A summary of Beck’s argument put forward in the book ‘What is Globalisation?’
Second bullet point - The model and approach to sociology was state-centric- but this has been shaken by globality and globalisation. State-centricity is no longer the only valid sociological model.
Shiv - top two bullet points Elisha - bottom three bullet points
The World Horizon Opens Up: on the Sociology of Globalization
Chapter 1. The World
Horizon Opens Up: on the
Sociology of Globalization
A presentation by Elisha Dean & Siobhan O’Neill
Ulrich Beck’s Globalisation
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
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?
Key points from Chapter 1 -
Globalization has occurred through the collapse of old
established national industries which are replaced by new
The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world
market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and
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”
Sociology as Power to Create
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.
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”
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”