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A World Beyond Difference: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2737-0
238 pages
November 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
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Description

A World Beyond Difference unpacks the globalization literature and offers a valuable critique: one that is forthright, yet balanced, and draws on the local work of ethnographers to counter relativist and globalist discourses.
  • Presents a lively conceptual and historical map of how we think about the emerging socio-political world, and above all how we think politically about human cultural differences
  • Interprets, criticizes, and frames responses to world culture
  • Draws from the work of recent major social theorists, comparing them to classical social theorists in an instructive manner
  • Grounds critique of theory in years of ethnographic research
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

2 The Tradition of Rational Utopianism 11

3 The Cultural Contradictions of Globalization 35

4 (Anti) Globalization from Below 57

5 Human Rights Pluralism and Universalism 82

6 Postmodernism’s Revolt Against Order 102

7 The New Neo-Marxism 122

8 Paradigms of Postcolonial Liberation 144

9 Conclusion 168

Notes 179

References 204

Index 213

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Author Information

Ronald Niezen is Visiting Professor of Anthropology at McGill University and Guest Researcher at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at Humboldt University in Berlin, and former Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity (2003), Spirit Wars (2000), and Defending the Land (1998).
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The Wiley Advantage


  • Presents a lively conceptual and historical map of how we think about the emerging socio-political world, and above all how we think politically about human cultural differences
  • Interprets, criticizes, and frames responses to world culture
  • Draws from the work of recent major social theorists, comparing them to classical social theorists in an instructive manner
  • Grounds critique of theory in years of ethnographic research
See More

Reviews

“Debates about globalization have become stereotyped. Universalists hope for one world united under rational law; postmodernists and their postcolonial and neo-Marxist allies dream of a heterotopia of autonomous free agents. In this book, Ronald Niezen steps outside this sterile dualism to show how each side subscribes to the same Western utopian ideals, which are then imposed on the facts. Case material from his wide experience illustrates the failings of ideologically generated theories and offers a more realistic approach to the actual experience of globalization. Elegantly written, free of cant, empirically grounded, theoretically sophisticated, and passionately argued, this brilliant book is required reading.”

Charles Lindholm, Boston University

"This volume is a thought-provoking, intellectually exciting analysis of the quest for a global borderless society ... The author presents many inspired and thought-provoking challenges to the reader and one cannot but be impressed by the logic of his arguments." Cambridge University Press

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