Defining Globalisation


  • Much of this paper appears in Jan Aart Scholte, Globalization: A Critical Introduction, first published in 2005 by Macmillan Press Ltd., reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan.


A clear and precise definition of globalisation is crucial to advance contemporary knowledge and policy. When taken to mean internationalisation, liberalisation, universalisation or westernisation, ideas of globalisation reveal little new. Important novel insight is opened when globalisation is understood as the spread of transplanetary – and in recent times also increasingly supraterritorial – connections between people. That said, this conception needs to be carefully qualified in order to avoid globalist excesses.