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Global change

This is one definition of globalisation:

‘… the movement across national boundaries of people, ideas, money, goods and services, which results in the world becoming politically, economically and culturally interconnected and interdependent’ (Xiang-Yu 2015).

This definition suggests that we are experiencing a ‘smaller world’. The world is not physically smaller, it is the same size, but how we interact with each other increasingly appears to lead us to that perception.

So what changes are we experiencing?

The sense of globalisation as interdependency seems to be an important feature. To add another dimension, globalisation can be thought of as a set of processes that alters the nature of how we interact with each other by intensifying cross-border interactions that once previously divided individuals and populations (Steger 2017, 2003).

The extent of the movement of ‘people, ideas, money, goods and services’ and other life forms across national boundaries appears therefore to be changing every aspect of our lives by altering our perception or experience of spatial, temporal and cognitive boundaries (Hanefeld and Lee 2015).

  • Spatial change refers to changes in how we experience and perceive geographical space and boundaries
  • Temporal change refers to changes in how we perceive and experience time
  • Cognitive change refers to changes in how we think about ourselves in the world

Globalisation can be thought of as a process of social change, therefore, which is a powerful idea captured in the phrase ‘the world is a global village’, first coined by Marshall McLuhan (1962).

The phrase depicts how we are not only increasingly feeling closer together but coming together to share values, beliefs and common aspects of humanity.

Your task

Reading the daily newspaper can be very informative. Find a global angle in a news report (world, national and local news; sports, religion, politics, food, features, etc) that challenges you to consider and analyse the impact globalisation is having on society.

Here is an example from the BBC News website that asks ‘Will globalisation take away your job?’.

What do you consider to be some of the positive and negative impacts of globalisation? How do your thoughts reflect your personal circumstances, education, socio-economic status, country of birth, cultural background and personal beliefs?

Share a link to the article you found and your thoughts on the questions above.


Hanefeld, J., and Lee, K. (2015) ‘Introduction to Globalization and Health’. in Globalization and Health ed. by Hanefeld, J. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill

McLuhan, M. (1962) Gutenberg Galaxy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Steger, M. B. (2003) Globalisation: A Very Short Introduction. e-book edn. [online] Oxford: Oxford University Press. available from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/Coventry/reader.action?ppg=1&docID=232922&tm=1529419129005 [19 June 2018]

Steger, M. B. (2017) Globalisation: A Very Short Introduction. 4th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Xiang-Yu, H. (2015) ‘The Impact of Globalisation on Health’. in Introduction to Public Health ed. by Fleming, M. L. and Parker, E. 3rd edn. Chatswood NSW: Elsevier

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This article is from the free online course:

Could You Be the Next Florence Nightingale?

Coventry University