WP1 – Conceptualisation of globalisation

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Starting to expand in the early 1990s and accelerating during the decade of the 1990s and up to the present the academic as well as the popular debate on globalisation has grown rapidly to become huge and wide (Cooper 2005). In order to bring out the main strands of reasoning in the academic debate attempts have been made by sociologists (Held 2005) and political scientists (Scholte 2005) to structure it into typologies. One common structuring principle for such a typology is to start classifying perspectives and arguments according to the potential perils and opportunities that globalisation in its contemporary form is thought to bring about for various regions, countries, social groups and stakeholders. Such a classification is outcome oriented and largely brings out two main categories here labelled pro-globalisation and anti-globalisation referring to the impact of globalisation. A finer classification within those categories will bring out a more nuanced typology including transformalist views. It can be assumed that authors who weigh the pros and cons of globalisation recognise that the world is actually experiencing globalisation. This can be contrasted with observers who argue that what we see today is neither a new process nor more encompassing than previous processes counted in the size of flows of capital and people. Whereas the early globalisation debate was dominated by economists more critical perspectives have entered from sociology, political science, geography and feminism to mention a few. It is now highly relevant to relate much of this theoretical reasoning and empirical work to the expanding field of sustainability research.
Doing that, one has to rethink much of the very interesting literature on globalisation.


  1. Synthesize our understanding of the academic literature on globalisation for locating its usefulness for a transition to sustainability.
  2. Synthesize the views of global governance and its role for sustainability.
  3. Locate Climate Regime in the institutions of global governance.
  4. Analyze the role of diffusion of new ideas and new technologies in globalization and their potential role for sustainability.

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