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IR115: Culture and Globalisation

International Relations

Course Content

Globalisation is one of the most important dynamics of contemporary social life. The world is increasingly interconnected, and some pundits even talk of life in a ‘global village’. But what does globalisation really entail? And what are the cultural forces that shape it? This course explores these key questions, largely from the vantage point of anthropology—the social science that has done the most to help us understand culture. We begin by considering the relationship between the culture concept and globalisation, since it is so often a concern with culture that animates the debates about globalisation. Is a ‘clash of civilisations’ inevitable in our globalised world? Does the emergence of a ‘global village’ spell the end of cultural difference? 

As an introductory course, students need not have a background in anthropology. After considering the basic tenets of the culture concept in relation to globalisation, the lectures move on to consider a number of related topics, including: economic development and transnational corporations; the influence of globalisation on tourism; the role of cultural knowledge in the ‘global war on terror’; human rights; cultural identity in a geo-political perspective; and global media networks. There will also be a lecture on the London 2012 Olympics and globalisation.

Readings for the course are organised around a set of important anthropological pieces, but also include perspectives from sociology, political science, media studies and journalism. The readings are complemented by interactive on-line exercises as well as the discussion and analysis of film, news clips, and other media sources. The class also takes a fieldtrip to Tower Hamlets in London, to the areas around Brick Lane, to complement readings on migration.   


There is no set text for this course. Course materials will be distributed in the first lecture.

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice



Session: Two

Dates: 27th July – 14th August 2015

Lecturer: Professor Matthew Engelke|

Level: 100 level |

Fees: Click here| for information

Prerequisites: None

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One essay and one written examination

Typical credit**: 3 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)


How to apply?|

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*assessment is optional – see FAQ’s|

**You will need to check with your home institution. Read more about credit transfer here|.