A Genealogy of Globalisation

A Genealogy of ‘Globalization’: The Career of a Concept
Paul Jamesa & Manfred B. Stegerb
a University of Western Sydney, Parramatta, Australia
b University of Hawai’i, Manoa, USA
Published online: 12 Sep 2014.


ABSTRACT ‘Globalization’ is an extraordinary concept. It is a complicated concept that burst
upon the world relatively recently, but soon became a household concern. It is a concept that
was rarely used until the 1990s, but processes of globalization had been happening for
centuries. This article follows the genealogy of the concept from its unlikely beginnings in the
1930s–1950s to the heated scholarly debates across the end of the twentieth century to
the present. Before it became a buzz word, the concept of ‘globalization’ began to be used in
the most unlikely fields: in education to describe the global life of the mind; in international
relations to describe the extension of the European Common Market; and in journalism to
describe how the ‘American Negro and his problem are taking on a global significance’. The
article begins to answer the question ‘Through what lineages and processes did the concept
of globalization become so important?’ Drawing on textual research and interviews with key
originating figures in the field of global studies, the article attempts to get past the usual
anecdotes about the formation and etymology of the concept that center on alleged inventors
of the term or references to first use of ‘globalization’ various dictionaries. The article tracks
the careers of major scholars in relation to the career of the concept.
Keywords: globalization, globalism, meaning, ideas, ideologies, imaginaries

Read the article here

Posted in Ideas and Papers.

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