rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 264
Sources: Encyclopedia of Global Studies
Lauren Marcus

Reference Librarian, State University of New York at New Paltz

This four-volume set represents an ambitious entry by Sage Reference into the relatively new field of Global Studies. Sage has published numerous reference works on economic globalization and international studies, including the Central Currents in Globalization series that integrates the study of economic, political, and cultural globalization. But while studies in globalization often span diverse world economies and cultures, global studies investigate the social, technological, and economic phenomena caused by the processes of globalization.

In the Encyclopedia of Global Studies, editors Anheier and Juergensmeyer have constructed a framework for studying the effects of globalization in the modern world, with the assistance of an international roster of contributing scholars. To cover the entire range of themes, ideas, and methodologies that makes up the field of global studies, the entries are organized into fourteen broad themes. These topical headings include global governance; international security; global justice; economic, political, cultural and public health issues; and transnational coverage of world religions, social movements, and ideologies. To organize the nearly 700 entries, the editors have included a list of entries as well as a reader’s guide at the beginning of each volume, in addition to the cumulative index in volume 4 of the set. Reader’s guides or topic finders are common finding aides in many Sage publications and help to conceptualize and cross-reference interdisciplinary themes and entries. Because the encyclopedia is organized alphabetically, these guides might be better placed at the end of the final volume to allow for continuity of content. But this is a minor flaw for a reference work of such broad scope and exhaustive scholarship.

Entries vary in length from one to six pages, with occasional inconsistencies in coverage and content. For example, entries on religious identities in the global community and the Academy Awards are of equal length—a mere two and a half pages. However, entries on Urbanization, Sustainability, Biofuels, Demographic Change, Global Media and Communications are rich in statistical data, critical analysis, and historical context. Edward Kolodziej, Director of the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois, contributes a lengthy entry on global governance and world order. Kolodzeij describes the emergence of a global society and provides an organizational model for future studies of the complex relationship between global markets and nation-state systems. Most entries include a brief list of related content, as well as a list of recommended further reading. These reading lists often cite scholarly articles and books on global studies research in the international academic community.

The Encyclopedia of Global Studies is described in the introduction by editors Anheier and Jergensmeyer as the “first encyclopedia of and for global studies” (1:xxxvi). However, this claim might be contested by Wiley-Blackwell publishers who released the Encyclopedia of Globalization in early 2012. This five-volume set, which is significantly more costly than the Sage publication, includes coverage of similar transnational topics such as environmental, social, political, and economic globalization. However, Wiley-Blackwell’s editors present these diverse themes within the processes and existing constructs of globalization, not quite taking the leap into the arguably new field of global studies.

The Encyclopedia of Global Studies is well designed, with easy to read maps, charts, and reference lists. While many readers will likely access single or related topics, the alphabetic organization and concise entries in this reference work make for enjoyable browsing and will appeal to a broad range of students and scholars. This diverse and comprehensive resource on global studies will be useful for students across many disciplines, including political science, economics, sociology, and geography. In addition, educators will find the reader’s guide and interdisciplinary entries helpful in designing curricula in global studies. This reference work is recommended for public, high school, and academic collections.

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