Globalisation, civil society, solidarity: the politics and ethics of a world both real and universal

Peter Waterman

Research output: Working paperAcademic

5 Downloads (Pure)


Contemporary radical-democratic theorising on 'globalisation' can surpass traditional discourses on development/dependency, interdependency or imperialism, without necessarily ignoring the processes these connote. Globalisation is here understood as multi-determined (by the market, surveillance, militarisation, industrialism, partriarchy, informatism, racism). Globalisation processes imply that hegemony no longer rests in a single territorial site (national, regional, bloc), any more than it rests with a single subject (the international capitalist class), on a primary determinant (economic, military), or level (the state-national). Globalisation processes sharpen the contradictions of high modernity, giving rise to democratic and pluralistic social movements which point beyond our present-day situation. But they also give rise to authoritarian social movements attempting to reject or escape modernity. Globalisation provokes international and extra-territorial identities as it does local ones, these being of different and often mutually contradictory natures. It implies the increasing centrality of the global level and global instances, and therefore the possibility and necessity for development of a 'global civil society' as a space for democratic struggle within multiple global terrains. The new democratic social movements therefore also operate globally. Their struggle is both cause and effect of a variegated, democratic and pluralistic global culture, itself in tension with a globalised (i.e. capitalist, Western, sexist, racist, etc.) one. Globalisation creates a world (that can increasingly be experienced as) both real and universal, thus allowing for a universalism that is more than faith or obligation, a global solidarity that is more than a merely imagined community.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages86
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1993

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


Dive into the research topics of 'Globalisation, civil society, solidarity: the politics and ethics of a world both real and universal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this