8 Types of Globalization

types of globalization, explained below

There are 8 types of Globalization:

  • Social globalization
  • Technological globalization
  • Financial globalization
  • Economic globalization
  • Political globalization
  • Cultural globalization
  • Ecological globalization
  • Sociological globalization

Through these 8 aspects, we can see how our world is becoming more integrated on many different levels. This article will define, explain and examine all 8 types of globalization.

Info Card: Definition of Globalization

Globalization is the increasing interconnectedness of our world. It’s understood to have been happening since the beginning of time but has rapidly accelerated since the 1950s. Many scholars define globalization as the shrinking of ‘time’ and ‘space’. In other words, connecting with people takes less time than ever before and moving from one space to another (e.g. around the world) is faster than ever before.

Only the first 3 types of globalization are required for A-Level exams.

The 8 Types of Globalization

1. Political Globalization

Political globalization refers to the diplomatic negotiations between nation-states. It includes the standardization of global rules around trade, criminality, and the rule of law.

International bodies including the United Nations, European Union and World Trade Organization are key multinational organizations designed to facilitate increasing political globalization. This includes growing free trade and multilateral agreements on investment.

One of the biggest positives of political globalization is that it creates international rule of law. It helps prevent war crimes and polices bad actors on the international stage. It can also help speed up other forms of globalization, like economic globalization, because standardized rules around food and trade standards makes it easier for companies to sell their goods overseas.

An argument against political globalization is that it involves countries meddling in each other’s business. Many people think we shouldn’t interfere in the decisions of other nations. Another criticism is that it led to the spread of the political ideology of neoliberalism that increases the gap between the rich and the poor.

2. Social Globalization

Also known as sociological globalization, social globalization refers to the integration of our societies.

Not to be confused with cultural globalization, sociological globalization refers to the idea that we now live in a shared society. (There are many different cultures within a society. But a society is a group of people who all live together).

And now more than ever, it feels as if we all live in one society instead of a group of different societies. For example:

  • What happens in Afghanistan can affect what happens in the United States.
  • A contagion in China spreads to all corners of the world.
  • A nuclear weapon in North Korea can threaten lives in New Zealand.

So, it appears, we are now all a common society who need to learn to get along despite our different cultures and beliefs because what we do affects people all around the world.

Another aspect of social globalization is the movement of people. People can go from one country to another easily, and those who are most highly educated can get jobs in different nations with more ease than ever.

3. Economic Globalization

Economic globalization refers to the ways corporations do business as multinational organizations nowadays.

Whereas once McDonald’s only existed in the USA and HSBC only existed in the UK, now these companies are all over the world in a ‘globalized economy’.

You will also notice the movement of manufacturing industries to developing nations to make the most of low wages and lowers the price of goods.

This can help developing nations increase overall employment but can be considered exploitation of nations with poor working conditions. It also takes good paying jobs away from developed nations.

Related Concept: McDonaldization (with Examples)

4. Technological Globalization

Technological globalization refers to the spread of technology around the world.

Examples of this include the spread of the internet, solar panel technology and medical technologies – which can all help improve the lives of people around the world.

The spread of technologies can be interpreted as the ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ argument. Globalization means we can make the most of the best technologies from all around the world to make everyone’s lives better and improve everyone’s economies.

Technological globalization is closely connected to the anthropological “scapes of globalization” theory by Arjun Appadurai. He came up with the term “technoscapes” to explain how technology spreads around the world.

5. Financial Globalization

Financial globalization refers to the ease at which money can be spread around the world.

The growth of stock exchanges like the NYSE and FTSE as well as internationalization of financial markets has made it easier for people to transfer money internationally.

The benefit of this is that it’s easy and cheap to get investments for new business ventures. You can find a Chinese, French or Canadian investor to wire you some money to start your business instead of just relying on local investors!

But many nations also face backlash because of the sense that overseas companies buy out too much of their businesses, real estate and farming land – which could be a threat to a nation’s sovereignty.

6. Cultural Globalization

Cultural globalization refers to the spread and mixing of cultures around the world.

Arjun Appadurai talks about the possible effect of homogenization of culture, where dominant nations like the United States spread their cultures through television and movies, which leads to the dilution and loss of local and indigenous cultures and the rise of a global culture.

One example is the spread of punk music from the UK and USA around the world in the 1970s. Other examples include the spread of Disney music, secularism and consumer culture.

Concepts related to cultural globalization include cultural adaptation, cultural diffusion, and hierarchical diffusion. We can also see that, as migrants move around the world, people are increasingly developing transnational identities.

7. Ecological Globalization

Ecological globalization refers to the idea that the world needs to be considered one interconnected ecosystem.

This means that the world needs to work together to address ecological issues that cross the borders of nation-states.

Examples include:

  • The hole in the Ozone layer, which required the world to ban CFCs.
  • Climate Change, which will affect the poorest nations (particularly low-lying nations in the Pacific and South-East Asia) even though much of the damage is caused by developed nations like the United States.

To address these issues, climate accords like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement have been put into place, where each nation agrees to invest in lowering its carbon emissions.

8. Geographical Globalization

Geographical globalization refers to the idea that the world is no longer seen as groups of distinct nations as much as it once was.

We now work in multinational blocs to make decisions, and nations work together to solve problems.

It also refers to the fact that we’re now able to travel between nations with increasing ease. You can go from the United States to Europe within a day, for example. Furthermore, people can identify as belonging to multiple geographic regions, especially if they hold multiple passports. Heritage and familial ownership of territory is getting weaker and weaker.

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Critiques and Responses to Globalization


The 8 types of globalization are not as distinct as you might first think. One type of globalization may have similar characteristics of another and they may influence one another. You could think of these ‘types’ as a venn diagram where features overlap rather than distinct silos. Getting your head around this can prevent a lot of confusion around which aspect of globalization fits within which definition – it may fit within multiple.

By looking at globalization through the lens of these eight ‘types of globalization’, you can start to dissect the impacts – both positive and negative – that globalization has had on our world.

References and Recommended Sources – In APA Style

Campbell, J. L. (2004). Institutional change and globalization. Princeton, United States: Princeton University Press.

Davidson, C., Heyman, F., Matusz, S., Sjöholm, F., & Zhu, S. C. (2020). Globalization, the jobs ladder and economic mobilityEuropean Economic Review127, 103444.

Martell, L. (2016). The sociology of globalization. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Tzanelli, R. (2007). The cinematic tourist: Explorations in globalization, culture and resistance. Los Angeles: Routledge.

Rantanen, T., & Jiménez-Martínez, C. (2019). Globalisation and the media. London: CRC Press.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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