Unit 4: Global transformations Description
This unit focuses on the process of international integration (globalisation) as a conceptual ‘lens’ through which to investigate issues in human geography. In doing so, it integrates the sub disciplines of economic and cultural geography, and political geography. Economic geography involves study of the changing location, distribution and spatial organisation of economic activities across the world, while cultural geography focuses on the patterns and interactions of human culture, both material and non-material. Both sub disciplines make an important contribution to our understanding of the human organisation of space. Political geography examines the spatial consequences of power at all scales from the personal to global.
The topic provides students with an understanding of the economic and cultural transformations taking place in the world today, the spatial outcomes of these processes, and their political and social consequences. It will better enable them to make sense of the dynamic world in which they will live and work. It will also allow them to be active participants in the public discourses and debate related to such matters.
The unit is based on the reality that we live in an increasingly interconnected world. This is a world in which advances in transport and telecommunications technologies have not only transformed global patterns of production and consumption but also facilitated the diffusion of ideas and cultures. Of particular interest is the ways in which people adapt and respond to these changes.
Students have the opportunity to explore the ideas developed in the unit through an investigation of the changes taking place in the spatial distribution of the production and consumption of a selected commodity, good or service or the study of an example of cultural diffusion, adoption and adaptation. They also investigate the ways people either embrace, adapt to, or resist the forces of international integration.
This unit includes an overview of international integration (globalisation) and a choice of depth studies: one focusing on economic integration, and one focusing on international cultural integration.
While the scale of study in this unit begins with the global, locally based examples can be used to enhance students’ conceptual understanding. The scale of study for the selected depth study, unless specified, can range from local to global, as appropriate.
In undertaking these studies, students develop an understanding about using and applying geographical inquiry, tools such as spatial technologies, and skills to investigate the transformations taking place throughout the world.