Other Worlds, Other Globalisations (PECO 5501F, PSCI 5501F, SOCI 5504F)

Course description*'

At one level, ‘globalisation’ - in the way that the term is normally understood and used - is all about civil society and what civil society is doing. Similarly, most research and writing on how certain ‘social’ movements are resisting such globalisation, on alternatives these movements are putting forward, and on how such initiatives themselves are part of a larger cultural globalisation, is largely only about civil movements. In other words, ‘civil society’ – that is, the civil parts of society, whether expressed as state, market, or civil movement – and ‘civilising the world’ are (though undeclared) at the heart of what is understood and projected as globalisation. In the minds of its proponents, globalisation is civil-isation.

This research-seminar course (OWOG) seeks to focus on, explore, and critically interrogate and comprehend other worlds and other globalisations : On how the world we live in is also being - and has historically been - profoundly globalised by ‘others’ and by other, more everyday, processes of globalisation. It will also look at how the processes that we see as ‘globalisation’ and of ‘civil-isation’ also trap and force those who are oppressed and/or marginalised by them to resort to other norms of social formation and other globalisations.

We will look at how, for instance, monks, migrants, and informal traders, and also slaves, spread cultures and religions over whole regions of the world, in history and today. We will also look at the dynamics and dialectics of what is called ‘civil society’, and at how indigenous peoples and the relentless migration of the working classes, the labouring poor, and religious and ethnic minorities in search of new futures (while retaining links with their origins) – in short, those who are rendered, by contradistinction, as the ‘incivil’ of the world –, are also powerfully globalising the world, but in other, everyday ways. Equally, we will also look at the globalising impacts of money trafficking and of the activities of those trapped in religious fundamentalism, human trafficking, and the drug trade.

In turn, I hope that these discussions will encourage course participants to suggest and define yet other and perhaps equally significant subjects, for their research and for presentation. We could look at, for instance, women and other globalisations, at music and globalisation, and at the Internet, or cyberspace, and globalisation.

Less work has perhaps been done in these areas than on what is today known as ‘globalisation’, at least as globalisation. This course will therefore both seek to explore and document the nature and dynamics of some of the other worlds that exist out there, in history, today, and that seem to be emerging, including but not exclusively as related to conventional processes of globalisation. We will also look at how, contemporarily, those who have been historically rendered as incivil are now coming into their own – and redefining the norms of civility, whether in the Americas or in Asia, and perhaps elsewhere too. It will therefore be a highly exploratory course.

Important for course participants to note is that I am by background an architect, activist, campaignist, and independent researcher in civil politics and not an academic - perhaps what some term a ‘scholar-practitioner’. The entire course will therefore be coloured by this : The reading material I suggest, the style of the sessions (where I come not as professor but as co-researcher and learner, and perhaps as facilitator), and the kind of outputs I am looking for. This course will be no less rigorous, but it may demand rigour in somewhat different ways. It will be a collaborative course, and I look forward to working with you in this exercise.

This course is related to and will (in terms of subject) intertwine with Sociology SOCI 5805, on ‘Challenging Empires : Open Space and Dissent’, which you might like to consider also taking.

The course has three parts :
Part 1 : Globalisation and Its Contents (Session 1 / S1 - S5)
Part 2 : Defining / Delineating Other Globalisations (S6 – S8)
Part 3 : Other Worlds, Other Globalisations – Course participant presentations (S9 – S12).

In the course of looking at the questions of ‘What is globalisation ?’ and ‘What is civil society / what are civil societies ?’ (in the plural), in the first Part (September and part of October) we will also explore the concept and possibilities of ‘incivil societies’ and the relationships between civil and incivil societies, and then move on to look at some different modes and realms of other globalisations.

The second Part (the rest of October) will be a time for collectively reviewing the ground we have covered, primarily in a mid-term review workshop, for course participants to formulate and put forward outlines for review essays and research papers, and for collectively defining further areas to be covered in the course – and for you to get down to researching and writing your papers. The ‘further ground’ over the next period will be covered both by course participants and the facilitator.

The third Part (November) will be focussed on opening up the further ground defined in the review workshop and on presentations by course participants of the material you are developing in your papers.

The course will end with a final Workshop to review the work of the course and to define agendas for possible further work, both by course participants and myself; and with submissions of research papers.

The main objective of the course is to explore and critically understand other worlds and other globalisations – and in the course of this, ‘globalisation’ and ‘civil society’. But the course has some further sub-objectives :

  • To critically locate ourselves, as individuals, with respect to these other worlds;
  • To improve our abilities in critical thinking, reading, writing, and presentation;
  • To develop a bibliography / bibliographies that can act as a resource for further work by participants in this course and also by others. The bibliography/ies will include written material, webspaces, films, plays, poetry, and other literature, all of which can and should form references for the course itself. Course participants are also welcome to suggest material in all these modes that we could display and look at during the course; and -
  • To have fun and to creatively explore the subject !

*I have benefited enormously from comments I have received on earlier drafts of this Outline, plus from sample outlines, reading lists, or other critical suggestions I have received, from : Anila Daulatzai, Arun Kumar, David Szanton, Fleachta Phelan, Giuseppe Caruso, Janet Conway, Jeff Juris, Julia Sánchez, Kolya Abramsky, Lee Cormie, Stellan Vinthagen, Subramanya Sastry, and Vanessa Andreotti. I thank them all.

'This present version of the Course Outline has been finalised on November 24 2006, near the end of the course. The Outline has therefore been modified both to update it in terms of information (such as guest lectures, sessions led by Course Participants, and readings) and also to reflect certain modifications that were agreed upon with the Course Participants. It is also an annotated version, giving some reflection of what actually took place.


Created by admin. Last Modification: Thursday 07 of December, 2006 19:47:45 GMT by admin.
The original document is available at http://critical-courses.cacim.net/twiki/tiki-index.php?page=OWOGDescription