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Review Essay – David Singh Grewal's Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization (2008)

  • Tiffany Wong

Extract

Networks have been discussed extensively in different ways within social and cultural theory as well as in economic scholarship. Author of Network Power, David Singh Grewal, participates in a popular discourse by describing globalization as a series of networks of power in contemporary society. In the same year that his book was published, Grewal writes a response to these theories of a globalized “flat” society in an article for the UK newspaper, The Guardian. Entitled “The World Isn't Flat – It's Networked,” the preface reads: “Globalisation does not 'flatten opportunity in the world: rather it forces everyone to conform to an underlying standard, specifically that of the already privileged nation.” A young scholar, Grewal holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and is currently Ph.D. student at the Department of Government at Harvard University.

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References

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1 See, most recently, Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the 21ST Century (2006) and Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, who each discuss how globalization is changing the world. In 2006, both scholars, who were interviewed by the New York Times, explained their theory of a ‘flat globalized world’ in further detail. Available at: http://select.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/opinion/25friedman-transcript.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all, last accessed 27 July 2009.

2 Grewal, David Singh, The World Isn't Flat – It's Networked, The Guardian, available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/29/globalisation.globaleconomy, last accessed 27 July 2009.

3 See, David Singh Grewal's past journal articles outlining his response to books written about globalization: Is Globalization Working?, 20 Ethics and International Affairs 247 (2006); Network Power and Global Standardization, 36 Metaphilosophy 128 (2005); Network Power and Globalization, 17 Ethics and International Affairs 89 (2003); Empire's Law, 14 Yale Journal of Law and Humanities 211 (2002).

4 David Singh Grewal, Network Power 297 (2008).

5 Id.

6 Caldwell, Christopher, Networks that work too well, Financial Times (23 May 2008), available at: http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto052320081343411263&page=1, last accessed 27 July 2009.

7 Grewal (note 4), 3.

8 Grewal (note 4), 22.

9 Grewal (note 4), 27.

10 Grewal (note 4), 76.

11 Grewal (note 4), 101.

12 Grewal (note 4), 173.

13 Grewal (note 4), 134-139.

14 Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics 57, 61, 138, 283 (2008).

15 Grewal (note 4), 101.

16 Grewal (note 4), 173.

17 Grewal (note 4), 134-139.

18 Flyvbjerg, Bent, Habermas and Foucault: Thinkers for Civil Society?,49 British Journal of Sociology 210, 212, 228-229 (1998).

19 Grewal (note 4), 25-26.

20 Grewal (note 4), 148.

21 Grewal (note 4), 194.

22 Grewal (note 4), 166.

23 Grewal (note 4), 267-8, 277.

24 Grewal (note 4), 292.

25 Grewal (note 4), 296.

26 Grewal (note 4), 133.

27 Grewal (note 4), 83.

28 Grewal (note 4), 142.

29 Grewal (note 4), 140.

30 Grewal (note 4), 142.

31 Grewal (note 4), 5-6, 10.

32 Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relations, 1990, in Participation: Documents of Contemporary ART 71 (Bishop, Claire, ed., 2006).

33 Id., 75.

34 Id., 76.

35 See, generally, Paulo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude (2002)

36 See, generally, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, On the Line (1983)

37 See, generally, Tiziana Terranova, Network Cultures: Politics for the Information Age (2004)

38 Grewal (note 4), 135.

39 Glissant (note 32).

40 Rhizomatic networks have the power to regenerate as much as they are decentralized in terms of this power. “A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines:” Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Introduction: Rhizome, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia 9 (2002).

41 Id., 21-23: “A plateau is always in the middle, not at the beginning or end. A rhizome is made of plateaus…concepts are lines, which is to say, number systems attached to a particular dimension of the multiplicities (strata, molecular chains, lines of flight or rupture, circles of convergence, etc.)…The outside has no image, no signification, no subjectivity.”

42 Id., 7 [my italics].

43 Id.

44 See, e.g., Interview on Public Ethics Radio with Christian Barry and Matt Peterson (25 March 2009), available at: http://publicethicsradio.org/2009/03/25/episode-8-david-grewal-on-network-power/, last accessed 28 July 2009; Interview on The Alcove with Mark Molaro (1 April 2009), available at: http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/david-grewal-author-of-network-power-on-the-alcove/16160262, last accessed 28 July 2009; presentation at the Carnegie Council (3 December 2008), available at: http://www.cceia.org/resources/video/data/000099, last accessed 28 July 2009; interview with Fairer Globalization – Online Magazine, available at: http://fairerglobalization.blogspot.com/2008/05/david-grewal-on-network-power.html (31 May 2008), last accessed 28 July 2009.

45 Grewal (note 2).

46 Grewal (note 4), 166-170.

47 A polyphony (meaning ‘many voices‘) that creates a Moebius form of a network. Network as process, flow, and dynamic as formulated by Russian philosopher, literary critic and semiotician, Mikhail Bakhtin.

48 Grewal (note 4), 49.

49 Grewal (note 4), 196.

50 Grewal (note 4), 203.

* B.A. McGill University (Montreal, Canada), J.D. Candidate 2011, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Toronto, Canada), Senior Editor, German Law Journal, and Visiting Student at the University of Oxford, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy in July 2009. Email: [Many thanks to Ashley Wong, M.A. Culture Industry, Goldsmiths, University of London (England) for her helpful comments during our insightful discussions of this book and other related theorists. Additional thanks to the library at Goldsmiths, University of London for permitting me to use their resources during my visit to the UK].

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Review Essay – David Singh Grewal's Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization (2008)

  • Tiffany Wong

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