Research Concentrations

Topics of research on globalization and social change are limitless. The Initiative’s main areas of focus take up the crucial intersections between globalization and human life: Global Communication, Culture and Identity, and Politics and Social Structures. These research streams inform our teaching and research, our partnership with international organizations and universities, and our collaborative work within Lehigh, with Area Studies programs, Global Citizenship, the Lehigh-United Nations Partnership, and others.

Rooted in these overlapping areas of interest, the Initiative examines the historical processes and the future manifestations of how forces of globalization shape and are shaped by communication, media technology, identity, culture, politics, and social structures as well as economic systems, the environment, religion, language and other fundamental aspects of the human condition. Some of the questions that guide us:


What are the historical dimensions and future directions – in legal, political and economic arenas – of the globalization of communication? Topics include:

  • The historical and continuing role of communication, particularly electronic and digital media, in globalization
  • Corporate control of global communication and transnational media conglomerates
  • International and national communication policies
  • Defining the architecture of global communication
  • Intellectual property and copyright
  • Governance of cyberspace
  • Futures of the mass media and journalism
  • Growth of new media in non-democratic societies, such as China
  • Access to communication technology and the digital divide
  • International broadcasting rights
  • Global advertising, marketing practices and national policies
  • Information revolutions and challenges to state power

What are the varying roles of communication in approaches to global conflicts and crises? Topics include the roles of communication in:

  • Global conflict and resolution
  • Communication and global health
  • Terrorism and responses to terrorism
  • Disasters and international responses
  • International approaches to HIV and AIDS
  • Global debates on environmental risk and risk perception
  • International development, population control
  • Information, agriculture and nutrition in the Third World
  • Public understanding of biotechnology and genetically modified foods
  • Success and failure of United Nations and NGO initiatives


In what ways does globalization influence, shape and transform culture? Topics include:

  • Influences of globalization on traditional languages and cultures
  • Cultural imperialism
  • Resistance to globalization among cultures
  • Global virtual communities
  • Negotiation among cultures
  • Globalization and religion
  • Comparative religion study
  • The growing role of Global Islam
  • Transformation of the international workforce
  • The local in a globalized world – “glocalization”
  • The globalization of sport
  • The cultural implications of the Olympics, Super Bowl, and World Cup
  • Transformation of the university and education
  • American cultural hegemony and international cultures policies

How are individual understandings of identity influenced by globalization? Topics include:

  • Changing nature of race and ethnicity in a globalized world
  • Gender studies in an age of globalization
  • Technology, global interactions and identity
  • Identity and citizenship in the context of globalization
  • Influences of immigration and migration on identity and culture
  • Human interaction with technology
  • Youth culture and advances in technology
  • Technology, games and identity
  • Immigration, migration and border studies
  • Co-ethnic identities
  • Changing identity pathways


What are the varying influences of globalization on national and international political systems? Topics include:

  • Global governance
  • State sovereignty and global relations
  • The changing nature of nation-states
  • The historical and future role of the United Nations
  • International non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • NGOs and humanitarian relief
  • Backlash and protests against globalization
  • Resistance and transformative politics
  • Critiques of empire and modernity
  • Globalization, poverty and inequality
  • Peace-keeping and armed intervention
  • Terrorism and responses to terrorism
  • Colonialism and post colonialism
  • International law and diplomacy

In what ways does globalization influence and alter societal structures? Topics include:

  • Sustainable development
  • Population growth and population control
  • Global resource management
  • Global economic governance
  • International environmental law
  • Ideologies of globalization
  • Globalization and patterns of economic growth
  • Income and inequality
  • The World Trade Organization and the World Bank
  • Global capitalism
  • International political economy
  • International emergency response systems to health epidemics
  • The making of a global civil society