About the Globalism Research Centre
On this page:
- Our identity mark
- Our aims and what we do
- Institutional affiliations
- Local Advisory Board
- Global Advisory Board
The tumultuous and uneven globalization of social relations has forced upon us the task of re-imaging a better world. The presumed lack of alternatives to market globalism constitutes a world-wide challenge. It entails developing deeper understandings and more powerful explanations. This requires a renewal of critical engagement. The homogenizing effects of global movements of people, ideas, goods, and money, all too easily conceal the continuing divergence of the extremes of human existence. The billions around the world who live precarious lives are threatened by malnutrition, disease, and violence that know no borders, and yet, for people looking across the Googled Earth from metropolitan centres, these social problems remain largely invisible. Moreover, humanity is threatened by profound social and ecological crises. Our work is explicitly dedicated to cultivating and creating ethical Left alternatives.
The Melbourne-based Globalism Research Centre is committed to exploring the relationship between the global and the local. We seek to create a more deeply democratic world in which all communities and individuals can participate in determining their futures. The emergent forms of transnational and global consciousness call for creative and ethically-engaged approaches to making sense of shifting constellations of identity. A crucial dimension of our mission is critical cosmopolitanism and global citizenship, complemented by a concern for diversity and dialogue across political and cultural boundaries. While nation-states remain important for certain forms of regulation and redistribution, new sites and scales of governance have emerged. We are concerned about the politics of naming spaces implicit in this shift. We see a need for modes of governance that respond adequately to local and global problems. Strengthening of democratic participation might take many forms from revitalized local forms of governance to the democratization of global economies, for instance through mechanisms of transnational financial regulation and taxation.
We recognize the diverse philosophical and theoretical traditions out of which we work, seeking to balance Western orientations with insights drawn from non-Western philosophies. We are developing richer and deeper narratives about globalization and globalism. Social scientific understandings and explanations are necessarily interpretative, temporal, and historical. An adequately understood notion of causality is central to our attempts to tell better stories about globalization. We are sceptical of all forms of exclusive theoretical and theological truths, without foreclosing on the possibility of spiritual and aesthetic insights. We are united in our desire to apply both critical-reflexive and ethnographic-immersive approaches to our work. We believe in methodological openness, and intellectual curiosity. Our methodological and thematic perspectives are framed by ethical concerns. Cognizant of maintaining a tight link between theory and practice, our work focuses on reinserting the importance of politics and culture—not 'culturalism'—into globalization debates which do not adequately question the presumptions of economistic perspectives.
Key problems face us all in the twenty-first century: constraints on the movement of people across borders; the uneven production, exchange and consumption of those foundational conditions of human life: food, water, health, and culture; the global manifestations of violence and war; the exploitation of bodies, environments and the global eco-sphere; the undermining of relations of difference and equality; and the lack of democratic self-determination. Recognizing these issues, we have developed research projects that focus on the sources of insecurity, community sustainability and formation, the ideologies of globalization, the historical trajectories of globalizing dynamics, global education and cultural exchange, global democracy and sustainable governance of the world economy. We are committed to working within existing and developing networks of fellow scholars, and with community activists, civil movements and policy-makers across the world. Reaching out to others is central to the building of a better world.
Our identity mark
'Psychorama', the artwork we use on our homepage and in our publications, symbolizes all the concerns of the Globalism Research Centre. As the artist Darryl Pfitzner Milika, a descendent of the Kokotha people from South Australia's West Coast says, it 'invites the viewer to consider the balance (or imbalance) between the natural environment and our constructed world, as well as between subjective notions of awareness and greater consciousness.'
In our work, this entails responding to key political issues of the new century across all levels of community and polity: from the remaking of institutions of global governance and the reconstitution of the nation-state to the re-formations of local regions and communities. It entails working across the divide between abstract theory and applied research. We begin with the place in which we live - Melbourne - and seek to draw lines of co-operation and reciprocal connection locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Our aims and what we do
The Globalism Research Centre
- Undertakes engaged research into globalization, transnationalism, nationalism and cultural diversity. It seeks to understand and critically evaluate current directions of global change, with an emphasis on the cultural implications of political and economic transformation.
- Builds transnational links with other world centres of excellence.
- Educates the community, both local and global, about both the difficulties and the possibilities of globalization and cultural diversity.
- Provides research consultancy to all levels of government, industry and community, from the local to the international.
- Provides a forum for analysing the role of Australia’s culturally diverse diasporic communities in the processes of globalization.
- Sponsors conferences, forums and seminars to debate and formulate critical analysis and policy both for government bodies and for world and regional organisations and agencies.
- Offers a rich research milieu for postgraduate study in the fields of globalism, transnationalism, multiculturalism, nationalism, identity politics and cultural diversity.
Key areas of research include the following:
- Structures of globalization, both past and present.
- Formations of nationalism and the nation-state, and their continuing though changing relevance.
- Configurations of transnationalism—the changing nature of diasporas, migrant communities and refugees.
- Relations of integration—from indigenous and traditional face-to-face communities to the extended relations of mass broadcasting and electronic communication.
- Discourses of critical engagement, such as cosmopolitanism, postcolonialism, communitarianism, and multiculturalism.
The Globalism Research Centre is building ongoing research links with related organizations both locally and overseas. The Institute is involved in a range of collaborative activities with research institutes, publishers and grass-roots organizations that are concerned about understanding the implications of globalization.
Asia-Pacific Research Unit (APRU), UniversitiSains (Malaysia)
- In 2006, the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the Globalism Research Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the objective of developing collaborative research projects, including the local–global project ‘Globalization and Community Sustainability: Negotiating the Local and the Global’, with a view to extending the the project to sites in Penang and surrounds. The MoU also aims to promote joint seminars and workshops, and staff and student exchange.
- Established in 1963, Arena Publications publishes both Arena Journal an academic biannual, and Arena Magazine, Australia's leading left magazine of cultural and political comment. In addition, it publishes books in its political culture series. The Globalism Research Centre and Arena Publications have agreed to publish an Essay Monograph Series, and are also collaborating as joint sponsors of the Global Futures seminar series. Paul James, the Globalism Research Centre’s Research Director is on the editorial board of Arena Publications.
- Staff at Ben-Gurion and the Globalism Research Centre are developing a joint project on community sustainability. This has involved a series of reciprocal research trips and collaborations over research developments.
The Common Ground Group
- Common Ground, a humanities and social science publisher based in Melbourne and Sydney, has been collaborating extensively with RMIT for several years. The Globalism Research Centre’s involvement with Common Ground has included joint research projects, conferences and publications. Together, the Globalism Research Centre and Common Ground have organised several conferences, including the Diversity Conference series and the Humanities Conference series.
Department for Community Development (Papua New Guinea)
- The Globalism Research Centre has been working with the Department since 2003, and has contributed to policy devlopments that are rewriting the national approach to community sustainability. The Department is in the forefront of rethinking community development strategies and partnerships, particularly as embodied in their recent major document Integrated Community Development Policy 2007.
Department of Demography, University of Colombo
- In 2006, the University of Colombo and the Globalism Research Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the objective of developing collaborative research projects. This collaboration will include data-sharing via the Global–Local Database and the Community Sustainability website, joint symposiums and conferences, staff and student exchange, and an anthology of publications.
Globalization Research Centre and Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii
- In April 2002, after a series of meetings in Honolulu, it was confirmed that the Globalization Research Centre (GRC) and the Globalism Research Centre would develop a collaborative relationship including the ‘Cultural Diversity in a Globalizing World’ conference held in February 2003 in Honolulu. In September 2003, the Globalism Research Centre and the GRC collaborated with a number of other institutions in establishing the Globalization Studies Network. In 2004, we worked together to develop a conference on sustainability, held in Hawai’I in 2005. Since then, Globalism Research Centre Director Manfred Steger has been working with GRC Co-Director Mike Douglass to develop an ongoing research collaboration around the theme of ‘Globalization and Culture’.
- The Globalization Studies Network (GSN) is a new world-wide association that links programs of research, education and public policy regarding globalization. The network is formed on an inclusive basis, encompassing diverse regions, disciplines, cultures, perspective, and substantive concerns. The GSN does not advocate any particular intellectual or political approach, but rather fosters dialogue and debate – involving South, North, East and West – about the nature, direction and possible redirection of globalization.
- In September 2003, a global reconciliation network was established in order to foster the development of community to community processes of cultural dialogue. The network is an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural structure whose aim is to bring together people interested in reconciliation to explore ways of developing and extending face to face exchanges of a cultural, educational and intellectual nature. An inaugural meeting of the organization was held in London in September 2003 to discuss basic concepts and develop practical strategies, processes and proposals. The Globalism Research Centre was represented on the organizing committee.
- The Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition was established in 1998 as one of McMaster University's strategic areas of research on globalization, social change and the human condition. Their major current project is on globalization and autonomy. Professors Imre Szeman and Robert O'Brien from the Institute are currently working with Paul James of the Globalism Research Centre on the ‘Central Currents in Globalization’ series being published by Sage, London.
- Established in Melbourne in 1996, the Institute of Postcolonial Studies is the first educational institution in the world to be specifically directed to the study of postcolonialism. The Institute's approach is broad and inclusive, embracing contesting approaches to the politics of difference and global processes. The Journal of Postcolonial Studies was founded in 1997 by a group of scholars associated with the Institute of Postcolonial Studies, including Paul James who continues as an Associate Editor.
- In 2006, the University of Madras and the Globalism Research Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the objective of developing collaborative research projects, including the local–global project ‘Globalization and Community Sustainability: Negotitating the Local and the Global’. The MoU also aims to promote joint symposiums and conferences, staff and student exchange, and an anthology of publications. The Vice Chancellor of Madras visited RMIT in early 2007 to confirm this partnership.
Local Advisory Board
- Professor Dennis Altman, Director, Institute for Human Security, La Trobe University
- Associate Professor James Goodman, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre, University of Technology Sydney
- Dr Damian Grenfell, Director, Globalism Research Centre
- Professor David Hayward, Dean, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies
- Professor Paul Komesaroff, Director, Monash Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, Monash University
- Mr David Lurie, B2B Lawyers
- Professor Supriya Singh, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University
- Mr John Smithies, Director, Cultural Development Network
- Mr Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth
- Mr Pat Walsh, Advisor
- Dr Arnold Zable, Writer, Educator, Human Rights Advocate
Global Advisory Board
- Professor Jon Altman, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University
- Professor Dennis Altman, School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University,
- Professor Perry Anderson, University of California, Los Angeles
- Dr Alan Chun, Academica Sinica, Taipei
- Professor Jonathan Friedman, Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Social, Paris
- Professor Barry Gills, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
- Emeritus Professor, Jack Goody, Cambridge University
- Professor Liah Greenfield, Boston University
- Professor, Bruce Kapferer, Institute of Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Bergen
- Associate Professor Glen David Keucker, History Department, De Pau University
- Professor Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia
- Professor T. Vasantha Kumeran, Department of Geography, University of Madras
- Professor David Lyon, Queens University
- Professor Walter Mignolo, Center for Global Studies, Duke University
- Professor Juliet Mitchell, Cambridge University
- Professor Ashis Nandy, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
- Professor Jamal Nassar, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Cal State U at SB
- Professor Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago Law School
- Professor Brendan O'Leary, Solomon ASCH Centre for the Study of Ethno- Political Conflict, University of Pennsylvania
- Professor Fazal Rizvi, University of Illinois
- Professor Jan Aart Scholte, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick
- Professor Jukka Siikala, University of Helsinki
- Professor Gayatri Spivak, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University