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"Globalisation and Long Wave Theory"

This project has been funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and is led by Dr Terry McDonough of the Department of Economics at NUI Galway.
While there are no current funded positions open in this project, we very much welcome expressions of interest, from e.g. potential future academic partners in related research areas.

All are welcome to contact Dr McDonough at

[email protected]

A brief abstract of the project follows

Project Leader:

Dr Terry McDonough


Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez

Dr Terry McDonough

Emlyn Nardone

Brian O'Boyle

There is currently a debate over whether globalisation is the continuation of long-standing trends or a qualitatively new phenomena demanding new explanations and new strategies of social engagement. This project proposes to argue the latter proposition form the perspective of long-wave or stage theories of capitalism. Long-wave theory sees capitalist history as divided between alternating periods of successful expansion relative stagnation and crisis. Expansion takes place when the instabilities of capitalism are temporarily overcome. This is achieved through the establishment of a complex network of institutions, norms and regulations that dampen crises tendencies so that long-run profit expectations are restored, followed by reinvestment and growth. This institutional reorganisation takes place across all levels and sectors of society. If such a new institutional framework is consolidating then by the standards of long-wave theory we are witnessing a qualitative change in the workings of the capitalist economy.

The most comprehensive of the long-wave schools in the English speaking academy is that of the Social Structure Accumulation (SSS) framework (Kotz, et al 1994). While it has been commonly applied at the national level, the SSA framework has been unclear as to whether it can be applied on more global scales. To argue that a transnational SSA is emerging necessitates going beyond economic institutions to contend that transactional state structures are also emerging. It is important then to understand the changing way in which international markets are embedded or not in these state structures. Finally if is important to understand the ways in which an active citizenry can exercise a regulatory influence over corporate behaviour in this new environment. This project proposes to further long-wave and globalisation literature by funding three graduate PhD theses examining these three areas.

A link to the IRCHSS is below.

Publications, presentations etc, for this project:

CISC Working papers:

Growth and Crisis: Social Structure of Accumulation Theory and Analysis

Conference papers/presentations:

Gonzalez-Perez, Maria-Alejandra, and Terrence McDonough. 2005. More than bananas: Social Responsibility Networks and labour relations in the Urabá banana region of Colombia. Paper read at GURN/ILO Workshop: Trade Unions, Globalization and Development Strengthening Rights and Capabilities of Workers, 23rd January 2005, at World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

McDonough, Terrence, and Maria-Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez. 2005. Social Responsibility Networks and Labour Relations: a case study from the banana industry in Colombia. Paper read at Development Economics Symposium, 14th April 2005, at NUI, Galway, Ireland.

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