Although globalization theories have flourished over the last four decades, they are still struggling to overcome some of their long-standing limitations. After an initial discussion of influential mappings of globalization theories that frame the discussion of their shortcomings, this article takes up two persistent limitations. First, major concepts of globalization theory still lack definitional precision as well as clear analytical and historical delineation. The article addresses these problems by reexamining four core concepts of globalization theory. The ensuing exercise in conceptual clarification draws on Raymond Williams’s pioneering approach to “keywords.” The second limitation concerns the slowness with which many globalization theorists have included pertinent keywords outside familiar meaning orbits. The article argues for an expansion of the core vocabulary of globalization theory to achieve a more systemic integration of new keywords, especially from postcolonial and environmental theory. Overcoming these two persistent limitations of globalization theory depends on the success of a number of critical measures proposed in this article.

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