SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion Essay

SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion ORDER NOW FOR CUSTOMIZED AND ORIGINAL NURSING PAPERS Unformatted Attachment Preview Review: Chasing the ‘Runaway World’: The Politics of Recent Globalization Theory Reviewed Work(s): Globalization: The Human Consequences by Zygmunt Bauman; What Is Globalization? by Ulrich Beck; Runaway World: How Globalization Is Reshaping Our Lives by Anthony Giddens Review by: Nicholas Gane Source: Acta Sociologica, Vol. 44, No. 1 (2001), pp. 81-89 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: Accessed: 29-08-2016 21:39 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Sage Publications, Ltd. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Acta Sociologica This content downloaded from on Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:39:05 UTC All use subject to ACTA SOCIOLOGICA 2001 REVIEW ESSAY Chasing the ‘Runaway World’: The Politics of Recent Globalization Theory Nicholas Gane Department of Sociology, City University, London, UK Zygmunt Bauman: Globalization: The Human global economy is essentially nothing new, or Consequences (Cambridge: Polity, 1998). that today trade remains regional rather than Ulrich Beck: What Is Globalization? (Cambridge: Polity, 2000). truly world-wide. The second is that of the ‘radicals’, who argue, by contrast, ‘that not only is globalization very real, but that its conse- Anthony Giddens: Runaway World: How Global- quences can be felt everywhere’, and beyond ization is Reshaping Our Lives (London: Profile Books, 1999). this that ‘The global market-place . .. is much This article is a review of the recent work of three of the most prominent and prolific social theorists of today: Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck and Zygmunt Bauman. The primary focus of this review will be the question of globalization, which has been the subject of recent books by each of these thinkers. It will be argued, however, that the positions taken by Giddens, Beck and Bauman on this question can only be fully understood against the backdrop of their recent political writings. In view of this, specific attention will be paid to the politics of their theories of, and responses to, globalization. The article will proceed by elucidating the positions forwarded by each of these thinkers, before moving, in conclusion, to a critical appraisal of their respective works. 1. High modernity: the runaway world Runaway World, which began life as the 1999 Reith Lectures, is Giddens’ first book-length study of globalization. SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion It opens with a chapter on the nature of global change, in which Giddens defines his position on globalization in contrast to two commonly held views. The first is that forwarded by ‘sceptics’ who doubt the globalization process, and who argue that the more developed than even in the 1960s and 1970s and is indifferent to national borders’ (1999:8). Giddens argues that the radicals are the closest to being right in this debate, but that both sides are mistaken in treating globalization as primarily an economic phenomenon. In response, he offers a different view: ‘Globalization is political, technological and cultural, as well as economic. It has been influenced, above all, by developments in systems of communication, dating back only to the late 1960s (1999:10). In addition, he argues that it is equally wrong to treat globalization simply as an ‘out there’ phenomenon, as one concerning ‘big systems’ (such as the world financial order) which are far-removed from the individual. Rather, globalization is to be understood also as an ‘in here’ phenomenon which influences the most intimate and personal aspects of our lives (see also Giddens 1994a:95). Giddens proposes, for example, that the transformation of the traditional family system, coupled with the drive for greater equality for women, is part of a ‘truly global revolution in everyday life’, one ‘whose consequences are being felt around the world in spheres from work to politics’ (1999:12). And in view of this, he argues that globalization is not to be understood as a single, unilinear process, but as an array of complex processes operating in different directions at once. First, for example, globalization involves This content downloaded from on Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:39:05 UTC All use subject to 82 ACTA SOCIOLOGICA 2001 VOLUME 44 Second, while reflexive modernization liberates us from tradition, tradition itself does not simply local communities and even nations, and the establishment of a new ‘global arena’. Second, it disappear, rather it becomes a choice not a fate or ‘not only pulls upwards, but also pushes downobligation, meaning, in turn, that self-identity wards, creating new pressures for local autoncan no longer be derived simply from a given order, but has to be ‘created and recreated on a omy’ (1999:13). This movement is marked by more active basis than before’ (Giddens 1999: the revival of local identities and cultures, but is 47). And again, this process can never be also accompanied, more worryingly, by the rise of new nationalisms. Finally, globalization may completely stable, since self-identity is reflexive in nature, and is shaped by, while in turn also Isqueeze sideways’, and lead to the creation of new regional zones either within or across the shaping, the institutions of modernity (Giddens 1991). boundaries of nation-states (Giddens cites the Hong Kong region, northern Italy, Catalonia Giddens’ response to the uncertainties of and Silicon Valley as examples). this new world is political in orientation: ‘Our runaway world doesn’t need less, but more Giddens develops these arguments through chapters on risk, tradition and the family. In the government – and this, only democratic institufirst of these, he argues that we are in the processtions can provide’ (1999:82). This argument of moving from a traditional world of external suggests that greater control of high (reflexive) risk, in which dangers come ‘from the fixities of modernity can be achieved through further democratization of the world. In order for this to tradition or nature’ (1999:26), to one of manufactured risk, in which new threats arise happen, however, Giddens argues that it is from our own intervention into nature (global necessary to resolve the ‘paradox of democracy’, which is, simply put, that the globalization of warming is the most obvious example).SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion Giddens argues: ‘Our age is not more dangerous – not democracy has been accompanied by increasing disillusionment with modern democratic promore risky – than those of earlier generations, but the balance of risks and dangers has shifted. cesses (particularly in the West). Giddens’ We live in a world where hazards created by answer to this conundrum is to propose a ourselves are as, or more, threatening than those democratization of democracy itself, a process which is to include the following: the ‘effective’ that come from the outside’ (1999:34). These new global hazards lend the world a new degree devolution of power, constitutional reform, greater transparency in political affairs, the of uncertainty, for manufactured risks, such as those attached to the production of genetically fostering of a strong civic culture, and the modified crops, have no historical precedent, pursuit of new transnational or global democannot be calculated in full, and thus remain cratic forms (see 1999:76-81). The Runaway largely unknown. Giddens argues that this World, disappointingly, offers little indication, marks the emergence of a new ‘post-traditional’ however, of how these aims are to be achieved; age, in which we are forced to engage actively for this, one must turn to Giddens’ other with the knowledge produced by experts, and writings, in particular Beyond Left and Right make reflexive choices as to the risks we decide to and The Third Way. take and the trust we choose to invest in others. The former of these works is the most This is a key part of what Giddens (19 94b) terms instructive in this regard, for here Giddens ‘reflexive modernization’, since individuals and makes the case for a new ‘radical’ politics. The institutions (including the family) are finally set twist in Giddens’ argument, however, is that this free from the constraints of tradition (which until new radicalism is not to be drawn from the now have continued to haunt modernity), and traditional ideologies of the Left, but from are forced to order and reorder their activities in conservative thought, in particular ‘philosophithe light of expert knowledge (which is, in turn, cal conservatism’, which centres on the idea of reshaped by this very practice). There are two living with imperfection, and forwards ideals of aspects of this process which are central to protection, conservation and solidarity. There Giddens’ argument regarding globalization. are, he argues, six key aspects of a radical First, this process is fundamentally unstable, for conservatism, each of which may be read as a ‘The reflexivity of modernity . . . does not response to globalization. First, is the attempt to stabilise the relation between expert knowledge repair ‘damaged solidarities’. This rests, Giddens and knowledge applied in lay actions. Knowledge argues, on the reconciliation of autonomy and claimed by expert observers … rejoins its interdependence, which calls in turn for a subject matter, thus . . . altering it’ (1990:45). renewal of personal and collective responsibility the ‘pulling away’ of power and influence from This content downloaded from on Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:39:05 UTC All use subject to Chasing the ‘Runaway World’ 83 for others, and with this the practical regenera- tion of community (see 1998:79). Second, is a recognition of the centrality of ‘life politics’. This means, in short, that a reflexive politics of lifestyle or life choices (what Beck terms ‘subpolitics’, see below) is to be pursued alongside a reconfigured emancipatory politics of ‘life chances’ (which constitutes the traditional concern of the Left) (see Giddens 1991:223226; 1994b:90-92). Third, is a concern for ‘generative politics’, the aim of which is to defend the public domain through enhancement of the autonomy of individuals and groups to ‘make things happen’. Fourth, is the pursuit of dialogic democracy.SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion Giddens argues that democracy is not simply ‘a vehicle for the representation of interests’, but is also ‘a way of creating a public arena in which controversial issues – in principle – can be resolved, or at least handled, through dialogue rather than through pre-established forms of power’ (1994b:16). This emphasis on the creation of an active public sphere, which is also central to the work of Beck and Bauman (see below), is accompanied by an argument for the political potentiality of ‘self-help groups’ and social movements. Fifth, is a rethinking of the welfare state. Giddens addresses this question at length in The Third Way, in which he argues that the welfare state is essentially undemocratic as it operates through a ‘top-down’ distribution of benefits. His answer to this is to propose a shift from the welfare state to the ‘social investment state’; to a system of ‘positive welfare’ based on ‘investment in human capital wherever possible, rather than the direct provision of economic maintenance’ (1998:117). Finally, Giddens argues that a radical politics must be equipped to confront the role of violence in all spheres of life. New forms of fundamentalism (and nationalism) have emerged as a response to globalization, and these forms, by their very nature, are ‘edged with the possibility of violence’ (1999:50). In view of this, he argues, we need to establish a new cosmopolitan order, one founded on tolerance and dialogue rather than exclusion of, or violence towards, the other, and guided by ‘universal values’ (such as human rights and the ‘preservation of species’) which are ‘shared by almost everyone’ (1994b:20). Anthony Giddens, is tied to a theory of reflexive modernization. This said, there are sharp differences between the positions of Beck and Giddens on the subject of modernization, not least because they employ the term ‘reflexive’ in different ways. For Giddens, ‘reflexivity’ (Reflexivitdt) implies reflection on, or at least knowledge of, the problems and consequences of modernization, whereas for Beck it refers to the inability to know or understand the unintended consequences of this process, and implies ‘nonknowing’ or, better still, unawareness (NichtWissen) (see Beck 1999:109-110). This distinction is important for it leads to two different presentations of the transition from industrial society (the first, linear modernity) to risk society (the second, reflexive modernity). For Beck, the key point of this transition is that ‘reflexive’ modernization displaces industrial social forms through the ‘self-confrontation’ of modernity with its own consequences. The result of this process, he argues, is a new situation in which the side-effects of industrial society take centre stage and begin to dominate all areas of public, political and private debate. This development is intriguing, for not only are the risks and dangers associated with industrial society truly global in nature, thus demanding transnational solutions, but are rarely understood in their entirety by either the layperson or the expert. Here, Beck disagrees with Giddens on two main points: first, he argues, the transition to ‘reflexive’ modernity is not driven by reflection or intention but is rather ‘unreflected’, ‘autonomous, undesired and unseen’ (1994:6), and second, this transition undermines the ‘monorationality’ (what Weber terms instrumental rationality (Zweckrationalitdt)) of expert knowledge, leading to a general state of uncertainty and unawareness, and to the emergence of new forms of ‘subrationality’. Beck summarizes these differences as follows: ‘Giddens underestimates the pluralization of rationalities and agents of knowledge and the key role of known and repressed types of unawareness, which constitute and establish the discontinuity of “reflexive” modernization in the first place’ (1999: 130-131). The key point, for Beck, is that reflexive modernization shatters all notions of controllability, order and security, and with this engenders a world that is more ‘runaway’ and uncertain than Giddens suggests. Beck’s What is Globalization? extends these 2. Reflexive modernity: from globalism to arguments regarding the transition to the globality second (reflexive) modernity. This work centres Ulrich Beck’s work on globalization, like that ofon a critique of what he terms ‘globalism’, This content downloaded from on Mon, 29 Aug 2016 21:39:05 UTC All use subject to 84 ACTA SOCIOLOGICA 2001 VOLUJME 44 namely ‘the view that the world market their respective national societies’ (Beck 2000:20). eliminates or supplants political action – that In response, Beck claims that it is no longer is, the ideology of rule by the world market, possible to treat society as being contained the ideology of neoliberalism’ (2000:9). Beck’s within the boundaries of the nation-state, for critique of this position is that it treats globalization shatters the ‘territorial orthodoxy’ globalization as a monocausal and economistic of the social and political, while at the same time process, and in doing so reduces its many opening new transnational spaces for ‘action, dimensions – ecological, cultural, political – to living and perception’. SOC 370 California State University Northridge The Runaway World Discussion eEssay This, however, does not one: economics. The target of this critique is mean the end of the nation-state itself, but primarily Immanuel Wallerstein, whose theory instead points to a new dependency between of the capitalist world-system defines globalizanational and world society. Beck argues: ‘In the tion exclusively ‘in terms of the institutionalizaglobal era, national states do not exist without tion of the world market’ (see Beck 2000:33), world societies, and world societies do not exist but Beck is also critical of other attempts at without national states and societies. It is the understanding globalization in terms of one resulting blockages, breakdowns and unreoverriding dimension or logic. This is a trap, solved questions which give this situation its he argues, into which many theorists, including political charge’ (2000:104). The key point of Bauman and Giddens, have fallen (see below), this statement is that the second, global for they have located ‘the origin and results of modernity brings into being a new ‘non-state’ the globalization dynamic mainly in one sector world society alongside the already existing of institutional action’ (2000:31). He claims world society of nation-states. This new society, that, for Bauman, this sector comprises the Beck argues, is made up of transnational actors economy of new social inequalities, while the who possess specific qualities: ‘they act across one overriding concern in Giddens’ work is borders, even transnationally, and thereby never identified; Beck arguing simply that it is a annul the territorial principle of the national ‘common reference point’ for other authors. The state’; ‘their activity is in many respects more substance of Beck’s argument here is clear: inclusive, less exclusive, than that of state globalization is to be understood as a multiplayers’; ‘they are often more effective than causal, multi-dimensional process, one driven the authorities of national states’, and they by the interplay of a number of different spheres ‘create their own “‘inclusive sovereignty”, as it (‘communications technology, ecology, economwere, by playing off the exclusive territorial ics, work organization, culture and civil societv’ (2000:19)) rather than by a single developmental logic. This approach, Beck argues, marks a departure from the discourse of globalism, which advocates a mono-linear conception of social change and hence remains bound to the conceptual apparatus and mindset of the first (industrial) modernity. In its place, states against one another’ (2000:103). And with this the sociologist and political theorist is presented with a significant challenge, namely: how are we to conceptualize this new realm of social action, and how are we to respond to nonstate world society more generally, which, unlike previous societal forms, exists without either institutions or any discernible order? Beck proposes a reflexive theory of the global. There is, for Beck, a right and a wrong way This, he argues, is to be based upon two main of dealing with this new situation. The wrong concepts: globality, which refers to the collision way, he argues, is to reduce globality to of economic, cultural and political forms in globalism, or, simply put, to seek resolution to ‘world society’, and globalization, which ‘denotes global problems through an appeal to the the processes through which sovereign national concepts, institutions and practices of the first states are criss-crossed and undermined by modernity. Beck lists ten basic errors associated transnational actors with varying prospects of with such practice, including: the reduction of power, orientations, identities and networks’ globalization to a single (economic) dimension (Beck 2000:11 ). (see above); the unconditional support of worldThe crux of Beck’s argument is that wide free trade; the confusion of economic globalization presents a fundamental challenge globalization with the internationalization of to the foundat … Purchase answer to see full attachment Get a 10 % discount on an order above $ 100 Use the following coupon code : NURSING10

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