Globalization: A Short History

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Overview

"Globalization" has become a popular buzzword for explaining today's world. The expression achieved terminological stardom in the 1990s and was soon embraced by the general public and integrated into numerous languages.

But is this much-discussed phenomenon really an invention of modern times? In this work, Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels Petersson make the case that globalization is not so new, after all. Arguing that the world did not turn "global" overnight, the book traces the emergence of globalization over the past seven or eight centuries. In fact, the authors write, the phenomenon can be traced back to early modern large-scale trading, for example, the silk trade between China and the Mediterranean region, the shipping routes between the Arabian Peninsula and India, and the more frequently traveled caravan routes of the Near East and North Africa—all conduits for people, goods, coins, artwork, and ideas.

Osterhammel and Petersson argue that the period from 1750 to 1880—an era characterized by the development of free trade and the long-distance impact of the industrial revolution—represented an important phase in the globalization phenomenon. Moreover, they demonstrate how globalization in the mid-twentieth century opened up the prospect of global destruction though nuclear war and ecological catastrophe. In the end, the authors write, today's globalization is part of a long-running transformation and has not ushered in a "global age" radically different from anything that came before.

This book will appeal to historians, economists, and anyone in the social sciences who is interested in the historical emergence of globalization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Jürgen Osterhammel, Winner of the 2012 Gerda Henkel Prize, of the Gerda Henkel Foundation

"Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson argue that . . . globalization has been long under way. While civilizations have always interacted, the stability and scale of western Europe's post-Columbian global networks of trade, migration, and cultural exchange differed qualitatively enough to count as the first stirrings of a globalization that continues to this day."Choice

"[Globalization] stands out in the proliferation of textbooks and surveys on world history and globalization. It is a concise and, especially noteworthy, a precise essay on the time and place of globalization. . . . [T]his is a quick and intelligent little book."—Michael Geyer, H-Net

"[Osterhammel and Petersson] have produced a short and extremely helpful introduction to the history of globalization. . . . [The book] rightly tries to reach far beyond the more narrow confines of economic history . . . [to] draw on migration history, the history of slavery and of empires, and . . . international relations theory."—Harold James, International History Review

"This brief book provides an easy-to-read, well-organized addition to the globalization debate that offers a cogent analysis of the macroprocess by elucidating the long and uneven global developments that have brought us to the current era."—Colin Rowan, Journal of World History

"In this crisp account, two historians examine the long roots of globalization. . . . Scholars of world history will gain a great deal from this lucid, jargon-free analysis of globalization that is in many ways a most welcomed update of William H. McNeill's The Global Condition."The Historian

"This excellent short book by German historians Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Peteresson provides a fascinating, accessible sketch of the development of globalization. The authors bridge the gap between academic historians and general readers."getAbstract

The Historian
In this crisp account, two historians examine the long roots of globalization. . . . Scholars of world history will gain a great deal from this lucid, jargon-free analysis of globalization that is in many ways a most welcomed update of William H. McNeill's The Global Condition.
H-Net
[Globalization] stands out in the proliferation of textbooks and surveys on world history and globalization. It is a concise and, especially noteworthy, a precise essay on the time and place of globalization. . . . [T]his is a quick and intelligent little book.
International History Review - Harold James
[Osterhammel and Petersson] have produced a short and extremely helpful introduction to the history of globalization. . . . [The book] rightly tries to reach far beyond the more narrow confines of economic history . . . [to] draw on migration history, the history of slavery and of empires, and . . . international relations theory.
Journal of World History - Colin Rowan
This brief book provides an easy-to-read, well-organized addition to the globalization debate that offers a cogent analysis of the macroprocess by elucidating the long and uneven global developments that have brought us to the current era.
H-Net hael Geyer

[Globalization] stands out in the proliferation of textbooks and surveys on world history and globalization. It is a concise and, especially noteworthy, a precise essay on the time and place of globalization. . . . [T]his is a quick and intelligent little book.
Choice
Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson argue that . . . globalization has been long under way. While civilizations have always interacted, the stability and scale of western Europe's post-Columbian global networks of trade, migration, and cultural exchange differed qualitatively enough to count as the first stirrings of a globalization that continues to this day.
International History Review
[Osterhammel and Petersson] have produced a short and extremely helpful introduction to the history of globalization. . . . [The book] rightly tries to reach far beyond the more narrow confines of economic history . . . [to] draw on migration history, the history of slavery and of empires, and . . . international relations theory.
— Harold James
Journal of World History
This brief book provides an easy-to-read, well-organized addition to the globalization debate that offers a cogent analysis of the macroprocess by elucidating the long and uneven global developments that have brought us to the current era.
— Colin Rowan
getAbstract
This excellent short book by German historians Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Peteresson provides a fascinating, accessible sketch of the development of globalization. The authors bridge the gap between academic historians and general readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691121659
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/11/2005
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jürgen Osterhammel is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Konstanz. He has published on modern Chinese history, imperialism, and the theory of history. Niels P. Petersson is Senior Lecturer in History at Sheffield Hallam University and has published on imperialism and economic history.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Chapter I. "Globalization": Circumnavigating a Term 1
A Diagnosis of the Present and a Term for a Historical Process 1
The Core Concept and the Controversies 5
Chapter II. The Dimensions of Globalization 13
World System—Imperialism—Global History 14
Networks and Interaction Spheres 21
Historical Periods 27
Chapter III. The Development and Establishment of Worldwide Connections Until 1750 31
Long-distance Trade, Empires, Ecumenes 31
Gunpowder Empires and Maritime Domains 42
Holes in the Net 49
Chapter IV. 1750-1880: Imperialism, Industrialization, and Free Trade 57
Early World Politics and Atlantic Revolutions 57
The Far-reaching Impact of the Industrial Revolution 62
Empires and Nation-States 69
The Emergence of a World Economy 76
Chapter V. 1880-1945: Global Capitalism and Global Crises 81
The Experience of Globality, Global Economy, and World Politics at the Turn of the Century 81
Imperialism and World War 90
1918-1945: Global Crises and Conflicts 99
The "American Century" 107
Chapter VI. 1945 to the Mid-1970s: Globalization Split in Two 113
Political Spaces: Power Blocs, Nation-States, and Transnational Movements 113
The Institutions of the Global Economy 121
Sociocultural Globalization? 130
Chapter VII. Conclusion 141
A New Millennium 141
On the Road to a Global Age? 145
Globalization: Putting the Concept into Perspective 150
Notes 153
Recommended Literature 171
Index 181

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    Excellent history book for experts and laypeople

    This excellent short book by German historians Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson provides a fascinating, accessible sketch of the development of globalization. The authors bridge the gap between academic historians and general readers. While they discuss, in summary, issues of terminology and research primarily of interest to the former, they do not lose the latter. Many will be surprised to learn that at least part of the foundation of globalization as we know it may have been laid as early as the thirteenth-century Mongolian empire. The authors divide the history of globalization into four major phases, and offer provocative insights into the forces at work in each phase. At a time when many people believe that the term 'globalization' connotes an entirely new world condition, this book is an indispensable corrective. We recommend it to history buffs, journalists, and employees and executives at international companies.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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