Links to posts on defining globalisation, theories of globalisation; defining and measuring development, theories of development (modernisation, dependency, world-systems theory, neoliberalism, post-development); aid, trade and development; industrialisation and urbanisation, education, employment, gender and health as aspects of development; and the relationship between war and conflict, population, consumption and the environment and development.
In A-Level Sociology, this module deals with some of the following questions…
Why are some countries rich and others poor, and how can it be that so many people in the world are suffering from poverty, lack of education, lack of clean water, disease and war and conflict, while at the same time others in the world lives live of relative ease and comfort?
What if anything should and can rich and poor countries do to help the plight of the poorest, and is it actually possible for global humanity to manage and control the various global challenges we face – not only the immediate problems of poverty, hunger and disease, war and conflict, but human rights abuses and international migration, terrorism and other global crimes, and the environmental crisis?
Globalisation and Global Development – Good Resources – some good ‘hub sites’ which I recommend for exploring global development further – including links to agencies which monitor global development, such as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as a whole range of Non Government Organisations and independent development thinkers. Very much a work in progress (as of August 2017) and being updated constantly.
Trends in global wealth inequality and poverty – inequalities in global wealth have been increasing in recent years – this post explores some of the statistics on global wealth and poverty and introduces some possible explanations and solutions.
Defining Globalisation and Theories of Globalisation
Globalisation – Key Concepts and Definitions – Globalisation is one of the most contested words in the English language, so it should come as no surprise that sociologists have invented lots of concepts to describe it. This post provides some basic definitions of concepts such as ‘Americanisation’ and ‘Coca-Colonisation’.
Factors Contributing to Globalisation – This is a relatively neutral account of the technological, economic and cultural factors which have contributed to globalisation from Anthony Giddens.
What is Cultural Globalisation? This post explores processes such as cultural aspects of migration, the globalisation of food, sport and consumption as well as the globalisation of risk. It also explores detraditionalisation and asks whether or not there is any such thing as a global culture or global village emerging.
What is Economic Globalisation? Class notes exploring the growth of international trade, the growth of transnational institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, Transnational Corporations and the emergence of an international division of labour.
What is Political Globalisation? It’s a bit of a clumsy term – but the emergence of institutions such as the United Nations and the spread of liberal democracy around the world could be examples of political globaliastion.
Defining and Measuring Development
Defining Development – detailed class notes covering an introduction to the concepts of ‘development’ and ‘underdevelopment, exploring commonly used categorisations of countries such as more developed, newly industrialised and the least developed countries. This post also explores the cold-war origins of the concepts of first, second and third worlds and Eduardo Galeano’s criticisms of the supposed superiority of western capitalist-industrialist models of ‘development’.
Economic indicators of development – Gross National Income is often used as the primary indicator of development, this post explores some of the strengths and limitations of relying on it.
The Human Development Index – A combination of economic and social indicators of development used by the United Nations – combines GNI with life expectancy and years spent in school to provide a ‘development score’ for each country.
The Millennium Development Goals – what were the Millennium Development Goals, how did they measure development, and how much progress was made up to 2015?
The Global Peace Index – What is it, and How Useful is it? The Global Peace Index scores countries on how peaceful they are – using dozens of indicators such as military expenditure, number of war deaths and numbers of protests among other things. There is a case to be made that peacefulness is a useful indicator of development because lack of peace (i.e. war and conflict) are the main things which prevent development. More debatable is how valid the GPI is!
The United States – an underdeveloped country? For some reason Americans think they live in one of the most advanced countries on earth, but by many indicators of social development, they appear to be a less developed country.
Theories of development
Theories of development ask two basic questions: why are poor countries poor, and what strategies should they adopt to develop. For A level sociology you need to know about four basic theories: Modernization theory, Dependency (and World Systems) theory, Neoliberalism and People Centred Development, aka Post-Development. It would also be useful to have an understanding of Paul Collier’s Bottom Billion Theory and Jeffrey Sach’s work on the End of Poverty, as these build on and critique these previous four theories.
Modernization Theory – detailed class notes – Modernization theory emerged in America in the 1940s, and argued that the ‘third world’ was poor because of a number of internal barriers to development. They needed assistance from Western business and governments in order to provide the fuel for industrialization and to kick start the process of economic growth.
Modernisation Theory – revision Notes – a much briefer version of the post above.
Dependency Theory – detailed class notes – popular in the 1970s Dependency Theory is basically a Marxist theory of development which holds that the poverty in the developing world is due to a 400 year history of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism imposed on the rest of the world by European powers: the last 400 years of history has been a process through which Europe got rich by exploiting the rest of the world, keeping them poor. It follows that Dependency Theory holds that poor countries need to break away from the exploitative relations with the west and find their own revolutionary pathways to development – through socialism or nationalism for example.
Evaluate explanations of development and underdevelopment put forward by dependency theorists – an essay plan designed for A-level Sociology which covers both dependency and world systems theory, with evaluations from other theories of development
World Systems Theory – Probably best thought of as an extension of Dependency Theory – suggests the world is split into three zones – core – semi-periphery and periphery – which are locked into a chain of exploitation. The periphery can rise up, but only at the expense of other countries falling back down. More than any other theory, this sees the global capitalist system of production as the problem.
Neoliberalism – Very popular as a model of development in the 1970s and 1980s – this holds that there are three main things a country needs to do to develop – deregulate, privatise and lower taxes – it sees more free trade, less government interference and fewer restrictions on business as the path the development. Neoliberalism is very critical of the role of government aid in development.
The consequences of neoliberalism in India – a summary of aspects of Arundhati Roy’s ‘Capitalism: A Ghost Story’
Why Nations Fail – A summary of a recent book which gives an alernative explanation to the above ‘standard’ theories of underdevelopment.
The role of international organisations in development
The New Rulers of the World – summary of the documentary by John Pilger, which seems to be a pretty unambiguous dependency theory perspective on the role of the World Bank, the IMF, and Transnational Corporations in globalisation. The video focuses especially on their role in underdevelopment in Indonesia.
Aid, Trade and Development
A Summary of This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (first five chapters) – Naomi Klein provides some very clear evidence that neoliberal free-trade policies promoted by the World Trade Organisation are causing global warming. She further argues that governments (at the national and local level) need to regulate Transnational Corporations in order to protect the environment. Basically she argues against ‘Free Trade’ policies.
Education, Employment, Health and Development
Gender and Development
Statistics on gender inequality in the UK – according to international statistics on gender equality in the UK, we’re the 18th most gender equal country in the world, but is this actually true? This post looks at some limitations with international statistics on gender and development
Country Case Studies
War, Conflict and Development
Global Development Revision Notes
If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my Global Development Revision Notes –
53 Pages of revision notes covering the following topics within global development:
- Defining and measuring development
- Theories of development (Modernisation Theory etc)
- Aid, trade and development
- The role of organisations in development (TNCs etc)
- Industrialisation, urbanisation and development
- Employment, education and health as aspects of development
- Gender and development
- War, conflict and development
- Population growth and consumption
- The environment and sustainable development
Country Case Studies
Education in America
As a final word to teachers of A Level Sociology – I’m gonna put this out there – Global Development offers you the only chance on the whole syllabus to actually teach proper, contemporary sociology, rather than A-Levelled sociology. You should give it a go.