chapter  6
22 Pages

Globalization as an emergent concept

In the last decade, social scientists have become more and more aware of the importance of transnational social processes. This chapter itself is symptomatic of the flourishing interest in this level of inquiry. The term 'globalization', increasingly used in the 1980s and 1990s in a number of fields, in fact first appeared in Webster's dictionary in 1961. This marked the beginnings of explicit recognition in the contemporary period of the growing significance of the world-wide connectedness of social events and relationships. In 1972, the OED Supplement recognized the word 'global' as being in current use meaning world-wide, complementing the preexisting sense of pertaining to the totality of a number of items. There has also been a transformation over the last twenty-five years or so in the meaning of the word 'global' in sociology, from meaning total, as in total society, to meaning a focus on the globe as a unit of analysis in its own right (Albrow 1992b: 5-6).