[Paleopsych] Contexts: How globalization breeds conformity

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Thu Sep 9 16:36:14 UTC 2004

A glance at the summer issue of "Contexts":
How globalization breeds conformity
News bulletin from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 4.9.3

Globalization is leading countries with cultural and economic
differences to conform to international democratic, economic,
educational, and social standards, writes John W. Meyer, an
emeritus professor of sociology at Stanford University.

"For example," he writes, "despite some resistance on religious
or cultural grounds, most Islamic countries have now ratified
the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (albeit sometimes with qualifying

Still, global "pressures to conform to standard models of the
modern nation breed hypocrisy," Mr. Meyer writes, because many
policies "adopted by countries around the world go unimplemented
in practice."

Surprisingly, however, real practices are changing anyway, he
argues, thanks to pressure from intergovernmental institutions
like the World Bank and Unesco; the news media; nongovernmental
organizations like Amnesty International; and social movements.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, female enrollment in schools is
rising, even though the government discourages women's rights,
Mr. Meyer maintains.

Thus international standards "penetrate national societies,
creating social expectations and practices whether or not
appropriate government action occurs," Mr. Meyer concludes.

The article, "The Nation as Babbitt: How Countries Conform," is
not online, but information about the magazine is available at

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