Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Locating the Global Society

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit is intended as a critical look at aspects of globalisation. The background guiding question will be: Are terms such as ‘translocal’, ‘networking’, and ‘multinational’ - and indeed ‘global’ itself - so much fashionable hot air, or is there some truth to the view that social life is increasingly spatialised globally? The course content is divided into five sections:

- The concept of ‘space-time compression’ - with Harvey’s and Gidden’s models as the starting point, the discussion moves to recent post-Lefebvrian formulations such as Smith’s and Massey’s;
- The re-spatialisation of work – we discuss the transition from Fordism to post-Fordism, the rise of flexible accumulation, and the globalisation of labour hierarchies and inequalities;
- Mobility and migration – we discuss the shift from push-pull models of migration to migration systems theory, diaspora, cosmopolitanism, and twenty-first century momentous mobilities;
- Global environmentalism – the making of a universalising concept of nature, as well as contemporary environmental global crises;
- Global cities – we discuss the making and dynamics of world cities, as well as the discontinuities and spatial fractures they contain.

Study-unit aims

The study-unit aims to:

- Familiarise students with the terminology and models of thought in the contemporary scholarship on globalisation;
- Encourage students to think about space as a social category, and therefore to locate globalisation as a relationship between society (and its economic, cultural, historical aspects) and space;
- Get students to think about emerging hierarchies and inequalities of work, especially in light of global processes;
- Familiarise students with some of the current scholarship on mobility in a globalising world;
- Encourage students to think critically about the framing of nature, and the environment, in terms of a global and interconnected space;
- Familiarise students with the basic model of global/world cities and their relevance in the contemporary global order.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify the different themes in the social science of globalisation, and analyse and interpret their relative strengths and weaknesses;
- Demonstrate their grasp of how globalisation matters with respect to mobility, urbanisation, environmentalism, and work;
- Describe the emerging world order in terms of a shifting relationship between society and (global) space and analyse the outcomes and implications of that.


By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply the conceptual categories of contemporary social science to current global issues;
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills in the interpretation and application of scholarly concepts in the field;
- Demonstrate their ability to formulate their thoughts clearly, in writing;
- Apply some of the basic categories of thought in the sociology of globalisation to a broader understanding of social processes, transformations, and fractures.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Appadurai, A. (1996) Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation, University of Minnesota Press.
- Castells, M. (1996) The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Blackwell.
- Cohen, R. & Kennedy, P. (2013) Global Sociology, Palgrave.
- Giddens, A. (1990) The Consequences of Modernity, Polity.
- Harvey, D. (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity, Blackwell.
- Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space, Blackwell.
- Massey, D. (2005) For Space, Sage.
- Massey, D. (2013) World City, Polity
- Castles, S. et al. (2013) The Age of Migration, Guildford.
- Tsing, A. (2005) Friction: An ethnography of global connection, Princeton.

Supplementary readings :

- Falzon, M.A. (2005) Cosmopolitan Connections, Oxford University Press.
- Featherstone, M. (1995) Undoing Culture: Globalization, Postmodernism and Identity, Sage.
- Hannerz, U. (1996) Transnational Connections: Culture, people, places, Routledge.
- Nowicka, M. & Rovisco, M. (2009) Cosmopolitanism in Practice, Ashgate.
- Salazar, N. (2018) Momentous Mobilities, Berghahn.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Anthony Falzon

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.