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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.

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Edited by Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Yaacov Oved and Menachem Topel

The idea of a better society as associated with the communal idea is investigated from both theoretical perspectives and through contemporary experiences around the world. This idea leaves nobody indifferent. Whatever the hardship that its concretization implies, however, once it does materialize, it cannot, as such avoid new challenges, tensions and unexpected claims. This means, at varying degrees, negations of, and removals from, the “utopian inspiration”. Humans are able to create unprecedented conditions of life under most ambitious inspirations, but are unable to safeguard their achievements from change, alterations and contradictions. In this, however, another aspect of the utopian realizations is that they ultimately leave room for new utopist thinking and enrolment. As far, indeed, the utopian inspiration draws its vitality from potent civilizational codes, its renewal from ashes is as unavoidable as its self-betrayal through materialization.

Contributors included: Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Rami Degany, Amitai Etzioni, Maria Fölling-Albers, Yiftah Goldman, Ruth Kark, Yossi Katz, John Lehr, Graham Meltzer, Bill Metcalf, Timothy Miller, Yaacov Oved, Michal Palgi, Donald E. Pitzer, Shulamit Reinharz, Lyman Tower Sargent, György Széll, Menachem Topel, Katherine Trebeck, and Chris Warhurst.