Social groups and individuals, states, institutions and international relationships are some of the main players of the history of globalization and its current transformations. As written by Alain Touraine, after three evolutionary stages, we are now entering a post-industrial “society of communication”, where “global systems” overcome the role of nation-states and cities. In the present days, the USA and China are major global systems, and India is rising as the third. This new type of society is “no longer a one of production” and the social actors are no more social classes defending their rights as workers. What we have nowadays is a “global identity”: “Social actors must be ‘total’, that is they must be active in the cultural – mediatic – do- main as well as in the political and economic fields”. Moreover, we defend our rights “in all aspects of experience including the environment”. The central notion is subjectivation, focusing on fundamental human rights, with total categories – as ‘women’ or “migrants” – representing the main actors.
The increasing complexity of social organizations deserves an in-depth historical survey over the long term. Starting the analysis from the ancient Greek, investigating the modern nation-state and going beyond it, the paper by Hans Köchler highlights the relationship between “nation”, “state”, “civilization” and “cultural identity” in the context of globalization. What emerges from this wide analysis is a common line on which evolution took place: social organizations have always been much more than mere individuals living together by chance, but were specific forms of cooperation with a common purpose, evolving over time: “Ultimately, one might say, life is all about self-realization in a community, by using synergy effects through a division of tasks – an organization of labor – in different groups and networks”.