A World Beyond Difference unpacks the globalization literature and fills a void by presenting a lively conceptual and historical map of how we think about the emerging socio-political world, and above all how we think politically about human cultural differences. Here is a rare and valuable critique of globalization literature: one that is forthright, yet balanced, and draws on the local work of ethnographers to counter relativist and globalist discourses. Writing for all those interested in issues of globalization, anthropologist Ronald Niezen draws out points from recent major theorists, comparing them to classical social theorists in an instructive manner. Because of its interdisciplinary scope and engaging style, A World Beyond Difference will appeal to nonspecialists as well as finding its way into courses on globalization, cultural theory, history, political science, sociology, and anthropology.
?Debates about globalization have become stereotyped. Universalists hope for one world united under rational law; postmodernists and their postcolonial and neo-Marxist allies dream of a heterotopia of autonomous free agents. In this book, Ronald Niezen steps outside this sterile dualism to show how each side subscribes to the same Western utopian ideals, which are then imposed on the facts. Case material from his wide experience illustrates the failings of ideologically generated theories and offers a more realistic approach to the actual experience of globalization. Elegantly written, free of cant, empirically grounded, theoretically sophisticated, and passionately argued, this brilliant book is required reading.?
Charles Lindholm, Boston University
"This volume is a thought-provoking, intellectually exciting analysis of the quest for a global borderless society ... The author presents many inspired and thought-provoking challenges to the reader and one cannot but be impressed by the logic of his arguments." Cambridge University Press
1 Introduction 1
2 The Tradition of Rational Utopianism 11
3 The Cultural Contradictions of Globalization 35
4 (Anti) Globalization from Below 57
5 Human Rights Pluralism and Universalism 82
6 Postmodernism’s Revolt Against Order 102
7 The New Neo-Marxism 122
8 Paradigms of Postcolonial Liberation 144
9 Conclusion 168