Traditionally, academic disciplines build on a core set of more or less unchanging theories that form a paradigm through which phenomena are viewed. Master concepts is a synonym for these fundamental theories and modes of analysis (also known as grand narratives). Master concepts outside academia also exist as general beliefs realized in, for example, gender roles and cultural practices. Globalization arguably challenges the utility of these concepts
because, as Tomlinson notes, master concepts ‘‘are bound to misrepresent globalization: lose the complexity and you have lost the phenomenon’’ (1999: 14). Thus, new concepts are being generated in order to capture complex phenomena more accurately. The new concepts often borrow from, extend and combine previous approaches. Given the attention to this reassessment of master concepts in glo-
balization literature, it is easy to believe that such attention is unprecedented. In fact, such master concepts are constantly undergoing shift within their disciplines of origin. The concept of ‘‘class’’ for example, has been problematized, reinterpreted and redeployed in perhaps every discipline in which it is relevant (e.g. economics, sociology, linguistics etc.), thus the problematization of master concepts in the ﬁeld of globalization is as much a rhetorical as a theoretical turn.