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Power in the Global Age: A New Global Political Economy

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3231-5
352 pages
February 2006, Polity
Power in the Global Age: A New Global Political Economy (0745632319) cover image
This brilliant new book by one of Europe's leading social thinkers throws light on the global power games being played out between global business, nation states and movements rooted in civil society. Beck offers an illuminating account of the changing nature of power in the global age and assesses the influence of the ever-expanding counter-powers.


The author puts forward the provocative thesis that in an age of global crises and risks, a politics of "golden handcuffs" - the creation of a dense network of transnational interdependencies - is exactly what is needed in order to regain national autonomy, not least in relation to a highly mobile world economy. It is imperative that the maxim of nation-based realpolitik - that national interests have necessarily to be pursued by national means - be replaced by the maxim of cosmopolitan realpolitik. The more cosmopolitan our political structures and activities, Beck suggests, the more successful they will be in promoting national interests, and the greater our individual power in this global age will be.

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  • Reflections on the rise of
  • right-wing populism in Europe
  • Foreword
  • Chapter I
  • Introduction: New Critical Theory with
  • cosmopolitan intent
  • Chapter II
  • Critique of the national outlook
  • Chapter III
  • Global domestic politics changes the rules: On the
  • breaching of boundaries in economics, politics and society
  • Chapter IV
  • Power and counter-power in the global age:
  • The strategies of capital
  • Chapter V
  • State strategies between renationalization
  • and transnationalization
  • Chapter VI
  • Strategies of civil society movements
  • Chapter VII
  • Who wins? On the transformation of concepts and forms
  • of the state and politics in the second modernity
  • Chapter VIII
  • Brief funeral oration at the cradle of the
  • cosmopolitan era
  • References
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    U.Beck, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich

    Translated by Kathleen Cross

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    • A brilliant new work on global politics and nation-based real politik by Ulrich Beck, one of the world’s leading social and political theorists.

    • Develops the argument of Beck’s Cosmopolitan Manifesto that the more cosmopolitan our political structures and activities, the more successful they will be in promoting national interests.

    • Throws light on the global power games being played out between global business, nation states and movements rooted in civil society.

    • An essential text for students and scholars in sociology and politics.
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    "Ulrich Beck is one of the most important social theorists of our time. In Power in the Global Age he provides an insightful and rigorous theoretical framework to analyze the new forms of power and counter-power in the global sphere. It shows the relevance of theory for understanding the major political conflicts that are reshaping our world. It will be mandatory reading in universities everywhere."

    -- Manuel Castells, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


    "In this fascinating new book Ulrich Beck develops further a manifesto of, and for, a cosmopolitan world. Especially important is his attempt to decipher and characterize the architecture of cosmopolitan states and civil society. This major book may well do for 'cosmopolitan society' what Beck’s earlier works did for deciphering the nature of 'risk society'."

    -- John Urry, Lancaster University

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