UCL Department of Geography
GEOGG081 Approaches in Globalisation
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GEOGG081 Approaches in Globalisation


(15 credits: Term 1)


Convenor: Dr Jason Dittmer


This module serves as an introduction to globalisation itself and also to the three approaches to globalisation that compose the MSc Globalisation. Globalisation, a term frequently invoked in public discourse, is nevertheless a highly contested concept. This module serves as an introduction to the concept, problematizing the common story of globalisation and calling into question everyday assumptions about the history of globalisation, the processes that drive it, and its effects on politics and economics around the world.


The module can best be understood as composed of four sections. The first, and largest, section, is a historical introduction to globalisation, its processes, and its effects. The second section of the module looks at the ways in which globalisation is linked to the emergence of geopolitics as a knowledge and also how the ‘contemporary’ (post-Cold War) geopolitical order has dealt with globalisation. The third section of the module looks at the intersection of political economy and globalisation, considering the link between globalisation and capitalism, the shift from production to finance led economic development and the simultaneously growing importance of urban places and global flows. The final section of the module turns to the related topic of development, which has been reconsidered in multiple ways during recent years. The question of inequality under conditions of increasing globalisation has been considered from a range of perspectives, which will be examined here.


Themes explored in readings and seminars include:

  • The global scale and its role in 20th and 21st century geopolitical visions and theories of international relations
  • Globalisation as geopolitical problem, globalisation as geopolitical solution
  • The global scale as natural scale of capitalism
  • Rejecting flat world metaphors
  • Problematising finance-led globalisation
  • Historical geographies of globalisation
  • Feminist perspectives on globalisation


Suggested readings


Eschle, Catherine (2010). Feminist Studies of Globalisation: Beyond Gender, Beyond Economism? Global Society, 18, 2, 97-125


Featherstone, David.  (2012) Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism, Zed Books


Harvey, D. (2006). Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development. Verso


Heffernan, M. 2000. “Fin de Siècle, Fin de Monde? On the origins of European Geopolitics”, in Dodds, K. and Atkinson, D. (Eds.), Geopolitical Traditions (London: Routledge).


Mackinder, H. 1904. “The geographical pivot of history”, The Geographical Journal 23(4): 421-437.

Ogborn, Miles.  (2008) Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550-1800 CUP

O’Tuathail, G. 1999. “De-territorialised threats and global dangers: geopolitics and risk society,” Journal of Strategic Studies 22: 107-124.


Ingram, A. 2008. “Pandemic Anxiety and Global Health Security”, In  Pain, R. and Smith, S., (eds.), Fear: Critical Geopolitics and Everyday Life, (Aldershot: Ashgate), pp.75-85.


Huntington, S. 1993. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs, 22-49.


Roberts, S., Secor, A. and M. Sparke. 2003. “Neoliberal geopolitics,” Antipode 35: 886-897.


Smith, N. 2004. American empire: Roosevelt’s geographer and the prelude to globalization (Berkeley, University of California Press)


Rodrik, D. (2011). The Globalization Paradox. Oxford University Press.


Sheppard, E., Porter, P.W., Faust, D.R. and R.Nagar (2009). A World of Difference. Encountering and Contesting Development.


Stiglitz, J. (2002). Globalization and its Discontents. Penguin.


Wolf, E. (1982) Europe and the people without history. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles.