BECK ULRICH

BECK, Ulrich (b. 1944; d. 2015) – German sociologist; professor at Munich University and London School of Economics; theorist of the concepts of “reflexive modernization” and “risk society.” Known for his work on the periodization of the modern age and the complex investigation of contemporary globalization. Founder and chief editor of the journal Soziale Welt.

Beck sees the origins of globalization in the economic sphere and links this  phenomenon with the activity of transnational corporations and the formation of a global economy. The main issue, associated with globalization, is that political view beyond the traditional categorical frameworks of the nation-state, political aftermaths, caused by the influence of economic mechanisms. This view is expressed through the opening to political interference and control of institutions of industrial society, which have traditionally been independent from it. The economy functioning on a global scale undermines the foundations of the national economy and the national state. Globalization policy aims not only to get rid of union restrictions, but also to weaken the politics of nation-states. He introduced the concept of “subpolitics,” describing it as an extra chance at action and usurpation of power outside the political system, which is obtained by corporations acting on the whole space of the world community. Based on his analysis of the value and ideological components of contemporary global processes, Beck considers the differences between the concepts of “globality” and “globalization,” on the one hand, and “globalism,” on the other. Globalism means that the world market displaces or replaces political activity; it is an ideology of domination of the world market – the ideology of neoliberalism. It operates on a purely economic basis and reduces the multidimensionality of globalization to only one – economic – dimension, and therefore the ecological, cultural, political, social, and civilizational aspects of globalization become subject to the world market supremacy measurement. At the ideological core of globalismis the elimination of the fundamental difference between politics and economics. The main objective of politics is to define the legal, social, and environmental framework according to which economic activity is carried out. Globalism makes it possible to control the state, society, culture, and foreign policy as a simple organization. Globality means that everyone lives in a global society in which there is no place for the isolated spaces. World society implies a commonality of social relations that cannot be integrated in national state policy or be determined by it. Meanwhile, the key role is played by self-identification, that is, how the world society is perceived by its members, to what extent the peoples and cultures of the world perceive themselves in the mutual intertwining of their differences, and to what extent this self-perception within the global society becomes a significant factor of behavior. Globalization is a process by which nation-states and their sovereignty are intertwined in a web of transnational actors and subjected to their powerful capabilities. An essential feature of the current state of the world is the impossibility of eliminating the globality that has already emerged. Thus, while there are various logics of ecological, cultural, economic, political, and sociocivic globalization, irreducible to each other, they can only be deciphered and understood in terms of their interdependencies.

Works: Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order (1994); Was ist Globalisierung? (1998); World Risk Society (1999); Ecological Politics in an Age of Risk (2002). BELL, Daniel (b. May 10, 1919; d. January 25, 2011) – American sociologist, writer, philosopher, author of the theory of post-industrial society.