Professor Paul James


Portrait photo of Professor Paul JamesPaul James is a social theorist with three overlapping areas of research focus. The first is globalisation and its impact upon social relations, from national community to local community. The second is social change and the human condition, including the impact of modernisation on customary and traditional ways of being. The third is sustainability with an emphasis on sustainable urbanisation. These areas of focus are integrated through an approach to social theory called 'engaged theory', encompassing questions of social formation, social integration and ontological tension.

Across the last decade, Paul James been engaged in bringing out a sixteen-volume series called 'Central Currents in Globalization'. This collection maps the contours of a bourgeoning field that now crosses the boundaries of all the older disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The set comprises approximately 7,000 pages and 3.5 million words. 

He has also been working on the issue of community resilience and urban sustainability. This research has gone in two directions. One massive research project in Papua New Guinea resulted in changes to the way in which that country approaches community development. The research has subsequently been written up in a book called Sustainable communities, sustainable development: other pathways for Papua New Guinea (2012). The second direction has been in the area of urban sustainability. This currently involves ongoing work with Metropolis and other organisations to develop an alternative model of urban development called 'Circles of Sustainability'. It is elaborated in a book called Urban sustainability in theory and practice: circles of sustainability (2015).

Paul James is Research Director of Global Reconciliation, an international organisation based in Australia that has been doing work in zones of conflict around the world including Sri Lanka and the Middle East, bringing people together in ongoing dialogue. He is on the Council of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Honorary Professor at King's College London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (London). He is an editor of Arena Journal, as well as an editor/board-member of nine other international journals, including Globalizations and Global Governance. He has delivered invited addresses in over thirty countries and is author or editor of 31 books including, most importantly, Globalism, nationalism, tribalism (Sage, 2006). 

He has been an advisor to a number of agencies and governments including the Helsinki Process, the Canadian Prime Minister's G20 Forum, and the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor. His work for the Papua New Guinea Minister for Community Development became the basis for their Integrated Community Development Policy. He was Director of the United Nations Global Compact, Cities Programme (2007–2014).

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Qualifications 

PhD, 1991, Ashworth Social Theory Centre, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne.

BA (Hons), 1981, Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne. 

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Honours and Awards

Ongoing: Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, FRSA

2013: Professorial Fellow, Columbia University, United States

2007: Professorial Fellow, University of Helsinki, Finland

2006-08: Advisor to the Minister for Community Development, Papua New Guinea

2005: Professorial Fellow, Washington University, St Louis

2005: Bronze Medal, 'Beyond the Frontiers of Knowledge', University of Malaya

2004: Advisor to the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, Timor Leste

2002: British Academy award for international collaboration

2000: Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

1997: Professorial Fellow, Justus-Liebig Universität, Germany

1996: Crisp Medal, Australasian Political Studies Association for the best Australasian writing in political studies, 1994–1996

1994-96: Australian Research Council Fellow

1991: Japan-Australia People's Forum Fellow (1991) to give a series of public lectures in Japan

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Selected Publications

Downloadable PDFs of sections of these books can be found on Paul James' Academia.edu profile (opens in a new window).

Books (monographs) 

James, P, with Magee, L, Scerri, A & Steger, M 2014, Urban sustainability in theory and practice: circles of sustainability, Routledge, London.

James, P, Nadarajah, Y, Haive, K & Stead, V 2012, Sustainable communities, sustainable development: other paths for Papua New Guinea, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

James, P 2006, Globalism, nationalism tribalism: bringing theory back in—towards a theory of abstract community vol. II, Sage Publications, London.

Nairn, T & James, P 2005, Global matrix: nationalism, globalism and state-terrorism, Pluto Press, London & New York, 2005. 

Sleeth, M (photographs) & James, P (text) 2002, Tour of duty: winning hearts and minds in East Timor, Hardie Grant Publishing, Melbourne.

James, P 1996, Nation formation: towards a theory of abstract community, vol. I, Sage, London.

Books (anthologies)

Pascoe, S, Rey, V & James, P (eds) 2015, Making modernity: from the Mashriq to the Maghreb, Arena Publications, Fitzroy. 

Steger, MB & James, P (eds) 2015, Globalization: the career of a concept, Routledge, Abingdon.

James, P (ed.) 2014, Globalization and politics, vol. 4: political philosophies of the globalSage Publications, London. 

James, P & Mittelman, JH (eds) 2014, Globalization and politics, vol. 3: social theories of the globalSage Publications, London. 

James, P & van Seters, P (eds) 2014, Globalization and politics, vol. 2: global social movements and global civil societySage Publications, London.

James, P & Soguk, N (eds) 2014, Globalization and politics, vol. 1: global political governanceSage Publications, London.

Hinkson, J, James, P & Verancini, L (eds) 2012, Stolen lands, broken cultures: the settler colonial present, Arena Publications, Melbourne.

James, P & Tulloch, J (eds) 2010, Globalization and culture, vol. 1: globalizing communications, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Mandaville, P (eds) 2010, Globalization and culture, vol. 2: globalizing religions, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Szeman, I (eds) 2010, Globalization and culture, vol. 3: global-local consumption, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Steger, MB (eds) 2010, Globalization and culture, vol. 4: ideologies of globalism, Sage Publications, London.

Wise, C & James, P (eds) 2010, Being Arab: Arabism and the politics of recognition, Arena Publications, Melbourne.

Grenfell, D & James, P (eds) 2009, Rethinking insecurity, war and violence: beyond savage globalization?, Routledge, London.

Goodman, J & James, P (eds) 2007, Nationalism and global solidarities: alternative projections to neoliberal globalisation, Routledge, London.

James, P & Gills, B (eds) 2007, Globalization and economy, vol. 1: global markets and capitalism, Sage Publications, London.

James, P and Patomäki, H (eds) 2007, Globalization and economy, vol. 2: global finance and the new global economy, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Palan, R (eds) 2007, Globalization and economy, vol. 3: global economic regimes and institutions, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & O'Brien, R (eds) 2007, Globalization and economy, vol. 4: globalizing labour, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Nairn, T 2006, Globalization and violence, vol. 1: globalizing empires, old and new, Sage Publications, London. 

James, P & Darby, P (eds) 2006, Globalization and violence, vol. 2: colonial and postcolonial globalizations, Sage Publications, London 2006.

James, P & Friedman, J (eds) 2006, Globalization and violence, vol. 3: globalizing war and intervention, Sage Publications, London.

James, P & Sharma, RR (eds) 2006, Globalization and violence, vol. 4: transnational conflict, Sage Publications, London.

James, P (eds) 2000, Burning down the house: bonfire of the universities, Association for the Public University with Arena Publications, Melbourne.

James, P, Veit, W & Wright, S (eds) 1997, Work of the future: global perspectives, Allen & Unwin, Sydney. 

James, P (ed.) 1996, The state in question: transformations of the Australian state, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

James, P (ed.) 1994, Critical politics: from the personal to the global, Arena Publications, Melbourne.

James, P (ed.) 1990, Technocratic dreaming: of very fast trains and Japanese designer cities, Left Book Club, Melbourne.

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Contact 

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