Paul 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.