Sociology Index


Scholte calls Globalization “supraterritoriality.” According to Scholte (Jan Aart Scholte's Globalization), in a globalized world, territory and borders no longer matter. The benefit of defining globalization as “supraterritoriality” is that supraterritoriality encompasses trade liberalization and cultural homogenization. In supraterritoriality, barriers to the flow of goods and services between countries are almost eliminated. For Scholte, globalization is a transformation of social geography marked by the growth of supraterritoriality and supraterritorial spaces, though he recognizes that 'territoriality and supraterritoriality coexist in complex interrelations.' Scholte, suggests that the historical moment we are living in involves a new sense of the world as a single social space, involving two central components: transplanetary relations and supraterritoriality.

Scholte's notion of "supraterritoriality" implies in the world that is being created today relations are "relatively delinked from territory, that is, domains mapped on the land surface of the earth, plus any adjoining waters and air spheres" (Scholte 2000). Older trend towards a shrinking world occurred within territoriality, Scholte suggests that in the new world of supraterritoriality, place is not territorially fixed, territorial distance is covered in no time, and territorial boundaries present no particular impediment. (Scholte 2000, 19).

The Geography of Collective Identities in a Globalizing World
Jan Aart Scholte
Review of International Political Economy
Vol. 3, No. 4 (Winter, 1996), pp. 565-607
One of the many key questions in the political economy of globalization concerns the implications of this broad trend for forms of collective identity and the associated shapes and strengths of community in the contemporary world system. Globalization - conceived here in a distinctly geographical sense as the rise of supraterritoriality - has contributed to a general shift over recent decades away from a situation thoroughly dominated by national identities. Globalization has helped to reinvigorate or newly invent a host of substate localisms as well as a diverse array of transborder solidarities. Concurrently, recent moves away from territorialist geography have in other respects reproduced the nationality principle and have also prompted a number of nationalist reactions. These different and often contradictory tendencies have resulted in widespread fragmentation of identities in the world political economy of the late twentieth century. The article concludes with some (admittedly problematic) suggestions for the construction of fluid, post-nationalist global communities of difference.