This paper will be a traditional academic research essay in terms of purpose and structure. You will use a specific case (or two) to put forward a general argument about globalization which you develop out of the case description. This is basically the approach of our textbook, where each author explores a specific case(s) and concludes by making a general argument about the broader phenomenon in a context of globalization. For example, in Chapter 4, Carl Death uses the case of the fossil fuel divestment movement to say something about environmental politics and even broader, governmentality. In a more mundane example (not suitable for the paper assignment!), consider that this is the same as researching a Tesla car and using what you learn about it to make two arguments: one about electric vehicles in a general sense, and another (at an even broader level) about tackling environmental problems and climate change. Exactly what you argue and conclude will be dependent on what you discover in the case study component. Ideally, you will find a way to link to the politics of globalization via your topic/case. Remember that ‘politics’ refers to how power is used to produce certain outcomes, and goes beyond elections and parties!
Your goal will be twofold: (1) write a thorough description of your case, explaining the key dynamics, giving a historical background, and illustrating the globalization link; and (2) formulate a thesis or main argument about the broader topic and globalization more generally, drawing on what you have learned in the case exploration and description. You can select any aspect of globalization – economic, political, cultural, environmental, technological, etc. Some things to consider at the broader level of ‘what does this say about globalization?’ might include: Does your case show the emergence of new forms of identity/order? How are states/sub-state actors coping with globalization? What is global governance and is it problematic? What roles do non-state actors (specific ones) play in globalization (your focus area within it)?
Structure/Formating of the Paper (please read very carefully, and follow this exact guideline)
In terms of formatting, please use a standard 12-point font with 1.5 or double line spacing and standard 1-inch margins. Come up with a creative or merely descriptive title for the paper. You do not need a separate title page, but please put the title, your name and your student number on the first page at the top.
(Additional info): Using section headings is a good policy for improving organization and readability. Think in terms of sections and use as many as you need to properly organize your thoughts.
I suggest a simple one: Introduction (give precise thesis in this section); Case study/studies; Analysis of the broader context (using lessons from your case study(ies); Conclusion
As for sources, you should use relevant course readings (which will be uploaded) and additional outside sources, which can be scholarly and credible non-scholarly sources (news items, etc.). I would like to see at least 10 sources, more than half of which should be scholarly. Ideally, you will have more. Course readings count as scholarly sources. The best marks will be earned by those who use some external readings as scholarly sources (not just the course readings).
The following are suggested topics for the paper. You are required to choose one of these. Clearly, these are just general topics and need further development.
• Transnational social movements (there are numerous examples of these, but the basic point is that they are social movements that have made some efforts to reach across national borders to work with other like-minded movements – you would do your paper on one specific movement)
• The ‘global supermarket’ (the global economy of food)
• Primary commodities and worker oppression (chocolate, minerals, etc.)
• Rights of indigenous peoples (could be related to transnational social movements)
• Outer space – exploration, resources, conflicts, private vs. public role?
• Human rights (UDHR, UN conventions, Geneva Conventions)
• Humanitarian intervention (ICC, laws of war, ‘just war’ theory)
• Weapons of mass destruction – proliferation, limitation, agreements, etc.
• “epistemic communities” – the diffusion of global knowledge and norms (e.g., climate science and the IPCC)
• Globalization as ‘hybridization’ – cultural aspects such as music, film, fashion, art – cultural appropriation vs. cultural infusion/sharing
• Internet rights
• Borders, security and globalization – transcendence? Change? Status quo?
• Private forms of global governance – corporate codes of conduct (corporate social responsibility), credit rating agencies, Basel Accords on global banking/finance
• The Global Seed Vault – technical/environmental cooperation and a form of global governance
• Rights of migrants/refugees (could be a specific case of migration)
• Global populist reaction against globalization – rise of authoritarian responses
• Successful aspects of global governance – IATA, UPU, WMO, etc.
• Cyber warfare/cyber crimes – how to deal with?
• Various aspects of global governance, including: environment (IPCC, Paris Agreement/COP, Kyoto, etc.) – human trafficking/sex tourism/illegal workers – UN system (reform?) – WTO, TRIPS, etc. – fair trade – global commodity chains
• Export Processing Zones (EPZs)
Let me address two issues to clear some things up and help you to understand the paper assignment better.
First, the question has been asked what “key dynamics” means. Essentially, this is a common academic catchphrase that refers to the major driving forces (processes, actors, elements, relationships, etc.) in a particular issue.
Breaking it down, I think you understand that “key” means centrally important. What does “dynamics” mean? A dictionary definition of the term is a good place to start: “The forces and motions that characterize a system” and “The social, intellectual, or moral forces that produce activity and change in a given sphere”. For example, think about going on a night out with a group of your friends. If I ask “What are the major dynamics in the group?”, you could talk about how different people relate to one another, how decisions are made, how disagreements are resolved, etc. If you wanted to understand how an internal combustion engine works, you would need to understand how all the parts of the engine relate to and work with one another. Those are the dynamics of the system (the engine, in that case).
When thinking about a topic that would fit within this course, consider a case or an example such as: “the 2008 global financial crisis”. What were the main dynamics there, both in how it happened and how it was resolved? You would list the main governments involved, major banks, credit rating agencies, etc. You would also mention privatization, deregulation, financial capitalism, technology, etc. How did those things relate to one another?
In short, describing the ‘key dynamics’ of something means you are naming and discussing the main elements and how they interact with one another and with what results. It’s a common and necessary part of describing and explaining something, although it’s not always expressed in those terms.
Second, there is often some confusion about how to move from case study(ies) to general argument about globalization or at least the broader topic. Let’s say I have some interest in post-conflict resolution (how it is done, what strategies work best, etc.). So for this paper, I decide I am going to write on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-Apartheid South Africa. Keep in mind the truth and reconciliation model is only one possible way to resolve a conflict and establishing a lasting peace. And I am only looking at ONE such case. I will fully describe the case in South Africa, giving a history of it, how it played out, and some of the evaluations of its effectiveness. Then, I will propose a broader argument about post-conflict resolution IN GENERAL, based on what I learned from the specific case of the TRC in South Africa. I would conclude with some reflections on how this is a part of globalization broadly conceived (e.g., spread of cosmopolitan values, human rights).
Regarding the suggested topics on the paper guidelines, for the most part THEY ARE NOT CASES. Except for a few specific examples (cases) like the Global Seed Vault, the ICC, or some other organizations listed after their broader topic), what I have provided for you is a list of broad topic areas. Generally, you will still need to identify a SPECIFIC CASE within that area.
For instance, take ‘Export Processing Zones’. You need to choose a specific EPZ in the world as your case. EPZs is not your case, it’s a broad category. The ‘maquiladora’ sector in Mexico is one such example. That would be your case A simple search for EPZ will turn up sources that lead you to specific EPZs. Your tentative thesis will be about EPZs in general, and even about global trade in general. So, in this example, (1) Broad topic = EPZs; (2) specific case = maquiladora sector in Mexico; (3) tentative thesis about EPZs and global trade; (4) broader reflections on the meaning of this for globalization.
You should not do a paper just on “human rights” in general terms and then make a conclusion about globalization. Instead, you would focus on something concrete within the human rights topic area (such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and then make a conclusion about human rights in general, culminating in some general argument(s) about globalization based on the lessons learned from the case(s).
And remember, the course is on the politics of globalization, and as I’ve tried to show in lectures, for me that means that we look at how globalization, in its various forms and structures, is shaped by power among different groups as they interact in pursuit of sometimes-clashing interests.
A key question in political analysis is always: Who gains from things being this way? And who loses? That will lead us back to: Why did policies, laws, regulations, etc., end up this way to produce this outcome? How might things change to shift benefit?
Some final points on creating a thesis and other issues:
• Start with a tentative question, then answer it for yourself as you research and write the paper
• REMEMBER: The thesis is not a topic statement; it is a clear and concise declaration of specifically what you will argue in the paper (that is, what you will conclude about your question)
• It’s okay (and expected) to have a main argument about your specific case, BUT you also need to take that to a higher level as well by using it to reflect on the broader topic(s) of which it is a part
• For example, your paper is on credit rating agencies and their role within and impact on the global economy (perhaps you choose to focus on the 2008 financial crisis to illustrate your argument that they have a very big impact on global finance) – you can then take this broader to suggest that private (for-profit) actors like credit rating agencies are increasingly important contributors to global governance, but they are problematic since they are driven by profit motives rather than long-term systemic stability (presumably the goal of governance)