The news media today are full of references to "globalization" - the complex connections between different countries in the world and the way these increase over time. In fact this buzz word is so often used that it is danger of becoming a cliche. But what exactly is globalization? What are its main driving forces? Does it embrace increasing aspects of our lives, from economics to cultural developments? This volume examines these and related questions in a highly accessible fashion, offering a clear and intelligible guide to one of the big ideas and debates of our time. In doing so, it does not take one particular stance for or against globalizaton; rather, it examines the arguments and evidence about its nature, form and impact. After introducing the main theoretical positions of those who have studied the subject, chapters look at the changing form of modern communication and cultural industries, trade patterns and financial flows of the world economy, and whether or not the 'new political world order' is qualitatively different from the old state system.