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In the last three decades transnational interactions have intensified dramatically, from the globalisation of production systems and financial transfers to the worldwide dissemination of information and images through the media, or the mass movements of people, whether as tourists or migrant workers or refugees.
This consensus is known as the “neo-liberal consensus” or the “Washington Consensus”, since it was in Washington in the mid eighties that the core states in the world system subscribed to it, and it covers the future of the world economy, development policies and, in particular, the role of the state in the economy.
Not all the dimensions of globalisation were inscribed within this consensus in the same way, but all were affected by its impact.
Without denying the importance of this, I believe that it is also necessary to pay equal attention to its social, political and cultural dimensions.
Referring to the dominant characteristics of globalisation may convey the idea that globalisation is not only a linear process but also a process of consensus.
However, it is this consensus which has led us to where we are today and it is therefore the progenitor of the characteristics which are dominant in globalisation today.
The different consensuses which constitute the neo-liberal consensus share a main idea which constitutes a meta-consensus.
For the Lisbon Group, globalisation is a phase which follows after internationalisation and multinationalisation since, unlike them, it heralds the end of the national system as the central nucleus for organized human activities and strategies (Grupo de Lisboa, 1994).
A review of studies on the processes of globalisation reveals that we are facing a multifaceted phenomenon containing economic, social, political, cultural, religious and legal dimensions, all interlinked in complex fashion.
Giddens defines globalisation as “the intensification of worlwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” and accuses sociologists of an undue attachment to the idea of “society” as a closed system (1990: 64).
Similarly, Featherstone challenges sociology to “both theorize and work out modes of systematic investigation which can clarify these globalizing processes and destructive forms of social life which render problematic what has long been regarded as the basic subject matter for sociology: society conceived almost exclusively as the bounded nation-state” (1990: 2).