Conceptualizing Globalization in Terms of Flows
PJ Rey and George Ritzer
Current Perspectives in Social Theory
Ed. Harry Dahms
Publication Date: 2010
George Ritzer (2010) recently conceptualized globalization in terms of liquidity and, especially, flows. This conceptualization is largely rooted in Zygmunt Bauman's theory of a world dominated by increasing liquidity. However, neither Bauman nor Ritzer put these ideas in the context of their intellectual genealogy. This essay seeks to do that by reviewing the surprisingly rich history of thought pertaining to these ideas, especially flows. Through this review we also hope to call attention to some long-debated philosophical questions that inform how a theory of flows (and structures) can be applied to our contemporary globalized world.