One could consider the process of globalization as the complex process of federation of different social, cultural, economic and political realities within which not only agreements and alliances alternate or overlap, but also contaminations and hybridizations, at times producing new clashes and at other times producing new forms of dialogue.
As Lucio Levi observes, the nature of globalization is a qualitative change rooted in the scientific revolution of material production creating – alongside national markets and societies – a global market and a global civil society. This change can be understood in the light of new political theories, among which the federalist theory stands out. Federalism is, however, neither a static political vision nor a timeless political theory. It is – we can say – a kind of unaccomplished project constantly evolving in response to the new problems that history relentlessly raises.
In the current issue, this is evident in the study dedicated to the Indian, Pakistani and Malaysian federal systems which have each evolved in different ways starting from a common colonial origin. The analysis of strategies followed by central governments in the face of the problem of peaceful coexistence between multiethnic societies seems to indicate, however, that, in general, stability has been nurtured above all thanks to policies of centralization.
Globalization also fuels tensions and separatist tendencies within the federal state of Nigeria. Here, its colonial heritage and the subsequent policy of domination over territory and population have generated movements within civil society which seek identity and autonomy especially following a progressive emergence of problems at the occupational, ecological and economic levels. Religious claims also emerge as a solution to these needs for identity and autonomy; complicating the social panorama by increasing situations of violence.
If the boundaries of cultural and political communities have always been relevant in history, globalization is then (as is noted) challenging the notion of borders redefining migration, confinement and mobility. Our world is characterized by pluralities: by spaces that are increasingly less defined, by messages that circulate in an undefined cyberspace in multiple languages all of which, in turn, create a simultaneous dialogue. It may therefore be interesting analyze the transliterary process of the migration of stories, cultures and cultural artifacts (as presented by another essay) centered in a transcultural space. This essay analyzes how the story, after being subjected to class perception and confined to cultural stereotypes – thus being held immobile thanks to the creation of a transliterary space – migrates and participates in the globalized dialogue that transcends the literary realm of origin. Within this global dialogue and using interview data from twenty Somali women, another study in this issue provides demographic data about the impact of health disparities on Somali refugees and immigrants by including how they view access to healthcare as well as identify barriers to information and care provided by health care practitioners.
As we can see, globalization as well as integration processes exhibit uncertain and contradictory characteristics which are linked to other fundamental problems of political modernity such as the presence of the democratic deficit within the various levels of government and the increase in inequalities between countries. The inability of political institutions to find a solution to common political challenges might spur the improvement of the global federalization process through new institutions and practices of democracy.