Questioning Geopolitics: Political Projects in a Changing World-System

By Georgi M. Derluguian; Scott L. Greer | Go to book overview

8
Formations of Globality and Radical
Politics

Arif Dirlik

The following discussion undertakes two tasks. The first is to outline a number of influential representations of globality, mark their distinctions, and point to the ways in which they complement and contradict one another. On the basis of what these representations have to say about the condition of globality, secondly, I draw certain conclusions concerning the possibilities for radical politics under contemporary circumstances. I am most concerned here with the reconfiguration in recent years of global relations, why these changes have rendered irrelevant earlier forms of radicalism, associated mostly with socialism, and why the largely invisible radical activities of the present take the forms that they have taken.

My point of departure is globalization, which over the last decade has replaced modernization as a paradigm of change and a social imaginary. Globalization has an obvious appeal to a political left that has been committed all along to internationalism, equality, and closer ties between peoples. The euphoria over globalization, however, has served to disguise the very real social and economic inequalities that are not merely leftovers from the past, but are products of the new developments. There is some question as to whether globalization represents the end or the fulfillment of a Eurocentric modernization.

Globalization as a discourse would seem to be increasingly pervasive, but it is propagated most enthusiastically from the older centers of power, most notably the United States, fueling suspicion of the hegemonic aspirations that inform it. Economic and political power may be more decentered than earlier, but globalization is incomprehensible without reference to the global victory of capitalism, and pressures toward the globalization of "markets and democracy" are

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