Notes on the Contributors
The collapse of the state-socialist systems in Eastern Europe and the much discussed rise of the so-called ‘new economy’ have compelled scholars and thinkers to address developments of arguably world-historical significance. In particular, they have had to reflect on the impact on global society of what appears to be a new, globalised economic system characterised, among other things, by the unrivalled hegemony of capitalism, the consolidation of liberal-democracy in the advanced economies and the claimed demise of the nation-state. These developments have had implications for culture and for intellectual life, for education and for labour markets, and for public policy. They have forced us to revisit the role of the state and to reflect, anew, on the manner in which we describe and analyse the attendant societal phenomena. They invite us, too, to ask once again whether – and if so what – alternative, more desirable, institutional arrangements might be envisaged. The contributions to this issue of Theoria address, in diverse ways, these and related questions.
The contributions to this issue of Theoria address, among other issues, the broad themes of trust, democracy and justice. In particular, they focus on the nature of, and the problems associated with the transition to, and consolidation of, liberal democracy in the contemporary global context. They address, too, some aspects of this context that bear upon the roles of, and challenges that confront, both the university as an institution and the endeavours of scholarship and research.
The contributions to this edition of Theoria, while either charting new areas of intellectual and scholarly reflection or bringing new light to bear on established questions, are continuous with and further extend themes that have, over the past decade, shaped the journal as a coherent editorial project. Thus, the questions of democracy, justice, political identity and the nature of the modern state, as well as that of the contemporary global economy, run through the pages of this issue as so many Ariadne’s threads, connecting it with previous issues. Bruce Mazlish, in his article Psychohistory and the Question of Global Identity in Theoria 93 posed the question of whether a new global sense of identity and belonging was beginning to emerge. This edition of Theoria offers a collection of essays that, in one way or another, explore that question further.
This issue of Theoria addresses its organising theme, science and civilisation, in a broad and multifaceted way. The contributions range in scope from explorations of the relationship between the scientific and humanist worldviews, through identity formation in the context of ‘advanced’ technological societies, to questions of epistemology, culture, power and the institutional determinants of economic growth and prosperity.
This edition revisits a number of themes that have characterised Theoria as an editorial project over the past decade and points to issues that will doubtless come to shape the journal as an editorial and intellectual project in future years.