• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The global society. Today everyone from scholars to politicians is debating the nature and makeup of a global society. But what is actually meant by a global society? Does such a global society actually exist? In Globalization, Roland Robertson argues that the real nature of globalization is obscured while peripheral concerns, such as minute economic analyses, are overstated. Robertson presents an alternative view that incorporates the economic and cultural aspects of the global scene, and in the process connects general social structures to historical developments in the modern world. Offering a distinctively cultural focus on the social theory of the contemporary world, Globalization makes a major contribution to the current debate for graduate students and professors of sociology, social theory, and cultural studies. “A professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, Roland Robertson is, as this book proves, the foremost sociologist engaged in the study of globalization…. Although empirical data crop up only occasionally, this book offers a sweeping yet detailed survey of the ways in which sociologists have dealt with the subject. Indeed, Robertson shows in a brief history of his discipline, sociology has been a key element in the effort to come to grips with what he calls “globality”; sociologists have crucially helped to shape global awareness…. All told, this is a difficult book, but one worthy of careful reading as a stimulant for raising global awareness” --Journal of World History “Globalization deals with an important subject. Its inherent comprehensive approach would be of interest not only to macrosociologists but also to those studying postmodernity, gender, ethnicity, and identity.” --Contemporary Sociology “Roland Robertson has been writing about these topics for some years and has a grasp of the huge and multifaceted literature that is as sure as it is impressive…. this volume manages to work very well as a whole and provides a good introduction to many of the questions that underlie the phenomenon of globalization while standing as a sustained and stimulating interpretive essay in its own right…. the book is an impressive and highly readable essay and deserves to be widely read.” --International Affairs “Robertson's approach to globalizatin is multidimensional, complex, well-grounded in sociological theory, and centered on culture--so often the stepchild in other approaches…. Robertson fruitfully contrasts his approach to that of Wallerstein, Elias, and Giddens…. His contribution is in several respects original, probes deeply, and is highly stimulating.” --Political Studies Association

Prologue
Prologue

My work on the general theme of globalization and its implications began in the mid-1960s. In a series of publications, initially with Peter Nettl, in the years 1965 to about 1972 I grappled with problems which were situated at the intersection of modernization theory and the discipline of international relations, with particular reference to the then popular problem of ‘the modernization’ of Third World societies. In that project my interests were basically ‘secular.’ The resulting papers did not for the most part raise issues of the kind that one found in the sociological discussion of religion, although I briefly considered substantive religion as a form of discontinuity in what some writers saw as a relatively simple world of converging societies. However, during those same ...

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