My dissertation examines how the concept of globalization has transformed the way social scientists think about the world. I argue that while globalization is often studied as an empirical fact, it should instead be studied as a social imaginary produced within asymmetrical relations of academic knowledge production. I develop this argument by diagnosing a set of contradictions and tensions within the globalization literature. For example, scholars based in the U.S. and Europe typically claim that globalization is a universal trend--even while treating Africa and African states as anomalous. I argue that Africa is often represented as "not globalized" because African scholars have been structurally excluded from the production of knowledge about globalization. On the one hand, the U.S. academy is a key site for the mass production of knowledge about globalization--as exemplified by changes in research funding, the flourishing of Global Studies departments, and the proliferation of study abroad programs in colleges and universities across the country. In contrast, African universities--including relatively resource-rich South African universities--are being remade into development institutions designed to respond to a world already imagined as "global." These asymmetrical relations of knowledge production mean that Africa is represented as particular, exceptional and "local." Studying "the global" as an imaginary produced within a highly stratified political economy of higher education makes it possible to investigate the power relations at work and the political stakes in the academic production of concepts like "global governance," "global economy," and "global development
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Raymond Duvall. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 260 pages, appendices I-III.
Kamola, Isaac Alexander.
Producing the global imaginary: academic knowledge, globalization and the making of the world..
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