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Globalisation and Development

SO3230 Globalisation and Development (10 ECTS credits)

Lecturer(s): Dr Anne Holohan Dr Niall Gilmartin

Module Content/Outline:

Part I: Theories of Globalization

The first part of this module deals with theories of globalization. Globalization and Development are two much discussed and debated concepts. How should we understand and address them today? How are they linked? What are the trends in both globalization and development? How is our understanding of both globalization and development changing in light of the recent global economic crisis and persistent systemic weaknesses? Can an institutionalist approach improve thinking and practice in development? We will investigate the trends that are going to shape the world in the coming decades: increased interconnectedness, crises in existing economic, political and social institutions within nations and internationally; increasing pressure on natural resources; huge demographic shifts; a shifting in the geo-political balance of power, specifically the rise of China and India.

Part II:

Globalization and Development are two much discussed and debated concepts. As a systematic study of human interaction and behaviour, sociology offers us the theoretical and conceptual tools to uncover how social actors (institutions; civil society; businesses; migrants; consumers; terrorists) shape global processes. In this module we look at who are the actors in development, and how they relate to each other, and how this impacts the ongoing construction of the rules and institutions of our world. We examine new and unexpected “global governors” such as international sport federations. We look at the public (us) as an actor and at how we can improve our generally weaker positions through certain strategies of cooperation. We also explore climate change - what is the impact of these global power struggles on the environment? We also look at how and why the human body and human culture matter in globalization and development through a gender perspective. What happens to the dominant theories of development and globalization when the body matters, such as breastfeeding, are put centre stage? We also explore the centrality of gender and women’s labour (paid and unpaid) to global economies. The turbulence of recent history has propelled the issues of religious identity, conflict and terrorism to the forefront of academic studies and the public consciousness. Given this, what role does globalization and specific forms of development play in explaining what Samuel Huntington describes as the ‘clash of civilisations’ between the West and non-West? In addition, the propensity of the West to impose particular forms of governance and economies as ideal forms of conflict resolution has been the subject of much recent debate. But do such dominant models resolve, manage or exacerbate conflict?

Learning Objectives:

Students successfully completing this module will be able to:

  • Think critically about globalization and development issues as posed in the world today;
  • Understand the relationship between the economy, society and politics, in theory and in practice in relation to globalization and development;
  • Understand how globalization is impacting developed countries, the BRIC countries and the poorest countries;
  • Critique dominant neo-liberal economic approaches to development and globalization;
  • Analyze institutions at the macro-, meso- and micro- level of development;
  • Understand the role of breastfeeding, menstruation and access to toilets in development in a globalized world;
  • Analyze the role of culture, in particular, religion, in development in a globalized world


Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

One lecture and one tutorial per week.

Workload: Lectures: 22 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 44 hrs; Self-study: 162 hrs. Total: 250 hours.

Recommended Texts/ Key Reading:

  • Guthrie, D. (2009) China and Globalization, London: Routledge.
  • Gupta, D. (2007) Can India Fly? Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Palmer, G. (2009) The Politics of Breastfeeding. Pinter and Martin.
  • Stiglitz, J. (2003) Globalization and its Discontents. Penguin.


Part One of the module will be assessed by course work (50%). Part Two of the module will be assessed by exam (50%).

Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade

Examination: 1 x 3-hour end-of-year examination