GPS: Global Politics and Society

Global politics and society have been remade by processes of globalization.  By globalization, we mean the different ways nations, communities, and people are connected and disconnected across traditional boundaries. The dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic are but one example of these far-reaching processes. This course covers key concepts from three disciplines: political science, sociology and social anthropology.  It examines how interactions of large scale global processes, politics, and policies resonate in communities, social institutions and people's everyday lives. The course focuses upon the changing dynamics of global capitalism as these are manifest in the political, economic, social and cultural conditions across and within regions, nations, and communities.

Core themes include:

  • changes in global capitalism and related strains on communities, countries, and regions;
  • how global and local institutions respond to transnational challenges of extremism and violence;
  • global pressures that challenge nation states, societies and cultures;
  • global migration – who moves across borders, how, and why?;
  • transnational ecological and environmental challenges, like climate change and food security
  • popular struggles by people and groups who, like the World Social Forum, are convinced that ‘another world is needed’;
  • global (dis)integration seen in popular culture, like sports.

Through these themes, we will probe divisions of class, gender, ethnicity and race; the nature of culture and society; the contemporary relevance of the nation-state; changing forms of governance; prospects for conflict and co-operation; and the many faces of power and authority.

*This course meets the first-year requirement for either Political Science (POLI) or Sociology and Social Anthropology (SOSA). It is a full-year course, taught in a single semester (i.e., it counts as two half-classes).