Course Schedule


(De-)Globalisation (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Ben Trott

wöchentlich | Dienstag | 18:15 - 19:45 | 13.10.2020 - 26.01.2021 | Online-Veranstaltung

Inhalt: Throughout the 1990s, scholars working across the humanities and social sciences, journalists and commentators, politicians, labour movements, artists and cultural practitioners, social and political activists, and many others, turned increasing attention – critical or otherwise – towards the phenomenon of ‘globalisation’. Working in the field of International Relations, Jan Aart Scholte traced the first English language use of the term to 1959, with ‘notions of “globality” as a condition’ starting to circulate in the 1980s. Similar terms came into use in the final decades of the twentieth century in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Finnish, Nepalese, Timorese and many other languages. For Scholte, globalisation was best understood in terms of the emergence of ‘transplanetary’ and particularly ‘supraterritorial’ social relations and connections. The wave of decolonisations that had taken place throughout the second half of the twentieth century, the liberalising reforms introduced in China under Deng Xiaoping from the end of the 1970s onwards, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, were all often seen as having accelerated processes of social, political, economic and cultural globalization. This was a period in which the mobility of capital, commodities, labour and humanity markedly increased. New information and communication technologies contributed to, or were at least caught up with, the rise of global (digital) cultures, new forms of community and of (hybrid) identity. And a series of challenges and problems – from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to anthropogenic climate change – came to be understood as global in scope. However, since the turn of the millennium, many have argued that globalisation has stalled – and some have even suggested that a ‘de-globalisation’ is underway. The emergence of new geopolitical blocs has sometimes been understood as representing a global fragmentation, just as borders appear to be growing in number and importance. Nationalist and ‘sovereigntist’ parties and politicians have been elected around the world. The processes of urbanisation that marked the development of industrial capitalism have continued apace throughout an era that has been marked by ‘post-industrialisation’; yet important counter-tendencies have also emerged, towards both ‘re-peasantisation’ (from China to Latin America) and ‘re-primarization’ (with a growth in agriculture, mining and resource extraction). Supranational unions and multilateral organisations that previously stood as symbols of a globalising world – from the European Union to the World Trade Organisation – have been plunged into repeated crises. The political ideology and the electoral coalitions that defined the ‘Third Way’ now appear almost everywhere in crisis – this was an approach most fully theorized by globalization sociologist Anthony Giddens and that was associated with the Blair, Schröder and Clinton governments. But it had also been adopted by governing parties around the world: from South Korea and Taiwan over New Zealand to Chile and Argentina. The ‘mode of regulation’ and the ‘regime of accumulation’ (to borrow concepts from the French Regulation School of political economy) which defined the era of post-Fordism and globalised neoliberalism also appear to be breaking down. And 2006-2008 saw a multi-dimensional crisis of global capitalism that has never been fully resolved: a food and energy price crisis, a crisis of ‘over-accumulation’, of credit and indebtedness, of legitimation and hegemony, and of ‘social reproduction’ (i.e. the capacity to meet basic needs and desires). Most recently, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘just-in-time’ supply chains have broken down and many have demanded a return to domestic production in industries and sectors that have long been outsourced. This seminar engages with key interdisciplinary contributions to the theorisation and critical analysis of globalisation and its contemporary trajectories – including those towards fragmentation, polarisation, and ‘de-globalisation’. Over the course of the semester, students will engage with these questions from the perspectives of political philosophy and political economy, sociology and political theory, world-systems analysis and post-colonial thought, cultural studies and queer approaches to international relations. Students will read works by: Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Saskia Sassen, Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson, Immanuel Wallerstein, Leela Gandhi, Giovanni Arrighi, Paul Gilroy, Quinn Slobodian, Lisa Lowe and Kris Manjapra, Silvia Federici, Arlie Russel Hochschild, and Rahul Rao.