Sociology Online Readings for Global Shift 7th Edition

Compiled by David Inglis, University of Exeter

1           What in the World is Going On?

Axford, B. (2014) Theories of Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell. [An exceptionally comprehensive setting out of the ways in which different disciplines have sought to understand globalization.]

Bauman, Z. (1999) Globalization: Human Consequences. Cambridge: Polity. [A highly influential analysis of the often detrimental aspects of globalization written by a major social commentator.]

Robinson, W. I. (1998) Beyond nation-state paradigms: Globalization, sociology, and the challenge of transnational studies. Sociological Forum, 13 (4): 561‒594. [A compelling argument in favour of moving away from nation-state centred ways of thinking, towards examining processes that go above, beyond and through national borders and boundaries.]

Robertson, R.  (1994) Globalisation or glocalisation?. Journal of International Communication, 1(1): 33‒52 [An influential account of how geographical location and national and regional cultures have effects on macro-level globalization processes, changing these in multiple ways.]

Part One - The changing contours of the global economy

2          The Centre of Gravity Shifts: Transforming the Geographies of the Global Economy

Gereffi, G. (2005) ‘The Global Economy: Organization, Governance and Development.’ In N. Smelser  and R. Swedberg (eds) Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press and Russell Sage Foundation. [A very accessible overview of the structure and operation of the global economy.] 

Abu-Lughod, J. (2000) New York, Chicago, Los Angeles: America's Global Cities. St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press. [This book shows how the histories of cities and regions very much impacts on how they are structured by, and respond to, globalization forces.]

Fenby, J. (2014) Will China Dominate the 21st Century?. Cambridge: Polity. [A book giving an excellent overview of the rise to global power of the Chinese state.]

Lo, V. I. and Hiscock, M. (2014) The Rise Of The Brics In The Global Political Economy: Changing Paradigms?. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. [This comprehensive book charts the reasons for the rise of the BRIC economies (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China), and looks at the various consequences of their development, both within those countries and across the world.]

Part Two - Processes of global shift

3          Tangled Webs: Unravelling Complexity in the Global Economy

Castells, M. (2000) Materials for an Exploratory Theory of the Network Society. The British Journal of Sociology, 51(1): 5‒24. [An early but still highly useful contribution towards understanding how electronic networks can transform social relations, institutions, practices and identities.]

Sassen, S. (2006) A Sociology of Globalization. New York: W. W. Norton. [This book considers the role of digital networks in the global economy and how national governments relate to these.]

Urry, J. (2000) Global Complexity. Cambridge: Polity. [This book presents an analysis of how to conceptualise complex networks that stretch across the globe and the effects of these in transforming economic political and social relations.]


4          Technological Change: ‘Gales of Creative Destruction’

McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q. and Agel, J. (2001 [1968]) War and Peace in the Global Village. Berkeley and Hamburg: Gingko Press. [A very early but still intriguing and productive analysis of how different forms of media have transformed time and space.]

Ernst, D. (2002) Global production networks and the changing geography of innovation systems: Implications for developing countries. Journal of the Economics of Innovation and New Technologies, 11(6): 497‒523. [This paper analyses how globalization processes are changing the patterns of economic innovation and creativity, both reproducing and altering hierarchies in the process.]

Knorr-Cetina K. and Preda, A. (2007) The temporalization of financial markets: From network markets to flow markets. Theory, Culture and Society, 24(7-8):123–145. [A paper written by leading sociologists of economy and technology, which considers the technological and social mutations being undergone by financial markets at the present time.]

Crang, M. (1999) Globalization as conceived, perceived and lived space. Theory, Culture and Society, 16(1): 167‒177. [This paper shows that the understanding of globalization requires us to think about various different levels of space and spatial relationships so as to grasp the complexities of how globalization is transforming social relations in general, and economic ones in particular.]


5         Transnational Corporations: The Primary ‘Movers and Shapers’ of the Global Economy

Dicken, P. (2007) Economic Globalization: Corporations. In G. Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Globalization. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 291‒306. [An excellent overview of the roles played by corporations within economic globalization processes.]

Sklair, L. (2002) Globalization: Capitalism and Its Alternatives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [A critical account of the history and current organisational practices of transnational corporations, which emphasises their socially detrimental effects.]

Carroll, W. K. and Sapinski, J.-P. (2010) The global corporate elite and the transnational policy-planning network, 1996‒2006: A structural analysis. International Sociology, 25(4): 501–538. [This papers considers the different forms of connection that exist between high level executives and managers in transnational corporations, highlighting how closely connected different companies are in terms of sharing elite personnel.]

Buhlmann, F., David, T. and Mach, A. (2013) Cosmopolitan capital and the internationalization of the field of business elites: Evidence from the Swiss case. Cultural Sociology, 7(2): 211‒229. [This paper illustrates a shift in the nature of the personnel of corporations, showing how globally recognised skills and qualifications are now more important for successful careers than are more nationally based capacities.]


6          The State Really Does Matter

Hirst, P. and Thompson, G. (1996) Globalization in Question. Cambridge: Polity. [A classic and highly critical dissection of claims that globalization has produced a borderless world, focussing on the continuing power of national governments to shape economic practices.]

Ohmae K. (2008) The End of the Nation State: The Rise of Regional Economies. New York: HarperCollins. [A provocative analysis of how nation states have lost power to control national economies, by an author who has been much criticised by others.]

Walby, S. (2003) The myth of the nation-state: Theorising society and polities in a global era. Sociology, 37(3): 529‒546. [A summary of arguments as to whether the nation-state has been rendered into a mere shell by globalization forces, or whether it retains capacities to act in various influential ways.]

Brenner, N. (1999) Beyond state-centrism? Space, territoriality and geographical scale in globalization studies. Theory and Society, 28(1): 39‒78. [A consideration of the different levels of space that exist across the world today, and how the governments of nation-states both operate within them and can be constrained by them.]

Part Three - Winning and losing in the global economy

7          The Uneasy Relationship Between Transnational Corporations and States: Dynamics of                         Conflict and Collaboration

Stone, B. (2007) Globalized corporations and the erosion of state power. Global Research, May 16 [An accessible account of how corporations deal with national governments.]

Cohen, S. (2007) Multinational Corporations and Foreign Direct Investment: Avoiding Simplicity, Embracing Complexity. New York: Oxford University Press. [This book argues in favour of regarding the relations between corporations and national governments as highly complex and in need of sophisticated, non-reductionist understandings.]

Rasche, A. (2012) The United Nations and Transnational Corporations: How the UN Global Compact Has Changed the Debate. In J. Lawrence and P. Beamish (eds) Globally Responsible Leadership: Business According to the UN Global Compact. Sage: Thousand Oaks: CA, pp. 33-49. [A consideration of how the UN Global Compact has impacted upon the ways in which transnational corporations operate.]

Beck, U (2006) Power in the Global Age: A New Global Political Economy. Cambridge: Polity. [An ambitious attempt to map out the relations between politics and economics in the contemporary world, providing a broader theoretical framework for understanding more particular instances of relations between states and corporations.]


8          ‘Capturing Value’ Within Global Production Networks

Barrientos, S., Gereffi, G. and Rossi, A. (2011) Economic and social upgrading in global production networks: A new paradigm for a changing world. International Labour Review, 150(3–4): 319‒340. [An analysis of global production networks, which shows that the upgrading of firms need not necessarily lead to the upgrading of conditions for workers.]

Ernst, D. and Kim, L. (2002) Global production networks, knowledge diffusion, and local capability formation. Research Policy, 31(8‒9): 1417‒1429. [This papers considers the ways in which global production networks can affect how local suppliers operate, altering their knowledge bases and production processes.]

Lane, C. and Probert, J. (2009) National Capitalisms, Global Production Networks: Fashioning the Value Chain in the UK, US, and Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [A consideration of how global production networks operate within the fashion industry.]

Azmeh, S. and Nadvi, K. (2013) ‘Greater Chinese’ global production networks in the Middle East: The rise of the Jordanian garment industry. Development and Change, 44 (6): 1317‒1340. [An analysis of how global production networks are transforming national economies, in this case how the clothing industry in Jordan has been developed by Chinese investment.]

Smith, A. (2014) The state, institutional frameworks and the dynamics of capital in global production networks. Progress in Human Geography. Published online before print February 7, 2014, doi: 10.1177/0309132513518292 [This paper calls for there to be more systematic attention paid to how national governments affect global production networks.]


9          ‘Destroying Value’? Environmental Impacts of Global Production Networks

Newell, P. (2012) Globalization and the Environment: Capitalism, Ecology and Power. Cambridge: Polity. [An overview of the environmental consequences of economic globalization.]

Kristen S. (2012) Outcomes of global environmentalism: Longitudinal and cross-national trends in chemical fertilizer and pesticide use. Social Forces, 91(1): 299‒325. [A consideration of how environmental protest can affect corporations’ activities, taking the example of the agricultural economy.]

Day, J. W., Moerschbaecher, M., Pimentel, C., Hall, C. and Yáñez-Arancibia, A. (2014) Sustainability and place: How emerging mega-trends of the 21st century will affect humans and nature at the landscape level. Ecological Engineering, 65: 33‒48. [This paper considers how decreasing energy availability, climate change, and continued degradation of ecosystems may make continued economic growth difficult, if not impossible.]

Marshall, B. K. (1999) Globalization, environmental degradation, and Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society. Environmental Values, 8(2): 253‒276. [An evaluation of the connections between economic globalization and negative environmental effects, looking at these through the lens of Ulrich Beck’s influential Risk Society thesis.]


10         Winning and Losing: Where You Live Really Matters

Kollmeyer, C. and Pichler, F. (2013) Is deindustrialization causing high unemployment in affluent countries? Evidence from 16 OECD countries, 1970‒2003. Social Forces , 91(3): 785–812. [An analysis of how deindustrialization processes affect levels of economic security and insecurity in richer countries.]

Bone, J. (2012) The deregulation ethic and the conscience of capitalism: How the neoliberal ‘free market’ model undermines rationality and moral conduct. Globalizations, 9(5): 651‒665. [A provocative account of how neoliberal globalization undermines the life-conditions of people around the globe, including in the Developed countries.]

Walby, S. (2009) Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities. London: Sage. [A comprehensive consideration of the various kinds of social inequalities to be found across the world at the present time.]

Martell, L. (2010) The Sociology of Globalization. Cambridge: Polity. [An overview of how economic globalization creates rather than reduces economic and other types of inequality.]

Sassen, S. (2014) Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Harvard: Harvard University Press. [A book written by a leading economic sociologist, considering the often highly negative human effects of economic globalization.]


11         Making the World a Better Place

Friedman, T. L. (2007) The World is Flat. New Edition. New York: Picador. [An influential argument in favour of the alleged benefits of neoliberal globalization across the world.]

Hart, K., Laville, J.-L., and Cattani, A. D. (2010) The Human Economy. Cambridge: Polity. [A critical account of global capitalism, stressing the need for people across the world to organise together in order to reform it.]

Banerjee, S. B. (2008) Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly. Critical Sociology, 34(1): 51‒79. [A critical analysis which considers whether corporate social responsibility entails meaningful social change or whether is merely a branding exercise to disguise exploitative practices.]

Kurasawa, F. (2004) A cosmopolitanism from below: Alternative globalization and the creation of a solidarity without bounds. Archives of European Sociology, XLV(2): 233‒255. [This papers examines how globalization is not just led by states and transnational corporations, but can also be transformed by the actions of social movements which make claims for increased social and economic justice.]

Bandelj, N., Shorette, K. and Sowers, E. (2011) Work and neoliberal globalization: A Polanyian synthesis. Sociology Compass, 5(9): 807‒823. [An overview papers which considers how neo-liberal globalization transforms not only working life but the nature of social relations more broadly.]

Webster, E., Lambert, R., Beziudenhout, A. (2008) Grounding Globalization: Labour in the Age of Insecurity. Oxford: Blackwell. [A consideration of the transformations wrought on labour, working life and labour forces by economic globalization.]

Part Four - The picture in different industries

12         ‘Making Holes in the Ground’: The Extractive Industries

Bradshaw, M. (2013) Global Energy Dilemmas. Cambridge: Polity. [A survey of contemporary energy industries and they challenges they face in terms of world-wide energy crises.]

Freudenburg, W. R. (1992) Addictive economies: Extractive industries and vulnerable localities in a changing world economy. Rural Sociology 57(3): 305–332. [A classic paper, written by a pioneering analyst, which considers the social and environmental consequences of extractive industries on various locations.]

Littlewood, D. (2014) ‘Cursed’ communities? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Company towns and the mining industry in Namibia. Journal of Business Ethics, 120(1): 39‒63. [A consideration of how extractive industries have struggled to enact effective corporate social responsibility programmes.]

O'Faircheallaigh, C. (2013) Extractive industries and indigenous peoples: A changing dynamic?. Journal of Rural Studies, 30: 20‒30. [An analysis of the generally contentious relations that exist between extractive industries and the indigenous peoples on whose lands they operate.]

Huber, M. T. (2011) Enforcing scarcity: Oil, violence, and the making of the market. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101(4): 816‒826. [This paper challenges a commonly held view that natural oil scarcity is the primary driver of global conflict and resource wars, regarding oil scarcity not as a geological fact but as a social relationship structured by a globalized economy.]

Bridge, G. and Le Billon, P. (2013) Oil. Cambridge: Polity. [An overview of the contemporary oil industry, highlighting the dependence of the global economy on this resource.]


13         ‘We Are What We Eat’: The Agro-food Industries

Chossudovsky, M. (2008) Global Famine. Global Research, May [The paper gives a systematic account of the reasons behind famines and food shortages around the world, explaining how the world capitalist economy produces these at the same time as generating an abundance of food in the industrialised world.]

Cook, I. and Harrison, M. (2007) Follow the thing: ‘West Indian Hot Pepper Sauce’.  Space and Culture, 10(1): 40‒63. [This paper provides a vivid account of how commodity chains work, tracing how different ingredients and products travel across national boundaries.]

Illouz, E. and John, N. (2003) Global habitus, local stratification, and symbolic struggles over identity: The case of McDonald's Israel. American Behavioral Scientist, 47: 201‒229. [This paper considers how global food chains have to accommodate their food offerings to fit national and regional taste cultures.]

Inglis, D. and Gimlin, D. (2009) The Globalization of Food. Oxford: Berg. [This book provides a systematic overview of the many facets of the globalization of food, ranging from micro-level consumption practices to macro-level institutions and structures involved in food production and distribution.]

Phillips, L. (2006) Food and globalization. Annual Review of Anthropology, 35: 37‒57. [This article presents a very wide-ranging consideration of the academic literature on the globalization of food, taking in a broad array of disciplinary perspectives.]

Konefal, J., Mascarenhas, M. and Hatanaka, M. (2005) Governance in the global agro-food system: Backlighting the role of transnational supermarket chains. Agriculture and Human Values, 22(3): 291–302. [This paper argues that supermarket chains increasingly control the production of food worldwide, and have managed to shape regulatory regimes for their own ends.]

Koc, M. (2009) Hunger and Plenty: Fragmented Integration in the Global Food System. In A. Denis and D.K. Fishman (eds) The New ISA Handbook in Contemporary International Sociology: Conflict, Competition, Cooperation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [An accessible survey of the major dynamics in the globalized food production system.]


14 ‘Fabric-ating Fashion’: The Clothing Industries

Ross, R. (2002) Slaves to Fashion: Poverty and Abuse in the New Sweatshop. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. [An influential study of the new kinds of sweatshop labour fostered by economic globalization processes.]

Brooks, E. C. (2007) Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women's Work. St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press. [This book examines how transnational consumer protest campaigns can sometimes effect change in the garment production system, but how they can also unintentionally punish low-paid garment workers too.]

Aspers, P. (2010) Orderly Fashion, A Sociology of Markets. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [Illustrates how the global fashion system is governed by two separate but interconnecting market logics, one involving the production of clothes for the lowest possible price, and the other centred on branding and the creation of cultural value.]

Gereffi, G. and Memedovic, O. (2003) The Global Apparel Value Chain: What Prospects for Upgrading by Developing Countries? UNIDO Sectoral Study Series                   [A report considering whether the global clothes industry can have any beneficial consequences for the economies of Developing World countries.]

Hoskins, T. E. (2014) Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion. London: Pluto Press. [A highly critical account of the social consequences of the global fashion industry, considering the effects on both workers and consumers.]

Collins, J. (2007) The rise of a global garment industry and the reimagination of worker solidarity. Critique of Anthropology, 27(4): 395‒409. [This paper shows how global production patterns have led to trans-national resistance strategies by garment workers, who connect with other social movements and develop cross-border alliances with workers in other countries.]

Tokatli, N. (2008) Global sourcing, insights from the global Clothing industry – The case of Zara, a fast fashion retailer. Journal of Economic Geography, 8(1): 21‒38. [A case study of how the clothing giant Zara operates in terms of how it sources the fabrics, labour and other resources from and by which its clothes are made.]


15         ‘Wheels of Change’: The Automobile Industry

Urry, J. (2004) The ‘system’ of automobility. Theory, Culture & Society, 21(4‒5): 25‒39. [A theoretically sophisticated account of the roles played by cars in modern societies and economies.]

Humphrey, J. (2003) Globalization and supply chain networks: The auto industry in Brazil and India. Global Networks, 3(2): 121–141. [A consideration of how the supply chain works in the auto industries of some countries with rising economies.]

Sturgeon, T. J., Memedovic, O., Van Biesebroeck, J. and Gereffi, G. (2009) Globalisation of the automotive industry: Main features and trends. International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 2(1‒2): 7‒24. [A survey of the major dynamics which are structuring the auto industry world-wide.]

Pavlinek, P. (2008) A Successful Transformation? Re-Structuring of the Czech Automobile Industry. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag. [A case study of how global economic forces have impacted upon a particular national auto industry, considering the transitions involved in a post-socialist context.]

Lansbury, R. D., Wailes, N., Kitay, J. and Kirsch, A. (eds) (2008) Globalization and Employment Relations in the Auto Assembly Industry: A Study of Seven Countries. Alphen-aan-den-Rijn: Kluwer Law International. [A very comprehensive comparative analysis of how globalization affects the nature of work in the automobile industry, considering differences and similarities between a number of national contexts.]


16         ‘Making the World Go Round’: Advanced Business Services

Wojcik, D. (2013) Where governance fails: Advanced business services and the offshore world. Progress in Human Geography, 37(3): 330‒347. [A paper which develops a critical perspective on advanced business services, arguing that their considerable power derives from them using legal and financial methods intended to avoid the control of governmental and intergovernmental organizations by means of offshore jurisdictions.]

Jones, A. (2005) Truly global corporations? Theorizing ‘organizational globalization’ in advanced business-services. Journal of Economic Geography, 5(2): 177‒200. [Taking the examples of investment banking and management consultancy, this paper considers ways of understanding their roles within economic globalization beyond conventional debates about ‘how global’ particular organisations may be.]

Faulconbridge, J. R. and Muzio, D. (2012) Professions in a globalizing world: Towards a transnational sociology of the professions. International Sociology, 27(1): 136‒152. [This paper provides an overview of how to understand the transnationalisation of particular professions and professional groups, with a view to better understanding the role of such professions within globalization processes.]

Seabrooke, L. (2014) Epistemic arbitrage: Transnational professional knowledge in action. Journal of Professions and Organization, 1(1): 49‒64. [This paper shows how professional groups use different forms of knowledge to create policy solutions and thus generate requirements for their own services, in effect engaging in job-creation strategies for themselves.] 

Adams, T. L. (2014) Sociology of professions: International divergences and research directions. Work, Employment and Society, published online before print June 10, 2014, doi:10.1177/0950017014523467. [A review paper which considers how European and North American understandings of transnational professional groups have differed in the past, and how we might overcome this division to reach more satisfactory understandings of the roles of professional groups within globalization processes.]


17         ‘Making the Connections, Moving the Goods’: Logistics and Distribution Services

Levinson, M. (2006) The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [A fascinating history of the development of shipping container technology, and how it has impacted upon the nature of global transportation links.]

Bernhofen, D. M., El-Sahli, Z. and Kneller, R. (2013) Estimating the Effects of the Container Revolution on World Trade. CESifo Working Paper: Trade Policy, No. 4136.                           [A report which considers the economic consequences for trade across the world of the so-called ‘container revolution’.]

Notteboom, T. and Rodrigue, J. P. (2008) Containerisation, box logistics and global supply chains: The integration of ports and liner shipping networks. Maritime Economics & Logistics, 10: 152‒174. [An analysis of the nature of logistics in maritime trade, considering how these make possible the functioning of global supply chains.]

Hummels, D. (2007) Transportation costs and international trade in the second era of globalization. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(3): 131‒154. [This paper looks at changes in transportation costs in light of technological developments, and considers these in relation to the development of economic globalization.]