Thursday, December 11, 2008

Modernization Theory and Deviant Globalization

Pundita has some very flattering things to say about Mandarins of the Future, and she also correctly notes that my current efforts to understand deviant globalization are built on the foundation of insights generated from the earlier study.

But it's also important to note that the concept of deviant globalization has also been deeply informed by my collaboration with Jesse Goldhammer and Steve Weber, starting with in the course we taught togehter at Berkeley last year, who have brought with them a very different set of ideological, theoretical, and methodological commitments. Likewise, I've learned a vasy amount from reading and talking to, among others, John Robb, Mark Duffield, John Hagedorn, Mike Davis, William Langeweische, Carolyn Nordstrom, and Moises Naim.

My understanding of deviant globalization has also been shaped by my client work, which over the last several years addressed topics as seemingly disparate but in fact deeply intertwined as 
  • how urbanization happens without industrialization
  • what vast and growing wealth disparities means
  • how the poor are reacting to climate change
  • what the implications are of the commercialization of a vast number of crucial social functions that used to be managed either by governments or deeply rooted cultural institutions
  • and how all this intersects with the rapid proliferation and democratization of media and communications technologies
Daniel Lerner wasn't wrong when he claimed that the adoption of modern media would fundamentally undermine traditional societies, ushering in "modernity." What he was wrong about, however, was the meaning of modernity.

1 comment:

Mick said...

Reading this and Pundita's post reminds me again that I have to read your book and, more importantly, you have to read Charles Taylor's Modern Social Imaginaries. I believe I directed you to a podcast discussion with him about it previously?