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Call for papers, issue 4: GLOBAL FIELDWORKS

Deadline for abstract submission: March 31st, 2015

The fourth issue of the Terrains/Théories journal will investigate, in a pluridisciplinary way, the epistemological and methodological consequences of the « global turn » in social science (Caillé and Dufoix, 2013).

Forty years after the release of Immanuel Wallerstein’s first volume about the modern world-system (1974), more than thirty years after Theodore Levitt’s article on the globalization of markets (1983), as an ever-growing number of books, articles, readers about globalization is being published, it seems necessary to wonder about how the globalization of concepts can be articulated, within the framework of empirical research, to the globalization of objects.

Within the last three decades, most studies about globalization have focused on its conceptualization, its definition, its characteristics (political, economical, cultural, social, technological…), as well as on the epistemological issues entailed by its construction as a now fundamental object of social sciences. If most studies share the vision that the event “globalization”– whatever its actual name and actual novelty may be – cannot leave intact the various disciplines that have the social as their core and that it makes it compulsory, as it is either a “world becoming a society” or “society becoming the world”, to engage into a fundamental reflection about their goals and methods, these studies largely diverge about how this reflection is to be actualized in fieldwork.

It is as if, facing such a diffuse and overarching phenomenon as globalization that the whole contemporary period seems likely to be defined as the era of globalization (some kind of globalocene), scholars were much more attracted towards a high level of abstraction that makes them promote “models” and “theories” rather than prompts them to confront the very concrete scientific practices that need to be established in order to investigate the forms and the effects of such a phenomenon, i.e. in the fieldwork.

However, reflecting upon how to conduct investigations (in anthropology, in political science, in sociology, in history, in geography etc.) cannot be dissociated from the very definition of the object, of its contours, of its complex spatializations and temporalizations. Most innovations in the field of investigation tools can be conducted have been linked to specific perspectives on the role of individuals, of structures, of interactions, of spatiality, of temporality and so on. Si le global is not an object like all others that could be studied with the classical methods of social science – which seems to be the conception displayed by Metzger, Martin and Pierre (2003) for instance –, then fieldwork investigate will bear the trace of a singular vision of what the global or globalization is.

Of course, new methods have been invented or reinvented in order to study the global within the last two decades (Rossi, 2007). Some of them emphasize the local : extended case study (Burawoy, 2000), connected history (Subrahmanyam, 1997); some others insist on the idea of “following”: multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995), circulations analysis (Dezalay and Garth, 2002), mobile methods (Büscher, Urry and Wichtger, 2011) or connections mappings (Diminescu, 2012) ; still others deal with the various modalities of glocalization (Robertson, 1995) as can be seen with the anthropology of the global system (Friedman and Ekholm-Friedman, 2008a et b), the study of life-worlds (Schuerkens, 2003) or transnational history (Saunier, 2013). Most of those methods are qualitative, but some scholars have tried, out of quantitative data, to either « measure » globalization (Caselli, 2012) or assess the future of comparison within a globalized framework (Giraud, 2012). From 2002 until 2008, the German team of Global Index produced a four-dimensional measure of globalization taking the economical, cultural, political and technological criteria into consideration (Raab et allii, 2008).

This issue would like to aggregate different works of social science addressing the issue of global fieldworks. It may involve the description of the difficulties encountered, the reflection upon comparing cases or any single study about an object that is particularly sensitive to the process of globalization. Will be particularly welcome those proposals that will fit into one of the following topics:

  • assessing reflection on fieldwork within the field of Global Studies;

  • confronting or hybridizing specific disciplinary methods (history-sociology, geography-anthropology, political science-philosophy or any other combination);

  • presenting a particular investigation about the global, as well as its epistemological and conceptual implications;

  • offering a methodological reflections about local-global links from the perspective of fieldwork.


Burawoy (Michael) et allii, eds., Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000.

Büscher (Monika), Urry (John) and Wichtger (Katian), eds., Mobile Methods, New York, Routledge, 2011.

Caillé (Alain) and Dufoix (Stéphane), dir., Le tournant global des sciences sociales, Paris, La Découverte, 2013.

Caselli (Marco), Trying to Measure Globalization. Experiences, Critical Issues and Perspectives, New York, Springer, 2012.

Dezalay (Yves) and Garth (Bryant), La mondialisation des guerres de palais, Paris, Seuil, 2002.

Diminescu (Dana), dir., E-Diasporas Atlas. Exploration and Cartography of Diasporas on Digital Networks, Paris, Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2012.

Friedman (Jonathan) and Ekholm-Friedman (Kasja), Historical Transformations: The Anthropology of Global Systems, Lanham, Altamira Press, 2008a.

Friedman (Jonathan) and Ekholm-Friedman (Kasja), Modernities, Class and the Contradictions of Globalization: The Anthropology of Global Systems, Lanham, Altamira Press, 2008b.

Giraud (Olivier), « Les défis de la comparaison à l’âge de la globalisation », Critique internationale, (57), 2012, p. 89-110.

Levitt (Theodore), « The Globalization of Markets », Harvard Business Review, (61), May-June 1983, p. 92-102.

Marcus (George), « Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography », Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 1995, p. 95-117.

Martin (Dominique), Metzger (Jean-Luc) and Pierre (Philippe), Les métamorphoses du monde. Sociologie de la mondialisation, Paris, Seuil, 2003.

Raab (Marcel), Ruland (Michael), Schönberger (Benno), Blossfeld (Hans-Peter), Hofäcker (Dirk), Buchholz (Sandra) and Schmelzer (Paul), « GlobalIndex : A Sociological Approach to Globalization Measurement », International Sociology, 23(4), 2008, p. 596-631.

Robertson (Roland), « Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity », in Mike Featherstone (Mike), Lash (Scott) and Robertson (Roland), eds., Global Modernities, London, Sage, 1995, p. 25-44.

Rossi (Ino), ed., Frontiers of Globalization Research. Theoretical and Methodological Approaches, New York, Springer, 2007.

Saunier (Pierre-Yves), Transnational History, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Schuerkens (Ulrike), « Social Transformations between Global Forces and Local Life-Worlds: Introduction », Current Sociology, 51(3-4), 2003, p. 195-308.

Wallerstein (Immanuel), Le système du monde du XVème siècle à nos jours, vol. 1, Capitalisme et économie-monde (1450-1640), Paris, Flammarion, 1980 (1ère édition en anglais 1974)

Subrahmanyam (Sanjay), « Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia », Modern Asian Studies, 31(3), 1997, p. 735-762.

Proposals shall be sent before March 31st, 2015 to:
Pierre-Laurent BOULANGER (
Stéphane DUFOIX (

Proposals shall include:
- title;
- an abstract of about 1,000 words;
- information about the author(s) : name, institutional affiliation, function, professional address; phone number and e-mail address.

The Editorial Committee will operate a selection and inform the authors of the selected proposals by April 20th. Authors are kindly requested to submit their articles respecting the journal editorial guidelines:

Please contact the managing editor ( for any further information needed.

Final articles shall be sent by September 15th. The issue will be online in June 2016.

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