What is Alsace?

It may seem like a strange question: What is Alsace? It is a region of France. It is a culturally and linguistically distinct population of 1.8 million people. Most visitors would observe that there is a distinctive Alsatian style in life, in architecture, and in culture. It possesses one great city (Strasbourg), many middle-sized cities …

Transnational protest movements

We've seen a fairly large increase in the occurrence of large international protest movements in the past thirty years. The anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s drew a substantial following across Europe and to some extent North America. (Historian E. P. Thompson played a significant leadership role in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; see for example …

Intellectual leaders

In 2005 the Nouvel Observateur published a special issue devoted to "25 grands penseurs du monde entier" -- 25 great global thinkers. (The issue was published separately as Le monde selon les grands penseurs actuels.) The selection of thinkers was excellent: Stanley Cavell, Souleymane Diagne, Nestor Garcia Canclini, Sudhir Kakar, Vladimir Kantor, José Gil, Ian …

Global cities — Saskia Sassen

I have mentioned Saskia Sassen in previous postings, as one of the world's leading theorists of the global city. Here is an interesting lecture that she presented at the UrbanAge India conference in Mumbai in 2007. The lecture is very interesting, and it is also "self-illustrating," in that its availability on YouTube illustrates the remarkable …

The world food system

Here is one very concrete way in which we live in a global world: the most basic need that we have -- food -- is satisfied on the basis of a system with global reach and global price and production interconnections. The planet's 6+ billion people need a daily diet of grains, oils, and protein, …

What is global about globalization?

Of course we live in a globalizing world. But what does that really mean?One point that might be made emphasizes the local and the regional rather than the global. This is the observation that every part of the world is undergoing its own process of social change in a distinctive way. China, Brazil, and Nigeria …

Is industrial agriculture sustainable?

The world's food system depends largely on a farming system with post-green-revolution techniques: new seed varieties, substantial use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, large-scale irrigation, machine-based cultivation, production for large markets, and separation of production from consumption by long distances. This system shows the highest productivity the world has ever seen, whether measured in terms …

Is globalization unjust?

Globalization has many aspects. But consider this narrow definition: extension of international economic interdependence through unfettered international trade and investment. This process leads to a shifting of centers of economic activity as investors and entrepreneurs seek out favorable locations for business activity--mining, manufacturing, financial services, transportation and logistics, etc. Businesses will seek out low-cost environments …

A world sociology?

Contemporary sociology developed in consideration of western social processes and western ideas about science. Central defining problems included state formation, social solidarity and cohesion, urbanization, and the politics of class. (The experienced reader will recognize the imprint of the classical social theorists here--Weber, Durkheim, and Marx especially.) But it is worth considering that sociology might …

International social research?

I find it intriguing to imagine the sociological insights that might come from a discussion of a specific social problem that brings together the perspectives of some of the international visitors to this web site. How would observers from Manila, Lagos, Shanghai, and Detroit be able to contribute different perspectives on the issue of rising …

%d bloggers like this: