The causes and the effects of globalization are hotly disputed and the book aims to present the range of arguments in a clear and balanced way. However, arguing that variation is as characteristic of globalization as standardization, the book stresses the necessity for a bottom-up, comparative analysis. Distinguishing between the cultural, political, economic and ecological aspects of globalization, the book highlights the implications of globalization for people's everyday lives. Throughout, the discussion is illustrated with wide-ranging case material. Chapter summaries and a guide to further reading underline the book's concern to clarify this most complex and influential of ideas.