Globalization, anti-globalization, and alter-globalization

The globalization of research and collections at the IISH is not taking place in a void. The term ‘globalization’ has come into widespread use since the start of the twenty-first century – whether with respect to the global economic recession, the shift of power and labour from West to East, the rapid growth of the world population and world capitals, or global warming, which is known as such for good reason. Equally important are the massive droves of migrants in search of new land, more or better employment, greater freedom, or a combination of all of these. Migration of ideas and goods is part of this process.

In historical institutes at universities, world history and global history are among the fastest-growing disciplines. This is clear from the popularity of two specialized journals, as well as from the coverage they receive in journals previously restricted primarily to domestic topics. Research increasingly reflects explicit and systematic comparisons between countries and regions all over the world, for example to explain economic inequality. The IISH research department and its journal International Review of Social History address this field. In addition, migration history has become a research spearhead worldwide, in addition to the comparison of working conditions, labour relations, and types of organizations.

Basically, ‘globalization,’ in the sense of progressive intertwinement of the human communities that populate the world, has been in progress for many centuries. It has accelerated as a consequence of the trek by people seeking their fortune and capital seeking returns, colonialism and imperialism, and the universalism of the ideals of the French Revolution. The IISH collection features globalization both in the classical collection and in more recent materials from and about movements dedicated to political reforms, human rights, or the environment.