GLOCAL Convenor Dr Duncan Ross writes:
Staff mobility is at the heart of the GLOCAL philosophy and delivery. By the end of their first year in the programme, all students have been taught by faculty from each of the four universities. Students spend time in Glasgow and Barcelona, of course, but, while there, colleagues travel from Göttingen to Glasgow, and from Rotterdam to Barcelona to deliver one of their courses.
This immediately focuses attention on the partnership nature of the programme, and helps to create a core identity that reaches beyond the individual universities or pathways. It continues in the second year, with Glasgow colleagues teaching a course in Rotterdam and Barcelona colleagues teaching a course in Göttingen.
Staff mobility is central not only to what we do, but how we do it; it enhances the connection between faculty and students, and it allows us to compare and learn from our different academic contexts and ways of doing things.
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Here are Dr Logemann’s reflections on this period of GLOCAL staff mobility.
Global Varieties of Capitalism – Göttingen Mobility in Glasgow 2019
Global markets differ the world over with unique regional dynamics, actors and institutions. Instead of studying globalization from a bird’s eye view, Global Varieties of Capitalism asks about the specific character of political economies from the perspective of specific local contexts in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. This GLOCAL core course uses the Varieties of Capitalism approach to explore institutional path dependencies, regional transitions and the peculiarities of capitalist economies across time and space. The very concept of capitalist market economies, students discover, looks very different if considered from the perspective of East Asian growth regions, post-Socialist economies in Central Asia or from the experience of Chile or Argentina. And, is there really such as thing as “Western Capitalism” when countries such as Germany and the United States display major differences in the way their political economies, business and labour relations are organized?
Taught as an intensive block seminar over just a few weeks, the course is demanding on students as well as on the visiting faculty from Göttingen (this year Dr Robert Bernsee and PhD Dr Jan Logemann). We feel that it is a tremendously rewarding experience, however, bringing together the collective insights and critical opinions from highly engaged students from all over the world. As students discuss in class and collaborate in groups projects, they learn as much from each other as from the texts and class lectures about local varieties in global markets. As in previous years, the highlight of this year’s course was again a full day of student group presentations on November 1st. Through intriguing case studies such as the rise of Bengaluru as India’s IT Hub, the role of Keiretsu in Japanese business, the coffee industry in Uganda, the emergence of a med-tech sector in Costa Rica, or Estonia’s push as a digital economy leader we gained insights into local developments and regional challenges within the global economy.
Dr Jan Logemann
In December 2019, Dr Aurèlia Mañé Estrada from the Universitat de Barcelona visited Göttingen to teach Topics in Globalisation.
Here are Dr Mañé’s reflections on this period of GLOCAL staff mobility.
Topics in Globalisation – Barcelona Mobility in Göttingen 2019
For the second year in a row, last December I enjoyed the amazing experience of teaching at the University of Göttingen with the extraordinary students of GLOCAL. It is a great effort, but an extremely rewarding experience, to share a few weeks with such brilliant and cosmopolitan students and with such welcoming colleagues as the teaching staff in Göttingen.
Unfortunately, this year I had less time than last year to share social activities with the students, but we were able to share a nice hot wine at the Christmas market.
We have been learning Political Economy of Energy together. I would like to think that the students after those intensive weeks of class, have learned to think about relationships and energy transition in a critical way. This is the main objective of the course and I wish I had provided them with the skills to decode the energetic events of the future.
For my own part, in both editions of GLOCAL, I have returned back to Barcelona with new thoughts on the subject as a result of the discussions we have had in class. For a lecturer, this is a gift.
For the next cohorts, which is the specific content of the course?
The course aims to analyse the phenomena of transition and energy geopolitics from the perspective of the Political Economy. To this end, the course will be structured in three main blocks.
The first block aims to explain how Political Economy has forged the energy narrative since the Industrial Revolution until now.
The main goal of this first block is to show that historically the choice of one or another way of capturing, transforming and using energy (energy model) is the result of a game of power, insofar energy relations are, at the end of the day, power interactions (Power is Power).
The second block seeks to explain how in the framework of the mainstream energy narrative, the construction of the Capitalist world order throughout the 20th century (from the First World War to the 1970s) turned into a very concrete structure of governance for the international oil industry (from the Seven Sisters to the OPEC). And, to explain that since the end of the Yalta order due to the disintegration of the Soviet Union we are witnessing its refurbishing and an anew of its financialization.
The third block will be the most speculative. Its objective is to think critically about the energy transition from a double perspective: to analyse the content of its narrative and to think of the energy transition as a change in world power relations.
Dr Aurèlia Mañé Estrada