Publication Details

Arrington, C. E. (2007). Three ~Izations. Globalizing, Managing, and Management Accounting Conference (pp. 1-17). Alberta, Canada: University of Alberta.


Globalization seems more believed than known, somewhat tacit and no less powerful for that. It seems to have outgrown status as a metaphor, but not yet arrived at the twin graveyards of clear and distinct ideas and fixed, lexical meaning. Like other “-ized” terms, it can signify either (or both) transitivity or intransitivity; that is, it can produce understanding and interpretation of either actions or of states of affairs, agency or structure for example. One can “globalize” (perform globalization) or globalization can simply be a way of understanding the nature of things. Such indeterminacy is at the core of moral and political questions about human agency and responsibility for globalization. Globalization in the context of agency is grounded hermeneutically in what “-Izers” do, as one might, for example, “globalize” production. In the context of structures, globalization has primarily objective sense and reference as, for example, one might speak of electronically interconnected systems of capital exchange. It seems to me that globalization poses critical-theoretic difficulties in large part because of this ambiguity embedded within the term itself. “-Izers” (agents) may or may not be at work; and, even if they are, critical evaluation of their work must fight through the ontological fog of drawing agency out of the “state of things” (structures) – a poststructural classic.