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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The field of global studies and the study of globalization are intertwined. This chapter traces the emergence of the study of globalization from isolated elaborations in the 1950s to the bourgeoning of the field of global studies across the turn of the century to the present. The chapter seeks to explain the intermediate context for the explosion of attention to the question of globalization. It argues that two key clusters of social change stand out: the changing nature of globalization across the middle to late twentieth century linked to uneven challenges to the assumed dominance of modernization; and the paradigm shift in social enquiry and intellectual practice, particularly in the ways of understanding theory. This second shift is used to explore a further quandary: Why did the new field of global studies tend to defer questions concerning the “why” of globalization to concentrate on issues concerning “how” and “what”?

Keywords: globalization, global studies, theory, explanation, modernization

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