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John Urry

ISBN: 978-0-745-68462-8 June 2014 Polity 200 Pages

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The concealment of income, wealth and profits in tax havens has brought the topic of offshoring into public debate, but as John Urry shows in this important new book offshoring is a much more pervasive feature of contemporary societies. These often secretive activities offshore also involve relations of work, finance, pleasure, waste, energy and security. Powerful and pervasive offshore worlds have been generated, posing huge challenges both for governments and for citizens.

This book documents the various patterns of offshoring Ð of the economy, sociability, politics and the environment. In each case, offshoring generates new patterns of power, reduces the responsibilities of the powerful 'offshore class', and limits the conditions for democratic governance. Offshore, out of sight, over the horizon are some of the troubling processes and metaphors by which much life has been rendered opaque and dependent upon secrets and lies. By analysing these patterns and processes, Urry sheds fresh light on the hidden worlds of offshoring and exposes the dark side of globalization.

The book concludes by considering whether offshoring can be reversed Ð whether it is possible to bring about the systematic ‘reshoring’ of relations that would be good for democracy and for developing low-carbon futures. Urry portrays the coming century as being poised between even more extreme offshoring and various endeavours to bring back 'home' that which has currently escaped 'over the horizon'.


Chap 1: What is Offshoring?

Chap 2: Secrets

Chap 3: Work Offshored

Chap 4: Taxing Offshored

Chap 5: Leisure Offshored

Chap 6: Energy Offshored

Chap 7: Waste Offshored

Chap 8: Security Offshored

Chap 9: Out to Sea and Out of Sight

Chap 10: Bringing it all Back Home


"An informative accounting of the consequences of an offshoring world and an impassioned critique of the offshored condition."
Theory, Culture & Society

"Offshoring shines a light on yet another of the shadowy realms upon which contemporary capitalist normalities rest."
Times Higher Education

"Urry writes with clarity and offers very useful examples to explain points.I would strongly recommend this book for teachers to purchase copies to be placed in their school/college/department libraries so that students can pursue the negative side of Globalisation in detail and be aware of lots of contemporary examples."
The Sociology Teacher

''Exposing capitalism’s expanding economy of secrecy, John Urry reveals a terrifying picture of catastrophes waiting to happen, of global inequalities difficult to comprehend, and of human rights violations on an appalling scale. Sociology at its best, warning us of the worst. Offshoring should be required reading for all undergraduates.''
Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley

''This is one point of John Urry’s thought provoking book: the outside suggested by the concept of ‘offshoring’ no longer exists. Therefore politics of offshoring today are simultaneously domestic and global. And like Urry so excitingly does we have to ask: how can the ‘outsourced’ citizen of the world be included in decisions which affect their survival?''
Ulrich Beck, University of Munich