Perspectives on Globalization

Dr Lorraine Macmillan

 The phenomenon of globalization has come to fascinate scholars, diplomats, international organizations and business leaders in recent decades.  A number of scholars in the field have forcefully claimed that the nation state is in terminal decline as the world’s economies appear to move inexorably towards greater integration, a hallmark of globalization.  Some multinational companies seem to have gained power in excess of that held by small states, and the authority that some international and supranational bodies have achieved is on the rise.  Terrorism and environmental crises have challenged the notion that states may counter threats to their security alone.  Increased flows of information and migrants and the claims of ethnic groups within multi-ethnic states have contributed to re-evaluations of citizenship and identity.  In short, globalization has challenged some of the foundational concepts with which international relations has traditionally been understood. 

 This course sets about reviewing some of the many manifestations of globalization, from the impact on warfare to the global reach of the media and the creation of hybrid identities and cultures.  The lectures introduce students to the major theories in the field and encourage them to critically assess the assertions being made. The lecture series is intended for students who possess no prior knowledge of the area, although any familiarity with history, international politics or security studies would be a distinct advantage.

This is a laptop free course.  Students may only take laptops to lectures or seminars if directed or if they have a medically verified condition for which laptop use is absolutely necessary.

IMPORTANT. The textbook below must be bought in advance of travel to Cambridge as sufficient copies will not be available for all students in local shops and libraries.

Held, David and Anthony McGrew (Eds) The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate, 2003 (2nd Edn).

Method of Assessment

  • 1 Final Exam: 45%
  • 1 Final Essay (2,500-3,000 words): 45%
  • Participation, progress and attendance: 10%


Lecture Hours: 12 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminar Hours: 8 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 10 hours)