Welcome! 4 Core Concepts


This post entails the core concepts for the course so feel free to visit it often!

The goal of this introductory post is to get to know the elusive concept of globalization and the roles of the media and communication technologies in the process. Our guest lecturer, Dr. Basilio Monteiro (Director of the Master’s Program in International Communication, and the Institute for International Communication) will give you an overview on 1/23.

But now to the introduction to core concepts:


1. Globalization – an elusive issue with three dimensions of challenges

2013-01-20 14.12.17What is globalization? Chinese restaurants in Flushing? A Pizza Hut in China?  The most watched YouTube video of all time, and its unexpected variants, like this one? A Buddha statue in Monroe, NY (picture on the left)?

As all of these examples show, globalization is not an easy idea/l to define neatly and comprehensively. But we have the entire semester, so let’s start from the beginning and try to develop some common definitions, plus map some dimensions of that elusive concept.

There are distinctions between international, transnational, and global; but in everyday language globalization most often refers to the process of growth to a global scale. Or, as one of the famous scholars of the topic, Joseph Nye, has explained:

Globalism attempts to understand all the inter-connections of the modern world — and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them.

In contrast, globalization refers to the increase or decline in the degree of globalism. It focuses on the forces, the dynamism or speed of these changes.

And most often globalization is given three dimensions:

  1. Political globalization — interplay and interconnectedness of national/local politics in different regions and nations. “No country is an island”.
  2. Economic globalization — interplay and interconnectedness of national economies, as well as global financial and other markets.
  3. Cultural globalization — interplay, interconnectedness, and blending of  traditionally local/national/regional cultures.

2. The two (or four?) dimensions of the media and global development

Bring in the media and communication technologies. They have a key role in fostering political, economic, and cultural globalization.

The first dimension of the media and global development is precisely this: The media also play a key role in development in those areas — political development towards (or away from) democracy, economic progress in emerging economies, as well as cultural development, for instance, in raising cultural awareness, fostering education for those who formerly did not have access to it, and so on.

This 3 min. video explains it well, showing us four ways in which the media matter in international development:

The second, interrelated dimension is that the media and communication technologies themselves are a development question. We can talk about  freedom of expression, or cuber security, or media literacy, as development issues.

3. Sustainable Development Goals as the Specific Framework of Global Challenges


On September 25th 2015, UN member countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and “people like you”.

For this course, you will choose one specific goal that will become your lens, and expertise, to global development and the media.

4. Human Centered Design as a Model for Class Project

The fourth key concept relates to your  individual research and development project for this class. The idea is that global issues do not exist out there. As the SDGs indicate, global challenges have local variations. that will be based on the so called IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit.

The so called Design Thinking comes from tech innovation but has been applied to development work for quite some time. The award-winning Toolkit by the design company IDEO has been developed to create real life innovations in global development.

What is Human-centered Design? from IDEO.org on Vimeo.




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