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

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2737-0
240 pages
November 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
A World Beyond Difference: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization (1405127376) cover image
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
  • See More
    Preface.

    1. Introduction.

    2. The Tradition of Rational Utopianism.

    A Durable Ideal.

    Early Imaginings.

    Scientific Discovery and Universal Rights.

    Socio-evolutionism.

    World History and World Revolution.

    3. The Cultural Contradictions of Globalization.

    Cultural Globalization.

    Free Trade Globalization.

    4. (Anti)Globalization from Below.

    The Dilemmas of Resistance.

    Defiant Islam.

    International Indigenism.

    Digital Identity.

    Two Approaches to (Anti)Globalization.

    5. Human Rights Pluralism and Universalism.

    Rationalism, Religion, and Utopia.

    The Limits of Liberal Evangelism.

    The Collective Rights Dilemma.

    6. Postmodernism’s Revolt against Order.

    Postmodernism Ill-defined.

    Pomotopia.

    Civil Society and Extraparliamentary Democracy.

    7. The New Neo-Marxism.

    The Moment of Disillusionment.

    Postmodernism’s Post-Marxism.

    From Empire to Earthly City.

    The End of Revolution.

    8. Paradigms of Postcolonial Liberation.

    Cultural Particularism and Universalism.

    The Colonial Condition and its Aftermath.

    The Language of Imperialism.

    Diversity as a Universal Project.

    The Grammar of Culture.

    9. Conclusion.

    Notes.

    References.

    Index

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    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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    • 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
    “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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