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Faculty of Social Sciences

Staff Profile

Prof Grahame Thompson

Emeritus Professor

Politics & International Studies


Prof Grahame Thompson has spent most of his academic career at The Open University. He trained as an economist and was originally a member of the Department of Economins. He moved to the Department of Politics & International Studies in 2000 and served as Head of Department from 2001 to 2003 and for 2007.

Course development and teaching

Prof Thompson has made leading contributions to a range of Open University social sciences courses at all levels. Most recently he has contributed course materials to Living political ideas (DD306) and Earth in crisis: environmental policy in an international context (DU311). He continues to be closely involved with Governing Europe (DD200).

Research interests

Prof Thompson is best known for his work on 'globalization', where, with his then co-author Paul Hirst, he sketched out a basically sceptical position in the book Globalization in Question. A third edition of the book was published in 2008, now jointly written with Simon Bromley and the late Paul Hirst.

In more recent years Prof Thompson's work has moved in several related directions. In the first place, there is an interest in the notion of territory in the contemporary international system ('The fate of territorial engineering: mechanisms of territorial power and post-liberal forms of international governance' International Politics, vol.44, 2007). This is connected to several articles which reflect on the way that fundamentalisms are re-shaping international politics ('Exploring sameness and difference: fundamentalisms and the future of globalization' Globalizations, vol.3, no.4, 2006, and 'Religious fundamentalisms, territories and "globalization", Economy and Society, vol.36, no.1, 2007). In addition, Thompson is developing a research project on 'global corporate citizenship', which involves examining this issue as a significant move within the evolving 'constitutionalization' of the international system ('Tracking global corporate citizenship: some reflections on "lovesick" companies' Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper No. 192, November 2006, Trinity College Dublin, and 'The interrelationship between global and corporate governance: towards a democratization of the business firm', in Handbook of Research on Corporate Citizenship, eds., A.G. Scherer & G. Palazzo, Edward Elgar 2008). Thompson is pursuing this research project while a visiting professor at the Centre for International Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School during 2008. Finally there is on-going research on the international financial system ('The supra-national regionalization of the international financial system: how far and with what prospects?' in G.R.D.Underhill, ed., Global Financial Integration 30 Years On, Cambridge University Press, 2008).

These research projects were conducted under the auspices of two Open University Research Centres: The Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) and the joint Open University and University of Manchester ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC).

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Heffernan, Richard and Thompson, Grahame eds. (2011). Politics and Power in the UK (3rd ed.). Power, Dissent, Equality: Understanding Contemporary Politics. Milton Keynes: Open University.

Last updated: 13 August 2013