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2. Histories of Globalisation

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In this module, we think about histories of globalisation, and particularly different perspectives on when the process began. We focus on: (i) Nayan Chanda’s periodisation, which locates the beginnings of globalisation in prehistory, when humans first left Africa; (ii) Roland Robertson’s model, which argues that globalisation emerged gradually across five phases – the germinal phase (1400s-1750s), the incipient phase (1750s-1870s), the take-off phase (1870s-1920s), the struggle for hegemony phase (1920s-1960s), and the uncertainty phase (since the 1960s); (iii) the supraterritoriality perspective, which emphasises the emergence of new transport and communications technologies from the mid-twentieth century.


In this course, Professor Rafal Soborski (Richmond, The American International University in London) explores key debates around the concept and characteristics of globalisation. In the first module, we consider some notable ways in which globalisation has been defined, and some problems with these definitions. In the second, we look at histories of globalisation, noting especially where different scholars locate the beginnings of the process. The third module outlines the debate between two camps – the hyperglobalists and the sceptics – regarding the existence and significance of globalisation, often termed the great globalisation debate. In the fourth, we think about whether globalisation is “good” or “bad”, looking at optimistic and pessimistic accounts, and in the final module we examine different perspectives on the cultural impacts of globalisation, focusing particularly on Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” thesis.


Professor Rafal Soborski is Professor of International Politics at Richmond, The American International University in London. His research focuses on the ideological, political and social dimensions of globalisation, including on globalism, anti-globalism and environmentalism. He is author of Ideology and the Future of Progressive Social Movements (2018) and Ideology in a Global Age: Continuity and Change (2013).

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Soborski, R. (2022, January 20). Globalisation - Histories of Globalisation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Soborski, R. "Globalisation – Histories of Globalisation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Jan 2022,

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