Until the banking crisis began, the word nationalization was seldom used in reference to the United States. Now it is so ubiquitous, it has gotten confused with protectionism. Jonathan Crystal, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, wants to untangle that.
“I want to distinguish between protectionism, or the efforts on the part of interests and workers to protect their economic position, and nationalization, which is an ideology that promotes the unity, autonomy and identity of the nation,” he said.
Crystal examined the consequences of foreign companies venturing into the United States inUnwanted Company: Foreign Investment in American Industries (Cornell University Press, 2003). He will use his faculty fellowship to focus on reactions to controversial foreign corporate takeovers such as the attempt by DP World—based in the United Arab Emirates—to take over management of six United States ports in 2006.
The ways in which integration into the global economy affects politics within countries has been a major theme of his work, so it makes sense to compare how, for instance, Spain reacts to a German takeover of a Spanish company, to the aforementioned takeovers of American companies.
Political science has been oriented to people, groups and countries pursuing interests that are defined in materialist terms, such as money, jobs and power. But Crystal said scholars are rethinking how people define their interests by beliefs and emotions.
“By looking at different parts of the world and comparing the response to globalization, I think it’s possible to tease out which element is nationalistic,” he said.