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Introducing Globalization: Ties, Tensions, and Uneven Integration

Matthew Sparke

ISBN: 978-0-631-23129-5 January 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 508 Pages



Designed specifically for introductory globalization courses, Introducing Globalization helps students to develop informed opinions about globalization, inviting them to become participants rather than just passive learners.

  • Identifies and explores the major economic, political and social ties that comprise contemporary global interdependency
  • Examines a broad sweep of topics, from the rise of transnational corporations and global commodity chains, to global health challenges and policies, to issues of worker solidarity and global labor markets, through to emerging forms of global mobility by both business elites and their critics
  • Written by an award-winning teacher, and enhanced throughout by numerous empirical examples, maps, tables, an extended bibliography, glossary of key terms, and suggestions for further reading and student research
  • Supported by additional web resources – available upon publication at – including hot links to news reports, examples of globalization and other illustrative sites, and archived examples of student projects

Engage with fellow readers of Introducing Globalization on the book's Facebook page at, or learn more about this topic by enrolling in the free Coursera course Globalization and You at

Related Resources

List of Figures vii

List of Tables ix

Preface xi

1 Globalization 1

2 Discourse 27

3 Commodities 57

4 Labor 99

5 Money 139

6 Law 181

7 Governance 227

8 Space 279

9 Health 337

10 Responses 389

Glossary 417

Index 473

“Sparke models inquiry into taken-for-granted concepts or events through rich understanding and questioning. More importantly, he reframes spatial theory as the starting point of social studies conversations about globalization. Rather than accept the inevitability of globalization, he depicts the inevitability of inequity. He examines how inequities become actualized in lives through geopolitical and geoeconomic infrastructure. He encourages us to reconsider the relationships between disciplines, contending that disciplined inquiry enables simplistic understanding. He allows geography and spatial theory to be a way of understanding the world, a lens that resonates across the social studies. The book importantly segments a variety of explanatory moments to allow readers without a strong economics background to understand economic principles. It is a lack of economic understanding that makes global policy discussions unintelligible to the general public. In the process, he ultimately constructs the globally minded citizen. While his brand of global thinking (and citizenship) has a problematic Western perspective, it also utilizes a critical lens that requires awareness of these contradictions and their implications for ourselves and others. The spatial thinking highlighted throughout this review relies on thinking across the disciplines to attend to how, where, and why places are constructed independently and interdependently across scales and time. Rather than assuming that places are knowable, rejecting the three myths encourages questions about what has been made invisible, how new places come to exist, the kinds of interactions that occur therein, and how they reify and amend cultural and other discourses.”  (Theory & Research in Social Education, 19 February 2015)

  • Introduces students to the contemporary debates surrounding globalization
  • Features numerous empirical examples, maps, tables, and other illustrations
  • Each chapter is followed by suggestions for further reading and student research
  • A helpful extended bibliography and glossary of key terms
  • Accompanying website with  hot links to news report examples of globalization and other illustrative sites, as well as archived examples of student work projects