The concept of globalization has become a taken for granted assumption by policy-makers and shapers since the end of the Cold War, with academics such as Anthony Giddens, in his 1999 Reith Lectures, and leading politicians proclaiming an ‘era of globalization’. The assumption is widespread that we live in a globalized world; indeed, one of the best-selling introductory IR textbooks is Baylis, Smith and Owens’ The Globalization of World Politics (Baylis et al., 2008). However, as with the other chapters, there are keenly contested empirical and theoretical debates. In this topic this debate takes place around the extent to which we are in era of globalization and what the implications of this might be. Before beginning to consider the theoretical and empirical arguments surrounding this concept we first need to consider what we actually mean by globalization.
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