The New Individualism: The emotional costs of globalisation
Routledge, $29.95 pb, 228 pp
Writings on globalisation have so far been of three principal types. First came the fables of discovery: bold, confident and romantic. Next came the stories of resistance: variously decrying the consequences of the new order, or denying that there was anything particularly novel about this globalisation malarkey. More recently, however, we have entered the age of elaboration. These fresher writings extend the now familiar idea of globalisation onto new terrains. Just as concepts such as ‘space’, ‘postmodernism’ and ‘the body’ were once taken up by earnest specialists, so the idea of ‘globalisation’ is now used to revive tired topics and to attract jaded publishers. Bookshelves groan under the weight of fresh volumes promising to disclose the secrets of ‘globalisation and food/sport/religion/sex/politics etc.’. Thus the concept has itself been exported and capitalised on a remarkable, networked industry. Some of this work is opportunistic and shallow. Fortunately, however, Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert’s entry to the field (which might be retitled ‘Globalisation and Individualism and Emotions’) attempts to say something new, serious and important.