This important new book by a major voice in the Social Imaginaries movement offers the most systematic attempt to establish conceptual and historical links between the idea of modernity as a new civilization and the notion of multiple modernities. Arnason demonstrates a theory of globalization that is still compatible with the emphasis on unity and diversity of modernity as a civilization.
Offering a vital reflection on the unity and diversity of the modern world, this important new book connects with the current debate on multiple modernities and argues that this notion can only be properly understood in a civilizational context. Johann Arnason presupposes the idea of modernity as a new civilization with its specific social imaginary, centred on strong visions of human autonomy but open to differentiation on institutional and ideological levels, as well as in changing historical contexts. The book begins by connecting this perspective to a distinctive framework of social theory, centred on the differentiation of economic, political and cultural spheres. Arnason goes on to deal with Communism as the most important alternative version of modernity, and with East Asian developments as a particularly complex and instructive case of interacting modernities. The book concludes with reflections on globalization theory and ways of reformulating it in light of the civilizational approach.
1. Introduction / 2. Modernity as a new civilization: Imaginary meanings and institutional contexts / 3. Origins and transformations: The question of successive modernities / 4. The Communist alternative and its exit paths / 5. East Asian variations / 6. Global constellations: The one and the multiple / Bibliography / Index