Globalization’s growth as a concept examined

November 10, 2011  |   |  Comments
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Manfred Steger, headshot

Manfred Steger

Globalization is arguably the most powerful buzzword of modern times. Manfred B. Steger wants to trace how that happened.

Steger, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa professor of political science and Paul James of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia have been awarded a two-year $120,000 grant from the Australian Research Council for their research project Globalization and the Formation of Meaning: The Career of a Key Concept.

They will examine texts and contexts and interview the most prominent globalization experts in the English-speaking world to develop the first comparative history of the concept of globalization.

The term dates to 1930, according to some sources, and is generally defined as the elimination of barriers to trade, communication and cultural exchange. In economic context, globalization relates to the development of an increasingly integrated global economy characterized by free trade and free flow of capital to promote the inherent wealth of nations.

Steger holds a joint appointment as professor of global studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and serves as research leader of the Globalization and Culture Program in RMIT University’s Global Cities Research Institute. He has written widely on socialism and globalism, including Globalisms: The Great Ideological Struggle of the 21st Century and Globalization: A Very Short Introduction.

He has served as an academic consultant on globalization for the U.S. State Department and as an advisor to the PBS TV series, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. In a 2005 interview about that series, he described the anti-globalist movement as a 21st-century expression of the same impulse that created socialism in the 19th century—a desire for worldwide social justice, equality and solidarity that benefits everyone.

A native of Austria and a University of Hawaiʻi alumnus (BA and MA in political science ’90), Steger is a former competitive sportsman, truck driver, Zen monk and banker with eclectic interests from ancient Roman coins to alternative-energy cars. He holds a PhD from Rutgers University, has taught in the United States and Australia and describes himself as “an embedded cosmopolitan eternally in love with Hawaiʻi and its people.”

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