Journal Article

“The Great Reversal”: Selves, Communities, and the Global System*

John H. Simpson

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 57, issue 2, pages 115-125
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1069-4404
e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
“The Great Reversal”: Selves, Communities, and the Global System*

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Most sociological perspectives on globalization attribute the contemporary apprehended oneness of the world to the spread of rationalized economic, political, and cultural systems and the colonization and domination of life-worlds by these systems. The reverse is argued here: Globalization is the penetration of globally extensive rationalized systems by life-worlds whose elementary units are selves and nations. Three types of selves — Mead's classic self, the serial self, and the hyper-real self — are analyzed with reference to global action and the question of the emergence of a global society. The analysis leads to the conclusion that there can be no society or society-like formation at the global level. Reactive localism, globalized social movements, networked primordialism, and ethno-religious conflict are and will remain the major forms of social action in the global system.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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