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Twenty Observations on a World in Turmoil

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5397-6
140 pages
October 2012, Polity
Twenty Observations on a World in Turmoil (0745653979) cover image
Translated by Ciaran Cronin.

 

The world is a state of turmoil. From the financial crisis to the chaos in the eurozone, from the Arab uprisings to protests in Athens, Barcelona, New York and elsewhere, many of the familiar frameworks are collapsing and we have to find new ways to orient ourselves in a world undergoing rapid change. Of course, it is necessary for political leaders to address local issues and react to people’s specific demands, but without a cosmopolitan outlook, such a reaction is likely to be inadequate. Ulrich Beck’s Twenty-one Observations on a World in Turmoil is a demonstration of cosmopolitan politics in practice. It is more than a mirror: it is a magnifying glass that brings into focus the processes that are transforming our world and highlights the great challenges we face today.

‘Global domestic politics’, the concept introduced and developed by Beck, is much more than a political theory, a philosophical utopia (or dystopia), a governance programme or a mental state: it is the reality of our times. Beck turns the argument that ‘global domestic politics’ is an unrealistic ideology on its head, arguing that it is the proponents of the national who are the idealists. They view reality through the obsolete lenses of the nation-state and thus cannot see the profound global changes that are transforming our reality. Global domestic politics is therefore a perspective, a political reality and a normative idea. And it is the critical theory of our times since it challenges the most profound truths which we hold dear: the truths of the nation.

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Introduction
Twenty Observations on a World in Turmoil
1. Mushrooms and Other Flowers of Capitalism
2. All aboard the Nuclear Power Superjet Ð Just Don't Ask about the Landing Strip
3. This Appalling Injustice!
4. Harm in Exchange for Money
5. Illegal World Citizens
6. The Cards of Power Are Being Reshuffled across the World
7. Felt Peace and Waged War
8. The Return of Social Darwinism or: Which University Do We Want?
9. A Kind of Berlin Wall Has Again Collapsed
10. German Euro-Nationalism
11. Beyond the Aeroplane
12. Global Domestic Politics from below: How Global Families Are Becoming Normal
13. The Environmental Storm on the Bastille
14. Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian
15. The Caterpillar's Mistake: Fukushima and the End of Nuclear Power
16. It's Time to Get Angry, Europe. Create the Europe of Citizens Now!
17. Powerless but Legitimate: the Occupy Movement in the Financial Crisis
18. Cooperate or Bust! The Existential Crisis of the European Union
19. What Is Meant by Global Domestic Politics?
20. The Five Self-Delusions of a Supposedly Unpolitical Age
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Ulrich Beck is one of the world’s leading sociologists and social thinkers, well-known for his best-selling book Risk Society. He is Emeritus Professor at Munich and Professor of Sociology at the LSE.
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  • This new book by one of the world’s leading sociologists reflects on the major events of our time, from the financial crisis to the chaos in the eurozone, from the Arab uprisings to protests in Athens, Barcelona, New York and elsewhere.
  • Beck views these events through the lens of his distinctive cosmopolitan perspective: this book is a demonstration of cosmopolitan politics in practice.
  • Beck introduces and develops the idea of ‘global domestic politics’ which, he argues, is the critical theory of our times since it challenges the most profound truths that we hold dear - the truths of the nation.
  • This clear and accessible book is written for a wide readership interested in the big changes taking place in our world today.
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"Beck is one of the most influential sociological theorists alive today, and not just in the academic sphere."
Canadian Journal of Sociology

"The astonishingly diverse world in turmoil is here trenchantly dissected by the analyst of risk and uncertainty."
John Urry, Lancaster University

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