Runaway World: How Globalization Is Reshaping Our Lives

Anthony Giddens, Author
Anthony Giddens, Author Brunner-Routledge $17.95 (124p) ISBN 978-0-415-92719-2
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 104 pages - 978-0-415-94487-8
Paperback - 104 pages - 978-1-86197-429-7
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Forget the global village, says celebrated London scholar Giddens in this brief, accessible look at the aftereffects of globalization; on the contrary, we've got ""global pillage."" Based on a series of lectures originally broadcast on the BBC, this book confronts the benefits and dangers of global processes and asserts that life in the coming century will amount to a precarious game of ""risk management."" Giddens, whose 1998 work The Third Way spurred debate over the course of social democracy, argues that globalization's most profound effects will be not economic but cultural. Drawing on the work of Eric Hobsbawm, Marshall McLuhan and others, Giddens offers thumbnail sketches of broad themes--family, risk, tradition, democracy--as they've been reworked by global political and economic forces. He praises the advent of a ""global cosmopolitan society"" but cautions that salutary gains, such as equality for women and the spread of democracy, are threatened by a fundamentalist backlash. China has considered making divorce more difficult, he writes, while rhetoric about the traditional family structure remains a pernicious force against change around the world. Many of Giddens's arguments will sound familiar, but certain assertions are bound to be controversial. Sexuality need not be dominated by heterosexuality, he says, at a time when marriage is an increasingly defunct institution. And tradition itself can be seen as a creation of modernity, invented to secure the interests of power. Though our runaway world offers cause for optimism and pessimism in about equal measure, Giddens concludes, democratic ideals are still very much worth fighting for. (Apr.)
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