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Glocalization is a neologism and a suitcase word , formed from the terms globalization and localization , whereby these two terms are to be understood as a spectrum of orders of magnitude, i.e. not as opposites, but as connected levels.

History of the term

The term glocalization or "glocalization / glocal" was used for Japanese forms of business as early as the 1980s. The term was first known as "glocal" to a smaller group in the field of environmental policy in 1989/1990. The then head of the National Global Change Secretariat of the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology, Manfred Lange, called the dimension of the changes on the scale of local-regional-global, or micro-meso-macro scale, “glocal”. The occasion was the search for a term for the depth dimension of the "Rubik's Cube of Ecology" as an exhibit in the exhibition "World in Transition - Challenges to Science and Politics".

Later, the term glocalization was introduced in many ways and reinvented - very often in ignorance of previous and parallel introductions. In the English-speaking area, the sociologist Roland Robertson was decisive, later also Zygmunt Bauman , in the German-speaking area there are several "fathers" of the term. The paradigm of glocalisation is as occasionally as glocalism ( Glocalism described).

Use of the term

“Glocalization” describes the connection and the coexistence of the multi-dimensional process of globalization and its local or regional effects and relationships. Every event at a certain point in the world is of local-regional and at the same time of global-supra-regional importance. The process of globalization becomes tangible in one's own life and everyday life. Thus, glocalization is the local level of impact and appearance of global globalization. As a result of global and, at the same time, local networks, networks emerge that are responsible on the one hand for the formation of transnational production and marketing structures and on the other hand for changing the respective cultures.

Glocalization can be observed from different angles. Among other things, it has a cultural, economic, political and sociological dimension.

From a cultural point of view, this connection enables individuals to retain their identities and cultural characteristics. The German sociologist Gabriele Klein is a representative of this view . Glocalization therefore also implies the demand for a return to the identity and peculiarities of the individual. A term related to glocalization is therefore that of the globalization of biographies , since globalization can be understood and experienced locally for every individual. The clash of opposites and different cultures can be observed on site. At the same time, glocalization also describes a form of cosmopolitanism in which all cultures are recognized and respected and yet regional roots are retained.

From an economic point of view, glocalization can be described as follows: Production, management and administration of a transnational corporation (TNC) are always localized, whereas entrepreneurial activities such as the sale of products are organized globally. Due to local / regional peculiarities, TNKs adapt their products, their marketing and in particular the organization of their production to the respective local conditions for value creation. These can be regional market needs or the local infrastructure, the university population or the research landscape. These glocalization activities are also evident in many small and medium-sized enterprises ( SMEs ). According to economic and social research, SMEs (as well as TNCs) must inevitably engage in global markets or adopt other international strategies in order to maintain their competitiveness and to generate profits. Glocalization thus describes the dual character of establishing local systemic competitiveness on the one hand and integration into the world market on the other. The different needs of various regional markets are seen in the international competitive framework, the counterweight to a feared global market for goods and services. Examples of the "localization" of globally distributed products are the adaptation of cookies to national preferences (taste, consistency, etc.) or the adaptation of computer games (translation into the respective language, compliance with national legislation on the representation of violence, etc.). In order to survive in the competition, companies are forced to consider “local” peculiarities.

In the political dimension, the glocalization in the following events can be observed: national states give their skills to an ever greater extent on not only up to alliances such. B. the EU , but also down to the member states of a nation state or the various regions ( subsidiarity ). However, it must be borne in mind that in federal states (e.g. USA , Russia , Germany , Mexico , Switzerland ) there is considerable growth at the federal level, i.e. de facto centralization . In addition, the number of non-governmental organizations continues to grow, and they are enjoying growing influence both globally and locally.

From a sociological point of view, glocalization also means a double socialization process through local work and global money .

Glocalization is also referred to by some experts as a macro trend , ie it includes long-term drivers that have permanently changed the economy and society over several decades.

The Swiss philosopher Stefan Zenklusen is considered a critical observer of glocalization . As early as 2007, in a text he sharply criticized the general thesis of cultural studies and other branches of science that globalization leads culturally to more pluralism, diversity and hybridity. In the process of glocalization, Zenklusen sees the disappearance of supraregional, national and international mediation bodies. The big cities cut themselves off and (similar to the early Italian modern era) would become city-states , the horizon of understanding of which ended at the city limits. The dominant mentality there abstracts from the surrounding, supraregional territory and is only oriented towards metropolises in other countries. At the same time, glocalization in rural areas promotes regionalization , which, however, loses supra-regional and international understanding. Both urban and rural-regional localism would culturally and linguistically merge with globalism , which, however, is not international, but predominantly Anglo-Saxon . In general, glocalization undermines the opening up to neighbors and promotes tribal identities in a regressive way.

In 2008, the Italian politician and entrepreneur Piero Bassetti and others published the Glocalist Manifesto , which contains views on mobility and migration , the global village and social networks as core ideas .

Glocalization as the social normality of modern people

Following this definition she defined, Barbara Seibert describes the term as a concept for a pragmatic connection between the global and the local in the context of the constitution of modern societies. The starting point is the "irreversibility of multilingual, multicultural and complex societies with all the opportunities and dangers associated with them."

Glocalization specifically describes “processes of action in cities and communities in which multinationally socialized societies take on their creative tasks in the interplay between global and local knowledge, religions, cultures, and fashions with shared responsibility.” In this understanding, the term becomes an alternative to any kind of reactionary Ideas. The geographer and director of the Elbinstitut Hamburg, Barbara Seibert, refers to the principle of “symmetrical integration”, which in the glocal sense aims at the readiness for mutual recognition of the equivalence of values ​​and norms on the constitutional basis of the respective political area.


  • Roland Robertson: Glocalization: homogeneity and heterogeneity in space and time. In: Ulrich Beck (Hrsg.): Perspektiven der Weltgesellschaft. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998, pp. 192-220.
  • Johannes Greving: Pocket topic: Globalization. Cornelsen Scriptor, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-589-21696-4 .
  • Exhibition “World in Transition - Challenges to Science and Politics” - see the first section “The Earth System”, there exhibition panel 4: Local and global changes. see "Pointers to Possibilities" for a clear indexing of topics and their connections , s. a. Dr. Manfred Lange, 1990–1992 Head of the National Global Change Secretariat (BMBF)


Audio contributions

  • Tobias Rapp : The glocalization of pop. The future of entertainment. 2004.

Individual contributions

  • Francesco Castri, Malcolm Hadley: Enhancing the credibility of ecology: Interacting along and across hierarchical scales. In: GeoJournal. Volume 17, Number 1, July 1988, pp. 5-35. doi: 10.1007 / BF00209075
  • Heiner Benking, Heiko Schmidt v. Braun: Geo / Object Coding for Local Change Assessment. In: GeoJournal. Volume 20, Number 2, 1988, pp. 167-173, doi: 10.1007 / BF00196748
  • Hartmut Keune, A. Beatrice Murray, Heiner Benking: Harmonization of environmental measurement. In: GeoJournal. Volume 23, No. 3, March 1991, pp. 249-255. doi: 10.1007 / BF00204842
  • Heiner Benking, Ulrich B. Kampffmeyer: Access and Assimilation: Pivotal environmental information challenges Linking, archiving, and exploiting multi-lingual and multi-scale environmental information repositories. In: GeoJournal. Volume 26, No. 3, March 1992, pp. 323-334. doi: 10.1007 / BF02629811
  • Roland Robertson: Glocalization: homogeneity and heterogeneity in space and time. In: Ulrich Beck (Hrsg.): Perspektiven der Weltgesellschaft. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-518-40916-6 , pp. 192-220.


  • Ulrich Beck : What is globalization? Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-518-40944-1 .
  • Barbara Seibert: Glocalization. A term reflects social realities. Introduction and contributions to the debate. LIT Verlag, Münster 2016.


  • Glocalism. Journal of culture, politics and innovation . Milan: Globus et Locus. ISSN 2283-7949 ( Open Access ).

Individual evidence

  1. World in Transition - Challenges to Science and Politics. Retrieved January 1, 2019 .
  2. ^ A b Piero Bassetti: The Glocalist Manifesto. In: Glocalisti. Cittadini del global, cittadini del locale. Globus et Locus, February 28, 2008, accessed April 19, 2020 .
  3. Stefan Zenklusen: Farewell to the thesis of the most plural of all worlds. wvb, Berlin 2007.
  4. St. Zenklusen: Triumph of hyperprovincialism. In: Stefan Zenklusen: In the Coolag archipelago. Sociognostic thought sheets from the most recent civilization. wvb, Berlin 2006; and: Glocalism as global and anthropological regression. on; Regressive Aspects of Glocalism. on
  5. Barbara Seibert: Glocalization. A term reflects social realities. Introduction and contributions to the debate . LIT Verlag, Münster 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13587-2 , p. 11 .
  6. Barbara Seibert: Glocalization. A term reflects social realities. Introduction and contributions to the debate . LIT Verlag, Münster 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13587-2 , p. 63 .
  7. Barbara Seibert: Glocalization. A term reflects social realities. Introduction and contributions to the debate . LIT Verlag, Münster 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13587-2 , p. 64 .