Transformation Of Power In The Globalizing World As A Cultural Identity Crisis


New values are formed and aimed at broad interaction and participation in the life of the entire society in these conditions. The other side of this process is connected with the crisis inevitability in the culture of identity, which leads to the destruction of the community and the person as a personality. The complex of these phenomena is interconnected with changes in the phenomenon of power, both the state and administrative structure, and the properties of culture that generate hierarchies and norms. In the world civilization, information technologies play an essential role, which changes the ways of human interaction with the world, allowing each participant in the relationship directly addressing the government, seller, buyer, giving the levers of power in the hands of everyone. However, these same technologies give rise to a more sophisticated methodology for obtaining the desired result from the object of power. Globalization violates the borders of the state, which weakens due to the interest in certain types of relations (trade, technology). On the other hand, the role of the state remains significant, primarily due to the organization of the educational process, which plays a vital role in the harmonious development of a cultural identity. Power in modern society is reoriented to the principle of management and coordination, acquiring the image of a "hidden" hierarchy. The modern type of power relations demonstrates its complex, dual character in increasing people's dependence on economic, political, and information infrastructures.

Keywords: Cultural identitycrisisglobalizationpower


Globalization and its corresponding changes lead to the transformation of the phenomenon of power. This process due to the ways of life, interactions between individuals, an individual and a group, between groups, based on the deconstruction of values. This transformation is associated with the conversion of the principles of the national and cultural identity of humanity. Metamorphoses caused by large-scale integration of economic, political, social systems, cultural spaces, and changing forms of warfare lead to changes in power relations based on direct instructions from the subject of power to the object of power. Besides, the role of the government of a sovereign state in the sphere of economy and culture is decreasing. Globalization is connected with the development of technologies and, first of all, it is the development of transport links and mass media opportunities. Creation of modern infrastructure of interaction between states and peoples has become the basis of a close contact of cultures. Thus, globalization involves the interaction of various aspects of the life of all humanity, forming a network of interactions that resembles the vibrating sound basis of the universe of Vedic literature, in which any change in one part leads to changes in other points of the structure.

The essence of power in its concept is the relation of domination and subordination (Hegel, 1994). However, in the conditions of global world transformations of culture and society, the forms of power realization as a private phenomenon that manifests itself in politics, economy, culture, professional activity, and private relations are changed. An essential aspect of the implementation of power relations in the state system and society is their correlation with the peculiarities of the national and cultural identity of citizens.

Problem Statement

Rapid changes in the way of life in the modern world, a radical breakdown of the basic principles of farming, ways of interacting with the world (radio, television, telephone, Internet), and the cultural expansion of the "Western way of life" have led to severe transformations of national and cultural identity. This idea is especially true for countries that have experienced global socio-political and economic shocks. Russia includes in terms of these countries. Also, we are currently witnessing severe crises in the interaction of the world community. These are wars and revolutions in the Middle East and Africa, global terrorism, the emergence of communities that assert themselves as members of a particular world Caliphate, and a powerful migration flow from the third world countries to the countries with higher standards of living and social guarantees.

Innovative processes touch values and social expectations which are not always implemented in real-time. The ability to identify changes in the rapid flow of information space and the ways of interaction between older and younger generations are changing, as traditional forms of transmission of cultural models are being destroyed (Jensen et al., 2011) respectively. The influence of older people may decrease, or even they cease to be authorities because their identification models do not meet the needs of social processes. For example, most of the older generation of the population of the former USSR could hardly integrate into new realities. Rejection occurred because of the rapid change in cultural standards and values, which led to the marginalization of some citizens.

In current conditions, life, culture, society, economy and politics of different countries and regions undergo a global transformation, the forms of power relations are changing. The structure of power relations depends on how a citizen feels himself, whether he feels the confidence to the government, whether he accepts the currently existing forms of social, economic and political relations.

Research Questions

Philosophers already interpreted power as the essential aspect of the life organization in various directions in ancient times. Plato proposed the concept of a reasonably organized state based on the ontological hierarchy of being (Plato). Aristotle analyzed the nature and essence of power, considering it within the socio-political space (Aristotle, 1983). In the middle ages, the existence of power relations between people is justified by the hierarchy of being itself (Augustine the Blessed, 2000). The anthropocentric turn in the Renaissance culture brought the question of power closer to people's daily lives. The principles of management, tasks and goals of a statesman were analyzed (Machiavelli), errors in management (Mor), sources of a state's origin as a particular form of organization of power relations (Hobbes, Locke). In XVII–XIX centuries, the analysis of power, its essence, its political, economic, and social manifestations became one of the most significant areas of philosophy and social and humanitarian sciences (French socialists, Hegel, Marx, Proudhon, and others). There is a dominant tradition that shows the essence of power in the exploitation of one individual's labour by another (Marx, Engels). In this context, the concept of a person is shown and the principle of cultural identification realizes itself through socio-economic relations. A person and his / her personality are treated as a "product of society". Freud's justification of unconscious nature reveals new levels of power relations between people. Nietzsche's cultural interpretation of the sphere of human existence allowed considering a man as a "symbolic being" (Kassirer). The existentialistic analysis of freedom as human nature has become a motivation basis for evaluating a person in the structure of power relations. These theories set the tone of the development of doctrines about the essence of power, its manifestations and forms, especially among poststructuralists and postmodernists (Barth, Foucault, Marcuse, Kojeve, Deleuze, Kristeva and et al.). The theoretical understanding of power acquired a tiered structure, manifesting itself as the dictate of language and culture, nature, economic and political spheres, as well as a symbolic reality, realizing itself in the form of a "society of a play" (Guy Debord), a "society of consumption" (Fromm), "wishing production" (Gilles Deleuze), a "hyper-reality" (Jean Baudrillard). Each stage of the analysis of power demonstrates how the forms of its manifestation and implementation have changed. Power relations continue to transform in the context of the rapid growth of technologies and an increasing process, primarily of cultural globalization.

What aspects of globalization have an impact on power relations? How does the power realize itself in a global economy, active public exchange of information, and the clash and interaction of different cultures? What is the role of state power in such circumstances?

 If power relations express the peculiarities of the existence of culture, they affect the formation and implementation of cultural identity. Therefore, a significant issue of the study of power is its relationship with cultural identity as a form of realization of cultural values and personal abilities by a person.

Purpose of the Study

It is impossible to consider the phenomenon of power outside of modern processes. Power as power relations expresses the hierarchical structure of the cultural code. Considering it through the prism of globalization as a complex integrating-disintegrating process, we reveal its multidimensionality and connectivity with all levels of the socio-cultural system.

Research Methods

The use of the phenomenological method allows describing the studied problem in its reality and variety of manifestations. After all, power manifests itself both at the levels of interpersonal, everyday informal relations, and in the sphere of formalized hierarchical relations – the relationship of the employee and the manager, the state power and the citizen. Power realizes itself in culture – through a language and values.

The hermeneutical approach in analyzing researchers' points of view on the same phenomena interprets and reveals additional meanings, their mobility, and the impossibility of final conceptualization of the problem under consideration.

The use of binary oppositions when describing the role of globalization in the life of modern civilization, opposites in cultural identity, its construction, positive and negative aspects of power demonstrates the mobility of these phenomena, the variability of their content and manifestation.


For understanding the main vectors of these metamorphoses, it is necessary to consider the phenomenon of globalization itself, its role and significance for modern society, to identify its boundaries and describe some of the manifestations that are significant for the phenomenon of power. Moreover, since globalization is a significant factor in the transformation of cultural foundations, we associate the change in power relations with the processes of national and cultural identity. After all, the way a person believes in his existence in the world is the basis of their interaction with other people, with social, economic and political institutions. Therefore, self-identification, which in modern society is deeply connected with the principles of socialization, upbringing and education, is a significant aspect of the construction of power relations.

There are several views on the nature and role of globalization. There are three main directions: hyperglobalistic, sceptic and conformistic (Held et al., 2004). They are far from uniform, but each of them has general principles of evaluating globalization processes. The first argues that globalization is associated with a new era in the history of humankind, which will be characterized by the creation of a single, primarily economic, as well as political, social and cultural space, and perhaps even the complete disappearance of national states. The second direction of globalization in modern society considers as a chimerical concept. From economic integration, sceptics argue that the end of the XIX century was characterized by stronger and more stable economic ties of the world community (Held et al., 2004). Transformists claim that the next round of global changes in the life of humankind has come. Unlike representatives of the previous directions, they do not try to build futurological concepts, but analyze the historical process, assuming the uniqueness of historical phenomena and the inability to identify stable cause-and-effect relationships (Held et al., 2004). However, we will try to identify the components of globalization that have an impact on the phenomenon of power relations:

  • The economic aspect is related to the interpenetration of economic ties that national governments have to navigate. Because there is a convergence of political and economic interests, it is not always possible to distinguish between government interests and those of, for example, transnational corporations. However, corporations can conflict with the governments of individual countries too. Also, economic development in the era of globalization is not a factor of unification and standardization of individual economies. A concomitant phenomenon is the regionalization of economies. A decisive factor of economic globalization is the availability of consumer goods in many regions of the world at virtually uniform prices. These prices are often regulated by corporations depending on the purchasing power of a given market. Negative factors include auto sourcing, which often leads to a crisis due to job loss; at the same time, companies use cheaper labour for auto sourcing (however, it can also be a decisive factor for the development of new opportunities: auto sourcing allows companies accumulating more capital and make investments in innovative intellectual technologies; create jobs in less developed countries); exploitation of labour in countries with a poorly developed legal sphere.

  • The political and legal aspect is related to the export of certain forms of political principles. The more progressive ones allow influencing local political systems, drawing the attention of citizens of states to specific legal and civil problems. On the other hand, it can become a factor of external interference in the internal policy of a sovereign state.

  • Information and cybernetic aspect open up new opportunities for interaction: cultural exchange, doing business, organizing humanitarian, including educational, and other projects. However, it is also a useful tool for fraud, money laundering and all sorts of corruption schemes. The flow of information produced by the Internet has a mosaic character, can carry both erroneous and deliberately false information. Social networks are used for recruitment to terrorist and other criminal groups.

  • The ecological side of globalization makes it possible to solve global environmental problems at the world level, in cooperation with the world community. It also allows wastes being exported to poorer countries.

  • The cultural and educational aspect of globalization makes it possible to reveal the cultural diversity of the world to a person, to include it in the overall process of cultural development, and to participate in the creation of universal values. However, globalization can lead to the aggressive imposition of certain behavioural models. These models are often not the result of the development of high culture. They are based on economic interests. Of primary importance to the economy is the principle of increasing consumption, causing deformation of positive values, conflict of cultures, violating the patterns of national and cultural identity. These principles can lead to interpersonal, group conflicts, mental disorders (Jensen et al., 2011), destroying entire cultures, including language and organic and environmentally friendly way of life.

The concept of cultural identity includes various levels of self-determination and self-knowledge in the socio-cultural space (Erixon, 2006), reflecting ethnic, linguistic, cultural (including subcultural), gender, age, social, class, civil, professional affiliation, common history and origin. Some derivations also do not go beyond identity. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a stable and unchanging entity (KOÇ, 2006). It is necessary to stop analyzing the problems of cultural identity from metaphysics. Cultural identification is associated with understanding one's place in history, with the ability to respond adequately to other cultures, and to be able to interact correctly and fruitfully with other cultural realities, rather than being isolated and closed off from the new and unknown (Wei, 2006). The problem of the ratio of global and local is formed. We are talking about the problems of cultural identity under the pressure of various cultural images, Westernization. Of primary importance are the problems of such identification in a civilization of high technologies that allow transcending space-time restrictions and connect people from all continents. The "global village" changes the culture of the world in whole, contributing to the resurrection of the pre-written logic of human interaction with the world, blurring the boundaries of individuality generated by written culture (Maklyuen, 2005). However, this epoch cannot be called the age of the disappearance of the identity, the subject, the individual. The concept of a "death of the subject", based on the principle of forming a human personality only within the framework of socio-cultural reality, the reality of the "text" (Barth, 1994; Foucault, 1994) can not reflect the complexity of the formation of a man as a person in the conditions of multi-level structures of modern forms of cultural identification. A modern man often shows a hypertrophied "I" in terms of similarity with "Others", so distinction with other people allows him feeling his integrity. Binarity and aggressiveness of a person are associated with a strong degree of immersion in information flow, he can manipulate with it, and it allows him feeling his independence and identity. However, traditional mechanisms of survival of individual integrity are also preserved – when a person connects himself with a group for political, religious and other reasons while continuing to oppose himself and his group to "others". Cultural identification is both deterritorialization and reterritorialization, revealing the principle of the rhizome (Deleuze & Guattari, 2010).

Traditional cultural identification is characterized by a connection with the place of birth and permanent residence. In this case, power relations realize their main functions to the individual, considering him tied to a certain territory; power relations regulate his position, functions, and tasks. However, today in the world a large number of people can travel, change their location quickly both virtually and in reality. How does the implementation of power relations work in such circumstances, when each individual seeks to consolidate the position of domination for himself? Modern forms of work are often not tied to a place (freelance), allowing using a computer and the Internet to get a job, perform and send it. Man is no longer so connected with the land and the factory. An individual begins to manage their own time – to administer their working day, month, and year. By reshaping and deconstructing the "fabric" of culture in its basic senses, a person can construct his reality (Derrida, 2000). However, then how can an individual maintain inter-subjective connections? Therefore, we need strong and progressive educational systems that allow creating, preserving, focusing and transmitting knowledge for a stable (dynamically stable) human existence in society, culture and nature. This knowledge should not detach a person from humanity, the world as a whole, so it is important to have spiritual, practical, ethical aspects, and cultural literacy. However, we must not forget that the synergistic system of the universe develops independently, and we are always not able to calculate far-reaching consequences.

On the one hand, the modern civilization system tends to develop non-traditional structures of power relations, horizontal connections between individuals, and "network" interactions (Kastels, 2000). In such conditions, the individual gets the opportunity to expand the zone of their freedom, to realize unusual forms of identity. In the information society, the prospect of participation in government (e-government) management and distribution of power among all participants of communication is shown as suggested by Habermas (Habermas, 2005). However, this reliance on the individual must be based on the generality and integrity of the system. Therefore, we can identify many problems arising from this situation. First, in the information society, the possibilities of manipulating the consciousness of large masses of people are expanding, relying on both material and spiritual needs of a person. Such manipulation can be carried out at all levels of society: political, economic, ethical, religious. Organizations (such as multinational corporations) that produce consumer goods and services can use a person for economic gain. Then a person imperceptibly becomes a cog of the "consumer society" (E/ Fromm).

Secondly, a person needs to maintain more or less stable principles of self-identification in the conditions of a rapid flow of information. This process can be done by preserving elements of the native culture in the context of getting a good, high-quality education. However, at this stage of society's development, this can be done en masse only if there are vertical relations that stabilize the basic principles of education, science.


The situation with corona virus in China shows us the complexity of global economic relations. Countries that do not have their developed knowledge-intensive production are faced with the inability to obtain goods whose leading supplier in China. For example, in Russia, there was a problem with spare parts for cars, office supplies. Possibilities of frequent and fast transport links and active migration of population lead to the spread of the disease around the world.

Globalization of the modern type is based on the possibilities of information technologies, which allows importing and exporting very quickly to many parts of the world, not only goods but also information. Information now transcends space and time virtually at the same moment when it is transmitted to the "ether". This feature is the main sign of globalization today is to transmit information about events in real-time, to spread the way of life, cultural and moral values. Modern technologies are used for distance learning, allow seeing remote parts of our planet, meet people from different countries of the world. However, they are also used for disinformation, fraud, even recruitment to criminal and terrorist organizations. In these circumstances, there is a massive impact on the ability of the personal cultural identity, complicating this process. Society itself, its structure and methods of production have become more complex. Accordingly, power relations based on the principle of the hierarchy can no longer directly affect the will of the object of power. In modern society, stronger ties have emerged, and the dependence of relationship participants on infrastructure has increased. However, each participant feels freer. However, it remains interchangeable. Thanks to mass media, society and its economic and political processes become "transparent". Participation of each person in the creation of information, its redirection provides him with the opportunity to form the conditions for the use of power. Blurring the boundaries and methods of implementing power at the same time preserves its main tasks – to form specific behaviour in the object of power. Thus, power retains its dual essence: it acts as a principle of organization and as a principle of domination turned into an image of management and coordination.

State institutions also retain their role as the most concentrated systems for implementing power relations. The economic wars between China and the United States are a striking example of the preservation of the function of national states in the era of globalization. An essential aspect of the role of the state in modern conditions is its ability to organize the educational process, regardless of the principle of "instant profit", to make it publicly available, which is an essential condition for the stability of society and culture.


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Vasilyeva, А. S., Danilova, M., & Arakelyan, N. (2021). Transformation Of Power In The Globalizing World As A Cultural Identity Crisis. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1108-1115). European Publisher.