David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Globalization has been one of the most hotly contested phenomena of the past two decades. It has been a primary attractor of books, articles, and heated debate, just as postmodernism was the most fashionable and debated topic of the 1980s. A wide and diverse range of social theorists have argued that today's world is organized by accelerating globalization, which is strengthening the dominance of a world capitalist economic system, supplanting the primacy of the nation-state by transnational corporations and organizations, and eroding local cultures and traditions through a global culture. Contemporary theorists from a wide range of political and theoretical positions are converging on the position that globalization is a distinguishing trend of the present moment, but there are hot debates concerning its nature, effects, and future.2 Moreover, advocates of a postmodern break in history argue that developments in transnational capitalism are producing a new global historical configuration of post- Fordism, or postmodernism as an emergent cultural logic of capitalism (Harvey 1989; Soja 1989; Jameson 1991; and Gottdiener 1995). Others define the emergent global economy and culture as a "network society" grounded in new communications and information technology (Castells 1996, 1997, and 1998). For its defenders, globalization marks the triumph of capitalism and its market economy (see apologists such as Fukuyama 1992 and Friedman 1999 who perceive this process as positive), while its critics portray globalization as negative (see, for example, Mander and Goldsmith 1996; Eisenstein 1998; and Robins and Webster 1999). Some theorists see the emergence of a new transnational ruling elite and the universalization of consumerism (Sklair 2001), while others stress global fragmentation of “the clash of civilizations” (Huntington 1996). Driving “post” discourses into novel realms of theory and politics, Hardt and Negri (2000) present the emergence of “Empire” as producing evolving forms of sovereignty, economy, culture, and political struggle that unleash an unforeseeable and unpredictable flow of novelties, surprises, and upheavals. Discourses of globalization initially were polarized into pro or con celebrations or attacks..
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