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Social Futures, Global Visions

Social Futures, Global Visions

Cynthia Hewitt de Alcantara (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-631-20229-5 August 1996 Wiley-Blackwell 220 Pages


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Where is the world heading at the turn of the twenty-first century? Towards a desolate landscape of disintegrating societies or towards the construction of new institutions to mitigate violence, reduce poverty and promote peace in a rapidly changing global context? Do ideas of globalization reflect reality and how far are they either new or helpful? Can trends identified in the near and distant past be helpfully extrapolated to predict the future and to understand the present?

Ralf Dahrendorf, Amitai Etzioni, Johan Galtung, Anthony Giddens, Eric Hobsbawm, Fatima Mernissi, Tetsuo Najita, Emma Rothschild, Wole Soyinka and Tatyana Tolstaya take up these and other questions and provide some searching and provocative answers. Their discussions span academic disciplines and continents to provide a truly international dialogue on the future of humankind.

1. Economic Opportunity, Civil Society and Political Liberty: Ralf Dahrendorf (University of Oxford).

2. Palace Fundamentalism and Liberal Democracy: Oil, Arms and Irrationality during the Cold War: Fatima Mernissi (Institut Universitaire de la Recherche Scientifique, Morroco).

3. The Future of the State: Eric Hobsbawn (Birkbeck College,University of London).

4. The National Question in Africa: Internal Imperatives: Wole Soyinka.

5. Positive Aspects of Community and the Dangers of Fragmentation: Amitai Etzioni (George Washington University).

6. The Perils of Utopia: Communism, Perestroika and the Russian Intelligentsia: Tatyana Tolstaya (Skidmore College).

7. The Debate on Economic and Social Security in the Late Eighteenth Century: Lessons of a Road Not Taken: Emma Rothschild (King's College, Cambridge University).

8. Traditional Co-operatives in Modern Japan: Rethinking Alternatives to Cosmopolitanism and Nativism: Tetsuo Najita (University of Chicago).

9. Affluence, Poverty and the Idea of a Post-Scarcity Society: Anthony Giddens (King's College, Cambridge University).

10. On the Social Costs of Modernization: Social Disintegration, Atomie/Anomie and Social Development: Johan Galtung (University of Hawaii).

"The ten authors of this fascinating book, who include Dahrendorf, Hobsbawm, Giddens and Galtung, provide a range of visions of how our current social problems may work themselves out in the next century. Between them, they provide feats of disciplined imagination that never fail to stimulate and energise the mind, inspiring or horrifying us towards new actions for social development. No-one could come away from reading this book still believing that 'The future has been cancelled, owing to lack of interest'." John Toye, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

"For anyone concerned to understand the directions the world is heading in on the threshold of the 21st century this will prove a stimulating and worthwhile read." Mark Salter, New Routes

* A truly international dialogue on the future of humankind.
* An exceptionally distinguished group of contributors.