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Through a Glass, Darkly

Blurred Images of Cultural Tradition and Modernity over Distance and Time


Edited by Wil Arts

In today's European arts and sciences most of the time we see not only other, but also our own cultural traditions and the different forms of modernity like a dim image in a mirror. And the future of our own and other cultures seems to be shrouded in mystery, because our gift of knowledge and inspired messages are only partial. The question this book addresses is whether it is possible to get an almost face-to-face intimacy with various forms of cultural tradition and modernity by using our experiences and our powers of imagination, i.e. our expectations, in a more fruitful way.
The contributors to this book try to give answers to this weighty question by taking as a guideline Erasmus's famous motto ad fontes, i.e. always go to the sources. Without, however, nursing the illusion that our partial knowledge will ever be complete. Is there, they ask, a real chasm between the 'modern' West and the 'traditional' East, as so many authors have argued? And if so, how deep is the chasm and how is it to be bridged? How much do people in the West know about their own cultural tradition and the modern times they live in? How much do they know of the traditions and the modernities of the East and how much do they need to know in order to cope with what the future will probably bring? Are our images of cultural tradition and modernity in East and West, in Past and Present so blurred that we look at them as through a glass, darkly? What the contributors to this book argue for is the necessity of looking at developments both in East and West, both in Past and Present from a wider perspective, of taking a global point of departure. They argue for greater understanding and communication between cultures, for cultural pluralism (as distinct from cultural relativism). They argue for the open, tolerant, non-dogmatic and critical thought that was the most important characteristic of Erasmus's philosophy.
The chapters in this book can be useful to a broad audience and a range of social scientists and historians who are interested in the understanding of the relation between Past and Present, Tradition and Modernity, East and West.

Capitalism after Postmodernism

Neo-conservatism, Legitimacy and the Theory of Public Capital


Hall Thomas Wilson

This book addresses a number of interrelated issues in the old and new political economy. The focus on globalization is generally taking the mind off questions of debt and indebtedness. Capital now has such a decided institutional edge that its legitimacy in capitalist democracies is under threat. Present developments seriously jeopardize the balance between capital, public and social institutions on which the progress and welfare of the developing world and the capitalist democracies depend. Going back to Marx, Weber and Habermas, Wilson concludes that against the backdrop of Weberian pessimism, social intellectuals still have to rise to the occasion, rather than assisting in the massive, and consequently, self-confirming prophecy that contemporary postmodernism now threatens to become.

Social Change in the Age of Globalization

The Annals of the International Institute of Sociology – Volume 10


Tiankui Jing, Masamichi Sasaki and Peilin Li

The 36th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology (IIS) was a true milestone in the history of IIS, for it heralded many firsts: the first World Congress to be held on the Asian Continent, the first to be held in China, and the largest attendance by far of any of the organization’s World Congresses.
This book is a compendium of 18 papers presented by plenary speakers from 10 different nations. It addresses sweeping issues related to the age of globalization and social change, including cultural diversities, migration and equality, social transformation, and national identity. Notable is an extraordinary diversity of viewpoints, approaches and opinions.
Social Change in the Age of Globalization should be especially useful for those interested in learning more about social change in the context of globalization, especially in nations whose sociological communities are emerging, such as China and many other Asian nations.


Edited by Mattei Dogan

This book, prepared under the auspices of the IPSA Research Committee on Political Elites, focuses on the interpenetration between various types of elites: politicians, owners of capital, corporate managers, higher state administrators, directors of public enterprises, controllers of media, military officers and the civic-cultural establishment. The contributions to this book reveal contrasting patterns of recruitment and selection in terms of career paths, visibility, influence, and power of different elite circles. This diversity of national elite configurations challenges the C. Wright Mills' theory of an integrated "power elite", which appears from a comparative perspective to be peculiar to the United States during the early post-war period. Key concepts are discussed and empirically tested: ruling class, political class, elite circulation versus elite reproduction, elite interpenetration, elite interlocks, elite cohesion, elite osmosis, functional elite roles, formal and informal networks, elite cousinhood, separation versus overlapping between wealth and power, and between power and social capital.
The book covers a great variety of countries: post-industrial democracies (France, Britain, Germany, Canada), new democracies (East-Central Europe, Mexico) and modernizing regimes (Southeast Asia, Tropical Africa), presented by an international selection of distinguished contributors: Andras Bozoki, Roderic Camp, William Case, Jean-Pascal Daloz, Mattei Dogan, Dennis Kavanagh, Michael Ornstein, David Richards, Erwin Scheuch and John Scott.

Future Matters

Action, Knowledge, Ethics


Barbara Adam and Chris Groves

Future Matters concerns contemporary approaches to the future – how the future is known, created and minded. In a social world whose pace continues to accelerate the future becomes an increasingly difficult terrain. While the focus of social life is narrowing down to the present, the futures we create on a daily basis cast ever longer shadows. Future Matters addresses this paradox and its deep ethical implications. It locates contemporary approaches to the future in a wider sociological and historical framework of practices, traces differences and continuities, and shows how contemporary practices of futures-construction make taking responsibility for futures all but impossible.

Time and Time Again

Reports from a Boundary of the Universe



This work represents a guided tour to the interdisciplinary, integrated study of time. Through twenty-two connected essays, selected from the author's extensive writings, Time and Time Again advances new insights into understanding the nature of time seen through philosophy, the arts and letters, the sciences of matter, life, mind and society. Traditionally, attitudes to future, past, and present remained distinct for different cultures. But upon the globalizing earth, all cultural regions are now in instant by instant communication. There is a consequent turmoil about individual and collective identities and about value judgments, in all of which attitudes to time play crucial roles. The book explores this turmoil and, through its references, it also serves as a guide to the broadly spread literature about time.

Religion in Secularizing Society

The Europeans’ Religion at the End of the 20th Century


Edited by Loek Halman and Ole Riis

The cross-national analyses of Europe’s patterns of religious and moral orientations presented in this book are all based on the 1990 European Values Study survey data and some use both 1981 and 1990 data. Use is also made of more recent data gathered in 1995/1997 within the framework of the World Values Study, directed by Ron Inglehart, as well as data from a recent pilot survey in Japan. The contributions in this book are not written within a common theoretical framework, but from different theoretical perspectives and scientific backgrounds and interests. However, a majority of the chapters focus on the Catholic and Protestant divide in Europe. All in all, the contributions in this book show (parts) of the religious and moral culture in contemporary secularizing societies.


Edited by Eva Nieuwenhuys

According to mainstream economic thinking, inspired by the ideas of Smith, Ricardo and others, globalisation of the world economy is profitable. But unlike these classic writers, neoliberal economists pay little attention to the moral and social consequences of economic policies. Despite the fact that present social circumstances differ a great deal from those in the time of Smith and Ricardo they keep maintaining that “an invisible hand” will further social ends. In doing so they ignore growing poverty worldwide and the exclusion of countries from the international legal order and of people from the right to social participation and freedom.
This book pays attention to economic aspects of globalisation and also to philosophical, legal, social, cultural, ethical and ecological aspects. Its aim is to contribute to possible solutions for worldwide problems that accompany the globalisation process.

Reflections on Multiple Modernities

European, Chinese and Other Interpretations

Dominic Sachsenmaier, Jens Riedel and Shmuel N. Eisenstadt

This volume explores a rapidly emerging paradigm in the social sciences, which assumes culturally specific forms of modernity. Modernization is thus no longer equated with homogenization. Leading scholars from history, sociology, area studies, and economics discuss the concept’s implications.
The first part covers a range of theoretical questions arising from the new approach. Issues such as the common features of all modernities and their interrelation with regional particularities, the reasons for antinomies of modernity, and the preconditions for a peaceful coexistence of cultures are raised.
The second and third parts deal with Europe and China as two specific encounters with modernity, the tensions between universalism and cultural identities, both in past and present. The fourth part analyzes how Multiple Modernities translates into formal and informal institutions of “diverse capitalisms”.
Authors include well-known specialists Mark Juergensmeyer, Hartmut Kaelble, Bruce Mazlish and Frederic Wakeman.

From Cold War to Cold Peace?

A Comparative Empirical Study of Russian and Western Political Cultures


Loek Halman, Peter Ester and Vladimir Rukavishnikov

The cross-national analyses of Western and Russian political cultures presented in this book are partly based on the 1990 EVS data. Another data source comes from surveys that were conducted since the late 1980s by the Department of Social Dynamics of the Institute of Socio-Political Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ISPR RAS) This Volume pictures a wide variety of values in the social and political domain and reveals unique insights in Russian culture. It makes clear that, despite many differences, Russian and Westerners have also many things in common as far as basic values are concerned.

This is the fourth volume in the series. The first book is The Individualizing Socitey (1993, 1994) edited by Peter Ester, Loek Halman and Ruud de Moor. The second book is Values in Western Societies (1995) edited by Ruud de Moor. A third book is titled Political Value Change in Western Democracies (1996) and is edited by Loek Halman and Neil Nevitte.