The Globalisation Debate
Anthony Giddens and Leslie Sklair

Seminar Introduction

Globalisation is a fervidly contested and often misunderstood concept. It has occupied and divided economists, sociologists and anti-capitalists alike. Anti-globalisation protestors have regularly and successfully picketed World Trade Organisation summits as part of their stand against the might of globalisation. Yet, many economists tout the benefits of increased trade, sophisticated telecommunications networks and cross-border investment to developing countries, pointing to the gains workers and unions throughout the world stand to make from closer integration.

Most people seem to know whether they are for or against globalisation, without pausing to consider what exactly it is and where its effects can be seen. Globalisation might be a term too slippery to be closely defined, but it is a vibrant debate worth engaging in.

In this seminar two major sociologists put forward their versions of globalisation. For Anthony Giddens, it is a phenomenon characterised by fundamental changes in the world economy, the communications revolution and trade between nation-states in physical commodities, information and currency. For Leslie Sklair, globalisation should be seen as a new phase of capitalism, one that transcends the unit of the nation-state. In an interview, he introduces the globalisation debate and stakes out his position within it.


Learning Objectives:
  • Identify the arenas in which globalisation is visible and in which it makes an impact.
  • Describe the relationship between globalisation and inequality in the developed and the developing world.
  • Define and describe the role of government in managing the forces of globalisation.
  • List the factors which support the argument that globalisation is a new phase of capitalism.
  • Compare and contrast Anthony Giddens' and Leslie Sklair's definition of and approach to globalisation.
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