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The World Horizon Opens Up: on the Sociology of Globalization


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The World Horizon Opens Up: on the Sociology of Globalization

  1. 1. + Chapter 1. The World Horizon Opens Up: on the Sociology of Globalization Ulrich Beck A presentation by Elisha Dean & Siobhan O’Neill
  2. 2. + Ulrich Beck’s Globalisation Standpoint  A notion of 'globalization' that stresses the open, multi-dimensional and multi-cultural character of the process. Globalization is a process of paradoxes and ambivalences.  For Beck, the new policy structure should be transnational, with states coming together and thereby developing a regional sovereignty and identity beyond the national level: hence his conclusion that "without Europe there can be no response to globalization”  Sees the world multi-dimensional and multi-directional  Observes the problems with capitalist world market and the subsequent creation of ‘winners and losers’  Beck focuses on two main questions: what does globalization mean? and how can it be moulded politically?
  3. 3. + Key points from Chapter 1 - Globalisation  Globalization has occurred through the collapse of old established national industries which are replaced by new industries.  The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption globally.  Beck makes reference to Marx and Engles’ communist manifesto, “exploitation of the world market goes back much further than the short term memory of public discussions would care to admit”
  4. 4. + Sociology as Power to Create Intellectual Order…  Beck defines modern sociology as “modern science of modern society” – this both conceals and helps to gain acceptance for classificatory schema called Container Theory of Society  According to this theory, societies both politically and theoretically assume ‘state control of space’  The concept of the political is associated with and focuses on the State rather than the society: in this society modern societies become individuals separated from each other.  This image of differentiated societies, made up of individual nation states goes together with evolutionary self-image and self consciousness of modern societies.
  5. 5. + Globalisation & Sociology  Social practices such as production, culture and language become standardised globally. Defined and rationalised by the national state.  Beck identifies theorists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx who share this territorial definition of modern society – a model that is state-centric. This model has been shaken by globality and globalisation.  The sociology of globalisation may be thought of as involving a collection of people who actively challenge the the sociology of the nation state.  A world-system theory offers a deep perspective that all social action is seen as taking place within one overarching framework of the capitalist world system. (In this we can see inequality and division of labour)  Beck argues that globalisation created a ‘world risk society’ where global crises bring about new kinds of disorder and turmoil globally. He says “Threats create society, and global threats create global society”
  6. 6. + References to Other Theorists…  James Rosenau – “the two worlds of world politics – the idea that there is not a single global society but at least two competing ones: The society of the national state and the many different transnational organisations, players groups and individuals who build and consolidate a tissue of social relationships.” When looking at globalisation and sociology it is not one simple society, there are two competing – individual nation state societies vs. the global web of interconnected actors.  Beck supplements this argument stating “there are thus two arenas of world society: a community of states in which the rules of diplomacy and national power remain the key variables: and a world of transnational subpolitics, in which such diverse players as… the EU, stride around”  Wallerstein introduced the concept of the world system and argued that capitalism is the the engine of globalisation.  Rosenau, Gilpin and Held have concern themselves more with international politics. They challenge the nation-state orthodoxy by stressing the importance both of techno- logical globalization (the science and information society) and of political-military factors and viewpoints (power politics) .  Ignacio Ramonet “A global information structure covers the earth like a spider’s web”