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Globalization and Society


Credits: 4 ECTS

First semester

Elective Courses




This course analyzes how globalization and the transportation and telecommunications revolutions that underlie it are transforming society. The changing scales of economic and political activity and organization have had dramatic consequences on the experiences and opportunities of both corporate and individual actors. Networks (Castells) and Re-scaling (Brenner) are probably the two concepts that best synthesize these on-going transformations.

The concept of “networks” captures the transformations in the organization of production and distribution of goods and services in capitalist economies and the emergence of new networks of solidarity between capitalists, workers, and other groups of citizens (expressed both as organization, mobilization, and inter-personal interaction) which transcend old nation-state boundaries. Global networks are also the highways on which flows of persons (old and new migrants ago) increasingly move between countries in search of new opportunities for economic advancement and personal self-fulfilment.

The concept of “Re-scaling” encompasses the changing geographic scope of economic and social activity and the subsequent changes in the economic roles of cities, regions, and nation-states.
The course not only provides an overview of the social transformations captured by the terms “Networks” and “Re-scaling” but also of their impact on the citizens’ experiences, patterns of consumption, and identity, and, consequently, on the reception that these changes have among the population. Course evaluation will be based on participation and a term paper.

The course begins with a definition and historical overview of globalization and of the main debate that structures debates over globalization: the debate over convergence. It follows with a descriptive analysis of flows of people, goods/services, and capital. Then, the analysis of globalization’s social impact focuses on current research topics that have gained attention in the literature: Economic inequalities, Resistance, the Emergence of Global social groups, and Transformations in Consumption, Values, and Identity.


Evaluation for this course will be based on participation (attendance, and questions in class) (30% of the grade) and a paper on a topic related to the course (70%).