• 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

The Universalism–Particularism Issue
The universalism–particularism issue

The nationalisms of the modern world are not the triumphant civilizations of yore. They are the ambiguous expression of the demand both for … assimilation into the universal … and simultaneously for … adhering to the particular, the reinvention of differences. Indeed, it is universalism through particularism, and particularism through universalism. (Immanuel Wallerstein, 1984a: 166–7)

Modern societies are characterized less by what they have in common or by their structure with regard to well-defined universal exigencies, than by the fact of their involvement in the issue of universalization. … The need, even the urgency, for ‘universal reference’ has never been felt so strongly as in our time. … The process of modernization is … the challenge hurled at groups closed in ...

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