What is global studies?

J.P. Nederveen Pieterse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This discussion examines global studies and whether and how it differs from the earlier wave of globalization studies. Although treatments generally regard these as equivalent, studies of globalization are anchored in social science and humanities disciplines while global studies are, in principle, conceived on a different footing. We can distinguish two accounts of global studies: an empirical account, i.e. a description of actual existing global studies, and an analytical or programmatic account, which refers to what global studies can or should be for theoretical or other reasons. The first section of this paper discusses global knowledge as a database that exists independent of studies of globalization; the second section turns to studies of globalization; the third section concerns global studies as it actually exists; the fourth section offers a programmatic account of global studies. The concluding sections address cognitive problems of global thinking, in particular the challenges of multicentric and multilevel thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-514
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • cognition
  • disciplines
  • global knowledge
  • globalization
  • multicentrism

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