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From the Editors

 

This volume is the first encyclopedia in the world dedicated to the problems of globalization and to the basic trends of global development. It has been prepared by a large international group of authors (278 people) in both English and Russian editions and contains about 430 entries reflecting the most significant achievements in the field of global studies accumulated within the last 30 years in Russia and abroad.

This publication appears in a period of worldwide attention to the process of globalization, the consequences of which are universally significant and potentially dangerous. Since the 1960s the world scholarly community has been involved in studying these consequences. As a result, a new broad interdisciplinary field of studies emerged global studies embracing achievements of many disciplines exploring globalization and those global problems, crises, and contradictions that it engenders. The scholarly literature on this topic is vast; heated discussions headlined in scholarly periodicals and mass media are held. At the same time, neither in Russia nor abroad can one find encyclopedic and analytical books covering the basic theories, concepts, and trends in global studies, containing the newest facts about the changes occurring, the organizations and persons involved, etc. This publication is designed to bridge this gap.

Another reason for publishing this distinctive encyclopedia is the fact that although extensive research in global studies is being conducted in many countries of the world, this work is, in fact, not coordinated globally. The academic ties among scholars working on the same tasks in various corners of the planet are far from being satisfactory. To change this situation, 278 scholars from 28 countries (Russia, the United States, Canada, China, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, Ireland, Iran, Finland, Switzerland, Greece, Australia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia) were invited to take part in the preparation of this volume. They represent social, natural, and exact sciences and approach the problems of globalization from the perspectives of ecology, economics, political science, culture studies, law, and other disciplines. There are also politicians, social activists, and governmental officials among the contributors. The full list of authors may be found at the end of the volume.

Effective coordination of the work of this large international team, including selection of terms and entries and simultaneous editing of the Russian and English volumes within a short period of time (less than two years), was possible due to the use of the newest technologies of interdisciplinary cooperation of scholars and other specialists. These technologies include virtual communication, e-mail, the Internet, and participation by the authors in academic communities and organizations that contributed to spreading the initial information about this project.

All entries are signed and selected on the basis of competition specially for this publication. Preference was given to articles reflecting the new directions and methods of research, dealing with the new fields of knowledge, and formulating unresolved problems along with evaluating their significance and demonstrating the prospects for their theoretical and practical solution. Most of the entries reveal the origins of a term; some are accompanied by a reference list composed of the most valuable and up-to-date publications on the problem in question. Unfortunately, it was impossible to publish all the references suggested by authors.

Since articles were selected on a competitive basis, some important entries may be composed of articles by two authors and more. This allows scholars across countries and disciplines to approach one topic from various viewpoints providing a stereoscopic and polyphonic vision of the most complex issues. Some contributions include statistic data, tables, graphs, and pictures submitted by authors or taken from the other respected sources.

The high scholarly quality of this publication was achieved thanks to the efforts of the Editorial Board uniting influential and well-known Russian and foreign scholars, many of them being full and corresponding members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and other academies, as well as prominent politicians and leaders of some of the largest Russian and international organizations, academic communities, and governmental bodies. All of them contributed full-length articles written specially for this volume.

The entries are situated in alphabetical order. They fully reflect twenty basic directions in contemporary global studies formulated clearly in the process of making this Encyclopedia. The vocabulary structure of the volume is unprecedented in Russian and foreign literature. It is a result of intense creative work not only by the editors, but also by the whole interdisciplinary international team of authors whose members contributed on the topics of their specialization. To assist readers in finding a needed term, the terms are classified in accordance with the basic research fields in global studies.

The Encyclopedia has been composed and published by TsNPP Dialog with scholarly and methodological support from the Russian Philosophical society and the Russian Ecological Academy and with the participation of an international non-governmental organization Concerned Philosophers for Peace and the Paideia Project of Boston University (U.S.A.). This also made this publication not only a reliable reference book but a guide for future explorations of the basic development trends in the contemporary world.

We think that the Encyclopedia will find its devoted readers in Russia and abroad and that its dissemination in many countries of the world will contribute to promoting academic cooperation, political dialogue, and mutual understanding among nations having different values, traditions, and beliefs. It is intended for both academics and the general reader; it may be useful for people of various ages and occupations.

We express our gratitude to the members of the Editorial Board, to the editors and authors of the Encyclopedia, as well as to the translators and operating stuff to all who contributed their knowledge, experience, and skills into the preparation of this volume.

 

W.C. Gay, I.I. Mazour, A.N. Chumakov