chapter  9
15 Pages

Manuel Castells (1942–present) and globalisation theorists: The ‘definitive’ decline of the nation-state

Some of the arguments to be advanced here were already introduced in the section of Chapter 1 devoted to Ulrich Beck’s critique of methodological nationalism. Beck’s conceptualisation of recent globalisation processes is seen as broadly compatible with the arguments of several writers. Although special attention will be devoted to the work of Manuel Castells, arguments by John Urry (2000), Anthony Giddens (1999), Zygmunt Bauman (1998) and Martin Albrow (1996) are also included in this chapter’s revision. Taken together, they all constitute what Robert Fine and myself have referred to as social theory’s new orthodoxy on globalisation (Chernilo 2006b; Fine and Chernilo 2004). Although the general tone of this chapter is critical, it is only fair to acknowledge that I could hardly have written this book without their arguments and insights. Their description of emergent social trends and phenomena, plus their particular critique of methodological nationalism, helped create the framework around which my own arguments arose and developed. Somewhat ironically, that is, despite their scepticism about the current state of social theory and its (in)ability to capture recent historical transformations, this recent literature is close to social theory’s intellectual and institutional core: they are already part of the tradition that this book is interested in reconstructing.