Conflicts and tensions in a globalising world

january 2008 -

Helmut Anheier en Yudhishthir Raj Isar – Conflicts and tensions

Whereas globalisation has meant the spread of information and communication technology, it has also divided the world between the connected and the isolated. Whilst globalisation has increased labour movement across boundaries, it has also encouraged a brain drain in developing countries, and a shift of power from public bureaucracies to private multinationals. And while globalisation has elaborated new rules for integrating the global market, these rules have marginalised populations, leading to greater vulnerability and social dislocation.

These unequal processes on a world-scale have brought tensions, and even conflicts, often couched in the language of culture. Yet, the complex processes that hardened cultural contrasts and opposition are still not well understood as economic aspects of globalisation have received much more attention.

This disparity is exactly what brought about the recent publication of Conflict and Tensions. In the book, an international group of writers, artists, and scholars – including some renowned names such as Francis Nyamnjoh and Anthony Giddens – set out in 27 chapters the multiple aspects of the new ‘culturalism’ in the world. The first set of articles describes general developments, followed by a series on ‘regional realities’, from Africa to Asia. The section on ‘fault lines: tensions, values, and migrations’ together show how today’s tensions are incredibly complex and can hardly be described as ‘a clash of civilization’, an idea that gained such prominence since the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Half of the 639 pages of Conflict and Tensions consists a wealth of statistics, graphics, and indicators. This, together with the more practical chapters on culture as a tool of conflict prevention and resolution, makes the book not just highly relevant for academics but also for policy-makers.

Conflict and Tensions is the first in the Cultures and Globalization Series, published by Sage and supported by the Prince Claus Fund, SIDA and the Gulbenkian Foundation, among others.

Helmut Anheier en Yudhishthir Raj Isar – Conflicts and tensions
Sage Publications, Lond0n, 2007
€ 103,00 (hardback) € 39,00 (paperback)