Chapter 4: Globalisation

Additional Content

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some the key features of globalization?
  • How do you think the shift to a post-industrial, information based economy has influenced your own life?
  • What impact has globalization has on patterns of inequality?
  • Many scholars have argued that the effects of globalization have been overstated, and that place continues to be significant. Do you agree?
  • How has globalization impacted regional cultures? Do you think these changes are positive or negative?


  • Globalization: an ongoing process of social change by which regions and nations become increasingly interconnected with one another, especially in regards to economic, political or cultural phenomena.
  • State: A political community with clearly defined borders and a single governing system, which has the power to police, defend and create laws over that territory.
  • Nation: a group of people who see themselves a single, cohesive unit, based on various cultural, ancestral, or historical criteria. Members of a nation are typically similar in regards to their language, religious beliefs, cultural practices, and ethnic identities.
  • Nation-States: A state in which the majority of citizens belong to the same nation.   
  • Waves of globalization: The idea that globalization has progresses through a several distinct periods of activity, rather than as one continuous process.
  • Civilizations: Distinct cultural groupings, typically spanning a number of politically independent societies (e.g. ‘Western civilization’).
  • Liquid Modernity: In Bauman, a new type of modernity, associated with the contemporary area. Liquid modernity describes a condition of constant change, instability, and mobility, affecting all areas of human life. 
  • Fordism: an approach to manufacturing, originally developed by Henry Ford to improve productive efficiency in the automotive industry. Principles of Fordism include greater standardization via the use of machines, the employment of assembly line methods in manufacture, and the payment of sufficient wages to facilitate consumption.
  • Post-Fordism: the dominant system of production in most contemporary industrialized economies, associated with a decline in mass production. Post-Fordism is typically thought to involve the rise of service professions, an emphasis on information and communication technologies, and a shift to small-batch production. 
  • Post-Industrial Economy: an economy in which the provision of services and information has higher relative importance than the provision of manufactured goods. 
  • Information Age: A term used to describe the present historical age, especially in post-industrial economies. The information age is said to be a marked by the growing importance of information technology within the economy.
  • Mobilities: a research paradigm in contemporary sociology, focused on the study of movement. Mobilities scholars study the movement of people, ideas, cultures, and things, and are generally interested in topics like transportation, migration, and tourism. 
  • Risk Society: a society which is increasingly concerned with, and organized around, the avoidance and maintenance of risk.
  • Ambivalence: a feeling of contrasting or opposing commitments towards a particular entity or event.
  • Methodological nationalism: An approach to social science that sees the nation-state as the primary object of analysis, or which largely focuses on processes within a single nation-state.
  • Methodological cosmopolitanism: An approach to social science that sees social phenomena as taking place in an increasingly globalized context. Methodological cosmopolitanism involves attention to processes that transcend national borders.
  • Network capital: In Urry, an individual resource needed for success in the network society. Network capital involves technical and social skills, access to documents, technologies, and transportation, and ties with other individuals.  
  • Glocalization: the idea that globalization can increase the importance of local and regional levels, rather than simply erasing them. 
  • Modernization Theory: a theoretical perspective that sought to describe and explain patterns of social development. Modernization theories generally focused on the relationship between internal factors within societies (such as the relationship between economic development and democratic institutions), and argued that poor countries should emulate the structural patterns of wealthy countries.       
  • Dependency Theory: a theoretical perspective that arose in opposition to modernization theory. Dependency theories argued that social development was linked to unequal power relationships between a ‘periphery’ of poor states and a ‘core’ of wealthy states, and that the latter had developed at the expense of the former.
  • World Systems Theory: a theoretical perspective that sought to examine patterns of inequality in the global economy. World systems theory divided the world into core, semi-periphery, and periphery countries, and argued that the core countries exploited and dominated the others for their own gain.   
  • Cultural Imperialism: The process by which the culture, values, and norms of one society are imposed on another.  Typically used in reference to the global dominance of Western culture and ideals.


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Contemporary Articles

  • MacDonald L & Muldoon P 2006, ‘Globalization, neoliberalism and the struggle for indigenous citizenship’, Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 209-223.

Discusses both positive and negative impacts of globalization on Indigenous Australians.

  • Alvarez, L 2008, ‘Reggae rhythms in dignity’s diaspora: globalization, indigenous identity, and the circulation of cultural struggle’, Popular Music and Society, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 575-597.

This is an interesting article on the globalization of reggae music and its uptake by various different indigenous groups, including Native Americans, Maoris, Aborigines, and Pacific Islanders. Useful example to demonstrate the emergence of a global indigenous culture.

  • Beck, U & Sznaider, N 2006, ‘Unpacking cosmopolitanism for the social sciences: a research agenda’, British Journal of Sociology, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

Useful discussion of the practical implications of methodological cosmopolitanism.

  • Giulianotti, R & Robertson, R 2007, ‘Forms of Glocalization: Globalization and the Migration Strategies of Scottish Football Fans in North America’, Sociology, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 133-152. 

Good concrete example of the glocalization concept.

  • Mills, M & Blossfeld, H 2003, ‘Globalization, uncertainty and changes in early life courses’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 188-218.

Discussion of how the benefits/drawbacks of globalisation can be unevenly distributed in societies. Links to discussion of risk in the chapter.

  • Bartelson, J 2000, ‘Three Concepts of Globalization. International Sociology15(2), 180–196

Discusses different concepts of globalization, specifically from a sociological perspective. Cites many authors mentioned in this chapter. 

  • Meyer, JW 2000, ’Globalization: Sources and Effects on National States and Societies’, International Sociology, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 233-248. 

Clear discussion of the various consequences of globalization re: nation-states. Engages with the idea of glocalization.

  • Turner, BS 2007, ‘The Enclave Society: Towards a Sociology of Immobility’, European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 10,  no. 2, pp. 287-304.

Good example of the argument that place is still relevant.

  • Urry, J 2010, ‘Mobile Sociology’, British Journal of Sociology, vol. 61, no. s1, pp. 347-366.

Detailed account of the mobilities approach.

  • Marsh, R 2014, ‘Modernization Theory, Then and Now’, Comparative Sociology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 261-283.

Gives a clear overview of modernization theory, and presents a good discussion of its many contemporary iterations.

  • Sassen, S 2004, ‘Local Actors in Global Politics’, Current Sociology, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 649-670.

Useful piece by Sassen. Very approachable.

  • Castles, S 2003, ‘Towards a Sociology of Forced Migration and Social Transformation,’ Sociology, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 13-34.  

Another approachable piece on the topic of immigration flows.