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.
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About the Author
Johann P. Arnason is professor emeritus of sociology at La Trobe University, and an editor-at-large of the journal Social Imaginaries. His many publications include Civilizations in Dispute: Historical Questions and Theoretical Traditions (Brill, 2003), Axial Civilizations and World History (ed. with S.N. Eisenstadt and B. Wittrock, Brill, 2005), The Roman Empire in Context: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (ed. with K. Raaflaub, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), The Greek Polis and the Invention of Democracy: A Politico-Cultural Transformation and its Interpretations (ed. with K. Raaflaub and P. Wagner, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), Social Transformations and Revolutions (ed. with M. Hrubec, Edinburgh University Press, 2016); and Anthropology and Civilizational Analysis (ed. with Chris Hann, forthcoming, SUNY Press, 2018).