Global Tectonics

Plates_tect2_en.svgI am starting a new subject area here called “Global Tectonics.” Of course, I am not a seismologist. I am just borrowing the concept from the hard sciences because I think it is a useful way to begin to grapple with the kinds of seismic changes underway in social and political life on a global scale.

My aim, at first, is to try to track the movement of social forces that currently do not fall into well established structures such as states, classes or institutions. I think there are a number of very important seismic shifts underway across these established forms.

So I will attempt to post in this category research, discussion and ideas about this process. Some examples include the emergence of non-state actors in both the legitimate sector (such as NGO’s) and the illegitimate sector (such as terrorism).

I use the word tectonics because it is my instinct that there are deeper stable processes underlying these phenomenon that may be tractable for investigation and that such investigation may lead to useful political and policy responses to the problems posed by these changes.

My inaugural post (see link to Global Tectonics on the right side of the blog) is a link to a fascinating paper on geo-spatial determinants of conflict in Africa.