Global Sociology

Third edition

by Robin Cohen and Paul Kennedy

Global thinkers

The Global Thinkers feature which runs throughout the textbook provides analyses of the important research undertaken by key thinkers in sociology and related disciplines and provides some background to current sociological thinking. Click on the links below to find out more about these influential figures.

Global Thinker 1: Immanuel M. Wallerstein (1930-)

Immanuel Wallerstein is Senior Research Scholar at Yale University and the former president of the International Sociological Association (1994-1998). Visit his homepage at Yale University.

A useful and accessible resource page is Frank Elwell's site hosted by Rogers state University which is specifically designed for undergraduates who want to find out more about World System theory.

Wallerstein's reflective essay, based on a public lecture, on the meaning of 9/11 and entitled 'America and the World: The Twin Towers as Metaphor' can be accessed from this site.

Global Thinker 2: Roland Robertson (1938-)

Roland Robertson is one of the world's pioneers in the study of globalization. This is his homepage at Durham University where he is IAS (Institute of Advanced Study) Fellow at St. Mary's College.

In this very complete and user-friendly globalization website there is a section entitled 'Theories' which includes a sub-section on world culture theory discussing and summarising Robertson's ideas very adequately

An interesting perspective on Robertson's theorization of globalization is Bryan Turner's article entitled ' The Concept of "The World" in Sociology: A Commentary on Roland Robertson's Theory of Globalization' which can be found in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 31, No. 3 pp. 311-318.

Global Thinker 3: Max Weber (1854-1920)

Max Weber made path-breaking contributions to sociology; most famous is his work on formal rationality. An educational website celebrating his work and aimed at undergraduate students is again Frank Elwell's site at Rogers State University, Oklahoma which gives an overview of his work, covering topics such as the protestant work ethic, social action, bureaucracy and societal oligarchy.

Global Thinker 4: Karl Marx (1818-83)

The Marxist Writers Archive is a useful resource which offers access to the full-text of key Marxist and Socialist writings of the 19th and 20th centuries. All material is arranged in collections by author. And includes the most famous authors such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, as well as less well known political theorists such as Labriola and Shachtman.

The Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) is a volunteer, not for profit organisation and contains an astonishingly large amount of material relating to Marx and Marxist writings, a useful introductory section entitled 'What is Marxism?' and an encyclopaedia of Marxism. It is available in 43 languages and includes both a writer and subject index.

Michael Burawoy argues that a ‘sociological Marxism’ has survived and can be developed using the additional interventions by Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polanyi. See

Global Thinker 5: Anthony Giddens (1938-)

Anthony Giddens was Director of the LSE from 1997 to 2003 and he is currently a Life Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Here is his homepage at LSE.

This site contains transcripts, audio files and videos from the 1999 BBC Reith lectures which were given by Giddens and focused generally on the theme of globalisation. There are also discussion forums featuring debates concerning issues raised by the lectures.

This site offers a brief introduction to Giddens' general approach and has details on his ideas about self, gender and identity in modern societies. The section entitled 'Modernity, Post-modernity and the Post-traditional' is particularly useful.

Global Thinker 6: Walden Bello (1945-)

Walden Bello is Executive Director of Focus on the Global South and Professor of Sociology and Public Administration at the University of the Philippines. He has a homepage with recent publications at the Transnational Institute (a worldwide fellowship of scholar-activists), where he is a fellow and board member.

This German site with resources, archives and news has a really useful page which includes links to texts written by Walden Bello that go back to 1999.

Global Thinker 7: Leslie Sklair (1940-)

Leslie Sklair is Emeritus Professor in Sociology at LSE and is currently the President of the Global Studies Association. Here is his homepage at LSE.

Sklair's article on the existence of a transnational capitalist class can be found here.

Global Thinker 8: Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant is Professor of Development Geography at LSE. See her homepage.

Click this link to watch Sylvia giving the Birkbeck First Annual Development Lecture in 2011 in which she discusses the 'feminization of poverty' as a global concept.

Global Thinker 9: Patricia Hill Collins (1948-)

Patricia Hill Collins is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. See her homepage.

Watch Patricia being interviewed by Colgate University president Jeffrey Herbst about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations which took place in 2011 and other social movements.

Global Thinker 10: David Harvey (1935-)

David Harvey is by training a social geographer but is currently Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Watch a selection of videos including one dubbed into Turkish.

An interview with David Harvey by Sasha Lilley of the radical radio program Against the Grain about the origins and trajectory of the neoliberal creed is available to read online.

A good starting point to find out about David Harvey's work is Castree's entry on Harvey in Key Thinkers on Space and Place (2004). It was edited by Hubbard, Kitchin and Valentine and was published by Sage.

Global Thinker 11: Michel Foucault (1926-84)

Michel Foucault was a French philosopher and there is a wealth of resources about him and his work online. We have provided links to what we think are the most useful academic sites, particularly for sociology students.

View a resource site which has been developed and maintained by Clare O'Farrell who is a lecturer in the School of Cultural and Language Studies at Queensland University of Technology. The site includes a Foucault bibliography and information about new books about his work.

A very useful and informative site, including some free text and audio, is available at

Global Thinker 12: Nina Glick Schiller

Nina Glick Schiller is the Director of the Cosmopolitan Cultures Institute and Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. See her homepage.

Read an article co-written by Nina and Andreas Wimmer on methodological nationalism.

Global Thinker 13: Arlie Hochschild (1940-)

Arlie Hochschild is Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. See her homepage.

Hochschild’s insightful interview on emotional labour appears from the title to be in Spanish, but is actually in English. Here is the link:

Global Thinker 14: Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)

Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist. The HyperBourdieu website provides access to a bibliography of his works. The bibliography was complied by Ingo Morth and Gerhard Frohlich who are academics at the University of Linz in Austria. The bibliography contains references to written works and also public statements. Various notes included in the bibliography are in German only, but English and French versions are works in progress.

Read the conclusion to Distinctions: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1984) online via the Marxists Writers archive.

Global Thinker 15: John Urry (1946-)

John Urry is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and CeMoRe Director at the University of Lancaster, Lecturer for the Tourist Gaze and Director of the Centre for Mobilities Research. This is his homepage there.

Global Thinker 16: Manuel Castells (1942-)

Manuel Castells is Professor Emeritus of Sociology City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

You can see a webcast of an interview with Manuel Castells by Harry Kreisler in 2001 entitled 'Identity and Change in the Network Society' through the Institute of International studies at UC Berkeley.

A website dedicated to Manuel Castells’s life and work, with many links to publications and lectures, can be found.

Castells is a popular lecturer and a number of his lectures feature on YouTube. Two we have picked out are his lecture on Social Movements in the Age of the Internet and his lecture on Network Theories of Power.

Global Thinker 17: Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

Emile Durkheim is a French sociologist and one of the founding figures of sociology. There are many websites on his life and works available online, but here are some well-established introductory sites:

This site has been developed and maintained by Frank Elwell of Rogers State University in the United States. The central aim of the site is to offer support to undergraduate students studying Durkheim. It gives an overview of Durkheim's work, covering topics such as suicide, anomie, and the division of labour.

The Durkheim Pages provide a generally useful support for anyone trying to understand his work. The detailed summary of Durkheim’s four major works is especially helpful.

Global Thinker 18: Georg Simmel (1858-1918)

Georg Simmel was a German sociologist and is often declared to be one of the founders of sociology, yet undoubtedly he is the least well-known. Created by the editors of the gateway 'Sociology in Switzerland', Georg Simmel Online presents extracts from Simmel's major books and over fifty journal articles, all in the original German. This useful collection is accompanied by extracts in English from Lewis A. Coser's Masters of Sociological Thought, which provides biographical information about Simmel and discusses the significance of his work.

A full text PDF of Simmel’s insightful article ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ is available.

A short introduction, with full text links, to Simmel’s life and work has been posted by the Cardiff School of Social Science.

Global Thinker 19: Jürgen Habermas (1929-)

Jürgen Habermas is one of the world's most eminent contemporary sociologists and works in the tradition of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.

The Habermas forum was started in 2001 by a group of professors from Denmark and Norway interested in sharing ideas and resources about Habermas. The website aims to bring those interested in Habermas together to gather information about books, reviews and events. There is an online newsletter which readers can sign up to hear about via email. The site is in Danish only.

Global Thinker 20: Ulrich Beck (1944-)

Ulrich Beck is Professor for Sociology at the University of Munich, and the British Journal of Sociology Professor at the London School of Economics and Sciences.

A talk from 2001 by Ulrich Beck entitled The Silence of Words and Political Dynamics in the World Risk Society can be accessed via Logos.

There are a number of lectures by Ulrich Beck on YouTube, but several are of poor technical quality. We recommend the one entitled ‘Living in and coping with risk society’.

An article by Simon Cottle on the relevance of the idea of risk society to mass communications is found at

Global Thinker 21: Zygmunt Bauman (1925-)

Zygmunt Bauman is a Polish-born sociologist who is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, where he found a home away from home. A Bauman Institute, serviced by a comprehensive website, has been established in his honour.

You can access a working paper of Bauman's entitled 'Europe of Strangers' through the Oxford University Transnational Communities Programme.

You can also access the 2005 Zygmunt Bauman lecture series entitled 'Melting Modernity' through the LSE website.

Global Thinker 22: Martin Albrow (1942-)

Martin Albrow is a British sociologist and is Research Professor in the Social Sciences at Roehampton Institute, London. You can access one of his working papers through the Oxford University Transnational Communities Programme entitled 'Frames and Transformations in Transnational Studies'.

An insight into Albrow's work can be found in his autobiographical statement 'Unfinished work: the career of a European sociologist' in Mathieu Deflem's (ed.) Sociologists in a Global Age: Biographical Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).