The struggle to define Global Studies

I think that it’s helpful to have a succinct definition of Global Studies. I’ve discussed possible definitions before in this blog, but my thoughts have evolved with time. I’ve also tried to come up with an answer that’s a single sentence.: “Global Studies is the interdisciplinary exploration of global issues in a way that refers to globalization in all its forms, whether economic, political, cultural, digital or biological.”

I think that to study any major issue entails an interdisciplinary perspective, which is why I’ve placed that term at the forefront of the definition. I also think that it is helpful to use the term “global” rather than “international” for two reasons. First, anything that happens in another country can be conceived of as “international,” no matter how limited in scope. Second, what is distinct in our field is how it looks at processes at a global level, which entails some engagement or relevance beyond any single world region. This approach entails a broader perspective than that entailed by an issue that may cross only a single border.

Shawn Smallman, May 2016


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