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1. What is Globalisation?

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In this module, we think about ways of conceptualising globalisation, focusing on Jan Aart Scholte’s four types of definition: (i) internationalisation – the intensification of interactions between nation states; (ii) liberalisation – the removal of barriers to free global trade; (iii) universalisation – the emergence of shared global cultural practices and commodities; (iv) westernisation – the global spread of western culture and ideas. We conclude by considering Scholte’s own preferred definition, centred on the rise of supraterritoriality, or the decreasing importance of territory and spatial distance in social, political and economic interactions.


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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APA style

Soborski, R. (2022, January 20). Globalisation - What is Globalisation? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Soborski, R. "Globalisation – What is Globalisation?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Jan 2022,

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