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Globalisation and Modernity. Objective of Lecture . To offer an critical introduction to the work of Giddens and Beck. Structure of Lecturer . Section One: What is liberalism? Section Two: Introduction to Giddens’ work Section Three: Introduction to the distinctive features of Beck’s work

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Globalisation and Modernity

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Globalisation and modernity l.jpg

Globalisation and Modernity

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Objective of Lecture

  • To offer an critical introduction to the work of Giddens and Beck

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Structure of Lecturer

Section One: What is liberalism?

Section Two: Introduction to Giddens’ work

Section Three: Introduction to the distinctive features of Beck’s work

Section Four: Critique and Conclusion

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  • Section One:

  • What is Liberalism?

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  • Mainstream Political Debates tend to between different forms of liberalism

  • The next Prime Minister of UK will be a liberal

  • None of Scholars we engage with today are Ohmae type liberals

  • In fact they would regard Ohmae as a ‘market fundamentalist’

  • There work is reprehensive of wider body ‘critical’ liberal scholarship

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Section Two Tony Giddens

  • Tony Giddens is close to Tony Blair (has acted as policy advisor). Wrote a book entitled the ‘The Third Way’ and has acted as a policy advisor. Ennobled!

  • Sociologist and a Polymath. Famous in 1970s for serious engagement with Marxism, work on classical social theory and the nation state and violence

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  • The argument:

  • Globalisation is ‘high’ modernity

  • Modernity itself is marked by:

    (1)Increased Pace of Change

    (2) Increased Scope of Change

    (3) The Creation of Modern Institutions

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The Institutions of Modernity

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  • Giddens argues that phenomena of modernity has been poorly understood by social theory for four reasons

  • (1) Reliance on monocausal explanation

  • (2) Failure to embrace radical reflexivity

  • (3)They take the concept of ‘society’ for given. For Giddens’ the key point to examine the creation of time and space to uncover how ‘society’ is formed

  • (4)Failure to recognize fully the problems of modernity. Nature of Risk and Danger.

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  • The third process is most interest to us for the time being

  • Modernity is accompanied by process of “time-space distanciation”

  • This involves the ‘emptying’ of time and space. The separation of place from space and the creation universal framework of time

  • The establishment of symbolic token and expert systems. Money “passed around without regard to the specific characteristics of individuals and groups”

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  • Globalisation essentially represents “stretching process, in so far as the modes of connection between different social contexts or regions become networked across the earth’s service as a whole”

  • “Modernity is inherently globalising.. But what exactly is globalisation and how might we best conceptualise the phenomenon?

  • Analysis must go beyond bounded entities

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  • Dimensions of Globalisation

  • (1) Nation-state system

  • (2) World Capitalism Economy

  • (3) World Military Order

  • (4) International Division of Labour

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  • “Globalisation can thus be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distinct localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away”

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  • Giddens’ view on nation state complex

  • On one hand maintains monopoly on key types of power and one the other…..

    In circumstances of accelerating globalisation, the nation-state has become “too small for the big problems of life, and too big for the small problems of life”

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  • It is difficult to see what is distinctive about ‘globalised’ military order. Arguments about global military first world are problematic

  • Can International Division of Labour and Capitalism really be treated separately?

  • Is globalisation really anything more than capitalism? Does Giddens’ pluralism stand up

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Ulrich Beck

  • According to “Beck is like Giddens but not so readable”.

  • Second ‘modernity’. First ‘modernity’ national state project modernity, the second is global ‘project/ reality.

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  • Argee with much of Giddens’ framework. I would argue he is significantly to the left of Giddens’

  • “The various autonomous logics of globalization – the logics of ecology, culture, economics, politics and civil society- exist side by side and cannot be reduced or collapsed into one another”

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  • His big ideas are transnational social spaces, world risk society, glocalization, the decline of work and the creation of global rich and a local poor, and world society

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  • Transnational Social Space. New transnational (Imagined) Communities (‘African’ British, Mexican Americans).

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  • World Risk Society: Acid Rain, Mad Cow Disease, Rain Forests, AIDS. Politicisation of previously de-political issues. Three types of risk. Risks of affluence, poverty and Weapons of mass destruction. War is no longer localised.

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  • Glocalisation rather than McDonalisation of Culture: British Grime Scene

  • Decline of work: As result of technological change the decline in need for labour and fortunes global rich and local poor become completely separate. In a world were increasingly defined as consumers the poor become non-people

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  • World Society comes into existence when people conceive of themselves as global subjects. The emergence of global risk and transnational social spaces provides material basis for the development of world society

  • Normative Solution to these problems is a world state. Although its not exactly clear what he means by ‘world state’

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Criticisms of Critical Liberal Approach

  • Giddens: Does not really explain globalisation. Globalisation is a project of high modernity? So what

  • His reading of classical social theory and modernity is questionable

  • Marx on “Circulation Bursts through all the temporal, spatial and personal; barriers imposed by the direct exchange of products, and it does so by splitting up the direct identity present in the case between the exchange of one’s own product and the acquisition of someone else’s”

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  • Weber “ No age has never experienced, in the same sense as the modern Occident the absolute and complete dependence of its whole existence on a specially trained organisation of officials”

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  • Problems with his pluralist framework.

  • Ultimately time-space distinction itself becomes source of explanation not the phenomena to be explained.

  • “The undue reliance which sociologists have placed upon bounded systems, should be replaced by a starting point upon analysing how social life is ordered across time and space- the problematic of time-space distantiation ”

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  • Ulrich Beck: Does really attempt to establish cause of globalisation. Again ‘Globalisation theory rather than a theory of Globalisation’. Ultra-pluralism

  • More commentary than theory. No real depth. Analysis is fragmentary

  • Some arguments are just plain wrong. For example, the ‘End of Work’

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  • His ideas about the contents of First Modernity are problematic

  • Underestimates conflicts of interest between different state based groups

  • Some of his arguments are vague beyond belief. For example, the world state argument. Again an undue privileging of space.

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  • In certain respects Giddens arguments are unproblematic

  • Equally the idea world risk society is fairly unproblematic and he is correct in highlighting transnational social spaces

  • However, it is questionable if his arguments really contain any great analytical depth or originality, arguably they are simply tautological

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  • Next week we seek to assess Marxist accounts of Globalisation (which oddly enough share a certain amount in common with free market accounts)

  • Whatever their weaknesses at least these accounts give us a clear argument to react against

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