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Smart Library on Globalization > Smart Library on Law and Globalization > What Is Globalization? > Overview: What Is Globalized and What Supports Globalization?
Five Questions to Ask about the Globalization of Law
Scholars say five questions guide understanding of ways that global laws influence changes across the world.
Global Law Is Deeply Involved in Global Change
Sociologists maintain that law is more deeply involved in globalization than most observers or participants realize. For instance:
Sociologists Terry Halliday and Pavel Osinsky present a systematic way to make sense of these and other very different trends.
Observers of any global change should ask five questions.
1. Which Global Actors Create Law?
Global players come in many guises—international organizations (e.g., United Nations), international professional groups, regulatory bodies (e.g., for air transport, banking), NGOs (e.g., Amnesty International), even influential individuals (e.g., pop-star Bono on poverty) or countries (e.g., U.S. on financial policies). These are all “actors” or agents on the global stage. Who are they in the domain of global change?
2. How Is Power Exercised by Global Actors?
Global actors exercise power through different mechanisms. Common mechanisms for exercising power include:
3. Where Are Global Laws Developed and How Are They Transmitted?
In every domain of activity (e.g., human rights, immigration), there are global arenas where laws get developed. These roughly correspond to three branches of government:
Over time these arenas become more formal as they are used and they are accepted as legitimate.
Global laws get transmitted through many channels—international media, networks of professionals, non-government organizations, networks of government officials, programs by international organizations, and private communications via the Internet. Each domain has its distinctive structure of transmission.
4. In What Domains of Life Is Law Globalized?
Law is globalized within many spheres of life: global markets, human rights and security (e.g., women’s rights, crimes against humanity), health, politics. Each domain usually has its own actors, its distinctive forms of leverage, and its ways of creating and enforcing global laws.
5. Is Globalization Occurring?
The outcomes of global influences are much disputed. How do we know if it has occurred? If globalization is occurring, to what extent? The authors say that signs of globalization can be found in two places:
To measure globalization of structures and culture requires a combination of four measures:
How Do These Questions Help to Understand Different Perspectives on the Globalization of Law?
There are a number of different theoretical perspectives on the globalization of law, each with its own account of the process of globalization. However, using the five questions listed above can provide a useful tool for comparing different approaches. Halliday and Osinsky's framework can help to weave together insights from different theoretical perspectives.
Data and Methods:
Review of research.
Halliday, Terence C., and Pavel Osinsky. 2006. "Globalization of Law." Annual Review of Sociology 32:447–70.
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