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ProtoSociology

Volume 33, 2016
Borders of Global Theory - Reflections from Within and Without

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Displaying: 1-10 of 16 documents


1. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Barrie Axford, Introduction: Global Scholarship from Within and Without
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thinking globally – what does it mean today?
2. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Manfred B. Steger, Reflections on “Critical Thinking” in Global Studies
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Much of what passes today as “global(ization) theory” falls within the new transdisciplinary framework of “global studies” (GS). GS constitutes an academic space of tension that gener­ates critical investigations into our age as one shaped by the intensifying forces of globaliza­tion. Indeed, the young field both embraces and exudes the “global imaginary” – a sense of the social whole that frames our age as one shaped by the forces of globalization. Moreover, few GS scholars would object to the proposition that their field is significantly framed by “critical thinking.” But they need to be prepared to respond to a number of questions regard­ing the nature of their critical enterprise. What, exactly, does critical thinking signify in this context and how is it linked to GS? Do globalization scholars favor specific forms of critical thinking? If so, which types have been adopted and for what purposes? Finally, what forms of internal and external criticism have been leveled against GS itself and how have these objections been dealt with? These four questions provide the guiding framework for these reflections on the significance of critical thinking in GS.
3. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Habibul Haque Khondker, Globality and the Moral Ecology of the World: A Theoretical Exploration
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The paper argues that the world is facing a condition of moral recession with profound and debilitating consequences in all spheres of life. Highly specialized social sciences are failing to address the issue of the moral conditions in a systematic manner. Differentiation, a master sociological process, has relativized the world to the extent that issues of morality and ethics are assigned to specialists, i.e., theologians and moral philosophers. It is only the extreme cases of inhumanity and moral depravation that bring the moral issues to public attention. Defining the value of life as a key moral value, and discussing the deaths and human suffer­ings in the seemingly endless wars, the paper draws attention to the need for shared global moral values to underpin a global society.
4. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Anna M. Agathangelou, Real Leaps in the Times of the Anthropocene: Failure and Denial and ‘Global’ Thought
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The notions of failure and denial are co-constitutive of both “global” theory and social order. Though these concepts have been used to evoke an array of metaphors and images to under­stand the condition of international relations as a knowledge production site and in rela­tion to other social sciences, they have not been deemed pivotal for much theorizing of world politics’ events, including the “success” of a sovereign state, or the subjects and knowledge production of decolonial realities. The article critically assesses how the term failure is used by IR’s scholarly community as signifier and analogy and what it signifies and analogizes. It grapples with Bruno Latour’s “The Immense Cry Channeled” by Pope Francis and ‘“Love your Monsters.’” It concludes with a discussion of the ethics of critical theory and its empha­sis on critique. I problematize its critical moves to lodge racializations in the enslaved and colonized body and body politic of ‘failed’ states, and the normative projects it bolsters. I also point to its broader social and political implications, including its acknowledging of certain publics at the expense of others and its death limits in times of terror and the Anthropocene. I finally argue for a ‘global’ decolonizing social analysis that in an Fanonian sense, is a “real leap” as it introduces “invention into existence” by rupturing evolutionary trajectories and linear temporalities (i.e., pure immanence, or transcendentalism).
5. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Heikki Patomaki, On the Possibility of a Global Political Community: The Enigma of ‘Small Local Differences’ within Humanity
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Is anything like a global political community – and thereby ideals such as global democracy and justice – achievable? This is a key question not only for political theory but also for contemporary political practices. Many political realists believe that humans are essentially tribal beings, or at least will remain so in the foreseeable future. Post-structuralists main­tain that historical identities are based on contrasts and oppositions, on the play of negative differences, which is necessary for language to exist. Thus identities must always exclude something. My first point is that it is possible to define our shared identity as humans and earthlings in the context of a cosmic setting. Big History not only frames world history in cosmic terms and imagines a future world community but is also systematically critical of Eurocentrism and other forms of centrism. Second, otherness can also be located either in our own past or, alternatively, in our contemporary being, when seen from a point of view of a possible future position in world history. Third, utilizing the concept of a horizon of moral identification and developing further Todorov’s axis of self-other relations, I conclude by outlining a cosmic, geo-historical, relational and ethico-political conception of global identity that is based on both positive and negative elements.
insights from the galaxy of scholarship
6. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Peter J. Taylor, Geohistory of Globalizations
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The social time and space constructs of Manual Castells (network society), Fernand Brau­del (capitalism versus markets) Immanuel Wallerstein (TimeSpace) and Jane Jacobs (moral syndromes) are brought together to provide a set of conceptual tools for understanding con­temporary globalization. Three successive globalizations are identified and named for their constellations of power: imperial globalization, American globalization, and corporate glo­balization. These are treated as unique historical products of modern, rampant urbaniza­tions; each globalization is described as an era of great cities with distinctive worldwide networks. Focusing on urban demand, it is suggested that current corporate globalization might elide into a planetary globalization covering both social and environment relations.
7. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Didem Buhari Gulmez, Autonomy, Self-determination and Agency in a Global Context
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Offering a transdisciplinary study that benefits from the conceptual and theoretical contri­butions of sociology, political science and international relations, this article focuses on three key notions that shed light on the promise and limitations of the prevailing globalization scholarship. The proposed notions are self-determination, autonomy, and agency, which are often seen as merely antagonistic – if not a ‘prey’ or victim – to globalization. They are wor­thy of attention for their common emphasis that rests on the increasingly blurred boundar­ies underlying the nexus between agent and environment, agent and action, and capability and expectations. Besides, they constitute an important source of inspiration for the rise of critical studies on globalization with a special emphasis on glocalization (Robertson) and world society (Meyer). Focusing on the prevailing global context in which claims to agency, autonomy and self-determination emerge, spread and receive diverse reactions, the study aims to discuss the complexity defining the relationship between homogenizing and hetero­genizing, universalizing and parochializing, converging and diverging logics, forces and processes underlying globalization. Overall, the article emphasizes that far from being hostile to global phenomena, self-determination, autonomy, and agency are both the products and key constitutive ingredients of the globalization as we understand it today.
8. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Heather Widdows, The Neglect of Beauty: What’s In and What’s Out of Global Theorising and Why?
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This paper explores why some issues count as acceptable topics for global ethics and justice and some do not. It argues that over the last few decades a cannon of global ethics and jus­tice has emerged, and that, like other canons, it is prescriptive and exclusionary. It asks why beauty is excluded from the cannon given there are standard ethical and justice concerns which attach to beauty. The paper considers possible reasons for this exclusion, including that beauty is a concern only of the rich and that it is a trivial or minority issue. It argues that underlying and compounding such reasons are discipline-specific reasons which derive from the parent discipline of Philosophy. It concludes that what is in and out of global theorising is a matter of justice itself and one which global theorists should address.
9. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Barrie Axford, Mastery Without Remainder?: Connection, Digital Mediatization and the Constitution of Emergent Globalities
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This article approaches the question of what musters, or should muster, as global theory for these times through the lens of mediatization. Emergent globalities – states of global (perhaps glocal) becoming – are seen as constituted by world-making practices that are obviously, per­haps paradigmatically, referenced in processes of digital communication within and across borders. This is no hymn to “mere connection”, but a sustained attempt to marry process and consciousness with a proper regard for the vagaries of human interaction with the structures of indifferent technology and indifferent globalities.
global theory – to be continued
10. ProtoSociology: Volume > 33
Jan Aart Scholte, Whither Global Theory?
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After several decades of intensive efforts to theorize the global in contemporary society, what are the endeavour’s main accomplishments and future challenges? This article develops five main observations in this regard: (a) that the transdisplinary promise of global theory remains largely elusive; (b) that global thinking might productively give way to transscalar conceptions of social space; (c) that global theory still struggles to move from universalist to transculturalist dispositions; (d) that global theory remains subject to substantial marginal­izing knowledge/power hierarchies; and (e) that global studies can further develop an ethico-political role of helping to improve possibilities in actually lived global lives.