Few dispute the notion that the rapid development of industrialising economies in Asia and Latin America, new information technologies, liberalisation of trade, and global financial markets have contributed to the emergence of a truly global economy in the past ten years. Neither do they dispute that national economies almost everywhere in the world have become increasingly less ‘national’. Most countries’ foreign trade has increased, and in many, foreign investment and payment on foreign debt have become more prevalent than in the past. Labour movements also appear to be increasing, especially the movement of highly skilled labour. But does this mean that nation-states have decreased influence over the definition of economic and social life? Does globalisation imply the demise of the nation-state?
Thinking about the ‘identity crisis’ of the modern institution of the university, I was wondering about the following most general questions: does the current passage to late modernity and to the information age, the decline of the role of the nation-state and the increasing power of processes of globalisation mean the inevitability of the radical reformulation of the social mission and tasks of the institution of the university? Does the university (in North America and Central Europe alike) come through the transitory crisis of public trust and of its founding values or through the dramatic crisis of its own identity in a radically new global order? Is it so that in the face of globalisation and its social practices the process of the ‘corporatization’ of the university and the account of its activities in terms of business rather than education are irresistible? Is the response to the decreasing public trust in and decreasing financial support of higher education generally on the part of the state to be found in new ideas (by reformulating once again the philosophical foundations of the modern university) or in its new organisation (by following the explicit recommendations provided by such supranational organisations as the OECD, the World Bank, or UNESCO)? Surprisingly enough, these questions are of equal significance to North America and to a Central and Eastern Europe experiencing vast social and economic transformation. In both parts of the world the most common reflection upon the future functioning of higher education is the following: ‘things will never be the same’.
Norbert Elias on Globalization
Globalization presages an important new stage in the centuries-old 'civilizing process,' which Norbert Elias analyzed with such clarity and in such depth. At the root of the fundamental transformations of our world of nation-states are combined integrating and disintegrating tendencies, or centralization and individualization, which manifest themselves in a steady monopolization of the means of violence and taxation, an interventionist human rights discourse, and war as a means of democratizing and pacifying the planet. Elias' 'historical social psychological' approach offers new categories of analysis with which to both explain the effects of globalization and indicate how international interdependence fosters both control and resistance, both democratization and radicalization, and both integration and disintegration.
Paris, Cultural Cartography, and Late Victorian Decadence
The study of Decadence recently has attempted to counteract the perceived apoliticism of the movement by examining the spread of Decadent communities in opposition to larger ones of the nation state. This article seeks to both complicate and extend that discussion by turning to the ways in which the novelist George Moore and the poet and critic Arthur Symons transformed London through the importation of Parisian impressionism. Examining naturalism and impressionism, this article argues that London “disappears” as a symbol of the nation state and is transformed into the abstracted space of modern urbanity.
Sites of pilgrimage and heritage tourism are often sites of social inequality and volatility that are impaired by hostilities between historical, ethnic, and competing religious discourses of morality, personhood, and culture, as well as between imaginaries of nationalism and citizenship. Often these pilgrim sites are much older in national and global history than the actual sovereign nation-state in which they are located. Pertinent issues to do with finance—such as regimes of taxation, livelihoods, and the wealth of regional and national economies—underscore these sites of worship. The articles in this special issue engage with prolix travel arrangement, accommodation, and other aspects of heritage tourism in order to understand how intangible aspects of such tourism proceed. But they also relate back to when and how these modern infrastructures transformed the pilgrimage and explore what the emerging discourses and practices were that gave newer meanings to neoliberal pilgrimages. The different case studies presented in this issue analyze the impact of these journeys on the pilgrims’ own subjectivities—especially with regard to the holy sites being situated in their imaginations of historical continuity and discontinuity and with regard to their transformative experiences of worship—using both modern and traditional infrastructures.
‘And how should I begin?’ Naturally, or post-naturally enough, at the end. We have been hearing for some time recently of the end of things and this paradoxically, is where we must start. Book titles have warned us of the End of the Nation and Nation State, the End of Print, the End of Architecture, The End of Work, the End of Man, the End of Economic Man, the End of Time, the End of the Future, the End of History and yes, the End of the World. It doesn’t take a salaried cultural critic to see here the symptom of an encroaching mood, the expression on the part of marooned journalists and intellectuals of what Raymond Williams termed a ‘structure of feeling’. It expresses not so much conviction – though these scenarios of the end could not in one way be more final – as the waning of common beliefs and values. Hence the appearance world-wide of millennial sects, outcrops of New Age mysticism, the thrill of out of body experiences and the paranormal; even if, thanks to postmodernism, these tend to be more normal than para, and to come at you via the X Files or the Virgin multiplex than anywhere more distant. New media combine oddly with the new mysticism, advanced technologies with advancing teleologies. This is the way then that we are seeing in the fin de siècle, the beckoning end of century when Bakhtinian carnival will at last take to the streets, fleeing its confinement in works of cultural theory, and we shall all go belly up and dance our heads off. Or when half the world will fall into poverty, disease, and starvation and the other half wear itself out in vainglorious in-fighting, leaving a sybaritic residue to enter upon a computer-aided decadence of virtual existence. Or when we shall go up in smoke in a bang and whimper all at once.
The predominant vision of war, in the system of sovereign nation-states that evolved in the aftermath of the Treaty of Westphalia, has been one of violence used by nation-states, or alliances of nation-states, against one another. Indeed, as Martin van Creveld in The Rise and Decline of the State suggests, one of the principal functions of the modern state was to wage war. War, in von Clausewitz’s famous formulation, was an instrument of international statecraft that entailed the ‘continuation of politics by other means’. The great wars of the twentieth century to a large extent took this form. It might even be said that inter-state war came to be seen by some as a ‘natural’, if somewhat episodic and terrifying, feature of the modern nation-state system.
Market English, Biopower, and the World Bank
J. Paul Narkunas
In 1997, the World Bank Group1 published in English one of its many country studies, entitled Vietnam: Education Financing. Its goal was to measure ‘what changes in educational policies will ensure that students who pass through the system today will acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for Vietnam to complete the transition successfully from a planned to a market economy’(World Bank 1997: xiii). Skills, knowledge, and attitude designate the successfully ‘educated’ Vietnamese national subjects for the bank. The educational ‘system’ performs, therefore, a disciplinary function by using the technologies of the nation state to cultivate productive humans—measured by technical expertise and computer and business skills—for transnational companies who do business in the region.
The Travels of José Uriel García and Aurelio Miró Quesada Sosa
Rupert J. M. Medd
of the movement’s common principles—that Peru’s indigenous and marginalized sectors of society needed to be imagined back into the nation-state as the latter’s goals turned toward inclusivity. The intention was that these groups would become social
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.