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Boundless FaithThe Global Outreach of American Churches$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520259157

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520259157.001.0001

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Four Faces of Globalization

Four Faces of Globalization

Debating Heterogeneity and Inequality

(p.62) Chapter 3 Four Faces of Globalization
Boundless Faith

Robert Wuthnow

University of California Press

This chapter briefly discusses the four faces of globalization. A counterargument to the view that global culture is becoming more and more the same is the view that diversity not only persists but is also actually increasing. Globalization may preserve or promote diversity in at least three ways. One is by bringing goods and values from the outside world so that local cultures are presented with new opportunities. A second is to bring outside resources that make it possible for local cultures to resist change and maintain their distinctive customs. The third is to set in motion processes by which the external influences mingle with local practices to produce new and more diverse forms of behavior. The point of all three is that local diversity exists not in the absence of globalization but in its presence. Thus, globalization is a direct or indirect influence on the social conditions in which various religious responses emerge, even though these religious expressions display the distinctive traits of local decisions and traditions. Furthermore, the view that globalization preserves or increases local diversity is helpful because it acknowledges the persistence of regional, ethnic, and religious variations in the face of outside influences and thus gives religious leaders reason to think their outreach programs are not simply destroying local traditions.

Keywords:   globalization, heterogeneity, global culture, local cultures, social conditions

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