Global Processes, Systems and Problems through Globalistics Lens: A Path to a New Synthesis

Authors: Ilyin, Ilya V.; Ivanov, A.
Almanac: Globalistics and Globalization Studies

Precondition and creation possibilities of the single synthetic conception of Globalistics are analyzed in article. This young interdisciplinary science gradually develops and within its structure new directions are outlined: Paleoglobalistics, Futuro-Globalistics, Evolutionary Globalistics, Cosmo-Globalistics and others. Three main subjects of Global Studies (global systems, processes and problems) are suggested for consideration. It is necessary that there should be a synthetic scientific perception of globalisation, global natural and anthropogenic systems, processes and problems meaning the necessity of a broad system and evolutionary approach in interdisciplinary realization as well as interconnecting and conducting joint research by scientists and scholars. In spite of a humanitarian character of the speciality in a classical vision, the scientific-educational strategy at FGS MSU foresees a serious filling with natural sciences and regards Globalistics as a synthetic natural-humanitarian direction. Such a synthesis can be achieved, above all, with a wide implementation of global ecological aspects.

Keywords: Globalistics, global systems, global processes, global problems, interdisciplinary, synthetic conception of Globalistics, Evolutionary Globalistics, Paleoglobalistics.

Global problems are becoming more acute while Globalistics is presented today in three images, namely as an interdisciplinary scientific field, as the basis of modern persons' new outlook and as a social movement. In this respect, contemporary Globalistics becomes more and more similar to various academic disciplines and approaches such as Ecology, Complexity Studies, or Evolutionism. This specific character has both positive and negative effects, namely, together with a rapid constructive development of Globalistics as a scientific field one also observes vulgarization of terminology, and attempts to turn science into fashion, pseudoscientific and antiscientific trends.

At present one of the few academic and educational establishments specialized in the sphere of Globalistics, namely the Faculty of Global Studies (FGS) develops at Moscow State University (MSU). The faculty staff faces a number of conceptual issues, for example, how to develop the research and educational processes; what is the optimal interconnection of methods in globalistic research; how to form an educational path in a reasonable way, to arrange and coordinate disciplines within the curriculum, etc. It is obvious that the newly formed faculty needs to work out its academic and educational conception for the further development while the whole academic and educational community connected with the subject matter of Globalistics needs some checkpoints in the wide range of numerous interconnected global systems, processes and problems.

First of all, today it is possible to speak about three main subjects of Globalistics, namely global systems, processes and problems. They are interconnected and each concept should single out its own peculiar globality criteria.

Second, at present it is impossible to talk about only natural or about only anthropogenic global systems, processes and problems. They have a complex natural and anthropogenic character and in future the interaction and coevolution of natural and anthropogenic components will progress. It is expedient to consider socionatural global systems, processes and problems together with natural ones (Abylgaziev et al. 2011).

It is necessary to work out a synthetic scientific perception of globalisation, global natural and anthropogenic systems, processes and problems. It is necessary to have a broad system and evolutionary approach in the interdisciplinary realization as well as to encourage the collaborative research by scientists and scholars. A global process cannot be understood and a global problem cannot be solved by efforts within the framework of a certain discipline – their broad interaction is necessary.

Broad interpretation and perception of Globalistics and the criteria of globality is also necessary, which implies a universal character of global processes; space-time perception; considering the latest achievements in the studies of global natural processes. It is obvious that a ‘global-scientific’ and universal interdisciplinary approach is necessary.

Besides, Globalistics should involve modern approaches, which have been developed in different scientific fields to a larger extent. They include, for instance, the Complexity Studies approach, the ecological approach (i.e. understanding Ecology as scientific research of interaction between systems of different organization levels), crosscutting evolutionary approach to comprehend global processes through the conception of coevolution of geospheres (i.e. the perception of the things happening today through the prism of the integral global history of the Earth, life and humankind) and a broad application of mathematical methods to the modelling of global systems and processes.

All global problems can be analyzed at regional and local levels. The most fundamental and practically effective studies of global systems, processes and problems are achieved thorough mass collection and studying of material in local and separate regions and the subsequent comparison, generalization and understanding at the global scale as the correlation of global processes at different levels is obvious and predetermined by general principles of their development.

We will point out some problems of modern Globalistics, which in our opinion are the key ones.

Today we can observe the predominance of ‘morphological’ task-solving pattern in Globalistics, whereas it is necessary to pay much more attention to historical and forecasting aspects of Global Studies.

The issue of crisis should be considered by means of all available in modern science methods, with the wide application of achievements in the area of anatomy of crisis, the theory of catastrophes, the study of crises in the earth evolution history. The exacerbation of a certain global problem will inevitably affect others and can cause a system crisis. Global crises cannot be studied separately as ecological, political, financial or psychological ones, etc. The crisis is a complex phenomenon, and an efficient approach to solving it should be also complex, interdisciplinary and synthetic.

The issue of global systems, problems and processes modeling and forecasting is in the focus of practical study and should be settled by providing appropriate series of research, and through training of the staff, experienced in the application of various mathematical techniques.

Meanwhile, one should not reduce global crisis to figures and statistics, as this is also a humanitarian crisis that reveals a larger problem of absence of a single synthetic global conception. The creation and development of this conception can be considered as the key strategic task for the academic community and it is a priority for the Faculty of Global Studies at Moscow State University.

Let us dwell briefly on the peculiarities of the research activities of FGS MSU as a body set up among other things to fulfill the functions of a center of global ideas concentration and support for appropriate research.

As regards a wide range of factors, which nowadays determine the conditions and development of international relations, the research carried out by the Faculty can be characterized by an interdisciplinary approach and integration of education, training, research, and practice. At the same time, the research contributes to the development and improvement of the teaching process, introduction of innovative scientific achievements into the training courses, students' involvement into practical scientific work. The following issues are studied at the Faculty:

- issues of interaction between society and environment;

- the conception of sustainable development and its realization in Russia;

- problems of human potential development: issues of demography, migrations, etc.;

- perspectives of the Common Wealth States (CIS), national interests and strategies of Russia and the CIS, centers of world power and the role of Russia in the world development;

- issues of globalization and regionalization in international collaboration and general issues of Globalistics methodology.

Globalistics is a young scientific field at its early stages of establishment as an interdisciplinary course and the issues of staffing and educational basis are of crucial importance. How should globalistic research be developed? How can the results of this research be incorporated into the teaching process so that the university graduates obtain a wide range of knowledge, world outlook and competence to analyze and solve the on-going processes and problems at the global scale?

Nowadays, there is a clash between the development of Globalistics and the existing system of education. There are no formal opportunities yet to graduate from a university with a diploma in Globalistics and no there are qualifications of the kind in the state education standards. This area of activity (studying global processes and problems) has not been considered yet as a recognized occupation. The first attempts have been made at FGS MSU to start teaching this major within the university undergraduate course of ‘International Relations’. Moreover, the faculty was the first in Russia to develop its own educational standard in Globalistics. There is no officially recognized major in Globalistics yet in the unified education classification of the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. We cannot but mention that this situation is typical for many interdisciplinary training courses at their present stage of development.

FGS MSU encounters a task to create and approve an optimum curriculum, which allows preparing specialists in Globalistics with a wide outlook of a classical university graduate, on the one hand, and who is in demand in the job market, on the other hand. In spite of a humanitarian character of the major in Globalistics, the scientific-educational strategy of FGS MSU foresees a serious filling with natural sciences and regards Globalistics as a synthetic scientific-humanitarian direction. Such a synthesis can be achieved primarily with a wide implementation of global ecological aspects.

As an example we can mention the implementation of global ecological and geoecological knowledge into the academic process, which is an element of a general educational conception: at FGS MSU a series of related courses is realized with the aim of ‘ecologization’ of the future graduate's scientific worldview. The most efficient model of such a set of courses is the following sequence: general ecology – global natural processes – global ecology (Ilyin and Ivanov 2009).

Elements of geoecological knowledge are included in some courses, which according to the curriculum are taught to the students of FGS MSU. Teaching of elements of geoecology and global ecology starts with the discipline ‘Introduction to Globalistics’. The starting course is a set of lectures concentrated directly on global ecological problems and processes. General questions within the boundaries of natural sciences are included in the discipline ‘Conceptions of Modern Natural Science’.

On the basis of the above mentioned ideas we may formulate our vision of peculiarities of educating a specialist in global processes.

First, there should be a harmonious synthesis of global-ecological, global-political and global-economic directions.

Second, there should be a wide involvement of interdisciplinary trends, namely Complexity Studies (Aleshkovski et al. 2010) and Universal (Global) Evolutionism.

Third, there should be a wide use of modern scientific achievements: system theory, global evolutionism (Ilyin and Ursul 2009), the conception of noosphere structures (Khudyakov 1993), anatomy of crises, catastrophe theory (Arnold 2004), conceptions of coevolution of geospheres (Ivanov 2004), global-geopolitical views (Abylgaziev et al. 2010), study of global cities and others. Definitely, it is necessary to implement achievements in new directions of Globalistics – Paleoglobalistics (Gabdullin et al. 2010), Evolutionary Globalistics (Ilyin and Ursul 2009), Futuro-Globalistics and others.

The results of research in the mentioned fields are systematically discussed at large academic meetings, and the most important one is the International Congress ‘Globalistics’ held by MSU in 2009 and 2011 with over 500 participants from more than 30 countries. The Congress has become regular and contributes to the development of an international association of students of the Faculty of Global Studies. The analysis of the Congress programmes demonstrates that it is a really global event.

Thus, the world community of present-day scientists appears as a global system of people united by the work in the scientific field of Globalistics and integrating a creative impulse to investigate and solve the global human problems. The scientific worldview and structure of science are changing; and in future it will lead to more important transformations in the scientific and educational system of human civilization.

Reviewing the subject matter and peculiarities of development of Globalistics today, we can state the absence of a single conception explaining the structure, functioning and evolution of global systems, processes and problems which can serve as a firm basis for predictive assessments. We are to create it on the path of synthesis of philosophical, political, economic, ecological and other aspects of Globalistics.


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