Net Globalization In Modern World


The paper presents interpretation of globalization concerning the net community formation, which exploits a normatively attractive alternative to existing concepts of globalization. It is argued that development of the contemporary world community manifests the implementation of a form of the global net community. In most recent theoretical debates depending on the character of the globalization process (homogeneous or fragmentary), two trends of investigation of this process arise: (i) globalization on the basis of the idea of progress which leads to a homogeneous world and maintains hierarchical structures (universalism), (ii) globalization on the basis of the representation of the world real diversity which supports net community formation (multiculturalism). Multicultural concepts of globalization, based on the recognition of the world diversity, are popular because of their non-repressive, tolerant and net form. The theorists of globalization stress the fact that the modern globalization process includes many instances of globalization. The paper mainly concentrates on several trends of interpretation of globalization: historical, social, legal, informational and net globalization. It is argued that informational nets change the actual production, consumption, power, experience and culture to a great degree. Global net organizations represent a new type of the net structure based on political institutions and international, national, local institutions of decision making. Individualization and decentralization are opposite with respect to the socialization work, vertical integration and big production, which characterize industrial society forms of organization and interaction. Modern net organization guarantees the flexibility of firms, individuals, countries in conditions of globalization.

Keywords: Globalizationglobal communityglobal network societynetworknetwork structures


This paper mainly deals with one dimension of globalization - net dimension. The pinnacle concerning discourse about globalization is registered in the nineties of the XX century. Theoretical debates in this period have different appraisals: from a negative definition of globalization as a global babble to a wide spread fascination for globalization. In spite of innumerable discussions and a boom in the literature, the theorizing about this problem is developed in part.  Economics, International Relations, Political Sciences, Sociology, Legal Sciences are all concerned with the analysis of the phenomenon of globalization, though globalization remains a pretty marginal topic in other disciplines. The discourse about globalization cannot be located inside one problem; it includes various dimensions, which extend the field of scientific knowledge and theoretical representation around globalization. In most recent theoretical debates, a new trend of investigation of this process arises: issues on net globalization. Net issues include various theoretical approaches in different fields of knowledge: Economics, Sociology, Social Psychology, Biology, etc. The different nature of materials, which one finds on the net, stimulates the investigation of the net with respect to various disciplines and leads to a plurality of scientific positions. Given certain conditions of change, the net constitutes a new character of social evolution. Net structures change a contemporary globalization process. The aim of this paper is concerned with finding a better understanding of the network dimension of the process of globalization.

Problem Statement

The theory of multicultural globalization and realization of the process of globalization in the form of cultural diversity are now particularly popular due to their anti-repressive and tolerant form, as well as to the orientation towards the creation of open network structures. The evaluation of multiculturalism as an intellectual movement, which can serve as a theoretical basis for multicultural globalization, is ambiguous. J. Searle opposes multiculturalism since he views it as a part of the movement that destroys concepts of truth and objectivity in the Western tradition. R. Rorty considers multiculturalism one of the directions that raises the issue of the relationship between the philosophical theory of truth and academic practice. Ch. Tylor explores the problem from a historical point of view, defending multiculturalism as a branch of the liberal political theory. Some critics of multiculturalism argue that people live in cultures that are already cosmopolitan and characterized by cultural diversity (Waldron, 1995, p.100). On the one hand, multiculturalism theorists do not deny the thesis of cosmopolitans about the intersection and interactions of cultures. On the other hand, they argue that people belong to different societal groups and try to preserve their own culture. States should not push for a policy of cultural integration or cultural engineering, but rather, a policy of indifference towards minorities (Kukathas, 2003, p. 15). Another point of criticism relates to the fact that multiculturalism as a recognition policy distracts attention from the policy of redistribution (Barry, 2001). Multiculturalists in response emphasize that in practice both types of politics are intertwined and require equality in relation to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, since many individuals belong simultaneously to several selected categories and suffer from growing forms of marginalization. Another problem is the vulnerability of minorities. Discussions on the issue of identity are particularly significant since they involve arguing that ethnic identities are not «clean» constructions which can be changed under the influence of circumstances. «Blackness», for instance, is a heterogeneous identity that has evolved in interaction with European (white) cultural forms. The lack of “pure” identities means that minorities are not homogeneous, which is another argument in favor of multicultural globalization. Increasing cultural diversity leads to the formation of a new type of liberalism based on multicultural values. Liberal tendencies in criticism of «the concept of the Self» and the critical way of thinking in traditional European metaphysics, for example in Plato’s dialogues and Kant’s critical philosophy, as well as the logic of dialogue that produces the problem of searching for universal truth, form metaphysical liberalism (the term was coined by Sh. Imamoto). The liberal position, which allows the implementation of individual ideas and actions without political coercion, ensures the emergence of democratic federalism as one of the foundations of multicultural globalization. Discussions about the evolution of human rights in relation to cultural values, identity and a democratic theory record the changes, taking place in Eurocentric human rights, related to the processes of globalization. Human rights are justified by each of the cultures with inner cultural resources of liberal experience that predetermine multicultural transformations.

Research Questions

The following significant questions are discussed in the present article:

Investigation of the modern globalization process;

Plurality of issues on globalization;

Investigation of the nature of the contemporary net;

Investigation of the network dimension of the process of globalization.

Purpose of the Study

The change in the discourse on the problem of globalization in the direction of the transition from the fragmentary type of thinking, which dominated at the first stage of the theoretical comprehension of globalization and included social, economic, political, and other paradigms, to a general philosophical paradigm, is analyzed. The conceptualization of the main interpretations of the network and network structures in the modern philosophical analysis is presented.

Research Methods

The following research methods were used in the article:

  • An interdisciplinary approach to globalization.

  • Comparative globalization studies.

Comparative net issues.


The process of globalization is associated with a historical interpretation as it represents the evolution of the global world community from the hierarchical to network structures. In this aspect, it is necessary to highlight a widely debated historical concept of globalization, which assesses globalization as a stage of development of the world community following modernization (Korobeynikova, 2016; Gil, 2015). Researchers interpret modernizing theories as «concepts of directed development, built on the recognition of the universality of Western society, turning it into a model for all peoples wishing to accelerate their natural evolution ... Modernization was carried out in the forms of colonization, Westernization, and a catch-up development model» (Fedotova, 2001, p.5.). Modernization theories offered a common path of mankind development with the idealization of the West and the recognition of the Western model as universal. However, the modernization of non-Western countries called into question the universality of the Western model of modernization, without providing required socio-cultural changes. Globalization as a modern process of evolution goes beyond the scope of modernization. The process of globalization, according to N.E. Pokrovsky, is carried out on the basis of simpler structural-functional models different from the era of modernization (Pokrovsky, 2000, p.26). A simplified model of development with the main characteristics of economic efficiency, process and result calculability, predictability of the consequences of certain actions is described by G. Rietzer. Modernization, as a process that affects and changes a particular society in a Western way and approximates homogenization of the world community, can be changed under the conditions of globalization. Researchers speculate about the change in the ratio of westernization to modernization, the emergence of local modernization options, leading to the lack of a unified model and to the pluralism of modernization. However, in the authors’ view, the cardinal difference between globalization and modernization lies in the process of forming a global network community that replaces hierarchical social structures.

The concept of the global embodies different levels of development of human communities, establishing and adapting identity, social relations based on hierarchical and network structures at the individual, national and world levels, which ensures the continuity of sociocultural evolution. In this connection, the question of a global identity that transforms any single perspective into a global one and embodies the changing order of the continuum of the world history and culture has been arisen.

In the current socio-philosophical analysis, three positions in the interpretation of globalization can be identified. Radical globalism justifies the idea of a gradual unification of individual states into a single world community. Moderate globalism asserts the thesis that in the process of uniting different states and cultures into a single world community, the opposite process of differentiation emerges. Antiglobalism advocates the idea that globalization increases the differences between cultures, so this process leads to deepening conflicts between national cultures and exacerbating social inequality on a global scale. Within the framework of the concept of globalization seen as «hybridization» (the term was coined by J. Peters), the process of globalization is estimated as an increase in the variety of possible types of social structures: transnational, international, macro-regional, micro-regional, local, and municipal. Another manifestation of hybridization is associated with the notion of mixed time: pre-modernism, modernism, postmodernism. Within the framework of this concept, hybridization is interpreted as interculturalism.

In modern debates on the philosophy of law, the definition of the significance of global and globalization is focused on the search for the meaning of the term «community» within the new paradigms of post-liberalism and post-communism. The traditional paradigms of liberalism and communitarianism are insufficient for new research prospects because of their conceptual heterogeneity. Therefore, the philosophers of law are engaged in the search for new paradigmatic grounds for interpreting the community. At the same time, theorists emphasize how vague the search is, which, according to D. Warner, remains nostalgic and unsolvable, as well as the uncertainty of the very concept of «community», which is discussed mainly within the boundaries of the discourse of modernism. Discussions focus on the analysis of the relationship among the individual, the state and the system of states in accordance with the principle of domestic analogy, the analogy between international and domestic processes in the direction from the interpretation of a single individual through the nation state to the global state. The global problem is formulated differently. Legal conceptualism interprets the legal regulatory imperative as the foundation of the problem of globalization as the community develops from the natural state to a separate political community. Another position advocates the idea of global opportunities and global responsibility, which is created by the global nature of the goals development of the world community. In this regard, legal philosophers are engaged in the search for a justification of a responsible community and a good society.

Researchers of globalization emphasize that this process began with the formation of a global free-market economy. The diversity of the production process and its deterritorialization, global finance and other phenomena indicate the creation of «... a global space where all people, despite their differences, act as consumers» (Fedotova 2001, p. 63). A global political space emerges within the global economic space. A number of political philosophers argue that the state loses competence, legitimacy and power, characteristic of the leading agent in world ties, and gives way to a more complex «... post-international universe, characterized by diversity and mixed politics» (Ferguson, Mansbach, 2004). The post-international universe is characterized by problems of global power formation and global responsibility. According to Brown, the term «super-power» has some archaic resonance in the era of globalization, but it can be actualized in the context of the concept of «soft power» or in understanding the importance of military power in reassessing other forms of power. Researchers (K. Browne, J. Lacan, F. Guatari) discuss the change in the nature of power at the present time: power turns into a network, becomes rather rhizomatic than hierarchical. It is created and maintained not by attributes, for example, by violence, military power, economic production etc., but by people working and consuming in the global economy. Power, in terms of the network, does not have a specific location, cannot be controlled; it is omnipresent and is created not only by forces that officially support it, but also by forces opposing it.

A number of researchers consider globalization as the process of forming a global network society. Ambiguity and complexity of the network as an object of study are manifested in the simultaneous existence of several theoretical approaches, created in various fields of scientific knowledge (economics, sociology, social psychology, biology). This indicates that the phenomenon itself is of diverse nature. This is what provokes the interest of representatives of different branches of scientific knowledge and generates a variety of points of view. M. Mann singled out five networks of social interaction in the modern world:

  • Local networks that determine direct social interaction;

  • National networks created by the national state and directly defining our lives through legislation and control system;

  • An international network that defines relations between nationally constituted entities and includes agreements among states on migration, transport, communications, taxes, etc.;

  • Transnational networks that are independent of national states.

  • Global networks that cover the whole world (Mann, 2000).

M. Castells believes that the network basis of informationalism has its own cultural interpretation model that influences the ways and nature of social evolution. What is meant here is the formation of a new organizational paradigm under conditions of a change in the leading type of communication, where the very concept of «network» acquires a universal character (entrepreneurial, hierarchical, family, business ...) (Castells, 2000). In addition, the network direction is developing very rapidly and basically is not a stiff, but rather a «liquid» structure with certain characteristic features.

The traditional hierarchical system is characterized by the following features: it is stable; exerts inductive pressure on all systems with which it interacts; easily restored; provides consistent information flow; defines the principles of communication, discipline, subordination; normalizes obligations, certainty of compensation and punishment. At the same time, the hierarchical structure has a low degree of controllability and high information resistance, which leads to a slow, inadequate response to the situation. In case it is necessary to reproduce its subsystems, it seizes a large share of the system’s resources. Moreover, it helps to increase the number of hierarchical levels followed by barriers in the flow of information, and, consequently, adoption of decisions and actions in real time.

The difference of the network form of an organization as a «liquid» structure (from the immature hierarchical one) is manifested in connectivity and continuous communication. The difference of a horizontal organization consists in the absence of a single center or polycentricity, involvement, where each participant in the network must constantly replenish and prove their feasibility; equality of rights; relative openness of the input-output; results orientation and high efficiency; mutagenicity, that is adaptability to changes in the internal and external environment; ability to self-organize and self-regulate; low information resistance.

Yu. Habermas considers the «openness» of the network to be one of its fundamental characteristics, presupposing «the establishment of broad, multidimensional communication links», as well as «spontaneity» - «free formation, fluidity, permanent change» in the structure. The term «openness» has acquired several variants of interpretation:

  • the openness of the network elements in relation to each other, the lack of internal partitions between its parts;

  • open borders with respect to the external environment.

In its essence, the network is open by definition, but this characteristic is implemented in different ways. An example of the first type of networks is local network structures with free communication, «communicative action» (according to Habermas) inside them, but a fixed external boundary. A variety of self-contained secret decentralized societies can serve as examples of such network organization. Delocalized networks represent the second type of networks. They are global network organizations existing in the society, as well as modern commercial enterprises «without borders». The latter so actively cooperate with agents outside the formal framework of their organization - with suppliers, customers, even competitors, that call into question the very existence of their enterprise as an independent structure. In such cases, the network is practically focused on its own expansion, distribution in the environment, attraction of new elements, which determines the mobile, permeable, sometimes indistinct border with the environment. Such non-fixedness is compensated by the indispensable existence of a strong internal organization in the network.

The openness of the network has destructive components that can cause its disintegration, i.e. an excessive «looseness» of the organization and the static nature of the network, which will lead to hierarchy and bureaucratization. Only the dynamism and stability of active centers, complemented by pluralism of internal networks, will provide the network structure with the multivariate strategy of development and the solution to various problems. Speed, as one of the characteristics of network interaction, fundamentally reduces the costs of information transfer, simplifies, and rapidly accelerates the process of creating geographically distributed social groups (networks) characterized by the predominance of non-hierarchical «horizontal» communications, the ability of everybody to communicate «with everyone» (Chuchkevich, 1999).

The very nature of the network with its information transparency and openness for discussion can be considered as a mechanism for preliminary criticism, consideration and analysis of the immediate and remote consequences of any private project. In this sense, any project realized within the network is not equal to itself, and its potential is directly proportional to the variety of units and areas that call themselves a network.

Thus, the network is a special social mechanism intended for limiting and criticizing project proposals. But at the same time, it provides development and support for initiatives, enriches them with content and meaning that are not present in the original version.

Networks have an advantage over traditional hierarchically organized morphological connections. On the one hand, they decentralize execution and distribute decision making; on the other hand, a high degree of cohesion (interdependence) in the group was inherited from the hierarchy. Networks as social forms are free and neutral (Kastels, 2000). Furthermore, they are the most mobile and adaptive forms of the organization, capable of developing together with their environment and the evolution of the individual parts that make up the network and assume the equal position of all the group members in relation to each other. Some separate parts of the network may be more important than others, but they are all needed as long as they are in the network. The importance of a separate part of the network depends on the accumulation of more information and more efficient use of it, as well as on the specific features inherent in a single element of the network and its ability to distribute information. If the part of the network ceases to be effective from the functional point of view, then it can be rejected or reorganized depending on the needs. In this case, one more important feature of the network organization is revealed: the possibility of timely and functional reorganization, which provides mobility. However, they have difficulties in coordinating functions, in concentrating resources for a specific purpose, in managing complex tasks beyond a certain size of networks. Nevertheless, these technologies solve the problem of coordination and complexity in interactive systems with feedback and communication within the network; they create an unprecedented combination of mobility and the possibility of accomplishing the task, coordinated decision-making and decentralized execution. «By creating better communications than the market can do, network forms of the organization facilitate better coordination in the face of changes whose significance cannot be fully transferred or understood through price signals. At the same time, since the boundaries of the organization network forms are usually more easily managed than the boundaries of the hierarchies, it is easier to modify the composition of network organizations as a response to these changes» (Podolny, Karen, 1998), which provides a highly complex social morphology and the highest level of organization for all social activities.

D. Podolny and K. Paige describe network changes that have taken place in recent years in the internal environment of traditional hierarchical firms and organizations, as follows:

  • one of the main differences between the network form of the organization and the traditional one lies in the ethical or value orientations of its participants;

  • the central element is the spirit of goodwill, i.e. use of «voice» instead of «strength» to solve problems, as well as a high level of trust between participants;

  • the norms of reciprocity are the basis of the network organization (in the relations between the participants, the feelings of mutual obligations and responsibilities prevail instead of the desire to benefit from the trust that exists);

  • members of the network organization constitute a «moral community» in which confidence is assumed; an understanding of regulatory standards and opportunism is predetermined.

Consequently, «the network management form can provide better training, enhanced legitimacy and prestige, better control over the external environment and better economic outcomes» (Podolny & Karen, 1998). To a great extent, information networks determine the change in the relations of production, consumption, power, experience and culture.

Social network structures can be constituted as multi-centered systems: with a relaxed and split hierarchy of positions (the principle of polyarchy), with a broad overlapping specialization of all network members, with special measures to maximize the stimulation of informal, personal relationships between the members based on sympathies, sentiments, spontaneously emerging social statuses. Multicentricity of the network does not interfere with its integrity. The network as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Network integrity is ensured by a fast (in the limit - instantly effective) effective intra-network communication channel, which allows one to synchronize processes occurring in different parts of the network. At the same time, according to A. Bogdanov, even the presence of two centers is fraught with undermining stability of the entire system: «... the determining influence of one center on its periphery collides with the determining influence of the other, and unstable systems are obtained» (Bogdanov, 2009). Nevertheless, multi-center networks - social, cellular, neural, etc. - are very stable in reality. Moreover, they are less vulnerable than strictly pyramidal systems (represented in modern society by bureaucracies), which often perish when the central link is destroyed. For instance, media networks are used in business communication, as well as in the global exchange of information, sound and image.

The enterprises and organizations of the global network society are a new type of the network device based on a network of political institutions and decision-making bodies at the international, national, regional, local levels, manifested in interaction when making decisions. In general, there is an individualization of work and network decentralization of workplaces as opposed to socialization of work, vertical integration, as well as large-scale production, which was typical of industrial society. The use of network forms of organization and interaction allows one to provide significant flexibility of firms, individuals, and countries in the conditions of globalization.


In this paper, the authors have critically examined the main approaches, concerning the investigation of a net character of contemporary globalization. All of them are important and highlight some relevant and fruitful findings about the phenomenon of globalization and its contemporary occurrence in a net structures; give description of crucial cases about the technology of the global net. Because of the innovative character of net technologies, all forms of culture become interlaced as a single wholeness, where each person finds oneself in a situation of choosing individual opportunities of social and cultural being within the boundaries of a global being. But one point, namely, a spiritual character of the global net formation, is missing in such discourse. The main purpose of this paper has been to argue that only globalization in a spiritual form, alternative to the contemporary, material, mainly economic globalization, could in the end be successful. In a global net, the problems, existing in physical reality and stimulating their decision through interactive projects, are spirituality actualized. Media influences a person, entering the net or virtual reality, so that it is necessary to develop a spiritual side of the global net culture.


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19 February 2018

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Korobeinikova, L., & Gil, A. (2018). Net Globalization In Modern World. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 636-644). Future Academy.