Globalization and Life History Research: Fragments of A Life Foretold

Apr. 10, 2010

Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Vol. 23, No. 2, March–April 2010, 129–146.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The goal of this article is to understand, by way of a life history, how globalization impacts the working class in a developing nation.

The concept of globalization and the method of life history seem diametrically opposed. Globalization is an idea about large social forces that impact the economic and material conditions of nations.
Life history assumes that understanding the culture and identity of a particular person is paramount.

The author takes issue with the idea that the two concepts are incompatible and instead suggests that life history affords a way to come to terms with globalization that is often missing from large cross-national studies.

The article suggests that life history provides opportunities for understanding globalization from a new vantage point that does not contradict previous research, but instead lends depth and understanding about how individuals act and react to the forces of globalization.


The author has used life history as a way to understand how one Malaysian low-income working-class youth sees himself in a time fraught with change and ambiguity, and by doing so, hopefully have shed light on how we might employ life history to understand how education is being changed by globalization.
The author has argued that societal changes are in part framed by globalization and how Malaysia has reacted to pressures largely from outside its borders.

Updated: Jul. 13, 2010