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UNDERSTANDING GLOBALIZATION: Challenges, Risks, and Opportunities

Government 366-1 Aldo C. Vacs
Fall 2005 Ladd 319 (X 5249)
Ladd 106 Office Hours:
Tu-Th: 2:10-3:30 pm Tu-Th: 9:00-10:30 am
e-mail: avacs@skidmore.edu Wed: 9:00am-12:00pm

This course undertakes a critical examination of globalization as a multifaceted phenomenon with political, economic, technological, social, cultural and environmental dimensions which has wrought fundamental changes to our lives by making the world smaller and more interdependent. The course explores the diverse meanings and theoretical interpretations of globalization; the importance and impact of globalization on the role of states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and transnational corporations; the transformation of national sovereignty; the extent and limitations of liberal democracy; the changes in international economic relations (trade, finance, investment) and institutions (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs/World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank); the debate on globalization's promotion of social progress and backwardness; the rise and decline of nationalistic, ethnic, and religious confrontations; the development of cultural diversity and homogeneity; and the mixed impact of globalization on environmental conditions, organizations, and activities. Special attention will be devoted to the critical analysis and discussion of the ideologies, actors and interests promoting and opposing globalization as well as the risks and opportunities associated with globalization from the perspective of different groups.
(4 credits – Prerequisites: GO 103 or permission of the instructor)

Course requirements

* Class attendance and informed participation are required. Attendance is essential for those desiring to pass the course and will be taken by signing an attendance sheet. In order to be able to participate effectively in the discussions and other class activities you must read the assignments before the day they are scheduled for examination in class. In addition, each student, either individually or as member of a small group –depending on the size of the class– will be responsible for leading the discussion in one of the class sessions scheduled after the completion of the first part of the course. The student (or students) will meet with me in advance to discuss the presentation and research the topic, and will be responsible for delivering with sufficient anticipation a list of discussion questions (and other relevant materials, if necessary) to the rest of the class. Students are expected to follow current developments in the process of globalization, including positive and negative reactions to it, by reading the appropriate sections of some of the national newspapers and magazines, specialized journals, and/or electronic sources of information. It is expected that in the debates each student will make reference to this information to update the discussion on different aspects of globalization. Attendance, preparation for class discussions and student-led activities, and analytical quality of the interventions will be evaluated in order to calculate the course grade. (20% of the final grade)

* Four quizzes focused on the materials assigned for different course sections. These multiple choice examinations will be given in class and will be focused on the readings assigned for specific sections. These quizzes are designed to check your knowledge of the basic information on different aspects of globalization that is presented in the assigned readings. There is no make-up for these quizzes. (5% each; 20% of the final grade in total)

* Midterm take-home examination (30% of the total grade)

* Final take-home examination (30% of the total grade)

[Late assignments will lose half a grade point for each day they are late.]

In addition to the readings specified in the assignment section, other materials will be delivered in class to update the analysis of certain issues or to add different perspectives. Students are also expected to keep informed of current issues related to the topics analyzed in class. Good sources of information are major newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor) and national weekly magazines (Time, Newsweek). To analyze more in-depth certain topics, prepare your final papers, and update the information contained in the texts it is recommended to consult the specialized journals found in the Scribner Library or accessible through the Internet, including among them: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Affairs, International Organization, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of International Affairs, Millennium, World Policy Journal, and World Politics as well as a large number of journals specialized in regional (Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, Western Europe, etc.) and functional issues (economic, strategic, environmental and other affairs). There are numerous World Wide Web sites dealing with globalization issues that can be consulted. Several of the most useful sites are listed in the appendix to this syllabus. You are welcome to check with me about the availability of other web sites.

Required Text (available at the Skidmore shop)

David Held & Anthony McGrew, eds. The Global Transformations Reader. An Introduction to the Globalization Debate; 2nd edition (Padstow, UK: Polity Press, 2004)

Other Sources (Not for purchase but helpful for consultation):

Martin Albrow: The Global Age: State and Society Beyond Modernity (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1997)
Samir Amin: Capitalism in the Age of Globalization: The Management of Contemporary Society (London, Zed Books, 1997)
Sarah Anderson, ed.: Views from the South: The Effects of Globalization and the WTO on Third World Countries (Chicago, Food First Books, 2000)

Richard Barnet and John Cavanagh: Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1994)
Zygmunt Bauman: Globalization: The Human Consequences (Cambridge, Polity Press, 1998)
Oliver Boyd-Barrett and Terhi Rantanen: The Globalization of News (London, Sage, 1998)
Ulrich Beck: What is Globalization? (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2000)
Sandra Braman and Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi: Globalization, Communication and Transnational Civil Society (New Jersey, Hampton Press, 1996)
Jeremy Brecher and Tim Costello: Global Village or Global Pillage: Economic Reconstruction From the Bottom Up (Boston, South End Press, 1994)
Lowell L. Bryan and Diana Farrell: Market Unbound: Unleashing global capitalism (New York, John Wiley, 1996)
Michel Chossudovsky: The Globalisation of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms (London, Zed Books, 1997)
Ian Clark: Globalization and Fragmentation: International Relations in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997)
Susan E. Clarke: The Work of Cities (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1998)

Thomas L. Friedman: The Lexus and the Olive Tree (Thorndike, ME: Thorndike Press, 1999)

William Greider: One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (New York, Simon & Schuster, 1997)
Satya Dev Gupta: The Political Economy of Globalization (Boston, Zed Books, 1997)

Jeff Haynes: Religion, Globalization, and Political Culture in the Third World (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1999)
David Held, ed.: Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999)
Andrew Herod, Gearoid O Tuathail, and Susan M. Roberts: An Unruly World? : Globalization, Governance, and Geography (New York, Routledge, 1998)
Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson: Globalization in Question (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 1999)
Ankie M.M. Hoogvelt: Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)
R.J. Holton: Globalization and the Nation-State (New York, Macmillan press, 1998)

Jeffrey James: Globalization, Information Technology and Development (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1999)

Ray Kiely and Phil Marfleet: Globalisation and the Third World (New York, Routledge, 1998)

Frank J. Lechner and John Boli, editors. The Globalization Reader (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2002)
Mark Lewis: The Growth of Nations: Culture, Competitiveness, and the Problem of Globalization (England, Bristol Academic Press, 1996)
Priyatosh Maitra: The Globalization of Capitalism in Third World Countries (Westport, Praeger, 1996)
James H. Mittelman: Globalization: Critical Reflections (Boulder, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996)
Zdravko Mlinar: Globalization and Territorial Identities (Vermont, Avebury, 1992)

Proshanta K. Nandi and Shahid M. Shahidullah: Globalization and the Evolving World Society (Boston, Brill, 1998)

Roland Robertson: Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (London, Sage, 1992)

Saskia Sassen: Globalization and Its Discontents (New York, New Press, 1998)
Robert K. Schaeffer: Understanding Globalization (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997)
Victor Segesvary: From Illusion to Delusion: Globalization and the Contradictions of Late Modernity (San Francisco, International Scholars Publications, 1999)
Manfred Steger, Globalism: The New Market Ideology (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2002)
Joseph E. Stiglitz: Globalization and its Discontents (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002)

Gary Teeple: Globalization and the Decline of Social Reform (New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1995)

Raimo Vayrynen: Globalization and Global Governance (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
Caroline Thomas and Peter Wilkin: Globalization and the South (New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997)
Malcolm Waters: Globalization (New York, Routledge, 1995)



September 8 - 13
1. What is Globalization?: The Multiple Facets of a Complex Phenomenon

Held & McGrew: The Great Globalization Debate: An Introduction (pp. 1-50)
Ngaire Woods: "The Political Economy of Globalization" in Ngaire Woods, ed., The Political Economy of Globalization (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), pp. 1-12.

September 15 - 22
2. Understanding Globalization: Theoretical Perspectives and Conceptualizations

Held & McGrew: Modelski (Globalization); Giddens (The Globalizing of Modernity); Held, McGrew, Goldblatt & Perraton (Rethinking Globalization); Kehoane & Nye (Globalization: What's New? What's Not? (And So What?)); Scholte (What is 'Global' about Globalization?); Rosenberg (The Problem of Globalisation Theory); Hirst & Thompson (Globalization - A Necessary Myth?); Hoffmann (Clash of Globalizations); Nye (Globalization and American Power); Hardt & Negri (Globalization as Empire).


September 27 - October 6
3. The Economic Dimension of Globalization: The Contemporary Face of Capitalism?

Held & McGrew: Dicken (A New Geo-economy); Castells (Global Information Capitalism); Hirst and Thompson (The Limits to Economic Globalization); Gilpin (The Nation-State in the Global Economy); Hettne (Global Market versus the New Regionalism); Scharpf (Globalization and the Political Economy of Capitalist Democracies); Rodrik (Has Globalization Gone Too Far?); Garrett (Global Markets and National Politics); Swank (The Effect of Globalization on Taxation, Institutions, and Control of the Macroeconomy)
Jeffrey Sachs: "International Economics: Unlocking the Mysteries of Globalization", Foreign Policy :110 (Spring 1998).

October 11 - 20
4. The Political Dimension of Globalization (I): The Transformation of the Nation-State in the Era of Globalization.

Held & McGrew: Strange (The Declining Authority of States); Mann (Has Globalization Ended the Rise and Rise of the Nation-State?); Kehoane (Sovereignty in International Society); Held (The Changing Structure of International Law: Sovereignty Transformed?); Clark (The Security State); Slaughter (Governing the Global Economy Through Government Networks); Mathews (Power Shift); Payne (Globalization and Modes of Regionalist Governance).
Hirst and Thompson, "Globalization, Governance and the Nation-State", in Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson, Globalization in Question (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), pp. 257-280.
**** October 13: Yom Kippur (No Class) ****

October 25 - November 1
5. The Political Dimension of Globalization (II): Global Governance and the New World Order

Held & McGrew: Rosenau (Governance in a New Global Order); Halliday (Global Governance: Prospects and Problems); Grew (Models of Transnational Democracy); Held (Cosmopolitanism: Taming Globalization); Dahl (Can International Organizations be Democratic? A Skeptic's View); Habermas (The Postnational Constellation); Pogge (Priorities of Global Justice); Kaldor (Global Civil Society); Brown (A World Gone Wrong?); Bull (Beyond the States System?).
Anne-Marie Slaughter, "The Real New World Order", Foreign Affairs 76:5 (Sept.-Oct. 1997)

**** November 1 : Mid Term Take-Home Exam Due in Class ****

November 3 - 10
6. The Cultural Dimension of Globalization: Examining the Trend toward Homogeneity

Held & McGrew: Robins (Encountering Globalization); Thompson (The Globalization of Communication); McChesney (The New Global Media); Tomlinson (Globalization and Cultural Identity); Smith (Towards a Global Culture); Norris (Global Governance and Cosmopolitan Citizens).
David Rothkopf, "In Praise of Cultural Imperialism?", Foreign Policy :197 (Summer 1997)

November 15 - 22
8. The Social Impact of Globalization: Global Trends toward Equality and Inequality
Held & McGrew: UND Report 1999 (Patterns of Global Inequality); Castells (The Rise of the Fourth World); Wade & Wolf (Are Global Poverty and Inequality Getting Worse?); Dollar & Kraay (Spreading the Wealth); Steans (Globalization and Gendered Inequality); Woods (Order, Globalizations and Inequality in World Politics); Stiglitz (The Promise of Global Institutions).

November 23 - 27: Thanksgiving Vacation

November 29 - December 6
7. The Environmental Dimensions of Globalization: Risks and Opportunities in the Emerging Global Conditions.

Lechner & Bolli, eds., The Globalization Reader – Part IX (Changing World Society – Introduction), pp. 371-373; World Commission on Environment and Development (From One Earth to One World), pp. 374-380; UNCED (Rio Declaration on Environment and Development), pp. 381-384; Wapner (Greenpeace and Political Globalism), pp. 385-391; Keck and Sikkink, (Environmental Advocacy Networks), pp. 392-399; Smith (Building Political Will after UNCED), pp. 400-405.


December 8 - 13
9. Is Further Globalization Inevitable? Is Globalization Manageable?: A Critical Assessment
Barber: "Jihad vs. McWorld", The Atlantic Monthly, March 1992.
Steger: Globalism: The New Market Ideology – Chapter 6 (Future Prospects), pp. 135-150.
Stiglitz, "The Way Ahead", in Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), pp. 214-252

**** December 13: Final Take-Home Due in Class ****


Alternative Information and Development Center (http://www.aidc.org.za/web/resources)
A South African NGO with extensive archives on globalization.
BBC-Globalisation (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/globalisation)
Information on transnational corporations and cultural globalization from the BBC.
Club of Rome (http://www.clubofrome.org/)
Information and resources on several global issues.
Economic Policy Institute (http://www.epinet.org)
Provides links to EPI press releases and several analytical articles on economic issues of trade and globalization.
Eurostep (http://www.eurostep.org)
European Solidarity Towards Equal Participation of People, an NGO that analyzes EU development cooperation and advocates increased civil society participation in issues of trade and development.
Focus on the Global South (http://www.focusweb.org)(http://www.
Site dedicated to regional and global policy analysis, micro-macro linking and advocacy work. FOCUS works with NGOs and people's organizations in Asia Pacific and other regions.
Foreign Policy in Focus (http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org)
A joint project that aims to forge a new global affairs agenda and increase the responsibility of the US as a global leader and partner.
Friends of the Earth (http://www.foei.org)
Articles on trade, finance, and the implications for just and sustainable development.
gapresearch.org (http://www.gapresearch.org)
The Globalisation and Poverty research program aims to address four gaps: the benefits gap, the resources gap, the policy gap and the legitimacy gap.
The Globalist (http://www.theglobalist.com)
A site "for global citizens, by global citizens," containing general information on globalization and original articles.
Globalization About.Com (http://www.globalizationabout.com)
Site that offers information on globalization in the news as well as public views of globalization.

Globalization and Human Rights (http://www.pbs.org/globalization/)
Site that offers information about a PBS special, Globalization and Human Rights, and provides links to other resources and sites.
The Globalization Research Center of Hawaii (http://www.globalhawaii.org)
Scholarly work on globalization.
The Globalization Website (http://www.emory.edu/SOC/globalization/)
A broad range of usefully organized information on globalization.
Institute for Public Accuracy (http://www.accuracy.org)
A group of researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for commonly marginalized perspectives.
Interhemispheric Resource Center (http://www.irc-online.org)
A group that focuses on aspects of the Mexican-US relationship but also provides information on many other issues of globalization.
International Centre For Trade and Sustainable Development (http://www.ictsd.org)
Site that provides articles and other resources while focusing on issues of development and the environment in the context of globalization.
International Gender and Trade Network (http://www.genderandtrade.net)
A system of seven autonomous regional networks that analyzes trade's impact on women, families and communities. In both English and Spanish, the site uses research and advocacy to promote "equitable, social and sustainable trade."
International Forum on Globalization (http://www.ifg.org)
The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is an alliance of sixty leading activists, scholars, economists, researchers, and writers formed to stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in response to the rapidly emerging economic and political arrangement called the global economy.
International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (http://www.simpol.org)
The ISPO presents a proposal of global cooperation to solve the globalization crisis facing today's world.
One World (http://www.oneworld.org/guides/globalisation/)
Link to the Big Issues section of Oneworld's site which offers basic information and articles about globalization.
OpenDemocracy.net (http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization/)
OpenDemocracy describes itself as "a global site for the exchange of experience, independent of vested interests and political parties." The section on globalization provides articles, interviews and discussions on relevant issues.
Polity Press (http://www.polity.co.uk/global)
The site of leading globalization scholars David Held and Anthony McGrew, it contains information on their research, their seminal Global Transformations series, and an outstanding list of globalization links.
Project Syndicate (http://www.project-syndicate.org)
This online resource of over 170 international newspapers in over 90 countries is an excellent source of information on globalization. In addition, renowned experts contribute monthly articles on subjects like economics and justice, world politics, development, the global economy and human rights.
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch (http://www.tradewatch.org)
Site that seeks to increase government and corporate accountability by providing articles and information on how to get involved.
Third World Network (http://www.twnside.org.sg/)
Link to articles and analysis of globalization within a larger section of economic issues. The site specializes in economic and trade policies, debates at the WTO and important issues in the global economy.
Transnational Institute (http://www.tni.org)
A prominent research institute in the Netherlands that offers articles, reports, seminars and lobbying information as a means of addressing various global problems through international cooperation.
UNESCO - Management of Social Transformations (http://www.unesco.org/most/)
Articles, reports, and other information. Provides in-depth coverage of some special issues such as, migration, urbanization, and the globalization of the drug trade.
World Policy Institute (http://www.worldpolicy.org)
This group publishes an online journal that addresses many different aspects of globalization.
Yale Global Online (http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/index/)
The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization publishes this online magazine, a great resource for current events and debates about international affairs.