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.