The Polanyian problematic presents us with a unified, complex, and dialectical means to interpret globalization and its social contestation by diverse social and political forces. For Karl Polanyi, globalization as we know it would probably be conceived of as an extension of the ‘one big self-regulating market’ he discerned in his day, while his belief that ‘simultaneously a counter-movement was afoot’ provides an interpretative lens to examine the various facets of the counter-globalization movement. The Polanyian problematic of modern history as a ‘double movement’, whereby market expansion and social protection respectively lead phases, provides a useful antidote to all forms of economic reductionism when dealing with globalization on the one hand and political voluntarism with regard to contestation on the other. Basically, globalization is a human construct, and it can thus be deconstructed by society.
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