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From global events to local exams


Course Overview

The Exam

Writing for exams

The Exam

Make sure you check for yourself!

The exam is three hours long

You are required to answer THREE questions from a selection of TEN

What do you want to ask?

What do I want? 

The most important thing is to demonstrate a CRITICAL understanding of globalisation

Showing this understanding is much more important than remembering facts e.g. ‘Social media, particularly Facebook, have revolutionised social relationships in the 21st century’ is equal to ‘Social media, especially Facebook which was created in 2004 and has 1.23 billion active users, have revolutionised social relationships in the 21st century’

Being critical requires you to evaluate different sides of an argument in order to develop your position, as well as integrating information from different parts of the module

What I need… 

I really want you to pass!

Succeeding in exams is often a matter of preparation and organisation  Turning

up.  Studying the right things.  Writing the key things.

Selecting questions 

You must select three questions to answer, but I recommend that you prepare for five


Each of these questions requires extensive research and revision, so select questions and themes you are interested in

Key tip: See if you can choose areas that allow you to combine your research

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Introduction to globalisation Global and the local Capitalism Media and globalisation Cultural imperialism or cultural diversity Family Poverty Climate change Urbanisation Terrorism and surveillance

Using BlackBoard 

All the slides are available on Blackboard

These slides can be used to orientate you to the main debates for each topic and the links provide examples of these discussions

It is very important for you to read beyond these links to strengthen your understanding

The Panopto recordings allows you to find lecture discussions

Organising your study 

Each lecture and each exam question is based upon a debate: to what extent…?

Once you have selected your topics, identify the main debates

What are the main arguments in response to these debates?

Read critically to expand your understanding of these debates

Work out what you think and why

You need to read!

Course Overview

What is globalisation? According to Giddens (1990, p.64), globalisation is: “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa�

We are being critical of the affect of global structures upon local agencies

Our Questions 1.



How do global structures affect our local interactions and vice versa? How have changes in global structures been experienced by different peoples? What are the future consequences and challenges of living in a more global world?

Intensified connectiorns 

Connections between peoples have intensified across time and space

More communication and influence outside of immediate environment (space) 

Quicker interactions between people separated by space (time) 

Distance becomes less important in social relations

The compression of time means that the time previous taken for social interaction to occur has been reduced

These changes have led to a progressive deterritorisation, meaning that our location is less important

The global village 

The development of a global consciousness suggests both an increasingly interconnected society, but also a singular global sense of humanity


The question is whether this village is connected but diverse, or connected and increasingly homogenous

Does globalisation mean a more similar global culture, or an increasing range of influences? If there is increasing homogeneity, is this one culture imposing itself upon the others?

The importance of the local 

We discussed how nations are ‘imagined’ constructions that often define local identities

For many people nationhood is a defining attachment, particularly when there is a perceived threat

Is the nation-state still relevant? 

Whilst nationhood provides a powerful sense of identity for some and is the organising principle for many states, it has come under threat from a number of sources: The emergence of global political and economic institutions  The spread of global cultures  The presence of multiple national identities within a nation-state  A return to localist politics 

Nation-state and national identity as primary organising structures vs. Has the intensification of global connections made local identities and organisation irrelevant?

What is capitalism? 

Capitalism is the social system in which capital is allowed to be accumulated 

Capital is owned by private individuals or conglomerations of private individuals (shareholders)

Surplus from production is able to be accrued by private individuals

Commodities, including labour, are able to be purchased at a price set by the ‘market’

Individuals are presumed to act in their self-interests and make rational choices

Globalisation as global capitalism 

Capitalism is naturally expansive

In order to find places to invest money, the owners of capital are always searching for new markets and new consumers

Going in search of these markets, capitalism has expanded across the world through multi-national companies and global economic reform

We are living in an era of decreased poverty, increased inequality, as well as continued ‘exploitation’(?)

The Debate 

Supporters of free market capitalism argue that capitalist societies do have ‘winners’ and ‘losers’

The winners have achieved their success by being entrepreneurial and working hard

Marxist’s and other critics of capitalism suggest that wealth is accumulated through privilege and exploitation

Those who start with resources are able to employ workers who are paid less than the value they create

Progress for the rich vs. Progress for all

Mediating the global village 

The media ‘mediate’ communication between distant peoples

Consequently, how we understand the world around us is largely determined by how it is represented for us

The dynamics of this representation have been largely determined by the construction of a global communications system that has challenged the role of traditional local media

Globalisation as a private sphere 

The global communications system is primarily controlled by transnational media corporations

The explicit goal of these corporations is profit, rather than the public good

As Western corporate media becomes more dominant, there has been a fear that we are entering into a new stage of ‘cultural’ imperialism

The Difficulty 

Cultural imperialism, which includes the spread of Western values and the process of ‘McDonaldisation’ is based upon a mass consumption model of media

Cultures, people and media are highly differentiated and actors are locally situated and are active consumers of information

Moreover, the rise of the internet has allowed much more active participation in media

The plurality of social media 

Social, or new, media encourages and relies upon audience participation

Social media has redefined media participation and geographical boundaries

It may be corporate owned, but breaks with the major critique of corporate media: that media is a one-way form of communication

These forms of participative media give rise to the hope of a mediated ‘cultural pluralism’

Diversity vs. sameness

Globalising Socialising 

Family is one of the most enduring aspects of the human condition across time and cultures

Families provide our initial mode of socialisation, turning individual bodies into social beings

There are, however, strong debates around the meaning of ‘family’ and the means through which it socialises us

Specifically, is the family a ‘natural’ and thus culturally universal element of human nature, or a cultural practice?

The global family 

Global processes have also challenged traditional family structures, provoking significant social anxiety

It was argued that economic industrialisation would favour the ‘nuclear family’ model

Yet, whilst globalisation has a clear affect on local cultures, many family formations and practices remain unchanged

The strongest changes appear to be the role of women, who are becoming less dependent upon men, with resultant drops in fertility and changes in labour patterns

Family as universal vs. Family as culturally specifically

The flat earth hypothesis 

Poverty can be divided into two categories: absolute and relative

Absolute poverty has fallen substantially, leading to suggestions that we live in an ‘age of convergence’

Increased economic interconnectedness has led to the expansion of the benefits of capitalism and movements up the ‘development ladder’

Inequality for all 

Whilst global wealth has grown, inequality has expanded significantly during the same period


We in the West are also becoming affected by the same processes that are causing difficulties elsewhere

Greater opportunities for all

Greater economic interconnectedness Greater exploitation for many

Climate change and globalisation 

Climate change IS occurring on a global scale, but is felt locally

Emissions are produced locally, but go into a global ecological system

Action requires local changes to help distant areas for no particular benefit of the polluting locality

Climate change is thus a test of the power of global consciousness

The end of the world 

The world will not blow up, but it will make it significantly harder for some people to live in some places    

Rising sea-levels will flood some areas More regular natural disasters will make living in some places unviable Rising temperatures will melt mountain snow, drying up rivers and ending vital sources of water Rising temperatures will make growing crops in some areas impossible

The scarcity of resources leads to fears of increased conflict

The Problem 

If ending poverty requires an expansion of global production (capitalism) so that more people have more resources…

… and the climate change is stimulated by economic production

Then we have a direct contradiction between the needs of capitalism and the needs of the people

The developed world have produced the most

Emissions need to be reduced Emissions are rising most in the poorer areas of the world

People movers 

The 21st century is the first time that the world has been more urban than rural

Urbanisation is most identifiable in the ‘global’ cities of the Western world

These cities has allowed elite portions of humanity to flourish, bringing young and talented people together

Cities tend to have greater opportunities for employment, higher wages and higher productivity

They can also produce anxiety, alienation and isolation

Slumming it 

On the other hand, the majority of urbanisation is occurring outside of the Western world


These developments have formed mass slums and megacities


Urban areas provide a greater chance of work (if not employment) attracts a multitude of migrants

Urban population density as civilised progress vs. Urban areas as the location for human misery

The End of History? 

Human history is often thought of as a story of continuous struggle

The fall of communism at the end of the 20th Century suggested that the ‘End of History’ had arrived

American conservative political scientist Francis Fukuyama stated: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

Maybe not… 

The events of 9/11 suggested that clashes of ideology, or between civilisations, may not have ended

Security fears have come to dominate the Western world

The notion of ‘with or against us’ has revealed the precariousness of Western led globalisation

Continued progress

Intensified cultural connections Clash of civilisations

From the start 

Know where you are going: check out the room and how long it takes to get there

Give yourself a moment to orientate yourself to the room

Read the instructions and consider your questions

Smile and breath!

Getting Started 

The first thing you should do is select your essay questions and write down the key facts and outlines of your essays

Doing so will ensure that you will remember the key moments/evidence in your writing

It also takes the pressure off your remembering information at the end of the exam when your concentration is drained

Writing for exams

Focus on 1.




Fundamentals of exam essay writing 

You have been asked a question: provide an answer as directly as possible

Make sure that your argument is very clearly structured

Focus on having very clear topic sentences and linking ideas together

Clarity 

Clear writing is essential to help the marker understand your point

Know what you want to say before you begin

Shorter sentences and paragraphs are easier to understand: use them wisely

Make sure your hand writing is legible

One final hint‌

Make sure I can read it!

Almost final things 

I am available to meet or over email, although the university is closed over Easter


If you have any opportunity to participate in my research, please do email me on


Please complete the module evaluation survey


Overview and exam prep 2014  
Overview and exam prep 2014