Postmodernism in a Global Perspective


Edited by: Samir Dasgupta & Peter Kivisto

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    Edited books are, by their very nature, collaborative undertakings. The fact that this book has been coedited by two people who live half the world away from each other is testimony to the fact that we truly do live in a global world, for if there is one thing we discovered during this joint undertaking, it is that the ease of communication made possible a remarkably smooth process from the initial inception of this project up to its completion.

    This being said, the project could not have come together as it did, had it not been for the cooperative spirit of our contributors. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the authors of this book: Ananda Das Gupta, Gabe Ignatow, Lindsey Johnson, Douglas Kellner, Jason Mast, Murray Milner, Jr., Mahbuba Nasreen, Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Andy Scerri, Nico Stehr, Rosalind Sydie, Imre Szeman, and Immanuel Wallerstein.

    Any number of colleagues from around the world have proven to be supportive and encouraging over the years and have assisted in explicit or implicit ways to this endeavor. Peter Kivisto appreciates in particular his collegial relationships with Jeffrey C. Alexander, Nancy Berns, Paolo Boccagni, Paul Croll, Martina Cvajner, Thomas Faist, Inger Furseth, Douglas Hartmann, Auvo Kostianen, Lauren Langman, Kevin Leicht, Linda Lindsey, Ewa Morawska, Chris Prendergast, George Ritzer, Giuseppe Sciortino, William H. Swatos, Jr., Bryan Turner, Östen Wahlbeck, R. Stephen Warner, and Mary Zimmerman. Likewise, Samir Dasgupta would like to extend his appreciation to Rajat Subhra Mukhopadhaya, Pujan Kumar Sen, Swapan Kumar Bhattacharyay, Basabi Chakraborty, Robyn Driskell, Julia Sylvia Guivant, Yvonne Braun, Ruby Sain, Sheila Steinberg, Steven Steinberg, Ismail Siriner, Gulten Dursun, Md. Mizanuddin, Ray Kiely, Arzu Ozsoy Ozmen, Abbas Mehdi, Sing Chew, and Joy Alemazung. Finally, both the editors would like to offer a special recognition to their wives, Sumitra Dasgupta and Susan Kivisto. It is commonplace in acknowledgments to say that one's life partner made it all both possible and worthwhile. And, as we know full well, in our cases it also happens to be the simple truth.

    Introduction: Postmodernism in Global Perspective

    SamirDasgupta and PeterKivisto

    During the past three decades or so, two highly contested terms have entered not only academic discourse, but everyday discourse outside the groves of academe: postmodernism and globalization. Over the course of this period, despite many attempts to sort out with some precision exactly what each term means, they both remain highly contested—as concepts that are meant to specify something distinctive about the contemporary social world and as normative evaluations of that world. This collection of essays is assembled with a conviction that both postmodernism and globalization have the potential to be valuable tools for social analysts, this despite the uncertainties and ambiguities that persist.

    The editors (and the authors) make no claim to have found a solution that would overcome the uncertainties and ambiguities. Indeed, it is our conviction that setting such a goal would amount to a fool's errand. Rather, it is assumed that at some level both concepts will remain contested. That being said, the task at hand is twofold. First, all of the essays are expressions of efforts to employ one or both of the concepts in terms of empirically grounded topics, and secondly, to add further precision or clarity to the concepts themselves in order to assist in the task of enhancing their utility in making sense of the dynamics of social change.

    Postmodernism and Globalization

    As with all such terms, there is a history that always predates the recent past. Thus, one can find uses of the terms “postmodernism” and “globalization” at least as early as the middle of the 20th century. However, it was more recently that the terms came into far more general usage and only in the past two decades that they have taken on a life of their own. Books, articles, conferences, and other staples of academic life have been devoted to aspects of each concept, and it is fair to say that academic careers have been made by proponents of one or the other who were astute enough to see the potential for widespread interest—and, indeed, enthusiasm—in their application in various disciplinary contexts.

    From the vantage of the sociology of knowledge, postmodernism, the main focus of this collection, arose at a moment when modernity itself was in various ways called into question. Thus, the idea that progress was inevitable—a view found in both orthodox Marxist thought and in modernization theory—was questioned. In part, this was due to the growing realization of the unintended consequences of the application of science and technology to solve a wide array of problems existing in both the natural and social worlds. The discovery that DDT, a chemical developed with the honorable intention of eradicating malaria from the world, was not only killing the mosquitoes responsible for the disease, but was working its way through the food chain. Rachel Carson's (1962) famous account, Silent Spring, was one of the harbingers of a new awareness that science and technology were mixed blessings. The ripple effect of this awareness regarding human efforts to control the natural world has grown over time. It is likewise with our capacity to employ the social sciences to remedy social problems. Emblematic of this parallel awareness was the famous comment made by architectural critic Charles Jencks that the destruction of a public housing project in St. Louis, Missouri in 1972 represented the dawn of the postmodern age. Once seen as a solution to urban poverty, it had become defined as part of the problem.

    Meanwhile, globalization—a phenomenon that Marx was well aware of in the 19th century—accelerated and intensified during this same period. The developed industrial nations witnessed the constriction of the manufacturing sector, leading to a process that became known as deindustrialization or the beginning of a post-Fordist economic order, while the developing world experienced the relocation of manufacturing plants in their countries. This shift gave way to theoretical accounts of the advent of postindustrial society (Touraine, 1971; Bell, 1973). The idea that automation would result in the reduction of workers needed in basic industries, while no doubt partially correct, was only part of the story, the larger part being the relocation of manufacturing and the resultant substitution of workers in wealthy countries with workers from poor countries. More recently, a counterpart to deindustrialization took off in earnest, the phenomenon of downsizing the size of the white collar workforce, outsourcing the work to “offshore” locations, which meant the same places that manufacturing jobs had ended up earlier. But economic globalization was about more than this. It involved the creation of global markets and the expansion of powerful transnational corporations no longer rooted in or with allegiances to particular nations or their respective citizens.

    Economic globalization was intimately connected to both political and cultural globalization. Much of the focus of the former has been on the emergence of an international human rights regime and the expanded significance of trans-state institutions. However, the darker side of the equation concerns the militarization of the globe. During the Cold War this entailed the struggle between the American and Soviet empires for hegemony. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it resulted in a uni-polar world in which American military might had no counterpart (which is not to say, as insurgencies have amply proven, that it is all-powerful). American consumer culture has a parallel impact on global culture. It has exhibited an enormous influence on the world, but it has not been a one-way street resulting in the destruction of local cultures. On the contrary, one can find homogenization American-style existing side-by-side with efforts to shore up and strengthen local cultures. Moreover, one can find ample evidence of the interplay between the two, the growing hybridity of cultures.

    Postmodernism, in its most general sense, is often seen as offering an attempt to account for temporal change: the move from premodern to modern to postmodern. Globalization, meanwhile, is depicted as an effort to account for the way in which spatial definitions of reality are being transformed in the era of fast capitalism. In attempting to frame all of this theoretically in a manner that can account for both postmodernism and globalization and for the ways they are necessarily implicated in and help to define each other, we turn briefly to one particular theoretical approach that we find compelling. Time-space compression is a concept developed by the Marxist geographer David Harvey to describe contemporary developments in capitalism which have led to the speeding up of the circulation of capital and with it a speeding up of social life in general while simultaneously reducing the significance of place. Harvey's concept derives from his consideration of Marx's claim that capitalism leads to the annihilation of space by time, and from Heidegger's foreboding about the implications of the shrinking of both time and space. For Heidegger (1971: 165), this shrinking produces a “uniform distancelessness,” which he views as both unsettling and terrifying because it does not promote what he refers to as “nearness” by which he means a sense of identity rooted in the particularities associated with specific places—which he considers to be “the locale of the truth of Being.” Harvey appropriates this general orientation while rejecting the reactionary political implications of Heidegger's anti-cosmopolitanism. He sees in Heidegger's thought a convincing articulation of the dislocation of identity from place that is a consequence of the penetration of the modern capitalist economy predicated on the ceaseless expansion of industrialization and ever-changing technological developments.

    Harvey contends that space-time has been significantly reconfigured since the 1970s as a consequence of the accelerated pace of the globalization of capital accumulation during this time. This temporal framing signals the end of the alliance between labor and capital that had been forged in the most developed capitalist economies during the quarter of a century after World War II and the beginning of the neoliberal epoch. Described somewhat differently, the 1970s witnessed the end of the Fordist age of industrialization and the beginning of the post-Fordist era. The result of this shift is that some urban centers that were key to the success of Fordism—cities such as Detroit in the United States, Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Lille in France, and Duisburg in Germany—have had their place-specific identities as centers of industry undermined. The increasing mobility of capital has led to the deindustrialization of these and similar industrial centers in capitalism's quest for ever-new sources of cheap labor. Aiding such mobility are developments that have resulted in improved transportation systems and the revolution in communication technologies. In combination, Harvey (1996: 297) contends, they have undermined the “monopoly of power inherent in place.”

    Marx's relevance is seen in Harvey's discussion of the shift from Fordist production methods of the industrial era to the post-Fordist emphasis of contemporary capitalism. Capitalism, as Marx understood it, was restless and rootless, and the modern consciousness that it engenders is one wherein “all that is solid melts into air.” Part of capitalism's contradictory character is evident in the fact that it needs, on the one hand, to create fixed structures in particular places in order to permit accumulation but, on the other hand, it must be perpetually prepared to be mobile. Schumpeter's (1942) notion of “creative destruction” captures well the character of this inherent tension between fixity in place and mobility in space. While for Schumpeter this tension represented the creative dynamic inherent in capitalism that made it a force for progress, Harvey—the Marxist and the geographer—emphasizes the dialectical character reflected in the space of flows and the fixity of place. He is also attentive, in a way that Schumpeter was not, to the human and social costs of time-space compression, as space increasingly trumps place.

    Harvey's concept bears a family resemblance to two other concepts, Manuel Castells’ (2000) “network society” and Anthony Giddens’ (1990) “time-space distanciation.” The former is described in terms of the “space of flows,” flows being understood as meaningful and routinized exchanges and interactions in the dominant social structures of society. Castells (2000: 443) writes that places get absorbed by the network, the result being that “the space of flows is not placeless, although its structural logic is.” Thus, for example, global cities become crucial hubs in financial and commercial networks, places where the managerial elites critical to the functioning of the network society reside and operate. However, there is nothing intrinsically distinctive about New York's Wall Street and London's City that necessitate that they remain centers of finance. The central difference between Harvey and Castells is reflected in two diametrically opposed career shifts: whereas Harvey began his career as a positivist geographer, over time he abandoned his earlier work as a consequence of his intellectual encounter with Marx; in contrast, Castells’ early work as an urban sociologist was shaped by Marxist thought, but by the time he developed the idea of network society, Marx had in significant ways became less central to his thought. Thus, it is not surprising that time-space compression is defined as part of the logic of capital accumulation, while Castells’ analysis of “the new economy” is more likely to frame its contours in terms of information technologies, markets, and the like without overly stressing the capitalist character of the economy.

    While Giddens was never a Marxist, his early work focused attention on capitalism in a way that his later work on globalization does not. The term “distanciation” refers to the stretching of social relations across space and time, allowing for the expansion of social relations that are not predicated on co-presence. The focus of this concept is on social interaction, not on the changing face of capitalism. As with Castells, Giddens places primary emphasis on communication and transportation technologies, and not on capitalism per se as a cause of distanciation. The contrast between Harvey and both Castells and Giddens serves to highlight that which is distinctive about the concept of time-space compression, which has to do with its theoretical rootedness in orthodox Marxism's historical materialism, or as Harvey would prefer to specify the theory's explanatory logic, in “historical-geographical materialism.”

    Overview of Chapters

    With this theoretical outline of how to connect postmodernism and globalization in mind, we turn to the contents of this volume. The first three chapters in this collection, by Douglas Kellner (Chapter 1), Immanuel Wallerstein (Chapter 2), and Jan Nederveen Pieterse (Chapter 3) do not directly take up the topic of postmodernism; rather, they serve to frame the issues that are addressed in subsequent chapters by highlighting the fact that postmodernism must be understood in terms of a global framework and not simply within the confines of nation states. Thus, they appear in a section of the book titled “Framing Postmodernism in Global Terms.” Kellner's contribution expands on his earlier work on the subject by treating globalization as contested, stressing that there is a dialectical tension between capitalism and democracy. This critical theory of globalization can, in effect, serve to frame all that follows. Wallerstein, using the language of globalization rather than world systems, links it to the discourse on developmentalism that, as he notes, was in its heyday from 1945–1970. He seeks to explore what might be seen as inherent economic limits to capitalism's capacity to accumulate, and with that in mind, he examines the potential openings for opposition to capitalist hegemony and sketches out what the foreseeable future might look like. Jan Nederveen Pieterse's chapter parallels Wallerstein's. He is intent on exploring the contours of variations of both capitalism (capitalisms, in his terminology) and globalization. His empirically rich account focuses on East Asia, China, and India, seeking to see how developments in this general part of the globe are being shaped by neoliberalism. He concludes by examining new potential fissures and conflicts resulting from the new international division of labor.

    The next five chapters, in a section titled “Explicating Postmodernism,” turn explicitly to postmodernism, beginning with Andrew Scerri's (Chapter 4) examination of the origins of postmodernism in sociology—where, it should be noted, it arrived somewhat later than in the humanities. He locates the deeper and often unexplored connections between classic figures in the discipline and the late 20th century postmodern turn, and concludes with a defense of what he calls the “weak postmodern thesis.” Peter Kivisto's (Chapter 5) entry can be read as a parallel contribution, for he, too, seeks to locate the deeper roots of postmodern thought in the history of sociology. In this case, it is in particular Simmel who is viewed as a precursor to subsequent postmodern sociology. Kivisto also contends that, in contrast to more radical versions of postmodernism that postulate a dramatic rupture between the modern and postmodern, it is best to read postmodernity as a critique of modernity—or in other words, as residing in modernity, whether or not one prefers to quality that by defining modernity today as advanced, late, or some other designation intended to indicate that modernity has a history. This line of analysis continues with the following chapter by Nico Stehr and Jason Mast (Chapter 6), which differs from the preceding two chapters insofar as it analyzes postmodernism from the sociology of knowledge perspective. Offering a more critical and skeptical assessment of postmodernism than one finds in Scerri and Kivisto, Stehr and Mast are inclined to treat postmodernism more as a symptom of an unsettled epoch than a cogent account of the present.

    Samir Dasgupta's (Chapter 7) contribution constitutes a vigorous defense of the sociological imagination and a meditation on what it means to do “good sociology.” As such, his chapter is very much, to borrow from Alvin Gouldner (1973), “for sociology.” And, like Gouldner, Dasgupta is intent on seeking avenues for promoting “renewal and critique in sociology today.” To that end, he is less interested in exploring the adequacy of postmodernism's philosophical underpinning, its ethical implications, and so forth; rather, he wants to determine to what extent postmodernism can assist in the task of advancing the discipline of sociology. Though quite different in approach, Murray Milner's (Chapter 8) selection, too, seeks to analyze the implications of postmodernism for sociology. He is quite critical of many proponents of postmodernism, challenging in particular those who are intent on forging an anti-foundational yet morally relevant theory. However, rather than writing postmodernism off as irredeemable, he urges the articulation of a “constructive postmodernism” that is more tempered and moderate, and as such is prepared to meet sociology halfway, at a place where one is prepared to see the virtues of “generalizations, objectivity, grand narratives, and transcendent categories.”

    The remaining four chapters of the book constitute case studies entailing applying postmodernism to various facets of social life. The first two chapters in the section address the connection between postmodernism and feminism. R. A. Sydie (Chapter 9) does so in a broad ranging and theoretically sophisticated analysis. Viewing, as she says at the outset, postmodern theory as both constraining and liberating for feminism, Sydie seeks to explore those avenues in postmodern theorizing that can contribute to emancipatory politics. In making her case, she also takes up the issue of multiculturalism, as is evident in her discussion of figures such as Charles Taylor and Tariq Modood. In effect, she enters the territory framed by Susan Moller Okin's (1999) question, namely, “is multiculturalism bad for women?” Sydie asks the same of postmodernism, and does so by locating the issues at hand squarely in a global perspective. Mahbuba Nasreen (Chapter 10) takes up a far more specific topic, which is the contribution of Julia Kristeva to a postmodern variant of feminism. Kristeva's work is difficult to summarize or locate in terms of various theoretical traditions, not least because of her desire to distance herself from various sources of influence and labels. Given the challenge, Nasreen offers an evenhanded, sympathetic yet critical assessment of her work, which includes discussions of some of Kristeva's most significant critics, such as Nancy Fraser and Gayatri Spivak.

    The following chapter, by Gabe Ignatow and Lindsey Johnson (Chapter 11), very explicitly links postmodernism and globalization theory. The authors are intent on indicating the potential for postmodern concepts to inform and shape empirical research. More specifically, Ignatow and Johnson contend that the idea of “market religion” can be construed as a postmodern concept, and after a discussion of recent work on market Islam, they attempt to illustrate the usefulness of the more general idea of market religion in non-Islamic settings, in this instance focusing on Guatemalan neo-Pentecostalism. The collection shifts to a very different, but equally grounded analysis of critical management studies, authored by Ananda Das Gupta (Chapter 12). The argument advanced is that the growing interest in this alternative to traditional management theories is a consequence of what are described as “postmodernist movements,” in particular feminism and environmentalism. These movements, so it is argued, have led to the emergence of a critical epistemology that serves as the philosophical underpinning of this new alternative approach to management studies.

    The volume concludes with Imre Szeman's “Globalization, Postmodernism, and Literary Criticism” (Chapter 13). In effect, this contribution takes us full circle, for Szeman begins by offering an analysis of the different characteristics of postmodernism and globalization, in the process indicating in what ways both terms, however different, serve as coordinates that map our contemporary condition. The specific focus—and thus the case study nature—of his contribution is on the place of literary criticism in a globalized world where transnational connections take on heightened significance. But in this regard, literary critics are but one manifestation of a broader concern, which might be succinctly summarized as calling into question the future of intellectuals.

    Taken as a whole, this volume has in a variety of ways helped to develop and clarify our theoretical understanding of both postmodernism and globalization. Moreover, it has stressed and sought to indicate the necessity of locating postmodernism in a global framework. Finally, as some of the chapters have illustrated, there is a payoff for sociological research in taking up the challenges presented by these new developments in theory in a critical and constructive way.

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  • About the Editors and Contributors


    Samir Dasgupta is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India. He is the Former Director of College Development Council, Kalyani University, Former Visiting Faculty, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in West Bengal State University, and Advisory Committee Member of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, University of Calcutta. His research interests lie on Applied Sociology, Development Studies and Sociology of Globalization, Urban Sociology, Economic Sociology, Environment Studies, and Peace Studies. He has received an award from the University of Kalyani for his contribution to the promotion of culture.

    He is the author of more than fifty research papers and twenty two book chapters. His publications include: The Changing Face of Globalization (edited volume, 2004); Globalization and After (co-edited with Ray Kiely, 2006); Discourse on Applied Sociology: Theoretical Perspectives (co-edited with Robyn Driskell, 2007); Discourse on Applied Sociology: Practicing Perspectives (co-edited with Robyn Driskell, 2007); Politics of Globalization with Jan Nederveen Pieterse (2009); Understanding the Global Environment (2010); Arthanaitik Samajtatwa (2011); and Globalization and Humanity (Authored, 2011).

    He serves as an editorial board member of the international journal Nature and Culture, U.S.A and Leipzeig, Germany, and International Journal of Business Ethics in Developing Economies.

    Peter Kivisto is Richard A. Swanson Professor of Social Thought and Chair of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Welfare at Augustana College and Finland Distinguished Professor at the University of Turku. His current research involves a collaborative project on multiculturalism with colleagues in Finland. His interests include immigration, social integration, citizenship, and religion. Among his recent books are Key Ideas in Sociology (2011), Illuminating Social Life (2011); Beyond a Border: The Causes and Consequences of Contemporary Immigration (2010, with Thomas Faist); Citizenship: Discourse, Theory and Transnational Prospects (2007, with Thomas Faist); and Intersecting Inequalities (2007, with Elizabeth Hartung). He serves on the editorial boards of Contexts, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Intercultural Studies, and on the Publication Committee for Sociology of Religion.


    Ananda Das Gupta has been engaged in teaching and research for more than eighteen years. Currently he is Head (HRD-Area). His core areas of teaching and research include Organizational Development, Strategic Human Resources Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Business Ethics at Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bangalore. Ananda Das Gupta's books include the following: Human Values in Management, 2004; Ethics in Business, 2005; Corporate Citizenship: Perspectives in the New Century, 2008; and Ethics, Business and Society (ed.), 2010.

    Gabe Ignatow is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas. He is a sociological theorist with research interests in cultural theory (with a focus on individual-society and mind-body interactions, text analysis methods, new media, and the sociology of morality), and globalization theory (focusing on the effects of globalization on developing countries in the areas of information policy, environmental politics, religious change, and philanthropy). He is a faculty fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. His major publications include Traditional Identity Politics and the Government, 2007.

    Lindsey A. Johnson is a doctoral student in Sociology at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include globalization, development, inequality, and religion.

    Douglas Kellner is George Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education at UCLA and is the author of many books on social theory, politics, history, and culture, including Camera Politica: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film, co-authored with Michael Ryan (1988), and an Emile de Antonio Reader coedited with Dan Streible (2000). Other works include: Critical Theory, Marxism, and Modernity (1989); Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond (1989); works in cultural studies such as Media Culture (1995) and Media Spectacle (2003); a trilogy of books on postmodern theory with Steve Best in 2010; he published in 2010 Cinema Wars: Hollywood Film and Politics in the Bush/Cheney Era and Media Spectacle and Insurrection, 2011: From the Arab Uprisings to Occupy Everywhere in 2012.

    Jason L. Mast was a visiting fellow at the Yale University's Center for Cultural Sociology. Since then he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Karl Mannheim Chair for Cultural Studies at Zeppelin University in Germany. Mast writes on culture, politics, knowledge, and innovation, is the author of The Performative Presidency (2012) and the co-editor of Social Performance (2006).

    Murray Milner, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Virginia and is currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Much of his work applies his theory of status relations to an array of different status systems such as the Indian caste system, American teenagers, contemporary celebrities, and human rights. He is the author of four books: The Illusion of Equality: The Effects of Educational Opportunity on Inequality and Conflict (1972); Unequal Care: A Case Study of Interorganizational Relations in Health Care (1980); Status and Sacredness: A General Theory of Status Relations and an Analysis of Indian Culture (1994); Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools; and the Culture of Consumption (2004).

    Mahbuba Nasreen is the Director of the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies (IDMVS), University of Dhaka. She has been involved in research in the areas of Gender, Environment, Disasters, Education, Disadvantaged groups such as women, poor, Indigenous community, and other areas of Social Development since 1988. She joined as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and became Professor at the same department in 2005, University of Dhaka.

    Jan Nederveen Pieterse is Mellichamp Professor of Global Studies and Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara and specializes in globalization, development studies, and cultural studies. He is honorary Professor of Globalization at Maastricht University. He has been serving as a Visiting Professor in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Thailand. He edits book series on Emerging Societies (Routledge) and Frontiers of Globalization (Palgrave Macmillan), is the co-editor of e-Journal of Global Studies. He has written numerous books including:

    • Is There Hope for Uncle Sam? Beyond the American Bubble (2008)
    • Ethnicities and Global Multiculture: Pants for an Octopus (2007)
    • Globalization or Empire? (2004)
    • Global Mélange: Globalization and Culture (2003)
    • Development Theory: Deconstructions/Reconstructions (2001)
    • Politics of Globalization (co-edited, 2008)

    Andy Scerri is Assistant Professor in Environmental Politics, Policy and Ethics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, USA. His research and teaching center on two areas: environmental political and social theory and comparative studies of debates over urban sustainable development policies. He is author of Greening Citizenship: Sustainable Development, the State and Ideology (2012).

    Nico Stehr is Karl Mannheim Professor of Cultural Studies at the Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany. His research interests center on the transformation of modern societies into knowledge societies and developments associated with this transformation in different major social institutions of modern society. Among his recent book publications are: Biotechnology: Between Commerce and Civil Society (2004); Knowledge (with Reiner Grundmann, 2005); Experts: The Knowledge and Power of Expertise (with Reiner Grundmann, 2011); and the monograph, The Power of Knowledge (with Reiner Grundmann, 2012).

    Rosalind A. Sydie is a Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her areas of interests are sociological theory, postmodern theory, gender, and art and culture, and she is currently researching gender configurations of urban spaces from a historical perspective. Her major publications include: Sociological Theory (co-authored, 2001) and “Beatrice Webb and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Feminist Debates and Contradictions” in Sociological Origins (co-authored, 2000).

    Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair of Cultural Studies and Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His recent books include Cultural Theory: An Anthology (2010, co-ed); After Globalization (2011, with Eric Cazdyn); and Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory (2012, co-ed). He is currently working on a book on the cultural politics of oil.

    Immanuel Wallerstein is a Senior Research Scholar at Yale University. He was associated with Binghamton University as the Emeritus Professor of Sociology. A renowned Sociologist, he was the Director, Fernand Braudel for the study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations. He was also associated as the Professor of Sociology at McGill University and Columbia University. Professor Wallerstein was the President, International Sociological Association (1994–98). His major publications include:

    • World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology (1982)
    • Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge: Reductionism (2010)
    • Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge: Determinism (2010)
    • Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge: Dualism (2010)

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