The study of globalization is highly disputatious. Indeed, this entire volume is devoted to at least some of the major conceptual debates in the study of globalization. However, there are even more fundamental debates surrounding the whole issue of globalization. This ﬁrst chapter of the book contains an essay by Mauro F. Guillén that examines ﬁve of the key debates in the ﬁeld. While he does not include it as one of his debates, Guillén begins with the much discussed issue of just what is globalization. He reviews various deﬁnitions as well as proposing his own deﬁnition. He points out that globalization is not only a scientiﬁc concept but also an ideology with a multitude of meanings. In addition to disagreements over its deﬁnition, there is much dispute over just when globalization began. Having in fact covered several debates in his introductory remarks, Guillén turns to what he considers the ﬁve key debates:
Is globalization really happening? Does globalization produce convergence?
Does globalization undermine the authority of the nation-state? Is globality different from modernity? Is a global culture in the making?
Guillén closes with some thoughts on what one of the ﬁelds covered in this book – sociology (others include political science, international relations, anthropology, economics, literary theory, geography) – has contributed to our understanding of globalization, as well as on the need for further research and more interdisciplinary work on the topic. Several of the debates outlined by Guillén appear later in this book, but the highly disputatious nature of globalization is reﬂected in the fact that there are many other ongoing arguments in the ﬁeld. Many of them appear in the following pages, but they represent only a small proportion of the large and growing number of debates in the study of globalization. While the fact of these exchanges does not promise any easy