world system tends to be associated with capitalism (Wallerstein, 2004). As Wallerstain (2004) argued, in order to realize this intention, the most advanced country, the USA, has been proactive in exporting the ideas and values of globalization to imported countries.
Therefore, in order to swell the size of the global market, individual countries need to recognize the value and importance of globalization. The first step concerns schooling. In doing this, America has become a transnational corporation to facilitate the expansion of global capitalism:
It has been argued that in order to achieve this intention, some regional and international agencies have been created (Robertson, Bonal and Dale, 2006).
The Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OECD), for example, was originally entitled the Marshall Program in 1961 and was created for the purpose of reconstructing the collapsed economy in Europe after the Second World War (Rizvi and Lingard, 2006). Because the USA has been its largest sponsor, America is able to manipulate the direction of the OECD.
Initially, the operation of the World Bank and the IMF were based on the philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, who argues that governments cannot utilize monetary policy to deal with recessions and unacceptable unemployment rates, but instead must employ fiscal policies, either by increasing expenditure or cutting taxes. However, the World Bank and the IMF began to adopt a free market ideology in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were in power.
Because developing countries were always in need of help, these countries were generally subject to the imperialistic instructions of international institutions, such as the IMF and the World Back (Stiglitz, 2002), whose philosophy, the ideology of the free market, tended to buttress the domination of globalization
erode the authority of states - Giddens (1990) injure the national identity - (Dale, 2003; Schriewer, 2003) imported countries adopt strategies of localization in order to gain capitalist profit and to avoid cultural invasion (Dale, 2003; Schriewer, 2003).
As the above analysis shows, globalization has become a dominant mode directing the world economic system. The world market has been gradually integrated into the mode of globalization. This development allows the market to enlarge its size significantly, and, thus, create a tremendous amount of profit, which is what capitalists are most concerned about. This considerable amount of profit tends to leave most states with no choice but to accept the rules of globalization (Dale, 2003).
In pursuing this economic target, the states need to adjust themselves in order to meet the demands of this new system. Generally speaking, they abandon control over the tax policies for imported goods. This phenomenon also projects an impression that globalization has extended its influence from the economic field to the political one.
As Giddens (1990) argues, traditionally, sovereignty was mainly reliant upon the boundaries between countries. However, globalization is able to blur such boundaries and, thus, erode the authority of states: Giddens further points out that this political crisis normally fuses the states that lose autonomy into regional bodies. Such an argument coincides with the development of regional unions. The European Union (EU), for example, projects this phenomenon.
Another trend, stimulated by globalization, is localization. Globalization normally facilitates the ability of its advocators, usually Western states, to export their ideas and values to imported countries. This situation will jeopardize the mother cultures of the imported countries and, thus, injure the national identity of their citizens (Dale, 2003; Schriewer, 2003).
However, it has also been argued that these imported countries are not so passive, and adopt strategies of localization in order to gain capitalist profit and to avoid this cultural invasion (Dale, 2003; Schriewer, 2003).
globalization academic capitalism reinforce the socializing function
Unlike the traditional mode of production, globalization emphasizes creativity, based on knowledge. This characteristic not only moves societies into a knowledge-based structure, but also requires them to initiate a new direction in higher education, which is the main avenue for the delivery of knowledge (Stromquist, 2002).
This connection is reinforced by international institutions that, as noted previously, firmly espouse the ideology of globalization, a free market. It has been argued that in terms of this transmission, the OECD is particularly active (Morrow and Torres, 2000; Rizvi and Lingard, 2006).
Initially, the OECD focused on the economy. Later, however, education became its central agenda. Its assumption is that higher education institutes are the main base for enhancing the quality of human capital, which in turn is the main force driving the economic development of a country. Therefore, the OECD is committed to persuading its members to have more capital investment in higher education.
Furthermore, the OECD has been convinced by its senior administers, who were mainly recruited from the financial institutes in the Wall Street and persist in the philosophy of neo-liberalism, that a free market is able to promote competitiveness. The idea of free market also means that governmental intervention needs to be minimized. Therefore, neo-liberalism has gradually changed the higher educational policy of the OECD’s members, shifting the agenda from social justice to free market.
The concept of new managerialism replaces the old one, equity, and dominates higher educational policies of member countries: For advocators of neo-liberalism, privatization is the key way to achieve the devolution that further creates the mechanism of new managerialism, and ensures the effectiveness and competitiveness of higher education. Furthermore, as privatization legitimizes the intrusion of enterprise on education, private managerialism becomes a dogmatic principle for running public universities.
Morrow and Torres (2000) argue that inevitably, the force of globalization will remold the functions and characteristics of higher education. Its ideology of free market creates a legitimate platform for the introduction of privatization, the rational mechanism of which will tend to transform higher education into “academic capitalism”.
On the other hand, in order to protect the national identity of their citizens, the states normally initiate the strategy of localization. This vital mission is generally reliant upon education (Green, 2006), because schools are the main base for conducting socialization (Parsons, 1961). Therefore, the states will reinforce the socializing function of higher education by introducing more relevant courses in a liberal education curriculum.
All these relationships show how globalization can drive the higher education policy of the state because of the considerable profits that are at stake. The philosophy of the free market creates relevant perfect concepts, such as competitiveness and efficiency. These concepts are able to transform neo- liberalism, the key spirit of globalization, into a world value.
The mixture of this material orientation and the new value tends to produce a synthesis that rationalizes globalization as a natural form to regulate the daily life of people. Privatization becomes the best choice to run universities. This situation will commercialize the market of higher education.
It would be anticipated that the states become effective implementers to achieve this mission, pressuring higher education to move from a cultural form to an academic/commercial synthesis. This synthesis will require universities to transform themselves into flexible creatures with commercial souls in order to meet the demands of globalization.
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