An examination of how two rural Welsh market towns, Llangefni and Machynlleth, have been affected by the processes of globalization and in particular how their local residents and local business owners perceive and experience these changes, shows the uneven effects of globalization on locations, economies and cultures, resulting in some locations becoming homogenized, losing their identity and purpose for their citizens, whilst others become hybridized, developing for themselves new identities, purpose and social structures. This thesis contributes to the understanding of how people living in small rural historic market towns engage with the local and the global in their day-today lives, and consequently how empowered they are and feel as local and / or global citizens. It reveals how the social inequalities of education, class and culture exclude some and include others, resulting in what Bauman (2000) refers to as the `global' and the `globalized', empowering some and disempowering others. The inequality and unevenness of globalization is further compounded by contradictory policy objectives that seek to encourage civic participation and responsibility in local and global issues, but which are often at odds with the economic objectives set out for areas, leading to uneven development and implementation between areas. Through gaining a better understanding of how places, people and businesses are affected by and engage with globalization and by helping to identify what facilitates better and more meaningful local and global civic engagement and empowerment, the thesis aims to enable more appropriate policy directives, that will engage citizens meaningfully and equally in both local and global issues.